New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
For a team that looked so bad, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked pretty good.
First, those uniforms.
Who knew Lady Gaga was the team’s equipment designer? Hideous. They would have fit right in with Gaga’s “Telephone” prison video (during which she wore a sleek black-and-gold outfit, if you can classify crime scene tape and nothing else an “outfit”).
Surprised there weren’t hundreds of bubbles or Kermit the Frog muppets hanging off the Steelers as accessories.
And it wasn’t the jerseys as much as it was those stockings. Didn’t Knox wear those things in “Fox in Socks?”
Indeed, whoever actually came up with that filleted bumblebee ensemble would have made Dr. Seuss proud.
On with the good.
All things considered, the Steelers’ 27-12 victory over the Washington Redskins at Heinz Field yesterday was their best game of the year.
Having already blown fourth-quarter leads of five points in Denver, 10 in Oakland and seven in Tennessee, there was no ability for Pittsburgh to relax until Robert Griffin III’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete deep in Steelers territory with 4:11 left in the game. (Yes, the Steelers are 2008’s shutdown defense away from being 7-0.)
Now 15-1 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004, they weren’t about to let Griffin perform the kind of magic that has made him the talk of the league so far this season.
Griffin completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes (16 of 34) for the first time. He threw for his second-fewest yards (177). He had the lowest quarterback rating (72.8) of his young career. And the elusive freshman managed to gain just 8 yards on six rushes, the first time he didn’t average at least 4.5 yards per carry.
As Theodor Geisel would say, “Oh the Places RG3 Will Go!” ... but not on this afternoon.
While the tightening up of the defense was a welcome sight for Dick LeBeau, Todd Haley must have loved watching Ben Roethlisberger run his offense as a fine-tuned machine.
All the no-huddling and quick-hitting worked perfectly, as Roethlisberger produced an elite QB rating of 121.0 by completing 73 percent of his attempts for three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Roethlisberger is now on pace for 32 TDs and seven picks on the season. Haley’s “dinking and dunking” vision has kept his star upright, as he has only been sacked 14 times through seven games — also on pace for 32.
How many times in his career has Big Ben thrown as many touchdown passes as he has been sacked?
Finally, does anyone need to see more of Jonathan Dwyer to declare him the starter at running back? No need to rush Rashard Mendenhall back, perhaps ever. Dwyer now has consecutive 100-yard performances, something Mendenhall has never done in his 53-game career.
Dwyer continues to imitate Jerome Bettis from his glory days, big and nimble. Mendenhall seems to be heading the way of the Once-ler from “The Lorax,” at first a big success but then fading fast (as well as a lot of silly talk along the way).
Surprisingly, if these trends persist, the Steelers will begin to resemble a playoff team ... when they once appeared to be doomed for a season of gluppity glup and shloppity shlop.
(Steve Treu covers The Steelers for The News.)