Congratulations, Pittsburgh Steelers. No matter what happens in the playoffs, a 12-win season is an impressive accomplishment, especially sans your starting quarterback for the first month of the season. Of course, after resting up during their first-round bye, the Steelers will be eager to make a deep playoff run...and hopefully avoid the New England Patriots. Here are my observations from the second half of their 41-9 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Be sure to check out my first and second quarter notes, too.
- I'm really not sure what the Steelers are doing calling quarterback sneaks in the third quarter, leading 31-3. You could even make the argument that Ben Roethlisberger shouldn't be on the field in that situation. Okay, maybe you want to get one more score (and that's exactly what they did, as Antwaan Randle El connected with Hines Ward for a short touchdown) - but I know I wouldn't be calling Roethlisberger's number in short-yardage situations, not in a game that's all wrapped up.
- For his career, Randle El is 22-for-27 for 323 yards and 6 TDs - not bad passing numbers for a wide receiver!
- During CBS's halftime show, I'm pretty sure that former Steelers coach Bill Cowher said "Poloomooloo" when referring to that safety he drafted in 2003. Curious.
- Play-by-play guy Ian Eagle (whose name is infuriatingly pronounced "eye-in") described two Pittsburgh defenders as having "collaborated" on a crushing blow to Browns wideout Mohamed Massaquoi. I dig that word choice. Said collaboration probably played out a little something like this:
"Pardon me. How would you like to go about tackling this fellow?"
"Well, I was thinking I would hit him, and you could also hit him. Would you find such an arrangement agreeable?"
"I would indeed. Shall we hit him now?"
- I feel completely spoiled being bored during an essentially meaningless fourth quarter - after all, it's wonderful to see your team perform so well - but it was cool to see rookie tailback Jonathan Dwyer get some reps for the first time since the preseason. (Other notable players coming off the bench: Larry Foote, Ryan Mundy, Byron Leftwich, Keenan Lewis, Stevenson Sylvester, Will Allen.) Dwyer didn't set the world on fire or anything (3.1 ypc), but he was on the field in an obvious clock-killing scenario - and it was still nice to see him get some playing time. One of the stories for Pittsburgh this offseason will be who they keep at halfback, Dwyer or veteran Mewelde Moore.
- Be sure to check back with us throughout the week as we break down the Steelers' likely playoff matchups. Enjoy your week off, Steeler Nation.