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mesaSteeler
11-10-2009, 07:04 AM
Seven observations for the Steelers
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/5369/seven-observations-for-the-steelers

November 10, 2009 1:30 AM
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers proved once again that they will be a factor in the title hunt this year with a 28-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Here are seven observations from Monday's big win for Pittsburgh:

Troy is back: When Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu is healthy, Pittsburgh’s defense is dynamic and has the potential to be the best unit in the NFL. With two weeks off to rest his knee, Polamalu was great once again with three tackles, an interception and two passes defensed. He looked as healthy as he has all season. As the game wore on, the Steelers’ defense wore on Denver's offense to the tune of three turnovers and 242 total yards.

Steelers are versatile: Whether it’s a physical defense, a strong running game or relying on the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers can beat you in so many ways this year. Pittsburgh passed the ball around for a lot of yards most of this season. But on Monday the Steelers controlled the pace with the running game. Rashard Mendenhall had 155 yards rushing and got stronger as the game progressed. Mendenhall is heating up, averaging at least five yards per carry in four of his last five starts. Pittsburgh’s running game is more consistent than it was last year when the team won a Super Bowl.

O-line playing better: It’s time to give Pittsburgh’s offensive line some credit. The unit is playing as well as it has in the past several years. Roethlisberger is still taking sacks but the difference is he’s getting five, six and seven seconds to throw the ball. Holes are also being made up front in the running game. Last year the Steelers’ offensive line was a major weakness. But through eight games the unit is gradually getting better and no longer is a liability.

No Clark, no problem: After two weeks of back-and-forth deliberation, the Steelers decided not to play veteran safety Ryan Clark. It didn’t matter as backup Tyrone Carter played a quality game, recording two interceptions, including one for a touchdown. Carter struggled some earlier in the year to replace Polamalu. But it’s clear Clark’s role was easier to step into as Carter looked more comfortable and stayed around the football. Clark will reclaim his role as the starter moving forward but look for Carter to continue to produce in sub packages.

The Wallace factor: Receiver Mike Wallace does not look like a rookie. Pittsburgh hit another home run in the draft this year as Wallace, a third-round pick, is contributing right away in the passing game. Wallace recorded four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown against Denver. He is the team's third option behind veterans Hines Ward (seven catches, 44 yards) and Santonio Holmes (six catches, 93 yards). But Wallace has quickly gained the trust of the Roethlisberger and the offensive coaches.

AFC North a factor: This is the time of year when the ultra-physical AFC North starts to insert its will on opponents. The Broncos were considered one of the best teams in the AFC, but back-to-back losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Steelers took the shine off their fast start. Both teams punished the Broncos into submission, winning by a combined score of 58-17. This year, the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) are major forces in the conference moving forward. Last year two AFC North teams -- the Steelers and Ravens -- advanced to the AFC title game.

Big showdown: Pittsburgh's win sets up a huge matchup for first place in the AFC North with the Bengals. Cincinnati proved the team is for real by beating every team in the division at least once and sweeping Baltimore Sunday with a 17-7 victory. Expect a well-played game between these two teams. Both teams appear to be hitting their stride at the right time of the season and both teams should be a factor in the postseason regardless of the outcome.

Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger, AFC, AFC North, Santonio Holmes, Ryan Clark, NFL, NFL draft, Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Troy Polamalu, Tyrone Carter, Steelers-Broncos 110909

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GBMelBlount
11-10-2009, 07:18 AM
The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers proved once again that they will be a factor in the title hunt this year with a 28-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.


No brainer here. It became apparent early on this year that we have BOTH a top shelf defense AND offense.

Nice post robot, errrr, ummm....Mesa. :chuckle:

HometownGal
11-10-2009, 08:49 AM
The Wallace factor: Receiver Mike Wallace does not look like a rookie. Pittsburgh hit another home run in the draft this year as Wallace, a third-round pick, is contributing right away in the passing game. Wallace recorded four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown against Denver. He is the team's third option behind veterans Hines Ward (seven catches, 44 yards) and Santonio Holmes (six catches, 93 yards). But Wallace has quickly gained the trust of the Roethlisberger and the offensive coaches.


I am so impressed with this kid and the HUGE contributions he has made to the Steelers O. :thumbsup: Ben has to be in hog heaven knowing that he has FOUR very talented and capable options to toss the pigskin to. :applaudit:

This is the time of the football season where the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders.

Venom
11-10-2009, 08:56 AM
Its just amazing how the Steelers , during halftime , adjusts the D and comes out stronger in the second half. God Bless Charles Richard “Dick” LeBeau !!!!!!!

SteelMember
11-10-2009, 08:59 AM
Nice post robot, errrr, ummm....Mesa. :chuckle:

Yeah, what's with all this "newspaper stuff" in these forums. :laughing:

markymarc
11-10-2009, 12:18 PM
Good read and thanks for posting Mesa! The Steelers are really starting to peak and couldn't pick a better time of the season for that. Boy that 1-2 beginning is a distant memory now.