NFL from the Sidelines

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O-R Sports reporter Dale Lolley gets you the insider scoop on the NFL.

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on the Steelers radio network pre-game show prior to every game. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.

Post-San Diego Steelers thoughts

October 13, 2015

For about 3 ½ quarters Monday night, social media was not being kind to Mike Vick.

There were calls for Landry Jones to be put into the game. People wondered why Vick had even been signed in the first place.

And then something happened. Vick starting throwing the ball down the field.

A 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton seemed to wake him from a slumber and then he went 4 for 7 on the final drive – not including a spike – and had a key 24-yard scramble on third-and-6 to set up Le’Veon Bell’s game-winning score in the 24-20 victory.

“In the fourth quarter, I just played within the system and I knew the bases of everything and what Todd (Haley) wanted, so I just tried to deliver,” said Vick, who added that he was second-guessing himself at times before that.

His teammates said Vick was in total control on the final drive, never wavering.

“The only guy who could have done that better was Ben,” said wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

“He was the leader of our team, was in total control and got us the win,” said tight end Heath Miller.

That will be the case for at least a couple of more weeks.

Ben Roethlisberger is getting closer to returning but is still likely at least two weeks away from returning from his sprained MCL. He is moving around a lot better now than he was last week and seems to be getting better by the day.

The Steelers bought him another week Monday night.

@ That was a big win for the Steelers on so many levels.

They had been winless against AFC opponents before Monday night. Falling to 0-3 against the conference would have been tough.

They would also have lost a tiebreaker to a team that figures to be in the Wildcard mix when it’s all said and done, too.

But more importantly, it keeps them within shouting distance of the Bengals – at least for another week. And they still have both meetings with the Bengals coming up this season.

@ Did you see the look on Mike Tomlin’s face after new placekicker Chris Boswell banged home a 47-yard field goal in the first half with about 10 yards to spare?

Relief.

Boswell also got touchbacks on three of his four kickoffs.

@ Punter Jordan Berry also bounced back nicely in this one. He punted eight times. Six were placed inside the San Diego 20 with no touchbacks. That was huge.

@ That was a nice interception and return for a score by Antwon Blake. But I expect him to be taken to task a little bit for the way he carried the ball as he got close to the end zone.

@ Dri Archer showed a little something in the kick return game in this one, returning a pair of kicks for a healthy 31.0 average.

The Steelers have to make a roster move to activate Martavis Bryant by 4 p.m. today.

It won’t be an easy decision. Perhaps the move to make will be to place Ross Ventrone on IR with a hamstring injury.

@ I think Mike Tomlin going for the win in this game was the right call to make. But if the Steelers had been stopped and time ran out, he would have gotten a lot of heat.

The Steelers had two running plays ready to go with five seconds remaining and one timeout in their back pocket. But Bell took so long to score the game-winner that there was no time remaining.

For some reason, too, the Steelers lost 18 seconds because the clock continued to run after a touchback following Josh Lambo’s 54-yard field goal gave San Diego a 20-17 lead.

It didn’t end up mattering. But it could have. And not one game official noticed it.

@ Jarvis Jones had a sack and a forced fumble and was otherwise disruptive in this game. That won’t stop some people from continuing to call him a bust.

Whatever. But he’s been pretty good throughout this season.

The Steelers’ linebackers as a whole played well in this game. San Diego managed a paltry 2.7 yards per carry with a long run of nine yards.

@ Vick and Antonio Brown still aren’t clicking and that’s a problem. Roethlisberger trusts Brown enough to throw the ball to him even when he is covered.

He knows that Brown’s strength is his ability to accelerate out of breaks like no other player in the league.

But Vick and Brown haven’t developed that chemistry just yet.

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