Offense Grade A
Ben Roethlisberger was poised and efficient going 13/14 ‚Äì 137yds ‚Äì 2TD‚Äôs. The difference between Roethlisberger and other elite quarterbacks like Manning and Brady is Ben‚Äôs ability to make plays out of the pocket. On the Steelers first offensive series the Steelers were dealt with a 3rd and four. The Texans had great coverage, the play broke down and Ben was off and running gaining 17 yards. Roethlisberger is on his way to joining the conversation with Manning and Brady.
The offensive line was strong. They were mean and nasty and gave Willie Parker the opportunity to have a huge day. Marvel Smith and Chris Kemoeatu deserved game balls. Both players were able to neutralize Mario Williams and Kemoeatu looked like Alan Faneca pulling to the right side. The right side of the offensive line was also superb. Carey Davis also performed very well on running plays. He created a lot of open lanes for Willie Parker.
Willie Parker led the ground attack gaining 138 yards on 25 carries ‚Äì 3 touchdowns. Parker only had two touchdowns last season and has already topped that mark. The Steelers were making a statement when they were in the red zone. Last season they were a pass happy team in the red zone but for one game the Steelers showed they can also pound the ball in the end zone
The presence of Santonio Holmes created a lot of situations where Hines Ward had one-on-one coverage. One instance was on Roethlisberger‚Äôs second TD throw to Ward. It was a play-action pass in the red zone and Ben had two options Holmes and Ward. Two Texans defenders leaned towards Holmes side which led Hines Ward to have one-on-one coverage in the end zone. Roethlisberger hit Ward in stride. It‚Äôs a play the Steelers love to run in the red zone.
Defense Grade A
The Steelers defense was absolutely dominant. The front seven pressured Texans quarterback Matt Schaub all game. The Steelers had 5 sacks on the day led James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. The difference between the Steelers 07 defense and this year is the Steelers are younger and more athletic at key positions. LaMarr Woodley is a major upgrade over Clark Haggans and Lawrence Timmmons is another playmaker the Steelers didn‚Äôt have last season.
The defensive line played well. Nick Eason had a great game. He was explosive coming off the left side and was making plays. The coaching staff has to be very impressed with his development compared to last season.
The presence of Troy Polamalu changes the whole complexion of the Steelers defense.
Special Teams Coverage A
Game Ball – Offensive Line
Ben Roethlisberger ( 13/14 – 137yds – 2TD)
Willie Parker (25 ATT – 138 yds – 3 TD)
Hines Warrd ( 6 rec – 76 – 2TD)
James Harrison (8 Tackles – 3 sacks)