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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-20-2008, 06:13 AM
Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals
Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort in a 38-10 win against the Bengals yesterday.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Quarterback: B-
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 216 yards passing, threw for two touchdowns and was not intercepted. But he was sloppy in the first half, completing 12 of 21 passes, and failed to capitalize on some good field position. But he made some big second-half plays in the passing game and, along with backup Byron Leftwich, produced three touchdowns in six minutes, 23 seconds.

Running backs: A-
Mewelde Moore has turned into the team workhorse, rushing for 120 yards on 20 attempts and scoring two touchdowns, his fifth career 100-yard game and first with the Steelers. He also caught five passes for 14 yards, including a 2-yard TD. But he got little help from Gary Russell, who had four carries for no yards. Also, each was stopped for no gain on third-and-1 attempts.

Receivers: B
The Steelers used a lot of three wide-receiver sets, and the result was a lot of big plays. Santonio Holmes had five catches, including a 32-yarder. Hines Ward had four catches, including a 29-yarder and a 34-yard pass interference call against him that set up a touchdown. Nate Washington, though, made the big play, catching a 50-yard TD pass that gave the Steelers a 24-10 lead.

Offensive line: B+
OK, so it was the Bengals who have one of the league's worst rush defenses. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger was not sacked for the first time this season and the running game finished with 125 yards on 27 attempts, an average of 4.6 yards per attempt. Good job by Max Starks replacing Marvel Smith at left tackle. And Darnell Stapleton delivers the big block on Moore's 13-yard TD run.

Defensive line: B
The Bengals had five consecutive three-and-out series to start the game and were outgained, 173 yards to 18, at one point in the second quarter. Part of the reason was the dominance by the defensive line, which continues to rotate players. Cedric Benson finished with 52 yards on 14 carries, including a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter -- the longest allowed by the Steelers this season.

Linebackers: A
This unit executed all seven sacks against quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, with two each by James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. James Farrior had the other. Harrison also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage and Woodley forced a fumble and recovered the ball on his final sack. Timmons made consecutive big plays in the fourth quarter, including a sack.

Defensive backs: B
After five failed series to start the game, Fitzpatrick began successfully throwing underneath the coverage -- something the Steelers were willing to concede to prevent the big play. He completed 21 of 35 passes -- eight each to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- but for only 164 yards, none for more than 19. CB Ike Taylor was outstanding with a couple big pass breakups.

Special teams: B-
For a while, the kick coverage was looking like last year's, allowing returns of 34 and 36 yards. But then the Steelers clamped down and allowed only 8-, 15- and 18-yarders in the second half. Still, there were no debilitating mistakes, and Jeff Reed kept his field-goal record clean (10 of 10). But where are the return units? Najeh Davenport's 27-yard kick return tied for longest this year.

Coaching: B
There was no question the offense -- and Roethlisberger -- looked rusty after the open date, magnified by three failed pass plays from the Bengals' 3. But offensive coordinator Bruce Arians used a lot of three-wide receiver sets to spread the field and take advantage of Moore's diverse abilities, and the offense erupted. Still, why have Leftwich throw three passes with a 31-10 lead?
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08294/921274-66.stm

El-Gonzo Jackson
10-20-2008, 09:19 AM
As much of an Offensive line fan as I am, I cant agree with the B+ for them. They played average against a bad defensive line and failed to convert short yardage.

This ranking is probably just because they didnt give up any sacks against a Bengals team that only has 5 sacks all season.

The coaching too was only average. But a win always makes everybody generous around here.

revefsreleets
10-20-2008, 09:58 AM
Disagree. Coaching was exceptional, great gameplans by both OC and DC. Coaches can't actually EXECUTE the plays, so that doesn't fall under their purview.

El-Gonzo Jackson
10-20-2008, 09:59 PM
Fine, you are entitled to your opinion.

I would just rather see some Pittsburgh Steelers football instead of 3 consecutive incomplete passes from first and goal on the Bengals 3 yard line.

I guess we are a finesse team now though.

steelpride12
10-20-2008, 10:48 PM
Ben didn't get sacked once gotta give the OL an A+ thats amazing!

Ben was sloppy at first, but a B- is pretty low, with no INT's i would give him an A- for effort and great plays.

Steelman16
10-21-2008, 12:39 AM
Hard not to give the OL a nice nod for giving up zero sacks. I don't care who they played!

Despite the score (which is all that matters) we didn't dominate their defensive line like I thought we would. Still plenty of work to be done, but it's a good step in the right direction.

Preacher
10-21-2008, 02:09 AM
Fine, you are entitled to your opinion.

I would just rather see some Pittsburgh Steelers football instead of 3 consecutive incomplete passes from first and goal on the Bengals 3 yard line.

I guess we are a finesse team now though.

Finesse? Really? guess we are going to have to tell Hines Ward, and Washington (who also through a tremendous block) that we are a finesse team.

For the thousandth time, three yards and a cloud of mediocrity is over. We had an exceptional back that could do it. however, that kind of football demands a lot from certain players. It demands a certain type of offensive line, a big, mean fullback, and a big, mean halfback. As a result, the team simply CANNOT AFFORD to pay enough money to have a great QB and multiple threat receivers as well.

"Steelers football" NEVER won us a Superbowl. It lost 4 AFC championship games for us.

It was a balanced offense that won all 4 SB's in the 70's, that even GOT us to the SB in 95, and won the SB in 2005.

We are still running the ball. We are still stopping the run. I am just amazed how everyone on this board SCREAMS when we see run, run, pass... how horrible it is. and then turns around and SCREAMS about how we are not a power run team anymore. :pity:

(sorry el-gonzo.. don't mean to be picking at you specifically, I just get frustrated when I read things like that...:drink: <--- pepsi)

Preacher
10-21-2008, 02:16 AM
As for this thread...

The line did pretty dang well.

I say we let Starks start on the left for the rest of the year. If he continues to do well (as he did last year when he came in and played there) we should resign him to that position (yes, you heard it here first!!! I actually have wondered is this is the position he was being saved for anyway). I like Stapleton at RG... at least for right now. If we keep this lineup, it meanst he only replacements would have to be for Colon... and then Hartwig, in that order.

All in all, that line may not be that bad at all. Hartwig is having a bit of problems with the snaps at times... shotgun seems to go high quite a bit.. (the fumble off the snap last sunday looked to be Ben's fault completely). But he has settled in a bit.

Regardless... they played against professionals last weekend, and did very well. congrats line!


On the coaching....

I LOVE the rotation of the D line. IT keeps them fresh throughout the game. It seems that Tomlin really learned his lesson last year about keeping players fresh. Good for him. To learn a lesson after one mistake is pretty dang good.

fansince'76
10-21-2008, 02:43 AM
As much of an Offensive line fan as I am, I cant agree with the B+ for them. They played average against a bad defensive line and failed to convert short yardage.

This ranking is probably just because they didnt give up any sacks against a Bengals team that only has 5 sacks all season.

I wouldn't minimize it, personally. I remember the OL giving up 7 sacks to a lousy Jets D last season that up to that point only had 9 sacks in 9 games on the season as a whole. Zero sacks is zero sacks.

MasterOfPuppets
10-21-2008, 02:45 AM
keep in mind before you start blasting the play calling/coaching......Ben has the option to change the play. so it doesn't always meen arians screwed up, it may be Ben screwing up by changing the original call.

revefsreleets
10-21-2008, 07:50 AM
If we would have run three times and failed to score, it would have been the same line, just reversed.

It's never enough, never the right call, never the right guys, never good enough, never, never, never with a big contingancy of Steelers fans...

GBMelBlount
10-21-2008, 07:53 AM
If we would have run three times and failed to score, it would have been the same line, just reversed.



That's probably why it is good to mix it up....

revefsreleets
10-21-2008, 08:02 AM
Which is what we normally do. It was one goalline stand, and, yes, the Steelers should have scored, but they didn't this time. Besides, wasn't this the series where the middle play was the uncalled intereference on Leon Hall, which would have given us 1st and goal at the 1?

Failure to execute does not necessarily translate into poor playcalling...and do we even know who called those 3 pass plays? Was it Ben? Was it Bruce?

HometownGal
10-21-2008, 08:09 AM
If we would have run three times and failed to score, it would have been the same line, just reversed.

It's never enough, never the right call, never the right guys, never good enough, never, never, never with a big contingancy of Steelers fans...

Sad, but true.

I pretty much agree with Dulac's grades other than the OL and coaching scores. I have admittedly been an OL boo bird since the beginning of the season but I thought they did a wow of a job on Sunday protecting Ben and opening up holes for MeMo.

With regard to the coaching, overall I felt they did a good job, even though it was against the hapless Bungles. Arians is allowing Ben to call some of the plays and Ben admitted himself in his post game interview which was posted in another thread that he made some "bad calls". However, when the going got tough, Arians, Ben and the O got going which resulted in 3 TD's in the 2nd half, a rout of the Bungles and a secure place atop the AFCN going into a tough matchup against the G-men. Have to credit the D all the way around for their outstanding play in keeping the Bungles off the scoreboard while the O got geared up and found its mojo. :thumbsup:

El-Gonzo Jackson
10-21-2008, 08:16 AM
Failure to execute does not necessarily translate into poor playcalling...and do we even know who called those 3 pass plays? Was it Ben? Was it Bruce?

Very true. We dont know if BA called run and Ben checked to run(although its pretty easy to see if he audibled). The fact that they never tried to run at all on that goal line series against the 28th ranked rushing defense in the NFL is unfortunate.

Then, in the 3rd quarter while the game was only 17-10 on a 3rd and 1, the Steelers go double TE, single setback and just a straight give to Moore off tackle where he goes for no gain and forces a punt. No lead blocker, no pulling TE or Guard, just run straight into the Bengals gap cancellation scheme to end a drive in a close game. That looked more like Bengals football than the Bengals did.

Conversely, there were some pretty neat pass protection schemes used and blitzes called, so in some ways the coaching staff did a fine job. I just dont think we should hand out praise based entirely on the scoreboard and ignore the facts. This week so much reminds me of after week 1 because of the lobsided score against the Texans.

revefsreleets
10-21-2008, 06:01 PM
I'm NOT ignoring the facts. The FACT is that the coaches called a great game. If Ben failed to audible out of a call, or we passed in some situations you may have thought we should run in (which I'm sure would not have been the case had the plays been successful, given perfect 20/20 hindsight you are working with), that still doesn't detract from the overall effort.

A+ for LeBeau and Arians.

steel striker
10-21-2008, 06:19 PM
Still it was a good game for us and, the oline did a good job. Ben made enough good plays in the passing game for us to win. Moore once again had a great game and, I glad we have him. The defense played pretty well. Our special teams did okay and, I know they have not hurt us. They always worry me lol So all in all not a bad game and, I hope we can play a little better against the giants next week.