Some Good; Mostly Bad

Dale Lolley with his notes column from Wembley Stadium:

I just flew in from London, and boy are my arms tired.

Actually, my fingers are tired - tired of writing the same thing week after week about these Steelers.

A lack of turnovers. Too many turnovers of their own. A lack of a running game.

Oh wait, scratch that last one.

The Steelers flashed an actual NFL offense Sunday in London, featuring rookie Le'Veon Bell in his first game.

Bell's final rushing numbers weren't great - 16 carries, 57 yards - but he scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and also caught four passes for 27 yards as the Steelers unveiled a screen game.

Bell also banged the ball in from the 1-yard line - he did so twice since it looked like he scored on the first attempt - while showing a nice outside burst on his other rushing touchdown, an 8-yard score.

Bell said following the game that it took him a few carries before he felt like he got into the groove. That's understandable considering he lasted just four preseason carries before suffering a mid-foot sprain.

The best is yet to come there.

@ The Steelers also took the chains off of rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Wheaton caught three passes for 26 yards, but also suffered a broken pinky on his right hand.

He played through the broken finger, showing some toughness.

There weren't any noticeable mistakes, as have been evident in practice, so maybe the coaching staff shortened up his playbook to simplify things for him.

@ Those were the positives. The negatives included tough days from Mike Adams, Cortez Allen and Emmanuel Sanders.

The struggles of Adams and Allen were apparent.

As for Sanders, you just have to wonder about him sometimes.

On Ben Roethlisberger's only interception - a big one in the third quarter that pushed Minnesota's lead to 17 points - Roethlisberger stepped up in the pocket and Sanders started coming across the middle.

Then he inexplicably stopped, just as Roethlisberger released the ball, which landed in the waiting arms of linebacker Chad Greenway.

Instead of making sure Greenway was down, Sanders turned away from him and threw his arms in the air in disgust. It's not the first time Sanders has shown that kind of emotion on the field this season.

How about waiting to do it after the play is completed?

Here's the other thing, Antonio Brown had 12 catches on 13 targets. Heath Miller was 6-8, Jerricho Cotchery 5-6, Bell 4-5, Wheaton 3-5. Sanders had 8 targets and managed 4 catches.

That has carried on an early trend this season. Coming into this game, Sanders had 30 targets but just 16 receptions. He's just not been on the same page as Roethlisberger.

@ While Adams was struggling with Jared Allen, Marcus Gilbert locked down the right side of the line throughout this game. He probably played his best game since his rookie season, maybe of his career.

Gilbert doesn't always look like he cares. But he sure did in this game.

@ The Steelers had drives that ended at the Minnesota 8, 11 and 6 that netted them a pair of field goals and a fumble. Score touchdowns in those situations and they win this game.

@ The veterans are meeting again on Wednesday. Mike Tomlin has typically given his veterans Wednesday and Thursday off during bye weeks, using those two days to get first- and second-year players extra practice time.

Something tells me the veterans might just hang around in this bye week.

As bad as things have been, the Steelers remain just two games out of first place in what's looking to be a mediocre AFC North.

The first team to 9-7 just might win this.

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Washington Observer-Reporter. Click here to discuss Dale's column on the message board.)

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