Thoughts on Win Four
There's not much to analyze in terms of overall the effort today. Cleveland, without starting QB Tim Couch, could not find any offensive rhythm with Doug Pederson at the helm. In fact, the Brownies didn't even cross mid-field until 11:42 remained in the 4th quarter (and that was achieved by a short kickoff by Brown and a missed tackle by Hines Ward -- for those of you that watched, rewatching the play showed that Edwards' late hit on the play was a blown call...fortunately that was not a factor since their FG attempt, in the ensuing series, was hooked left).
After five series and a horrible effort, Kent Graham was benched by Cowher. Kordell took the field on the sixth offensive series and proved to be fairly effective. Once again, he was not spectacular, but he got the job done and looked confident in the process. I guess I should humbly hang my hat to those of you that have been swearing by Kordell the past couple weeks. We'll see whether or not he is the long term solution, but so far he is three for three and that's all that counts. Overall, the offense was so-so. Given the opponent, I had higher expectations coming into the game, but I'll take the win.
Defensively, Pittsburgh again played solidly. Cleveland accumulated little yardage via ground or air and forced Doug Pederson into three interceptions (Kirkland, Scott then Alexander). The back-breaker for Cleveland, in my opinion, was that Pittsburgh was again outstanding in tackling and swarming the ball carrier. Every Brownie that touched the ball he was smothered like a a camp fire in a down pour. Holmes, Scott, Kirkland, Gildon, Flowers, and Alexander all had nice plays today. The Steel Curtain definitely showed up to play against an under matched opponent.
On special teams, I have to again mention Hank Poteat. First, he muffed a punt that was luckily pounced on by Chad Scott, but hey...no harm, no foul, right? This guy can return punts unlike any recent Stiller except Woodson in his prime. On his fourth punt return of the day, he caught the ball on his 33 yard line, started left upfield, then broke back right near mid-field. He eluded an attempt at an ankle tackle and charged all the way down to the 12 yard line. This setup the lone Stillers touchdown - a one yard plunge by Bettis.
All in all, I have to say I'm not enamoured with, but somewhat impressed with Kordell's composure and efficiency. The team now has a winning record at 4-3 which is in stark contrast to what I predicted prior to the start of the season. And, the team is on a four game winning streak which seems to have pumped the team with confidence and hunger to win more games. The going will be rough in the last half of the season, so for now, I'll enjoy the moment...
The Bus rushed for 100 yards for the third straight game - the fourth game was 97 against the Jags - proving he is definitely not running on flat tires. Also, in the process of rushing for over 100 yards, he passed Louis Lipps for third on the all-time Stiller scoring list...Kicker Kris Brown was five for five today...Pittsburgh's defense recorded its second straight shutout - this is the first time that's happened since 1976...In the next eight games, Pittsburgh faces five opponents with no more than two losses.