View Full Version : Week 15: Steelers Key Matchup

12-20-2009, 07:04 AM

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Week 15: Steelers Key Matchup

By The Tribune-Review

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steelers WR Santonio Holmes vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson


In his fourth year, Santonio Holmes has transitioned into the leader of the Steelers' wideouts, taking that role away from future Hall of Famer Hines Ward. Holmes, the Super Bowl XLIII MVP has been targeted by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a team-high 113 times. He passed 1,000 yards in a season for the first time last week; his total of 1,080 leads the team and ranks third in the NFL. Holmes' 70 receptions are also a career best. Holmes set a career high in receiving yards a few weeks back when he hauled in eight passes for 149 yards in a loss to Oakland. Holmes has eight games with at least 80 yards receiving.


The 33-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner has found the fountain of youth in Green Bay and is being talked about as a serious candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson has done it all this year. He is second in the league with eight interceptions, including two he returned for scores. He has forced four fumbles and has two sacks. His five sacks since 2008 lead all NFL defensive backs (safeties and corners). His 61 total tackles are already more than he accumulated all last of season. What has made Woodson so dominant this year has been his versatility he has played corner, safety and linebacker .


If there's one knock on Woodson, it's that he tends to struggle with quick players. Holmes could be the Steelers' quickest receiver if he can get a free release off the line of scrimmage. If he can do that, he could make some plays against Woodson. However, the way Woodson has been playing, it might be tough to get anything accomplished against him. He has shut down some good receivers, such as Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Baltimore's Derrick Mason, and some elite tight ends, such as San Francisco's Vernon Davis and Dallas' Jason Witten. Woodson has found new life in Green Bay since coming over from Oakland. He has 27 picks in 59 games with the Packers and only 17 in 106 with the Raiders.

12-20-2009, 07:13 AM
Steelers WR Santonio Holmes vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson

Gerry Dulac

Head to Head: Steelers WR Santonio Holmes vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson

A closer look at the game within the game, Cornerstone players
Sunday, December 20, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers WR Santonio Holmes vs. Packers CB Charles Woodson

The name is the same, and so is the position. They even share the same defensive coordinator. Soon, they might have something else in common -- an NFL defensive player of the year award.

Cornerback Charles Woodson is tied for the National Football Conference lead with eight interceptions and is one of the reasons the Green Bay Packers are ranked No. 2 in total defense and No. 3 in pass defense in the NFL.

He reminds his defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, of another cornerback with the same last name -- Rod Woodson, who played for the Steelers from 1987-1996 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August.

"He's the Rod Woodson of our defense," said Capers, who was the defensive coordinator for three of Woodson's seasons with the Steelers (1992-94). "They are very similar players. We would always have Rod cover the other team's top receiver and we have Charles do the same thing."

Today, that probably means he will shadow wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who, statistically, is the Steelers' second-leading receiver with 70 catches. But he leads the team in receiving yards (1,080) and is Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target when the Steelers need a big play.

In the past five games, Holmes has 34 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns. He has been the intended receiver 54 times, or 33 percent of the 166 passes thrown by Roethlisberger and Dennis Dixon (against Baltimore), in those five games.

"He does it all, the way they use him," receiver Hines Ward said of Woodson, a 12-year veteran who has 44 career interceptions. "They play him inside, he gets sacks, picks, forced fumbles, pass breakups. And he's doing it week in and week out. He's a 12-year veteran who's still playing at a high level. That's what makes him special."

Said tight end Heath Miller: "He does everything but dispense the water on the sideline."

Woodson's career has been revitalized with the Packers. Since coming to Green Bay as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, he has 27 interceptions in 59 games. He had 17 interceptions in 106 games with the Oakland Raiders, his previous team.

Woodson, 33, has been having such a phenomenal season that he is being touted as a candidate for the NFL's defensive player of the year, an award won last season by Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison. Woodson has returned two of his eight interceptions for touchdowns and also has 15 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and two sacks.

"Rod was defensive player of the year in 1993," Capers said, referring to a season in which Woodson had eight interceptions, one for touchdown. "Charles has a chance to be that for us."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09354/1022311-66.stm#ixzz0aEaOapCP