As Mike Tomlin declared in his Steelers State of the Union Tuesday:
We’re ten games into this thing, we’re a 6-4 football team. Definitely no where we anticipated being or want to be, but definitely where we are.Steel Curtain Rising will have more to say about “where we are” later in the week (time permitting) but on this Day of Thanks, we’d like to remember one thing that Steelers fans can be thankful for in 2009.
And that is the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall. Injured in Street Fight Number 1 against Baltimore in 2008, Mendenhall surfaced as somewhat of an enigma when he rejoined the team at St. Vincents.
Judging solely on statistics (remember, they don’t show preseason games here in Buenos Aires, so yours truly never got to see him run), he did not run strong. Steelers coaches nonetheless seemed to bend over backwards to complement him.
His benching for not “being on the details” prior to the first loss in Cincinnati and his rebound against San Diego have almost become an in-season legend.
While Mendenhall’s ability re-inject power rushing into the Steelers offense, to the extent that Arians allows, is certainly his most celebrated accomplishment, today Steel Curtain Rising commends him for something else.
When Mendenhall screwed up his very first carry of the season against Tennessee, Steel Curtain Rising observed:
For as boneheaded as collision with Roethlisberger was, he muscled through a would-be tackler and turned a certain 3 yard loss into a one yard gain.
Clearly you expect more from a number one pick, and Steelers Nation should be concerned that he is not delivering more, but Mendenhall’s reaction showed good instincts and some heart.
Mendenhall’s instincts and heart were the one thing that shown brightly in that God-awful loss to the Chiefs.
Take a look the effort and hustle he mustered to make the tackle – and save a touchdown, on Studebaker’s second interception:
There you see it. The man ran clear across the field and was gaining speed as he approached the opposite end zone – Studebaker probably did not even know he was gaining on him.
That was pure want to, and that is something Steelers fans can be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.