- My first thought is simple: there are a lot of Steelers fans here. A LOT. I’ve done some quick estimates in my head, and I think there are more Steelers fans here than there were Detroit fans in Detroit last week. I’ve never seen this many visiting fans in FedExField before, and it’s a little unsettling. Everyone said the Steelers fans traveled well, but this is remarkable.
- Oh, something to keep an eye out for: Coach Zorn was doing his so-called stupid (but secretly awesome) quarterback tricks during pregame warmups — the dribbling of the football, the spins, the behind-the-back move — and he was immediately surrounded by cameras from at least two and maybe three different networks. So even though I haven’t had the opportunity to get video of it, the footage should be out there soon enough.
- The burgundy on burgundy uniforms look terrific from the sidelines. The mail I’m getting about them from folks watching on TV has been mixed, but they’re very dramatic looking in person. As with last year’s throwbacks, the ultimate verdict will probably depend on the final score, but for now I’m digging them.
- Well, the Steelers fans are fired up, and the Redskins fans are more fired up, but I think the Redskins defense is the most fired up of all. They’re so fired up, in fact, that even linebacker Matt Sinclair — waived injured back on August 25th, and currently on the sidelines with some kind of arm immobilizing thing — is jawing with the Steelers.
- The game itself has been pretty much what everyone expected so far. A defensive struggle, with the most important plays so far coming from the special teams. There is, I now realize, a clear and distinctive difference between a defensive struggle (which is fun to watch) and a lousy game (which is most definitely not). During the Browns game there was some question as to which that game was, but now — seeing this — it’s 100% clear: that was a really cruddy game, and this is two very good defenses.
- In a game like that, though — especially a game that everyone knew was going to be like that — I question the wisdom of opening with the onside kick. That left the Redskins in excellent position for the field goal, and this is a game where three points could be very significant. Not that I’m complaining, mind.
- Always nice to see Commissioner Roger Goodell roaming the sidelines. I’ve never actually heard him say anything particularly significant, but his presence really makes things seem important.