You can never judge how a team's season is going to go on the basis of one NFL preseason game. But now that the Steelers, Bengals and Browns have faced their first tests, you can see a continuation of trends from last year.
The Steelers scored a typical blue collar victory over Arizona. Ben Roethlisberger has the moves of a matador, and the arm of a javelin thrower. In the short time Big Ben was in there, he showed his elusiveness in the pocket and threw pinpoint passes to receivers who always gave up their bodies to make the catch.
The Steelers showed their running game was good enough to punch in a pair of touchdowns. And you can't mention the Steelers without talking about the defense. It came up with a big interception and return to setup a touchdown.
A day after the game Steelers coach Mike Tomlin cautioned his players not to be too pleased about themselves. But inside, you know Tomlin had to be happy with what he saw.
The Bengals lost a low scoring game in New Orleans. One player doesn't make a team, but the Bengals hopes for success begin and end with Carson Palmer. The one time All Pro quarterback missed most of last season with a bad elbow. Friday night he showed that his elbow is fine, but he would later leave the game with an ankle injury. The Bengals have to keep him healthy for any chance to contend this year for the playoffs.
The Browns were shutout by Green Bay on Saturday. Eric Mangini is their new head coach, but the Browns have their same old problems.
The quarterback controversy wasn't resolved. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn both had their moments, but they both threw key interceptions. Neither player elevated himself above the other.
The Browns Red Zone woes continued, and they weren't helped by the fact their their number 1 receiver Braylon Edwards dropped (yet another) pass in the end zone.
The Browns defense was torched all last season by the "big play". It happened again when Aaron Rodgers stepped up in the pocket and hit a wide open Donald Driver for a 53 yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game.
So with 1 preseason game under their belts, fans of the Steelers, Bengals, and Browns can all say "We've seen this before!" But only Steeler fans are happy about it..
The new NFL season marks the return of Fantasy Football leagues around the country. For those of you who are FF junkies, or are interested in trying it, lets revisit (rerun) my blog "Fantasy or Nightmare?" at this link http://www.wtap.com/blogs/jimwharton/26341339.html