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mesaSteeler
10-28-2008, 07:12 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/home.htm?csp=34

Coach Mike Tomlin will make a second decision on Santonio Holmes this week, and it's likely he'll reinstate the wide receiver to the active roster for the Monday night game at Washington.

Tomlin deactivated Holmes for the game Sunday against the New York Giants after the receiver was arrested Thursday on a charge of marijuana possession. The Steelers desperately missed Holmes, as Ben Roethlisberger had trouble finding open receivers much of the day. Young, inexperienced Dallas Baker and rookie Limas Sweed played behind Hines Ward and Nate Washington.

Tomlin was mute Monday, and the team issued a written public apology from Holmes that said, "I would like to apologize to my teammates, the Steelers organization, my family and the fans for my actions that caused me to miss Sunday's game. I recognize that I made a mistake and understand the significance of my actions, and will not make any excuses for my behavior. I look forward to putting this behind me and to being accepted by my teammates and the fans as part of the team."

His teammates would not publicly criticize Holmes, but Ward did say he was missed against the Giants in a 21-14 defeat. Roethlisberger was intercepted four times and sacked five times as he completed just 13 of 29 passes.

"He was a big part of that game plan, and it was too late to change that game plan," Ward said.

Holmes, before his arrest, ripped the Giants secondary, saying, "I haven't seen many highlights of their secondary but guys beating them deep."

NOTES, QUOTES

The Steelers set a Heinz Field attendance record for a regular-season game when they drew 64,991 for their game Sunday against the New York Giants.

A new long snapper will join the Steelers this week after Greg Warren tore an ACL in the third quarter against the Giants. Not only did that lead to a bad snap on a punt when LB James Harrison sailed the ball over the punter's head and through the end zone, but Mike Tomlin disdained a 52-yard field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter in favor of a fourth-down pass that was intercepted.

FS Ryan Clark left the game Sunday with a dislocated shoulder, but it was popped back into the joint, and he may play next Monday.

"I'm feeling good right now," Clark said. "Hopefully, I can be back next week."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

QB Ben Roethlisberger's record is 1-7 when he throws three or more interceptions.

DE Aaron Smith played even though he missed all week to attend to a family matter. Smith was with his teammates Monday and is expected to play in Washington.

CB Bryant McFadden will remain sidelined with an elbow injury, and Deshea Townsend will start at left corner.

SS Troy Polamalu started and played the entire game after leaving the previous game with his seventh confirmed concussion since high school.

P Mitch Berger has a hamstring injury to his left (plant) foot, although he continued to punt after he was injured Sunday.

REPORT CARD VS. GIANTS

PASSING OFFENSE: F Either Ben Roethlisberger had not time, had no one open or held onto the ball too long, but he was sacked five times and intercepted four times. He completed only 13 of 29 passes for 189 yards for his worst passer rating of the season, 38.5. He threw one long TD pass to Nate Washington of 65 yards and came back with a 53-yarder to Washington, but T Willie Colon was called for holding, and the Steelers failed to score on that series.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B Considering the Giants had one of the best run-stopping teams in the league and the Steelers were again without Willie Parker, their 95 yards and one touchdown and 4.3-yard average wasn't bad. They did have much better success in the first half, though, when Mewelde Moore gained 63 of his 84 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: C Eli Manning did not have a great game, completing 19 of 32 for 199 yards and one touchdown, but he wasn't under much pressure either. The Steelers had no sacks and no interceptions, and Manning did complete a fourth-down pass of 30 yards that led to a field goal in the fourth quarter.

RUSH DEFENSE: A The Giants had the No. 1 running game in the league, and the Steelers did a good job of containing them. New York ran 35 times for only 83 yards and no touchdowns and could not score on one defensive stand after the Giants had first down at the 2.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D An injury to the long snapper led to a bad snap and a safety. Once again, the punt and kickoff returns produced little, and the Giants returned one punt 28 yards to set up a field goal.

COACHING: C How can a team not have someone designated as the backup long snapper? When the long snapper is hurt and cannot play during a game, asking for volunteers is not acceptable. Also, when a team is running the ball well at home in the first half against a good team, why abandon it in the second half in favor of a passing game that's getting the quarterback killed?