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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-01-2008, 05:39 AM
Steelers Report Card: Game 12 vs. Patriots
Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort in the Steelers' trouncing of the Patriots, 33-10
Monday, December 01, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Quarterback B+
The only real mistake Ben Roethlisberger made was an interception on the first series that led to the Patriots' only touchdown. Otherwise, he threw two touchdown passes, converted 8 of 16 third-down chances and did not commit another turnover -- all in miserable weather. He even audibled out of a play on third down on the first TD drive. Considering the elements, pretty heady stuff.

Running backs B
After playing sparingly and gaining only 16 yards in the first half, Willie Parker finished with 87 yards on 16 carries. Parker's 31-yard run in the fourth quarter led to the last of Jeff Reed's four field goals. Mewelde Moore finished with 67 yards on 12 carries, but 28 yards came on the touchdown drive that gave the Steelers a 13-10 lead, including a big 10-yard run on third-and-2.

Receivers C+
Roethlisberger made sure to attack CB Deltha O'Neal nearly every time he had single coverage, and the result was two touchdowns and what should have been a third except for a drop by Nate Washington. Santonio Holmes atoned for a drop at the Patriots 6 with a 19-yard TD catch, and Hines Ward had the other, an 11-yarder. Washington dropped two, a 22-yard TD pass included.

Offensive line B
Roethlisberger was sacked just once against the Patriots, and that was on a corner blitz by Ellis Hobbs. Otherwise, Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu did a good job keeping DE Richard Seymour out of the backfield and off the quarterback. Even more impressive, the Steelers rushed for 113 yards in the second half and were able to spring runs of 20 and 31 yards.

Defensive line B
The Patriots rushed for 80 of their 122 yards in the first half, but the bulk of their yardage came against the nickel defense with NT Casey Hampton out of the game. Kevin Faulk's 41-yard run was the longest against the Steelers this season. Hampton made one of the game's big plays, sacking Matt Cassel on second-and-1 to knock the Patriots out of field-goal range.

Linebackers A
James Harrison made two of the biggest plays, sacking Matt Cassel and forcing fumbles that the Steelers recovered on each occasion. The turnovers led to two Jeff Reed field goals in the third quarter. Lawrence Timmons sealed the victory with an interception and 89-yard return to the Patriots 1 to set up the final touchdown. Of five sacks, Harrison had two, LaMarr Woodley one.

Defensive backs B+
After throwing for 400 or more yards in each of his past two games, Cassel was held to 169 yards, fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. CB Ike Taylor let an interception go through his hands in the end zone. Ryan Clark missed a tackle on a 41-yard run and was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver on an incomplete pass. Troy Polamalu had his sixth interception.

Special teams A-
It started out badly with a fumble by Carey Davis and a senseless unsportsmanlike roughing penalty against Keyaron Fox on the opening kickoff. But it only got better after that. Fox made the big fumble recovery on a kickoff in the third that turned around the game; Jeff Reed converted four of five field goals; and Santonio Holmes had the longest punt return of the year, a 29-yarder.

Coaching A
The Steelers didn't get rattled after giving the Patriots an early touchdown. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau gets much credit for disrupting Cassel, forcing him into two picks and a couple of fumbles in a span of five series in the second half. Also, do not overlook special teams coach Bob Ligashesky, who has turned around the coverage units that produced the game's big play.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08336/931906-66.stm

The_WARDen
12-01-2008, 08:31 AM
Offensive line B
Roethlisberger was sacked just once against the Patriots, and that was on a corner blitz by Ellis Hobbs. Otherwise, Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu did a good job keeping DE Richard Seymour out of the backfield and off the quarterback. Even more impressive, the Steelers rushed for 113 yards in the second half and were able to spring runs of 20 and 31 yards.

I haven't been the biggest fan of this "offensive" line. However, they are playing respectable as of late with a very good game against NE. If they keep this up, it could be a very long fun ride.

:tt02:

Steelerfreak58
12-01-2008, 09:25 AM
Settling for 3 won't get us deep into the playoffs. Defense won that game for us but if the Offense can't convert on golden opportunities to put games out of reach that won't do real well in the playoffs.

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-01-2008, 10:32 AM
I haven't been the biggest fan of this "offensive" line. However, they are playing respectable as of late with a very good game against NE. If they keep this up, it could be a very long fun ride.

:tt02:

Yeah, I was happy with Starks play against Seymour. Seymour isnt a speed guy, so Max matches up better with him in pass protection.
Kemo was up and down.
Hartwig did a decent job of handling Wilfork (with help),
Stapleton did well getting to the 2nd level, but repeatedly got stuffed by Mayo and Bruschi.
Colon was a monster run blocker, but average pass blocker.

steelpride12
12-01-2008, 10:33 AM
Gotta give the OL an A- for just allowing one sack which was a corner blitz backside. The blocked well for Parker and MeMo as well as let Ben have time to get those two gorgeous TD passes!