Who Stopped Miami, Steelers Or Jeanne? - By Neal Coolong
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Only something named "Jeanne" could have prevented the Miami Dolphins high-powered offense.
Yes, I'm laughing after writing that.
In probably the most pathetic display of offense outside Buffalo, Miami managed to do something the Steelers haven't been able to accomplish lately; they played so badly, the Steelers looked good in their win.
I was pretty happy throughout the Oakland game, but Kevin Wisenhunt managed to somehow get away from the ground attack that had earned them a 21-10 lead. Instead, he chose Maddox's inaccurate arm to square off against ex-NFL MVP Rich Gannon's.
Gannon won, obviously. But it raised an early question as to how much of last year have they truly forgotten?
Baltimore's defense is about as top-notch as it gets (even if the thought of that makes me sick), and Pittsburgh looked ill-prepared to take on such an onslaught. Maddox went down, Ben Roethlisberger comes in, and frankly, does about an average job. Pittsburgh still loses, and rightly so, with the way their offense played.
I think Miami got a break with the weather. If it wasn't coming down in the force only seen by Noah, the Dolphins wouldn't have an excuse as to why they only gained 169 yards, and prize off-season acquisition A.J. Feely would have no answer when asked how he led the team to three turnovers to start the game.
(quick tangent: Has there been a team in NFL history with a WORSE off-season than the Miami Dolphins? I mean, honestly...you lose David Boston to a torn knee, Ricky Williams to THC and your biggest free agent is Feely, a guy who wasn't even the STARTER in Week 1. The Steelers equivilent of this would be Hines Ward getting caught sticking his veins with needles, Joey Porter mysteriously falling into the ocean and Roethlisberger killing coach Cowher. That's pretty bad.)
Roethlisberger wasn't all that impressive Sunday night. Verron Haynes was the only RB that would rushed consistently (Staley's 100 yards were inflated over the last drive when the game was essentially over). The rush on the passer was adequate. The one thing that rung out is the same thing that's ringing in the Dolphins' heads right now. The Steelers were nasty physical.
The biggest knock on Chris Hope going into the season was his lack of true hitting power. Don't tell North Dakota State's own Lamar Gordon that. Hope tattooed the former Division II star after the biggest gain of the Dolphins season on the ground (seven yards), and knocked him out of the game. Deshea Townsend had a beautiful hit that forced a fumble (on the first play of the game that didn't get stopped by a false start penalty). James Farrior racked up a highlight hit as well.
This ain't a bad thing. The pads were poppin' on South Beach, and it showed a defensive fire that will carry them through to a tough AFC North matchup with Cincinnati.
How much fire will the Steelers need to defeat a highly overrated Bengals' squad? One wouldn't think much. This is a team that, despite finishing 8-8 last season and starting a redshirted rookie quarterback this season, was supposed to compete for a AFC North title.
Puh-leeze. Their biggest problem - run defense - wasn't addressed at all in the off-season, and while getting rid of the cancer that is Corey Dillon, Rudi Johnson hasn't done a thing in three games. This team is without question closer to the 2002 Bengals than the 2003 version.
Call it the Ty Willingham Theory. Willingham takes over at Notre Dame, has moderate success and primes himself for a huge second year.
And lays a big, fat, blue-and-gold egg. Replace Willingham with Marvin Lewis, replace blue-and-gold with black and orange and you have the 2004 Bengals.
No one in the league is more pathetic than the Dolphins, but the Bengals aren't far off. A 3-1 start for Pittsburgh? Didn't see that comin', to be honest...