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Landry Jones, Heyward/Tuitt have transform D, Antonio Brown showing up his QB

What’s going on with the Steelers is fascinating stuff.

Landry Jones leading the Steelers to a win, Mike Mitchell actually making a play, Dri Archer returning a ball more than 25 yards……

Stuff that happened Sunday for Steelers vs the Cardinals isn’t supposed to happen. That’s what made Sunday’s win such a fascinating one.

For the Cardinals it has to be a game where they’re sick to their stomachs.

Arizona easily should have been up 21-3 at the half, if not for a number of missed Carson Palmer throws. Cardinal receivers were open all day in the first half and Palmer just couldn’t hit them.

This is where the Steelers are quite different compared to the past.

If you fail to put them away, you’re leaving the door open for a great player, Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, Antonio Brown among them, to make a special play and beat you.

That happened to the Chargers last week and Arizona on Sunday with Martavis Bryant delivering the knockout punch.

The Landry Jones Phenomenon.

“I still can’t believe I got in the game,” Jones said after the game.

“Landry probably played more preseason snaps than anybody in the history of the National Football League this year,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We played in five preseason games. We had injuries at the position and Landry took advantage of it. He got better and it was displayed (against the Cardinals). “We’re thankful for that because it helped us secure the victory and we’re happy for him. He had the opportunity to contribute in a big way. I know that’s something he’s been working tirelessly for. You don’t always have control over the opportunity but when you get the opportunity you need to be prepared. I give him credit for that, he was prepared.”

The Steelers having the guts to come out throwing the ball with Jones under center might have been just as shocking as Jones’ performance and it certainly caught the Cardinals off-guard.

It was telling how much the offense suddenly opened up with Jones and continued to show Mike Vick has no grasp of the offense.

“We kind of went of back to our old offense, our regular offense,” Le’Veon Bell said.

Yet if Mike Vick is healthy, unlikely, you know Mike Tomlin is going back to him.

2. The Steelers defense is 26th against the pass, 23rd against the run, but this is a points business and they are 5th in points allowed, giving up 18 points per game. If you’re going to be tough on third down and in the red zone as the Steelers are right now, the yards against mean nothing. Winning in those key areas starts with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt at the line of scrimmage. Those two have transformed the defense this season. The way receivers can get open against this secondary is a problem but using athletic disruptive defensive ends the right way has covered up those issues so far.

Do teams finally crack this defense as the season progresses? Probably, especially if Tuitt is down for a couple games with a knee sprain, but how the Steelers ‘D’ is performing right now has also been stunning and why it’s been such a fascinating season so far.

3. Antonio Brown’s reputation has taken a hit as it should. He had a right to be frustrated that Mike Vick couldn’t throw a five yard out to him but to show up Landry Jones on the sidelines when you’re trying to win a game, a quarterback who had to have been nervous as hell, Brown was in the wrong big time and Mike Tomlin was spot on after the game saying you got to get a ring first.

Brown is no different than many other receivers who want their stats, but how does he handle the possibility that Martavis Bryant who Lawrence Timmons called ‘Megatron’, passes him this season as the Steelers best receiver?

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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