Before we fully step in to analyzing the Jets/Steelers matchup for all the AFC marbles this week, I thought we needed one more post to close out the classic game between the Steelers and Ravens last Saturday. Regardless of what happens against New York, the thrilling victory at Heinz Field against the Ravens will be talked about for a long time. Here’s 10 random thoughts about the game including Wiz Khalifa‘s relationship to the Steelers and addressing harsh criticism of Rashard Mendenhall.
1. It might not last for forever and I might get blasted for saying it, but I’ll remember Saturday’s game as the moment that this generation of Steelers went from “black and gold” to “black and yellow.” I’ve already blogged my thoughts on the hit Wiz Khalifa song, but the Steelers played it the second the game was over and it was awesome. The Steelers players love the song and even journalists like Dejan Kovacevic have been using the hashtag #blackandyellow on Twitter. It’s a movement. Now onto the game itself…
2. Two Steelers who played outstanding games that went mostly unnoticed: Maurkice Pouncey and Ike Taylor. The duo took away three of the Ravens best players. Pouncey made Haloti Ngata invisible all game long and Swaggin rendered Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin useless (with a little help from James Harrison and Joe Flacco).
3. Just like after the loss earlier in the season, Baltimore fans are calling for the head of Cam Cameron, who John Harbaugh will retain in 2011. Just a few years ago Cameron was the hottest assistant in the NFL and I remember a ton of Steeler fans begging the team to bring him in. Offensive coordinators are always hot and cold in this league. Has to be a very, very tough job.
4. He will definitely improve, but Joe Flacco just isn’t good enough right now to quarterback a team to the Super Bowl. No defense could carry him to the promised land.
5. I know the fans love “Renegade” but I now believe that the players get a huge boost from the video as well, especially James Harrison. Silverback got that look in his eyes and was a different player for the rest of the game. Right after “Renegade” was played, he was unblockable for three or four straight Baltimore possessions.
6. We’ve all had the privilege of watching a ton of great pass rushers in Pittsburgh, but Harrison is the most ferocious and determined linebacker I’ve seen in Pittsburgh in my lifetime.
7. Special teams were a big issue once again. Shaun Suisham missed a makeable field goal. The coverage units allowed a big return on the opening kickoff and what was a penalty away from being a back breaking punt return TD late in the game. We know what Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith are capable of in the return game. They simply have to be better to win big games.
8. Stating the obvious here, but Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown look like they’ll be solid receivers in the league for years to come. A lot of young WRs have issues catching the ball early on in their career, but no situation has been too big for either of them. It looks like Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin found a couple more gems in the mid-late rounds of the draft.
9. Terrell Suggs is obviously very good, but somebody has to remind everybody that he was playing against the Steelers third (fourth?) string offensive tackles for most of the game. His game wasn’t nearly as impressive as James Harrison schooling Michael Oher all night long.
10. Peter King made several odd remarks in his column today about the Steelers/Ravens game. You would have really thought the Ravens had won the contest. He ripped both Chris Kemoeatu and Rashard Mendenhall, saying Mendy is not a “big-time back.” I am a pretty big fan of King and don’t take to calling out journalists too often, but it was a bizarre comment. It certainly wouldn’t be the type of snap judgement I’d make after watching that game. Ray Rice was ineffective on the ground and had a terrible fumble and I certainly wouldn’t say that he’s not a big-time back. If I’m Mike Tomlin, I’d be printing out the column and taping it to 34’s locker this week. King also called out Hines Ward for his personal foul on the Steelers first possession. Almost every other analyst has said that the play didn’t warrant a flag on Hines at all.