Yesterday, I wrote a list of things I was watching for in last night's Dolphin-Steeler game. So here are my thoughts (the photo is of me thinking about the game).
I charted Polamalu's plays. He had 9 tackles (which matches NBC's report of 3 solo and 6 assists), 1 missed tackle, 4 plays where he was involved in the tackle (he doesn't get an assist, but he was around the ball impacting the tackle), a pass defensed, a forced fumble, an interception, and an "assisted breakup" (another player got the pass defense, but Polamalu was around, possibly making an impact).
That's not 45 tackles and 15 passes defensed, but it's an impactful game. Polamalu is one of the most versatile players in the league: a free safety/outside linebacker combo. He plays near the line of scrimmage most of the time, but is fully capable of dropping back and making an impact in coverage.
He showed the ability to move around--but didn't it seem to lack zip?
I was almost wrong about the interceptions, but Daunte always comes through with some completely incomprehensible INTs when his team needs him to play well the most. Fandom is a funny world: for the past six seasons, Daunte's crazy 4th quarter INTs would leave me inconsolable; now I'm indifferent.
Not a great impact on the game. He ends with 5 catches for 59 yards, but was a nonfactor for much of the game. Pittsburgh's defense is good.
Willie Parker’s carries
It looks like he was out on goal line situations, so unless Cowher blames the RB on the goal line fumble last night, it looks like Parker will again score 1 TD for every 300 or so yards he rushes for.
WRs other than Hines Ward had 3 catches for 38 yards and a TD. Will that be enough?
Ronnie Brown’s carries
Brown was an effective receiver last night, but Pittsburgh clearly shut him down on the ground.