— It’s pretty difficult for anyone to keep saying that Mike Tomlin is winning with Bill Cowher’s players. Becoming the youngest coach to reach the Super Bowl two times, Tomlin has done a phenomenal job at getting his players to deal with adversity and rise to the moment.
He’s evolved into a coach who has a great balance when it comes to dealing with his players. His message to his players is that the “standard” always remains to the same and the players bought into that this season.
— Ben Roethlisberger threw for only 133 yards in the Steelers 24-19 win and posted a 35.3 quarterback rating but there’s not a quarterback in the game who comes up with more clutch plays than Roethlisberger.
As the Steelers head into Super Bowl XLV for a match up with the Green Bay Packers, all of the buzz is going to be about Aaron Rodgers but Roethlisberger is the quarterback you want when the games on the line and a clutch play is needed.
— The Steelers opening drive that took up over 9 minutes off the clock set the tone for the game and Rashard Mendenhall (121 yards rushing, 1 TD, 4.5 AVG, 32 Rec Yards) showed the kind of dynamic back he’s going to become. People seem to forget he’s only in his third season (2nd full season) and is only 23 years old.
The Steelers believed they would be able to run the ball successfully and attacked the Jets early and often. We even saw the wishbone formation a few times with David Johnson as the lead blocking back.
— The coaching staff did an excellent job of using Bryant McFadden whose battling an abdominal strain and hip injury. William Gay started at left cornerback and the Steelers then used McFadden in the sub packages but instead of playing McFadden in the slot, they put him on the outside in his normal spot, moving Gay inside.
— Casey Hampton dominated all pro center Nick Mangold. For a player who over the past couple seasons had shown signs of slowing down, Hampton has been pivotal to the Steelers success on defense and played a big factor in making the Jets one dimensional.
— The big blow for the Steelers was the loss of Maurkice Pouncey who suffered a high ankle sprain. Anyone saying that there “hearing from sources” that Pouncey should be alright for the Super Bowl is just guessing and speculating off of Pouncey’s comments that he will play. As a competitor, that’s what he’s expected to say but at this point not even the Steelers have a real idea.
Pouncey is expected to be fully evaluated by team doctors today. All eyes will be on his injury, leading up to the game.
Pouncey left last night’s game on crutches. A normal timetable for a high ankle sprain is 3-to-6 weeks. However, Pouncey said at Florida, he was able to return from a high ankle sprain after just one week.
— From a personnel standpoint, it’s amazing at the type of job the Steelers offensive line has done in the second half of the season and into the playoffs. They beat New York in the trenches and this is a confident group no matter who steps in.
NFL analysts I’ve spoken with today had pretty high praise for Doug Legursky on how he played last night in place of Pouncey despite the botch snaps.
— There seems to be a sense that Lawrence Timmons has taken a step back in the second half of the season. When it comes to the flashy plays, yes, but he again led the Steelers in tackles, collecting 10 tackles (9 solo).
— What a season Brett Keisel has put together. His speed as a defensive end to even drop back into coverage and make plays is very unique. He had 7 tackles in the game, including 3 solo tackles.
— Jets QB Mark Sanchez won a lot of people over for his ability to battle back in the second half.
— Word out of New York is that WR Santonio Holmes wasn’t the great locker room guy that the Jets have tried to make him out to be from a public perception.
There’s no denying Holmes is a great wide receiver but he’s a knuckle head and has trouble getting along with coaches and even teammates which was the case in Pittsburgh…. Even the Jets are said to be very leery of giving him a long-term deal.
— The Steelers have opened up as 2.5 point underdogs in Super Bowl XLV. These lines really mean nothing but I’m not surprised by it just because of the fact of how much buzz there is surrounding the Packers, despite being a No. 6 seed.
We have 13 days to breakdown Steelers-Packers and the fear at least from the fan base appears to be Aaron Rodgers against the Steelers pass defense.
However, I’ve had a few different people who study a lot of film that like the Steelers matchup against Rodgers because of how long he hangs onto the ball and the belief is the Steelers will have opportunties to make some big plays on D.