Few NFL offenses entered the regular season with more unsolved mysteries than Miami and Pittsburgh, so when the teams kicked things off Thursday at Heinz Field I half expected spooky theme music to be piped over the loudspeakers as the ghost of Robert Stack trolled the sidelines. Instead, we get Diddy and Rascal Flatts. Anticlimactic, methinks.
The game, blessedly, was anything but: lots of back-and-forth drama, surprising performances and crisp (mostly flag-free) action. Credit the coaching staffs -- especially the Steelers', who obviously had QB Charlie Batch ready -- and both squads' offensive lines.
The most difficult task for any Steelers opponent is finding the source of their pass-rush pressure in the 3-4. The Dolphins fared well in this area, routinely getting everyone blocked during the span between Joey Porter sacks early in the first quarter and on Miami's final series. A quick-hitting approach helped the line, but the end results still were pretty striking given the volume of pass plays.