A win is a win is a win, especially against your big rival.
But the Steelers' 19-16 victory over Baltimore was a strange one:
*Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh's ill-advised on-side kick decision gifted the Steelers a fourth-quarter field goal. The Steelers once again waged a war of field goals, kicking four and winning on a last-play 42-yarder by Shaun Suisham. It's tough to win games three points at a time in the NFL, but the Ravens played the Steelers' way.
*The Steelers' defense allowed just 287 yards. But it got zero takeaways, just one sack, and allowed a game-tying fourth-quarter drive.
*Troy Polamalu's offside dive to try and stop Baltimore's game-tying extra point seemed ill-advised. But most kickoffs result in touchbacks and, even with the Ravens kicking five yards closer, Emmanuel Sanders was a shoe size away from a game-deciding kick-return TD. Who else was hoping he'd flip into the end zone?
*The Steelers are 2-0 since ping-pong, pool and shuffleboard were banned across the board. The veterans really do seem more focused.
*The Steelers' running game was solid: Le'Veon Bell, with 93 yards, more than doubled the output of his opposite number, Ray Rice. Ben Roethlisberger didn't have a ton to do on the game-winning drive – three-for-four, 31 yards – but he did it. But the Steelers' red-zone offense was unproductive and timid. Antonio Brown dropped a touchdown last week; Derek Moye dropped one this week.
*With Marcus Gilbert out, Guy Whimper did a good job at RT. Perhaps Whimper is better than Gilbert. Most tackles are. Whimper just needs a different last name. Football is a tough game. You can't be named "Whimper." But Whimper did fine against Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, holding the pass-rush whiz to a half-sack.
*Antonio Brown made just six catches for 50 yards. But he made two catches for 24 yards on the final drive. That's worth celebrating.
*Roethlisberger was "only" sacked three times. By this season's standard, that seems like an easy day.
*Heath Miller fumbled. On bad teams, the reliable often mimic the unreliable.
*The Steelers must still be classified a bad team. At 2-4, they are not back in the AFC North race. Not with the Bengals at 5-2 and the Steelers having lost at Cincinnati. If they win at Oakland (possible), then at New England (unlikely), the Steelers are 4-4 AND THEY STILL HAVE TO KEEP WINNING. They don't score enough points, too readily settle for field goals and rarely make splash plays. But the Steelers are improving. So are certain individuals.
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