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mesaSteeler
11-11-2009, 11:19 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/notes.htm

Pittsburgh's fifth straight victory after a 1-2 start sent the Steelers into Sunday's AFC North Division showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. The teams are tied at 6-2 and the Bengals own a 23-20 victory over Pittsburgh.

"It's going to be a war," said wide receiver Hines Ward.

Ward caught two touchdown passes in Denver as the Steelers dominated the Broncos, 28-10, even though they played without three starters on defense.

All three — safety Ryan Clark, linebacker Lawrence Timmons and defensive end Travis Kirschke — could line up against the Bengals.

"We got the Bengals at home," Ward said. "That's what we want."

The Super Bowl champions are in the middle of a three-game stretch against some of the teams with the best records in the league. They gave the Vikings their first loss, the Broncos their second and have a chance to send the Bengals to their third and break the tie atop the division they have won the past two years.

"We're in position to go on a run we just have to keep winning," defensive end Brett Keisel said after sacking Kyle Orton twice Monday night. "Obviously we have the biggest test we'll play all year next week."

While the Bengals have been down for most of two decades, the Steelers have been a thorn in their side when they did have opportunities. Pittsburgh beat them in the opening round of the playoffs after the 2005 season in Cincinnati and then went on to win the Super Bowl. The Bengals would have made the playoffs again in 2006 except for a year-ending defeat in overtime to Pittsburgh.

NOTES, QUOTES

—It was coach Mike Tomlin's choice and not Ryan Clark's to not allow the free safety to play in Denver Monday night. Clark lost his spleen, gall bladder and more than 30 pounds after he played in Denver two years ago because of a unique medical condition that includes sickle cell trait.

"I told Ryan I wasn't going to allow him to play, and he was OK with that. I think it was the appropriate thing to do in this situation," Tomlin said.

—The Chief, the popular one-man play that starred Tom Atkins, is supposed to be filmed in Pittsburgh on Thursday. However, contracts with various entities, including those of the play's authors, have not yet been signed.

—Tyrone Carter has now started three games at free safety over the past two seasons for Ryan Clark. During those three games, he has five interceptions, two of them for touchdowns. He had two picks in Denver, one for a 48-yard TD.

"I feel good about the opportunity to be out there any time,'' Carter said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER/PERSONNEL

—FS Ryan Clark did not play vs. the Broncos because of the health issues he had in the high altitude two years ago. Clark will return to start Sunday.

—DE Travis Kirschke hopes to be able to play Sunday vs. Cincinnati. He did not play vs. the Broncos because of a torn left calf muscle.

—DE Nick Eason replaced injured Travis Krischke as the starting left defensive end. Eason was the third starting left end in the past four games. Aaron Smith was placed on IR.

—LB Lawrence Timmons missed his third start of the season with a sprained ankle. Timmons missed the first game and did not start the second because of a sprained left ankle. He missed Monday's game with a sprained right ankle.

—LB Keyaron Fox made his third start at inside linebacker, for injured Lawrence Timmons. Fox is a special-teams co-captain.

REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS

PASSING OFFENSE: B — Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 29 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 116.0. However, he also threw a bad interception on first down at Denver's 15 with the game still in the balance, throwing behind Hines Ward in the end zone. And he was sacked and stripped of the ball that was returned for another TD.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A — Rashard Mendenhall continued to tear up NFL defenses. He rushed for 155 yards on 22 carries, a 7.0-yard average. Mewelde Moore added 18 yards on four carries as the Steelers ran 29 times for 173 yards against the NFL's top-ranked defense.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus — Kyle Orton was humming along, completing high-percentage passes until the bottom fell out. He was 23 of 38 for 221 yards, but he had no touchdowns, and of his three interceptions, one was returned for a TD and another set up a touchdown. Tyrone Carter, subbing for Ryan Clark at free safety, had two of the interceptions. He was sacked twice, both by end Brett Keisel, and had a 43.9 passer rating. He did not try one long pass against the Steelers.

RUSH DEFENSE: A — Denver did not try much, but when it did it went nowhere. The Broncos ran only 14 times for only 27 yards, a 1.9-yard average. The Steelers entered the game with the No. 1-ranked run defense and left with it intact, even though they played with three starters out.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Little took place on either side of note, except that punter Daniel Sepulveda dropped three of his five punts inside the 20 and averaged 44.2 gross. The Steelers held Denver return man Eddie Royal in check. One field goal was tried, by the Broncos, and it was good.

COACHING: A — Dick LeBeau, missing three starters from his defense, mixed and matched as the game in the high altitude went on and got good play from all. Even though Denver kept to the short passes, the Steelers got good pressure on Orton and made him hurry some throws, one of that was intercepted and returned 48 yards for a touchdown. Bruce Arians thought he could run on the Broncos and they did that behind Mendenhall.

Galax Steeler
11-12-2009, 05:02 AM
There is no douht about it come Sunday it is going to be a hell of a game. Both teams want to be atop the AFC North. But in the end I think we will come out the victors. I think we are a more physical team then they are.