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Infamix
01-14-2006, 01:05 PM
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Steelers-Colts Match-up || Saturday, January 14, 2006 - By BOB LABRIOLA ||

Steelers.com

The following are some interesting match-ups to watch during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Steelers and Colts at 1 p.m. on Sunday:



STEELERS LT MARVEL SMITH VS. COLTS DE DWIGHT FREENEY: In the regular season meeting, Freeney actually wasn’t the most disruptive of the Colts’ defensive linemen, but that says more about how well the others played than it is an indictment of Freeney. In this game, this match-up can set the tone for the whole game, because Freeney is the guy the Colts look to when they need pressure on the quarterback, and the Steelers have come to view Smith as their rock at left tackle. Back in November, Smith came into the game with one high ankle sprain, and he was forced out in the first half with a second high ankle sprain. It would be presumptuous to assume Smith is 100 percent healthy, but he’s in a lot better shape physically to deal with the challenge Freeney will present.



STEELERS CB IKE TAYLOR VS. COLTS QB PEYTON MANNING: It’s remembered as Marvin Harrison beating Taylor for that 80-yard touchdown on the opening play back in November, but it was more Manning, because the quarterback got the cornerback to bite on the play-action fake. Because Manning has tricked Taylor in the past, he’s more likely to believe he can do it again. The Steelers defensive backs have to be sound fundamentally, because the reality is that any mistake they make can end up on the scoreboard.



STEELERS NT CASEY HAMPTON VS. COLTS C JEFF SATURDAY: It’s a Steelers MVP against the Colts All-Pro center, and it’s going to be important in determining whether the Colts offense is successful running the football. The Colts admit they utilize the no-huddle because they want to dictate the defense’s personnel, and so it’s going to be something of a guessing game between offensive coordinator Tom Moore and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. It’s possible the Colts simply may choose to throw the ball when Hampton is on the field, but the way a game unfolds often precludes things from being so simple. From a purely physical standpoint, Saturday cannot handle Hampton by himself, and if he tries it he’ll find himself pushed into the backfield.



STEELERS QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER VS. COLTS FS BOB SANDERS: In the first game between these teams this year, the Colts safeties created havoc, and that was especially true with Sanders who attacked the line of scrimmage and made several plays that way. The Steelers are going to have to account for Sanders at times with a blocker, but there’s another way to slow down his charge – and that’s by doing to him what Peyton Manning did to Ike Taylor. Roethlisberger is very good at play-action fakes, and if Sanders isn’t careful, he could find himself running to the line of scrimmage when Heath Miller is running through the secondary.



STEELERS WR HINES WARD VS. COLTS CB JASON DAVID: Physically, this match-up favors the Steelers because Ward is bigger, but there’s more to making big plays with the ball in the air than size. The Steelers have to make plays with their passing attack, and receivers have to get open quickly because expecting the protection to hold off the Colts rush consistently for more than a couple of seconds isn’t realistic. For the Steelers to win, Ward is going to have to make some plays down the field.



STEELERS PK JEFF REED VS. COLTS PK MIKE VANDERJAGT: Reed missed a 41-yard field goal in November that would’ve tied the game, 10-10, late in the first half. Taking advantage of every scoring opportunity is a must because the Steelers hope to keep the game close deep into the second half. Every player in uniform for the Steelers on Sunday has to come up big, and that includes Reed.


I really hope Marvel Smith is ready for Freeney this time...and I think he will be, because he's been playing well, and that last game was his first coming back from injury.

clevestinks
01-14-2006, 03:27 PM
The first one is very important. Freeney is a great player, and he had his way with us, mostly because Marvel was injured, then left the game. Taii Essex has improved, but it was a tough task for the rookie. Marvel being healthy! HUGE!