PITTSBURGH - Sifting through the Pittsburgh Steelers' prime time victory, which was more dramatic than it should have been:
n Only Ben Roethlisberger knows for sure how much his broken right thumb is affecting his passes. But he seemed to be off the mark quite a bit, especially with longer throws.
n When you see a team trying to get by with a quarterback like Tyler Palko, be grateful again for Roethlisberger's talent and durability. Be thankful, too, that Charlie Batch is backing him up.
Palko is a competitor, but he just doesn't have the talent to succeed in the NFL. He's only in there because of injury issues, but he clearly isn't good enough.
n The NBC commentators talked about Mike Wallace's involvement in a skirmish during warm-ups. Wallace didn't seem to be especially sharp in the game. Did that pre-game nonsense distract him enough that his game suffered?
n No sooner had Chris Kemoeatu been demoted than he was back in the lineup, needed at guard when center Maurkice Pouncey became ill and Doug Legursky had to move over and fill in for him.
n How many more dents and bumps can Troy Polamalu take? He came up woozy after being banged in the head making a tackle and did not return. The all-out style that has made Polamalu a terror is also becoming an issue as the damage accumulates over the years.
I'll bet opposing teams don't worry as much about Polamalu as they did three years ago. He still makes some huge plays, but he's not the kind of consistent presence he was then.
n Hines Ward is still going to make catches. He just isn't going anywhere after he gets the ball. Thankfully, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is aware of this and no longer calls those quick screens to Ward, who would invariably be tackled in his tracks.
There are easier ways to gain 1 yard.
n The Steelers need to develop a running game, and not because of potentially bad weather for the rest of the season.
Running the ball helps eat the clock, and the Steelers need to help their defense as much as possible.
It isn't what it used to be.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org