It’s great that football is back, but that game was a treat to watch. Defenses stepped up, it was back and forth, it was close the whole time. One big play could’ve meant the difference—and it eventually did.
Jeff Reed will likely get much blame in the upcoming week, though a significant less amount than he would have had the Steelers lost. He missed two field goals, yes, but he doesn’t deserve what he’ll get. The number of people who repeatedly claim that kickers are a dime-a-dozen and Reed wouldn’t be a big loss amazes me.
Earlier in the game Reed kicked a 52-yard field goal—a Heinz Field record—and to the open end nonetheless. That end has proven difficult over the years (especially to people not named Jeff Reed). A fifty-two yarder is a good kick anywhere, let alone at the most difficult end in the league.
All of that is forgotten though when he narrowly misses one a few hours later. They wouldn’t have even been a game-winning situation had it not been for the first kick. Not to mention the kick would’ve been a lot closer if the offense had been able to pick up a single yard on the previous play for the first down.
The most important part of the game: Dennis Dixon deserves a pat on the back. He wasn’t perfect; he threw one interception and three more passes that could’ve easily been picked off as well. His passing need to be worked on, but he didn’t panic, he didn’t fumble, he didn’t try to do more than he needed to.
Overall, the offense obviously needs to score more. One touchdown isn’t going to do it every week. They were able to put together a few quality drives though, which is encouraging. Mendenhall and Redman performed well. Take away the game-winning TD run and both backs were around 3.3 yards per carry. Receiving, Ward and Miller stepped up. They need to get a few more wide receivers involved though.
Defensively the team was solid. Run stopping was stellar as usual. Without really jumping out at you Bryant McFadden finished the game with 12 tackles. Even with only three tackles, it’s Polamalu brings a whole new dimension to the field.
Player of the Game: Dennis Dixon