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mesaSteeler
11-25-2008, 06:13 PM
Steelers have been dominant during 3rd
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer
http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Story/11-24-Steelers-third-quarter
dlolley@observer-reporter.com

PITTSBURGH - Perhaps it's fitting that the Steelers finish up the third quarter of their 16-game regular season in New England on Sunday.

It was the third quarter that did in the Steelers last year at Gillette Stadium. New England turned a 17-13 halftime lead into a 34-13 rout by scoring a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.

The 14 points are more than the Steelers (8-3) have allowed third quarter this season. Riding the league's top-rated defense in both yards and points allowed, the Steelers have given up three third-quarter field goals, outscoring opponents 64-9.

"I think it's the coaches' great planning that helps us out in the second half," said Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons. "You have an opportunity to go in at halftime, talk things over and correct your errors. That makes a heck of a difference."

It has for the Steelers, who have allowed an NFL-low 15 touchdowns.

In that Dec. 9 meeting last year, quarterback Tom Brady set the tone for the final two quarters by quickly directing the Patriots into field-goal range late in the second quarter. Brady then connected with Jabar Gaffney for a 56-yard touchdown pass on New England's first possession of the second half, and put together a lengthy scoring drive later in the quarter to seal the win for the Patriots.

But the Steelers were playing without safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu and lost defensive end Aaron Smith early in the game with a torn biceps muscle that would end his season.

Brady and the Patriots made a point of attacking safety Anthony Smith. Earlier in the week, Smith guaranteed the Steelers would beat the Patriots.

The Steelers have Clark, Polamalu and Aaron Smith this time. The Patriots (7-4) lost Brady to injury in the first game of the season. Pittsburgh also should get cornerback Bryant McFadden back. McFadden missed the last three games with a broken forearm.

Backup quarterback Matt Cassell has gotten more comfortable leading the Patriots, throwing for more than 400 yards in each of the last two games, something even Brady has never done.

The Steelers believe that if they keep the score close in the first half, their defense will eventually shut down even the most potent offense.

"Guys set the tone," said linebacker Larry Foote. "We know that first series is going to set the tone for the second half."

Odds and end zones

The Steelers re-signed punter Mitch Berger, who was released Nov. 5 after averaging 41.9 yards per kick in eight games. Berger suffered pulled hamstrings in both his legs. Paul Ernster, who averaged just 31.6 yards in two games, was released. ... Wide receiver Santonio Holmes' hearing on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession has been postponed until Feb. 26. Holmes was arrested during a routine traffic stop Oct. 23 and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.

(It's a great sign that Silverback thinks we are making good half time adjustments on defense. Now if we could only do it on offense. - mesa)

markymarc
11-25-2008, 08:52 PM
I definitely think Troy, Clark and Smith make a big difference for our rematch on Sunday. That is amazing that we have only given up 9 points so far in the 3rd quarter this year. Forget setting the tone in the 2nd half. I want the tone to be set at the beginning of this game all the way through the 4th quarter. No mercy on the Cheaters.

Galax Steeler
11-26-2008, 04:33 AM
I hope our linebackers can keep presure on Cassell we also need to watch the screen pass but I think our deffense will be up to the challenge hopefully McFadden will be back that will be a big boost in our deffense as well.

markymarc
11-26-2008, 05:19 PM
but I think our deffense will be up to the challenge hopefully McFadden will be back that will be a big boost in our deffense as well.

Getting McFadden back for this game would be a big boost to our secondary. Also, after last year's defensive performance I don't see how they would not want to come out and completely dominate the Cheaters on Sunday.

markymarc
11-27-2008, 03:56 PM
Looks like a game time decision for McFadden according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_600400.html

Bryant McFadden practiced yesterday but the Steelers' training staff will make the call as to whether the starting cornerback plays Sunday against the Patriots. McFadden has been out since breaking his right forearm against the Bengals on Oct. 19. He has been practicing since last week, but there will be some guesswork involved as to when McFadden is ready to play in a game since the Steelers don't hit during drills. "It will be totally different in live action," McFadden said. Deshea Townsend, who missed the last tow games with a hamstring injury, practiced yesterday and appears likely to start opposite Ike Taylor if McFadden can't go.