Thank God for Seattle: A Week 2 Analysis

Now that’s more like it.

The Steelers’ 24-0 win over the Seattle Seahawks was exactly what the team needed after the disastrous results of last week.

It was the quintessential Pittsburgh blowout- no points allowed, great pressure on the opposing QB, and even equal moments of brilliance and frustration for the offense.

It’s hard to find many negatives in a shutout, and this is definitely an improvement over last week, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things I want to address.

  • Marcus Gilbert: With Willie Colon out for the year once more (seriously, how does that keep happening?!?!?!) Gilbert was tabbed as the starter at right tackle, with some mixed results. He often looked uncomfortable and unsure of himself, and his miscues played a large part in the team’s early struggles in the red zone. However, I’m willing to give him a pass considering it was his first start ever, and he certainly played better than his back up, Chris Scott, would have. Chris Clemons and Raheem Brock definitely presented a challenge for him athletically, so I won’t press the panic button yet, but it does definitely make me miss Colon.

  • The linebackers: The unit looked back to their old selves, as they recorded three and a half of the team’s five sacks. While the whole Farrior-Foote situation still doesn’t seem particularly clear, each one played well, as each recorded a sack, and they played significantly better in coverage as well. James Harrison looked like more of his old self, as he got a sack on Tarvaris Jackson as well, but he’s definitely still not moving the way he used to. Seattle’s offensive was starting two rookies, so they certainly helped the defense as a whole look better than it probably is. What’s mildly concerning is that the team has yet to force a turnover, and when matched up against Jackson (he of the 12 career fumbles and three turnovers just last week) you would think the linebackers in particular would eat him for lunch. Regardless, it’s still something to keep an eye on.

  • Isaac Redman: It’s hard to believe, but Redman might have looked like the best player on offense besides Mike Wallace yesterday. His 10 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown are surprisingly impressive, and he was showing a good burst to go with his normal power, as well as a nifty spin move that’s perfect for converting in short yardage situations. His 20-yard touchdown run was particularly impressive, and really helped Pittsburgh take control of the game. The team would undoubtedly still be in trouble if Mendenhall were to go down, but Redman has developed far more than I ever thought he would.

  • Mike Wallace: That brings us to Wallace himself. After having a breakout season last year, it looks as if Wallace has taken the leap to a truly elite receiver. While he remains exceptionally hard to cover on deep patterns (it was his streak towards the end zone that forced the pass interference penalty that put the team on the 1 in the first quarter) he seems to have mastered the short to intermediate route this year. He has a knack for finding the first down marker, and he Ben’s connection seems stronger than ever. He’s fourth in the league with 233 yards so far, and that should only continue to go up. It’s truly a joy to have him on the team, and I can’t wait to see how much better he gets.

  • Daniel Sepulveda: It may seem boring to talk about a punter, but for once it’s positive news about a Pittsburgh punter rather than negative. Sepulveda has averaged 43.8 yards per kick for his career, but after two games this year, his average stands at 55.1 yards, which is the third highest in the NFL. He seems to be rewarding the team’s early faith in him, and as long as he can stay healthy, he should greatly improve the Steelers’ special teams.

Despite the negative aspects, that win sure felt good. Up next are the Peyton-less Colts on Sunday night, so I’m expecting a lot more of the same.

I’ll leave with just one fun fact: for all of the doom and gloom after last week’s loss, every team in the AFC North is even at 1-1.

It’s great proof that we’ve got a lot of football left to play, and we can’t throw in the towel yet.

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