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11-12-2007, 06:19 AM
Report Card / Game 9 -- Steelers vs. Browns
Monday, November 12, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort in the 31-28 win against the Browns yesterday. The report is broken down into defensive and offensive positions and coaching.

Quarterback: A

Ben Roethlisberger rallied the team from a 21-6 deficit with two touchdown passes, a number of big third-down throws and two key plays with his feet, including a 30-yard touchdown run. He completed 12 of his final 14 passes for 157 yards. Roethlisberger made only one mistake -- an interception by cornerback Brodney Pool at the Steelers' 18 -- that led to the Browns' third touchdown.

Running backs: B

Willie Parker had 74 of his 105 yards rushing in the first half, including a 31-yarder on the first field-goal drive. But he carried 14 times for only 31 yards in the second half, slipping almost every time he made a cut. Still, it was better than his halfback option pass into the end zone that sailed over the head of tight end Heath Miller.

Receivers: C

Didn't seem to matter that the longest reception was 22 yards, the smallest in any game this season. Miller made the best catch of all, stretching and cradling a 2-yard touchdown on a hard throw from Roethlisberger for the winner. His biggest play, though, was a 20-yard catch and run on third-and-18 on the winning touchdown drive. Hines Ward had seven catches and a touchdown and Nate Washington added four catches for 56 yards.

Offensive line: C

Roethlisberger was sacked four times and was under way too much pressure from a team that had only seven sacks in the previous eight games. The rushing game finished with 159 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt, but those numbers were inflated by Roethlisberger's five rushes for 49 yards. The best play might have been RT Willie Colon getting just enough of LB Willie McGinest to spring Roethlisberger on a 7-yard scramble to the Browns' 2.

Defensive line: B

After a couple of early runs, RB Jamal Lewis finished with only 35 yards on 16 carries and the Steelers held the Browns to a season-low 40 yards rushing. QB Derek Anderson was not sacked in 35 pass attempts -- the second time in three games the Steelers have not registered a sack -- but DE Brett Keisel got good pressure and even batted two passes at the line of scrimmage.

Linebackers: B

The inside backers didn't react quickly enough to most of Anderson's play fakes, particularly when he converted four consecutive third-down situations on the first touchdown drive. But, even though he threw three touchdowns, Anderson finished with only 123 yards passing. OLB James Harrison made another big play, forcing a fumble at the Browns' 38 that led to the second touchdown. OLB Clark Haggans had a team-high eight tackles.

Secondary: B+

WR Braylon Edwards made a sensational catch on a 16-yard touchdown, but it was his only reception. It was also the Browns' longest pass play, a testament to the play of the secondary. S Troy Polamalu was sensational, making three big plays, including two pass break-ups on throws to TE Kellen Winslow. S Anthony Smith continues to play with a lack of discipline, taking a 15-yard taunting penalty after making a tackle near the goal line.

Special teams: F

Coach Mike Tomlin said his kick coverage "stinks," and he was being kind. Josh Cribbs had a 90-yard kick return that led to the Browns' second touchdown and then scored on a 100-yard touchdown return after he muffed the kick and appeared to be surrounded inside the 5. And a miscommunication on a punt return caused return man Allen Rossum to let a punt bounce and be downed at the 11 late in the fourth quarter. The only positive: Three Jeff Reed field goals.

Coaching: C

The offense did a good job to keep pounding at the Browns, never panicking with the play-calling and electing to throw underneath the two-deep coverage. The defense was not sure how to react to all the play-action in the first half and it resulted in three red-zone touchdowns. But Dick LeBeau didn't panic, either, and merely pulled back on some of the blitzes.

11-12-2007, 11:10 AM
How can you give Special Teams an F? The Field Goal Unit done fine, so you really should up SpecialTeams grade to an F+

Atlanta Dan
11-12-2007, 11:15 AM
How can you give Special Teams an F? The Field Goal Unit done fine, so you really should up SpecialTeams grade to an F+

Back in the days before grade inflation I recall a F was a score below 60 - ST did not deserve a zero but even giving points to the FG unit the overall ST score yesterday certainly merited a failing grade

11-12-2007, 11:32 AM
Coaching C??? I know that we were down 15 but Tomlin got this team motivated and comeback to win.

11-12-2007, 12:05 PM
Coaching C??? I know that we were down 15 but Tomlin got this team motivated and comeback to win.

Yeah, that's about the only one I disagree with too. I'd give the Coaching a B, and only because of the first half playcalling.

11-12-2007, 12:06 PM
I don't have a problem with any of those grades.

Regarding the coaching C, I thought we were getting a little cutesy on offense with the weird reverse that blew up and Parker HB pass. When those kinds of plays work, the coaches are praised. When they don't, you get a C.

Overall, I think he was on the money. Ben was the glue that held everything together this week and he deserves the game ball. (BTW, where are the guys who calling for him to be benched for Charlie Batch earlier this season?)

Rhee Rhee
11-12-2007, 12:08 PM
we were a bit too predictable that first half... run run pass field goal run run pass field goal........ but anyway second half we came to play!!!

11-12-2007, 06:00 PM
Offensive line gets a D-. Yes, they managed, just barely, but that's an awful defense. I can't give any lineman a better grade than a C, and that goes to Smith, and even he got burnt. Faneca looked bad, Mahan was below average, and Colon and Simmons were awful. The offensive line is offensive.