Post Steelers-Falcons Reactions
*Nearly four hours after the Steelers 15-9 OT win against the Atlanta Falcons, it’s been interesting to hear the reactions regarding Dennis Dixon’s performance at quarterback.
Dixon was 18 of 26 for 236 yards and 1 interception in the win. The Steelers started out the game with a conservative game plan relying on dinks and dunks and short precise passes.
“We kind of stayed status quo to allow him to get himself squared away, and he delivered some big-time throws in the second half and relied on veteran men like Hines Ward, ” head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Dixon appeared more comfortable later in the game and did deliver two big throws to Ward in the second half.
Dixon also dodged a couple costly mistakes with the Falcons dropping balls right in their hands as his struggles reading the defense showed at times.
The vibe after the game appeared to be in favor of Dixon with the talk shows, media giving Dixon high praise and some even giving him a “B” or an “A” as a grade…. That is being a bit nice.
To sum up Dixon’s performance, he made enough plays and avoided costly mistakes to keep the Steelers in the game due to their stifling defense but when Byron Leftwich is healthy, he should be right back in there. We shouldn’t overrate Dixon’s performance just because the Steelers won.
*Starting inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is coming into his own and continues to show that he is primed for a breakout season.
Timmons had 11 tackles in the game, including 9 solo tackles. As he showed in the preseason, Timmons is finally learning how to read the play at a star caliber level. He’s a budding star and will be a special player this season.
*The Steelers beat the Falcons in the trenches during short yardage situations. Isaac Redman is one of those running backs who just has a knack for getting a tough yard or two.
Tight end David Johnson who is the Steelers primary fullback deserves a lot of praise for his blocking ability against Atlanta. He opened up a number of running lanes including Mendenhall’s 50 yard touchdown run in overtime.
*Daniel Sepulveda’s career with Pittsburgh has been mirred by inconsistency. In a game that was built on ball possession, Sepulveda was consistent and impressive, averaging 50.8 yards on 5 punts, including a long punt of 55 yards.
*Hines Ward may finally break down at somepoint this season but he’s such a smart player that he continues to find ways to produce. Today he stepped up big in the second half and finished the game with 6 receptions for 108 yards.
*Rookie Antonio Brown was inactive on Sunday after being the Steelers primary kick and punt returner on depth chart this week. Two reasons Brown did not earn a “hat” is because Emmanuel Sanders was the Steelers No. 4 receiver today and Sanders, Arnaz Battle are better on the Steelers coverage teams.
*2010 second round pick Jason Worilds made his presence felt on special teams. Worilds had 3 special teams tackles, delivering a crushing hit in the 1st quarter. Worilds was also down the field quickly on kickoffs and is one of the reasons the Steelers feel their coverage team will be much improved this season.
*Today’s win did come with it’s consequences. Starting left tackle Max Starks left the game with what is regarded as a high ankle sprain. Starks is likely to be sidelined for at least a few weeks.
He left the stadium in a walking boot.
Jonathan Scott filled in for Starks at left tackle but look for Tony Hills to get a strong look from the coaching staff this week in practice.
*DT Casey Hampton suffered a hamstring injury early in the game. He did not return as Ziggy Hood, Nick Eason and Chris Hoke all saw significant playing time.
There is already some concern regarding Hampton’s injury as this is something that could linger.