I saw a Steelers team Sunday that seemed relieved that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was back.
So relieved, in fact, that it came into a game against the San Diego Chargers thinking it could just rely on Roethlisberger to get the job done.
The Steelers talked about being backup quarterback friendly in the games in which Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch started when Roethlisberger was out.
But they did very little to help Roethlisberger out in the first 40 minutes Sunday, dropping passes, failing to open holes in the running game, and doing little with the running lanes that were there.
The defense didn't help much either, seemingly allowing the Chargers to drive to at least midfield even when they didn't score, to pin the offense deep in their own territory.
The Steelers' starting position in the first half was their own 20, 8, 21, 9, 7, 11, 38 and 10.
Now, certainly, the Steelers could have helped themselves with a couple of first downs, but offensive coordinators tend to get a little conservative with their play calling in when starting inside their own 11 five times.
We saw why in the third quarter, when Roethlisberger threw a WR screen at his own 8 that bounced off of David Paulsen's behind and into the end zone, where it was recovered by Quinton Jammer for a touchdown.
@ Lost in the win last week at Baltimore was the fact the Steelers running game wasn't over productive.
It was even less so on Sunday, as Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman combined for 10 carries for 32 yards.
Both were stuffed on short-yardage plays from the Pittsburgh 47 when they appeared to line up somewhere between the jumbotron and bank of the Allegheny River in an attempt to pick up the yardage.
It begs the question, is Rashard Mendenhall so far in the doghouse that he can't get a shot at playing ahead of one of these two guys?
I know Mendenhall isn't the most popular guy with some Steelers fans, but he's still their most talented running back right now.
And who cares if he's not on the roster next year. This team is built to win now.
@ I'm not even going to get into playoff scenarios at this point any more. All you need to know is that the Jets at 6-7 are now back in the conversation.
@ The Chargers played with three backup linemen and the Steelers managed one sack, that being a play where Ziggy Hood ran Philip Rivers out of bounds at the line of scrimmage.
Then again, you have to credit Rivers there. He threw away more balls on Sunday than Steve Sax in his prime.