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mesaSteeler
10-27-2009, 09:12 PM
Not-so-special coverage for Pittsburgh
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer, dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/10-27-Steelers-Vikings-wrap
This article has been read 1098 times.

PITTSBURGH - Masked by their two defensive touchdowns in a 27-17 victory Sunday over Minnesota was the fact the Pittsburgh Steelers gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown for the second consecutive game.

A week after Cleveland's Josh Cribbs took a kickoff 98 yards, the Steelers allowed Minnesota's Percy Harvin to go 88 yards for a fourth-quarter score, eliminating any momentum Pittsburgh had gained from linebacker LaMarr Woodley's 77-yard fumble return.

Though the Steelers head into their bye week with a 5-2 record after four consecutive victories, shoring up their special-teams coverage unit will be a priority.

"It's good to get into a bye winning a few in a row," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "We'll continue to improve in our areas of deficiency, kickoff coverage being one of them."

Covering kickoffs had not been a problem for the Steelers in recent years as their special-teams units have ranked among the league's best since 2005. The two recent kick returns for touchdowns match the total Pittsburgh gave up in the previous four seasons.

But the coverage units in previous years included special teams stalwarts such as linebackers James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons and cornerbacks William Gay, Ike Taylor and Anthony Madison.

Madison, the team's leading special teams tackler last year, was released at the end of training camp to make room for rookie cornerbacks Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis. Madison's now covering kicks for Cleveland.

Harrison, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, hasn't covered kicks this season. Gay and Taylor, the two starting cornerbacks, have been used sporadically on special teams.

Only Timmons - a starter at inside linebacker - is still a regular on special teams coverage units. But he suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter Sunday and was not on the field for Harvin's return.

The Steelers are allowing 24.5 yards on kickoff returns. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, no Pittsburgh team has given up that many yards per return.

"We'd better fix it and fix it in a hurry," said Tomlin. "I accept responsibility for that. I'm going to get it fixed, whether it's schematics, people or both."

Kickoff returns haven't been the sole problem for the Steelers.

In seven games, the defense has allowed only 11 touchdowns (nine passing, two rushing). But the Steelers have given up five touchdowns on returns, two on kickoffs, two on interceptions and one on a fumble. The only other team to allow five touchdowns on returns is the winless St. Louis Rams.

"Those are usually the kind of plays that kill you," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "We were fortunate that our defense scored twice to offset the touchdown they got."

Odds and end zones

Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he is still unsure if he will play in Denver when the Steelers play there Nov. 9. Clark had his spleen and gall bladder removed after the Steelers played in Denver in 2007. Clark's body had an adverse reaction to playing in the high altitude. ... Wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has 408 yards from scrimmage, is second among NFL rookies to Denver running back Knowshon Moreno. Moreno has 449 total yards.

El-Gonzo Jackson
10-28-2009, 12:15 AM
Kind of funny that nobody mentions there were blatant penalties in both the KO return of Cribbs and Harvin that should have negated those returns.

I mean really, how many times do broadcasters point out missed penalties IN FAVOR of the Steelers??? On both of those returns the broadcast team saw the penalty and mentioned them. IMO, the coverage woe is a statistical anomaly based on a hold and a block in the back.

HometownGal
10-28-2009, 07:58 AM
But the Steelers have given up five touchdowns on returns, two on kickoffs, two on interceptions and one on a fumble

Didn't you know - all of 'em are Jeff Reed's fault. :rolleyes: :chuckle:

The Steelers may want to think about going back to putting a couple of our heavy hitters on ST's to see how that move might improve the coverage.

Nadroj 20
10-28-2009, 08:59 AM
Didn't you know - all of 'em are Jeff Reed's fault. :rolleyes: :chuckle:

The Steelers may want to think about going back to putting a couple of our heavy hitters on ST's to see how that move might improve the coverage.

:uhh: lol its not ALL his fault

But it is ALL 11 guys fault, they as an entire unit need to pick it up.

HometownGal
10-28-2009, 09:55 AM
:uhh: lol its not ALL his fault

But it is ALL 11 guys fault, they as an entire unit need to pick it up.

I was JOKING Nadroj. :chuckle:

It's the same with every unit - playing together and being in sync with each other produces positive results. There is no "I" in football. :thumbsup:

Nadroj 20
10-28-2009, 10:20 AM
I was JOKING Nadroj. :chuckle:

It's the same with every unit - playing together and being in sync with each other produces positive results. There is no "I" in football. :thumbsup:

I know lol, our main points are the same though, the entire unit, even skippy, needs to pick it up

However with 2 weeks to prepare i think they will :tt04:

steelpride12
10-28-2009, 11:32 AM
And that's why this bye week could not come at a more perfect time. Time to let all injuries heal and for the Steelers to critique any issues still looming and the ST will be the main sight.

smokin3000gt
10-28-2009, 12:10 PM
I am sick and tired of this team not playing FLAWLESS football season in and season out!! They all SUCK and need to be FIRED! :chuckle:


:couch:

HometownGal
10-28-2009, 04:11 PM
I am sick and tired of this team not playing FLAWLESS football season in and season out!! They all SUCK and need to be FIRED! :chuckle:


:couch:

:toofunny::toofunny::toofunny:

For a moment there, I thought I had logged into the wrong Steelers BB. :chuckle:

fansince'76
10-28-2009, 04:18 PM
I mean really, how many times do broadcasters point out missed penalties IN FAVOR of the Steelers???

Sunday's "unbiased and completely objective" game commentary in a nutshell....

Miller's "pick" that negated a Steelers TD:

"Uh, don't know about that one."

Tripping call on Dugan which negated a Vikings TD:

"BAD CALL! BAD CALL! BAD CALL! BAD CALL! BAD CALL!"

Dino 6 Rings
10-28-2009, 04:29 PM
I guess we could always just kick the ball out of bounds and let our Defense stop their Offense starting from the 40 yard line.