1. RB Rashad Jennings 34 carries for 176 yards, TD vs. HOU
2. WR Julio Jones 9 receptions for 161 yards, 2 TDs vs. TB
3. QB Matt Ryan 21/24 for 286 yards, 3 TDs, 155.9 QBR vs. TB
4. WR Jeremy Maclin 8 receptions for 154 yards, TD vs. WAS
5. WR Pierre Garcon 11 receptions for 138 yards, TD vs. PHI
Worst of the Worst
1. The TB/ATL game in general. Nine turnovers between the two teams. Tampa Bay gave up two defensive/special teams touchdowns, committed 11 penalties for 110 yards, went 3/13 on 3rd down and were outgained 488-217 in total yards.
2. The Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden scored the game-tying touchdown against the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter only to have it called back by a holding call. The next play, the Patriots intercepted the ball to secure the victory. It was the Raiders 15th-straight loss in the Eastern time zone.
3. QB Matt Stafford 22/34 for 246 yards, 2 INTs, Fmb, 61.6 QBR vs. GB
4. QB Chad Henne 4/7 for 33 yards in first half vs. IND
5. QB Jake Locker 17/34 for 185 yards, 2 INTs, 41.9 QBR vs. CIN
On ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’em, the Panthers were an 83% favorite against the Steelers Sunday night. The Steelers must not have read reports as they did not beat one of the best defenses in the NFL, but dominated them for a full sixty minutes. The Steelers had 264 rushing yards, the most under Tomlin at the helm. RBs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both eclipsed 100 yards, the first time two Steelers running backs accomplished the feat since October 26, 1986. The Steelers also had more rushing yards than passing, 264 vs. 190. The last time the Steelers had more rushing yards than passing was in a game against the Buccaneers on September 26, 2010 (201 to 186). The Steelers currently lead the league in rushing (163.3 per game) after landing in the bottom five just one year ago.
The bad news is the injuries the Steelers suffered during their throttling of the Panthers. First round pick Ryan Shazier suffered a knee sprain and is set to miss a few weeks. 2013 first round pick Jarvis Jones has been placed on the injured reserve list after dislocating his wrist, meaning Jones will not be available to play for at least eight weeks. To round up an already painful injury list, starting cornerback Ike Taylor broke his right forearm, meaning the 13-year veteran is most likely done for the season. Sean Spence is set to fill in for Shazier and Arthur Moats will slide into Jones’ spot. The Steelers coaxed James Harrison out of retirement and Harrison is expected to fill in as a backup. If there are any positives to take out of the situation, it’s that the Steelers looked superb against a stacked defense last week and that if there was a time for the Steelers to suffer injuries, it would be now. The Steelers’ next four games are their easiest workload of the year, facing Tampa Bay at home and then traveling on the road to Jacksonville and Cleveland before returning to Heinz Field to face the Texans. With all that said, the Buccaneers looked egregious on Thursday night against the Falcons and while the extra few days to get the team back on track should help, I’m confident the Steelers will keep pace in the division and go to 3-1.
Game of the Week: NO @ DAL
Philadelphia @ San Francisco is a close second, but I got to give the edge to this Sunday night match-up because these two teams have been so underachieving so far this year. The Saints have maintained a sixth-place rushing attack, which is impressive considering their backs and while the Saints have a top-five aerial attack, Brees has not been the dynamic player we are used to seeing. Rob Ryan’s defense has also flip-flopped performance-wise (29th against the pass in a pass-heavy division). The Saints lost to Cleveland. That sums up their season so far. On the other side, Dallas is just as bad if not worse. The defense is set to make another record for most yards allowed and Romo is lucky to have the league’s leading rusher right now in DeMarco Murray because he’s looked like an amateur. I’ll take the Saints even though they’re on the road.