The 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers had a slogan that was based off a quote from former head coach Chuck Noll: Whatever it takes. “We’ll do whatever it takes to win” Noll was quoted. And it basically meant that the Steelers would do whatever it took to get the win. And you can’t argue with Noll’s philosophy as that team went 12-2 (Yeah, they only played 14 games back then) and won Super Bowl 10. What I got out of Noll’s quote is that it doesn’t have to always be pretty and so what if it’s ugly, a win is a win is a win and that’s what the ’75 team did as well as the other 3 Super Bowl teams of the 1970’s.

After watching the first 2 games of the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers, I beginning to believe that they have caught onto Noll’s philosophy as well. In fact, current head coach Mike Tomlin also had a saying that defined their 2008 season: Style points don’t matter. Meaning: Who cares how you win a game, just as long as you get it done. And apparently, that philosophy worked for that Steelers team as they also became Super Bowl Champions after winning Super Bowl 43.

The 2016 defending AFC North Division Champions first 2 games may not be what you call pretty wins, but they were wins nonetheless. Last week, the Steelers held off the Cleveland Browns 21-18 and this week, the Steelers welcomed the Minnesota Vikings to Heinz Field for their home opener and won 26-9.

When you first look at the final score against the Vikings, it’s easy to think that the Steelers blew them out, which is what the score suggests, but if you realized how they got those 26 points, it will honestly make you wonder why the final score wasn’t 49-9 Steelers.

Out of those 26 points, the Steelers only scored two touchdowns which came in the first half: QB Ben Roethlisberger found WR Martavis Bryant for a 27-yard score. Then Big Ben scored again when he found rookie WR JuJu Smith-Shuster for a 4-yard shovel-pass for a TD to extend their lead to 14-0. After that hot start, it was easy to think that the Steelers were getting ready to put the Vikings the same way that Oklahoma State did to the Pitt Panthers in that very stadium 24 hours ago.

And then after that, the Steelers offense took the rest of the day off, form the end zone that is. Now granted, the Vikings defense weren’t pushovers either as they put double coverage on All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, who finished with 5 catches for 62 yards which is mortal stats for him. But that’s why Big Ben has several weapons and he turned to one of them in the person of Martavis Bryant who looked pretty good today with a 3 catch-91-yard game and the TD. In addition to his score, he also had an incredible 51-yard TD which put the Steelers into FG range. Smith-Shuster’s TD was the first in his NFL career as he finished with 16 yards on 3 catches.

RB Le’Veon Bell also showed some improvement as he rushed for 87 yards on 27 carries. He started to show the patience that he was known for last season, but you could tell that the Vikings defense centered on him. Big Ben also put up decent numbers as he passed for 243 yards and those 2 TDs. But I bet even he would tell you that he should’ve probably had 4 TDs.

In the first half, the Steelers looked like the team who beat Miami in the 2016 AFC Wild Card Game, but in the second half, they looked like the team who beat Kansas City in the AFC Divisional Game because they didn’t score a single TD. Like the KC game, the Steelers got into the Red Zone, but they were unable to score, so they turned to K Chris Boswell to help put the Vikings away and like the KC game, Boswell didn’t disappoint as he nailed 3 field goals (4 total) to get the win. To me, Boswell is starting to look like a modern-day Gary Anderson who earned the title Mr. Automatic during his Steelers days (1982-1994) He would’ve probably had 5 field goals if the Steelers didn’t get a penalty that pushed them out of field goal range.

But of course, the concern about the offense is the fact that they left points on the field because they failed to score TDs in the Red Zone, something that no team wants to experience, but it also helps if the defense shows up, which the Steelers defense did.

No, the unit weren’t as impressive as they were against the Browns when they sacked the QB 7 times, but the Steelers got to Vikings QB Case Keenum (20/37, 167 yards, 0 TDs) twice thanks to linebackers Bud Dupree (who missed last week’s game) and Vince Williams, but overall, they got the job done by only allowing one TD from the Vikings offense and 9 points. Now let’s be honest, this wasn’t the same Vikings team that beat the New Orleans Saints last week because starter Sam Bradford wasn’t on the field. After passing for over 300 yards against the Saints, Bradford was injured and missed the game against the Steelers.

The Vikings TD came on a 1-yard score by FB CJ Ham but K Kai Forbath missed the extra point, and that was all for the Vikings, who also committed a late fumble late in the 4th quarter which helped seal the Steelers victory.

I really believe the fact that NFL teams are still developing after their first 2 weeks as the season is still new, that’s why it’s so important to get as many wins as you can early. Granted, you need them later in the season, but getting those early W’s are essential. The Steelers will now prepare to hit the road next Sunday as they take on the 0-2 Chicago Bears.

“We were better this week. We did what was necessary to win.” Said Tomlin after Sunday’s game.

Now, why does that sound familiar?

Whatever it takes.

Notes: In their Home Opener vs. the Vikings, the Steelers had a special tribute to owner Dan Rooney, who passed away April 13th…Rookie LB TJ Watt missed the 2nd half with a groin injury.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

Pittsburgh 26, Minnesota 9

Sept. 17, 2017

Post-Game Notes

 

TEAM

  • Pittsburgh is now 2-0 (1-0 at home) in 2017.

 

  • The Steelers are now 8-9 in regular-season history against the Vikings, 6-4 at home and 3-0 at Heinz Field.

 

  • Pittsburgh is now 15-2 in regular-season home openers at Heinz Field since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

  • Pittsburgh has won four of the previous five regular-season matchups against Minnesota.

 

  • Pittsburgh improved to 2-3 in regular-season games against Minnesota in the month of September (2-1 at home in the month).

 

  • Pittsburgh is now 26-6-1 at Heinz Field against NFC opponents in regular-season games since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

  • The Steelers are 446-282-2 during the regular season since 1970.

 

  • Limited Minnesota to 67 total yards of offense in the first half –the ninth-fewest allowed in the opening half of a game by the Steelers at Heinz Field, since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

  • Held the Vikings to 16 total yards of offense in the first quarter – tied as the ninth-fewest allowed in the opening period of a game by the Steelers at Heinz Field, since the stadium opened in 2001.

 

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

  • Improved his regular-season record to 105-57 since becoming the Steelers’ head coach in 2007 (60-21 at home).

 

  • Improved to 10-1 in regular-season home openers in his Steelers’ tenure.

 

  • Has led the Steelers to a 2-0 start in the regular-season for the fifth time since becoming the team’s head coach in 2007, and for the second year in a row.

 

  • Improved to 2-1 as the Steelers’ head coach in regular-season games vs. Minnesota (2-0 at home).

 

  • Is now 27-14 in regular-season games vs. NFC teams (16-5 at home).

 

  • Improved to 21-15 in regular-season games during the month of September (12-3 at home).

 

  • Is now 80-14 when the Steelers hold a lead at halftime.

 

QB Ben Roethlisberger

  • Improved to 125-60 as a starter during the regular season (70-22 at home).

 

  • Became the seventh player in NFL history to record 125 wins as a starter in the regular-season, joining Tom Brady, Drew Brees, John Elway, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino.

 

  • Became the seventh player in NFL history to record 70 home wins as a starter in the regular season, joining Tom Brady, Drew Brees, John Elway, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino.

 

  • Increased his Steelers franchise record for the most wins as a starting quarterback to 125 (Terry Bradshaw, 107).

 

  • Completed 23-of-35 passing for 243 yards with two touchdowns for a passer rating of 104.8.

 

  • Has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 45 consecutive home games in which he has played – the third-longest streak in NFL history (Tom Brady: 47 and Drew Brees: 60) and the longest active.

 

  • Is now 3-1 against Minnesota in the regular-season as a starter (2-0 at home).

 

  • Has compiled a record of 33-15 as a starter against NFC opponents (19-5 at home).

 

  • Surpassed Drew Bledsoe (3,839) for the ninth-most pass completions in NFL history, now with 3,851 in his NFL career:

MOST PASS COMPLETIONS IN

                Rk.      PLAYER, YEAR                                          NFL HISTORY

  1. John Elway, 1983-98                                   4,123
  2. Eli Manning, 2004-current                           4,101 (Plays on Monday Night Football)
  3. Warren Moon, 1984-2000                            3,988
  4. Ben Roethlisberger, 2004-current           3,851
  5. Drew Bledsoe, 1993-2006                           3,839
  6. Philip Rivers, 2004-current                          3,833 (Game in Progress)

 

  • For the 76th time in his career during the regular season, he registered a passer rating over 100.0 as a starter. The Steelers are 68-8 in those games.

 

WR Antonio Brown

  • Led the Steelers and tied for the game high in receptions (five) for 62 yards with a long of 26.

 

  • Has registered at least one reception in 110 consecutive games in which he has played, including the postseason – dating back to October 3, 2010.

 

  • Has registered at least one reception in 101 consecutive regular-season games – dating back to October 3, 2010.

 

  • His 16 catches in the first two games of the 2017 season are tied as the third-most in team history :

MOST RECEPTIONS IN FIRST TWO

                Rk.      STEELER, YEAR                                        GAMES OF A SEASON: STEELERS HISTORY

                T1.       Antonio Brown, 2015                                 18

Hines Ward, 2003                                        18

                T3.       Antonio Brown, 2017                                 16

Mike Wallace, 2011                                     16

Hines Ward, 2001                                        16

  1. Hines Ward, 2002                                        15

 

  • His 244 receiving yards in the first two games of the 2017 season are the fourth-most in franchise history:

MOST RECEIVING YARDS IN FIRST TWO

                Rk.      STEELER, YEAR                                        GAMES OF A SEASON: STEELERS HISTORY

  1. Antonio Brown, 2015                                     328
  1. Louis Lipps, 1984                                        260
  1. Hines Ward, 2004                                            250
  2. Antonio Brown, 2017                                     244
  3. Hines Ward, 2003                                            237

 

  • Increased his career scrimmage yards to 8,740 – fifth-most scrimmage yards in franchise history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                               14,234
  2. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              12,511
  3. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2005                           11,377
  4. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             8,834
  5.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   8,740

 

  • Increased his career receiving total to 8,621 – third-most receiving yards in franchise history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEIVING YARDS

  1. Hines Ward, 1998-2011                              12,083
  2. John Stallworth, 1974-87                             8,723
  3.         Antonio Brown, 2010-current                   8,621

 

WR Martavis Bryant

  • Posted game-highs in receiving yards (91) and scrimmage yards (98).

 

  • Caught the 15th touchdown reception of his NFL career on a 27-yard completion from QB Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter.

 

  • Hauled in a 51-yard catch in the third quarter, the seventh reception of 50 or more yards in his NFL career.

 

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

  • Scored a touchdown on the first reception of his NFL career on a four-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter.

 

RB Le’Veon Bell

  • Led all rushers with 87 yards on 27 carries and caught four passes for four yards.

 

  • Increased his career rushing total to 4,164 – the fifth-most by a Steeler in their first five years with the team:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RUSHING YARDS

  1. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2000                               6,713
  2. Franco Harris, 1972-76                                   5,133
  3. Willie Parker, 2004-08                                     4,989
  4. John Henry Johnson, 1960-64                        4,370
  5. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           4,164

 

  • Increased his career rushing total to 4,164 – the fifth-most by a Steeler in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RUSHING YARDS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                                   11,950
  2. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2005                               10,571
  3. Willie Parker, 2004-09                                     5,378
  4. John Henry Johnson, 1960-65                        4,381
  5. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                           4,164

 

  • Increased his scrimmage yards total to 6,188 – the eighth-most in Steelers history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Heath Miller, 2005-15                                  6,577
  2. Louis Lipps, 1984-91                                   6,406
  3. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       6,188
  4. Willie Parker, 2004-09                                 6,075
  5. Lynn Swann, 1974-82                                 5,534

 

  • Increased his career scrimmage yards total to 6,188 – the second-most by a Steeler in their first five years with the team:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     SCRIMMAGE YARDS

  1. Jerome Bettis, 1996-2000                           7,242
  2. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       6,188
  1. Franco Harris, 1972-76                                   5,947
  1. Willie Parker, 2004-08                                 5,622
  2. Antonio Brown, 2010-14                              5,341

 

  • Broke a tie with Ray Mathews (230) for sole possession of the third-most receptions by a Steelers running back in team history:

                Rk.      STEELER, YEARS                                     RECEPTIONS

  1. Franco Harris, 1972-83                                   306
  2. Merril Hoge, 1987-93                                       241
  1. Le’Veon Bell, 2013-current                       234
  2. Ray Mathews, 1951-59                               230
  3. Lynn Chandnois, 1950-56                           162

 

G David DeCastro

  • Extended his consecutive regular-season games started streak to 58 – the third-longest active consecutive games started streak among NFL guards.

 

CB William Gay

  • Extended his consecutive regular-season games played streak to 162 – the longest active consecutive games played streak among NFL defensive players.

 

S Mike Mitchell

  • Extended his consecutive regular-season games started streak to 64 – the third-longest active consecutive games started streak among NFL safeties.

 

S Sean Davis

  • Tied for the team lead in tackles with 8 (7 solo).

 

DB Mike Hilton

  • Made the first start of his NFL career and tied for the team lead in tackles with 8 (5 solo) and a quarterback hit.

 

LB Ryan Shazier

  • Recorded 8 tackles (7 solo) to tie for the team lead, along with a pass defensed.

 

LB Bud Dupree

  • Made his 2017 debut and recorded a sack of Minnesota QB Case Keenum for a loss of 11 yards, increasing his career sack total to 9.5.

 

LB Vince Williams

  • Posted his first sack of the season, bringing down Minnesota QB Case Keenum for a loss of 10 yards in the third quarter, increasing his career sack total to 3.5.

 

K Chris Boswell

  • Converted each of his first four field goal attempts of the 2017 season, from 46-, 29-, 37- and 43-yards out.

 

  • Was his fourth career regular-season game with four field goals made or more.
  • www.pittsburghsteelers.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here