PDA

View Full Version : Roethlisberger's head injury puts big damper on easy victory against lowly Cleveland


Steelers & I
12-29-2008, 02:37 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08364/938272-66.stm


Roethlisberger's head injury puts big damper on easy victory against lowly Cleveland
Sputtering running game finds its way again as Parker rushes for 116 yards; win completes tough slate with 12-4 mark
Monday, December 29, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-GazetteBen Roethlisberger absorbs the Cleveland gang tackle led by Willie McGinest and D'Qwell Jackson that knocked him from the game.The Steelers yesterday used the lowly Cleveland Browns to triumphantly springboard into the playoffs, but not before their quarterback put a momentary lump in their throats when he was carted off the field just before the first half.

But Ben Roethlisberger, who has made comebacks on and off the field a hallmark of his five-year career, likely will do it again. He was diagnosed with a concussion and "At this point, all tests are negative, which is positive," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We are optimistic of where he is going to be capable of being."

Roethlisberger was taken to a local hospital, where initial plans were to have him remain overnight for observation.

That was the good news on one of the few pieces of bad news for the Steelers in their 31-0 thumping of the Browns, who finished one of their most disappointing seasons at 4-12 amid reports that coach Romeo Crennel will be fired this week.

The Steelers wrapped up one of their best regular seasons at 12-4 and felt their lopsided victory in what was a meaningless game to their playoff position would bode well for them when they open their run for the Super Bowl as the AFC's No. 2 seed.

"That was the exclamation point that we were looking for to end our regular season," said Tomlin, who played all but two of his starters, both injured. "Hopefully that momentum will prepare us for January football."

Not accounting for the opponent, the Steelers played their most dominant game of the season. Willie Parker had 116 yards of their 176 rushing, including the season's longest run from scrimmage, a 34-yard touchdown. The NFL's No. 1-ranked defense smothered Pittsburgh native Bruce Gradkowski and his passing offense, holding it to 20 net yards.

Things went so poorly for Gradkowski (5 of 16, 18 yards, 3 sacks) that his leading receiver was Steelers free safety Tyrone Carter. He intercepted two of his passes and returned them a combined 50 yards, including one for 32 yards and a touchdown. The Browns' only receiver with more than one catch was third-string halfback Jerome Harrison, who had two receptions for minus-1 yard.

"It is great being out there again," said Carter, who started for injured Ryan Clark, "being part of a great win, not only for me but my teammates, as well as going into this playoff roll with a big win and carrying that momentum over to the next game."

It took a while for that momentum to build, in part because Roethlisberger was intercepted at the Browns' 6 in the first quarter and because his long touchdown pass to Nate Washington was negated by a holding penalty.

Yet, once the spigots opened, they poured it on the Browns, who were shut out in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history and ended the season without scoring an offensive touchdown in their final six games.

Parker, running behind a fullback in the I-formation far more than in any game this season, turned the corner around right end, slipped some grasps of a few Browns and ran 34 yards into the end zone with 4:07 left in the first half for the game's initial score.

The plan was to run, an order Tomlin issued a week ago, and they did just that as Parker topped 100 for the first time since Nov. 16 against San Diego.

"It was a good feeling knowing we were going to go out there and run it and it was up to their defense to stop it," Parker said. "Their defense didn't give up, we just had it in our mind-set we were going to run the ball and we just kept pounding."

Roethlisberger was injured on the third play of their next series when he was knocked to the surface by linebackers Willie McGinest and D'Qwell Jackson and his head bounced off the turf.

Byron Leftwich completed the drive and, on third down, scrambled up the middle for 8 yards and a touchdown and a 14-0 lead 32 seconds before the half.

Carter got things going in the second half when he intercepted a pass after blitzing cornerback Bryant McFadden hit Gradkowski's arm. That led to Jeff Reed's 22-yard field goal. Gary Russell ended an 88-yard drive by running 3 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 lead. A minute later, Carter intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 32 yards for the final score.

Cleveland's Jamal Lewis did wind up topping 1,000 yards for the season by rushing for 94 yards, the most against the Steelers defense this season. But in the overall scheme of things, including some heavy substitutions on that No. 1 defense in the final quarter, it meant little, other than denying the Steelers a spot as the No. 1 defense against the rush.

The Steelers had some milestones of their own with Hines Ward catching his 800th career pass from rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon in the fourth quarter, and topping 1,000 yards receiving for the fifth time.

But the game was more about the future than it was about the past, the future being nearly two weeks from now when they open the playoffs at Heinz Field.

"We feel like we can play with anyone," defensive end Brett Keisel said.

"We've done a good job of putting us in position to make a run, now we just need to do it. We need to seize the opportunity and do it."

steelreserve
12-29-2008, 02:39 AM
That's fine. One more reason for people to be surprised when we come out and dickslap everyone in a couple weeks. Fricking yawn.

Preacher
12-29-2008, 03:02 AM
The plan was to run, an order Tomlin issued a week ago, and they did just that as Parker topped 100 for the first time since Nov. 16 against San Diego.

You have GOT to love this coach

Galax Steeler
12-29-2008, 03:38 AM
It was good to see Parker back over a 100 yards I just hope he can do it against a better deffense then the browns.

Steelers & I
12-29-2008, 03:55 AM
You have GOT to love this coach



Quote:
The plan was to run, an order Tomlin issued a week ago, and they did just that as Parker topped 100 for the first time since Nov. 16 against San Diego.

176 total rushing yards is pretty impressive as well.

That somewhat answers a question that I asked on a different thread. I was wondering if the I-Formation running was Arians doing or an order from Tomlin.

Whatever the case may be, I SUPPORT IT 100%. I know that it was just the Browns but nonetheless, that running game looked GOOD yesterday.

And you're right Preacher, as a football fan in general, "you truly do have to love Mike Tomlin".

markymarc
12-29-2008, 06:28 AM
I really hope we can run against our next opponent in 2 weeks. It was nice to see that burst from FWP again.

Dino 6 Rings
12-29-2008, 09:26 AM
"You will use the I formation Bruce"

"But I like the...."

"That's an order. Now salute me and walk away"

176 yards later..."Captain my Captain"

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-29-2008, 09:39 AM
"You will use the I formation Bruce"

"But I like the...."

"That's an order. Now salute me and walk away"

176 yards later..."Captain my Captain"
Somehow I think it wasnt as strong as this, but probably something like it. Tomlin seems to be a guy that lets his coaches and players do their jobs and trusts them to do them well.

But I don't think Tomlin is blind to the fact that 1. the running game went south, 2. his RB has been talking publicly about wanting a FB and 3. we rarely use a FB. Its kind of a case of giving your employees the tools they need to succeed. The other possibliity is that Arians wanted to experiment more with an I formation and McHugh.

Either way, the idea of McHugh as a lead blocker for our RB's instead of Carey Davis is something that I never would have though of. :rolleyes:

LetsRock
12-29-2008, 09:50 AM
Arians had better learn from this game. He has two weeks to re-tool the running game and get it back to the plays that actually work.

Tankus_Maximus
12-29-2008, 10:52 AM
good to see Kemo have a good game! opening holes for FWP.