The Pittsburgh Steelers were not happy with the way their punt and kickoff return games looked as they headed into the 2007 season. That is why as the final cuts were made they made what mostly seemed to be a meaningless trade with the Falcons for former kickoff Pro Bowl return man Allen Rossum. On Sunday, the trade paid off in a big way. Rossum’s 98-yard kickoff return for a score started the Steelers rolling, and by the time it was all over they moved to an impressive 3-0, beating the formerly undefeated San Francisco 49’ers 37-16 at Hinez Field.
The Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 1992, and appear to be back to the form they showed when winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Willie Parker again sparked the offense, as he ran for 133 yards and now has 100+ yards in four straight regular season games. The Steelers defense hounded 49’ers QB Alex Smith all day, and held San Fran, a team with some serious offensive problems, to 289 yards. Frank Gore, the 49’ers workhorse back, ran for just 39 yards on 14 carries. “This [team] steps in stadiums on Sunday to compete, to win and we don’t worry about style points,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “I think we’ve been talking quite a bit about that: We can’t worry about style points.”
Pittsburgh has outscored their three opponents 97-26. Sunday vs San Fran they lead 14-6 at the half after bending but not breaking on defense, and finally at the end of the half moving down the field and scoring when Ben Roethlisberger found Jermae Tuman for a 9-yard score. After trading field goals in the third, Pittbsurgh put the game away outscoring San Fran 20-7 in the final quarter.
The Steelers really do like they are going to be a force in the AFC. They have a defense that is playing very tough right now, and their offense, as long as they play mistake free, seem to have more then enough talent to give most teams trouble. They may not be the Pats or Colts, but right now, they are playing with a ton of confidence and with a road game at a struggling Cardinals team and then home for the Seahawks, the Steelers could be staring at 5-0 before a bye week on October 14th. As for San Fran, this team is not going to be a legit force until their offense gets some stability, which they clearly did not have on Sunday in Pittsburgh.