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mesaSteeler
09-13-2010, 07:33 AM
The Reportcard: Steelers 15, Falcons 9 OT
GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort in their victory against Atlanta Sunday
Monday, September 13, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

QUARTERBACKS C+

Dennis Dixon might not have won the game, but he didn't lose it, either, even though he had several potential interceptions dropped. After a shaky start and a bunch of low throws, he finished 18 of 26 for 236 yards with one pick. Give him kudos for a 52-yard pass to Mike Wallace to set up a field goal and back-to-back completions of 24 and 25 yards to Hines Ward to set up the go-ahead FG.

RUNNING BACKS A

Considering that the Falcons stacked the line of scrimmage to take away the run, Rashard Mendenhall did a good job grinding out tough yards, turning nothing into 2-, 3- and 4-yard gains. But he made the biggest play of all -- a 50-yard walk-off TD run in overtime. Mendenhall finished with 120 yards on 22 carries. Isaac Redman converted three short-yardage chances until late in the fourth quarter.

WIDE RECEIVERS B+

Hines Ward not only had his club-record 26th 100-yard receiving game, he threw one of the big blocks on Mendenhall's 50-yard TD run in overtime. So did TE David Johnson, who lined at fullback on the play. Ward's back-to-back catches of 24 and 25 yards in the fourth quarter were huge. And so was Mike Wallace's 52-yard catch in the third quarter that set up Jeff Reed's 36-yard field goal.

OFFENSIVE LINE C

OK, Dixon was sacked three times, but, for the most part, he had decent protection. But two of the sacks came late in the fourth quarter after LT Max Starks went out with a high-ankle sprain. The Steelers finished with 143 yards rushing, thanks to Mendenhall's OT heroics, but their ability to get some movement up front and gain yards allowed them to keep the pressure off Dixon.

DEFENSIVE LINE B

The Steelers had to play without Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) for 2 1/2 quarters but still held the Falcons to 58 yards rushing on 25 attempts. Their goal was to stop RB Michael Turner, and they did, holding him to 42 yards on 19 carries and not allowing him a run longer than 7 yards. Their biggest achievement was creating space for linebackers to make tackles.

LINEBACKERS A+

Inside LBs Lawrence Timmons (11 tackles) and James Farrior (8) were outstanding against the run, stuffing the middle and not allowing the Falcons a run longer than 7 yards. Timmons had nine solo tackles, including three for losses, OLB LaMarr Woodley extended his sack streak to nine consecutive games. And James Harrison had a big sack near midfield in the third quarter.

DEFENSIVE BACKS C

The Falcons were intent on throwing to WR Roddy White nearly every time he lined against CB Bryant McFadden. Of Matt Ryan's 44 attempts, 23 were intended for White, who finished with 13 catches for 111 yards -- tying for most catches by an opponent in Steelers history. But the Steelers finally switched to zone coverage on the play that resulted in Troy Polamalu's interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS B-

Jeff Reed, who kicked three field goals, is the NFL's most accurate PK since '07. But he missed a 40-yarder with 39 seconds left that would have won the game in regulation -- one of the few times he has failed to deliver in that situation. The Steelers got nothing out of their return game, but coverage was good. And Daniel Sepulveda's best punt (55) came when the Steelers needed it most.

COACHING B

Give Dick LeBeau credit for making a defensive change that resulted in Polamalu's interception, even though Reed missed a potential winning FG. Also give offensive coordinator Bruce Arians credit for trying to ease Dixon into the game with half-rolls and short throws. It's tough to fault Mike Tomlin for trying a 55-yard FG near the end of the first half, especially in a close game.
Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10256/1087228-66.stm#ixzz0zPcW2EuX

DanRooney
09-13-2010, 10:08 AM
Trash report card.

The secondary was pretty damn good. Most of White's receptions were great catches in tight coverage.

The OL also did a good job. They tossed around the smaller Falcons line without trouble and 2 of the 3 sacks were due to Dixon being an assclown at the end of the game.

Speaking of the quarterback who can't throw passes to the sideline, he deserved a D+ for doing close to nothing but hindering the team

Third Rail
09-13-2010, 10:15 AM
Trash report card.

The secondary was pretty damn good. Most of White's receptions were great catches in tight coverage.

The OL also did a good job. They tossed around the smaller Falcons line without trouble and 2 of the 3 sacks were due to Dixon being an assclown at the end of the game.

Speaking of the quarterback who can't throw passes to the sideline, he deserved a D+ for doing close to nothing but hindering the team

Thank you for being one of the few people who isn't afraid to criticize Dixon. I thought he was pretty lousy overall yesterday. He might have completed most of his passes, but he still couldn't move the team down the field. I think he saw the Red Zone once? And it resulted in an interception.

truesteelerfan
09-13-2010, 10:22 AM
I'm OK for the report card...considering it was the first game of the season...The expectations now need to increase, while at the same time, we will have some new faces in certain places due to injuries. If this game had been in say week 7, the scores wouldn't have been quite as high for me, however a win is a win.

Third Rail
09-13-2010, 10:23 AM
Am I the only one who thought this was a pretty lame opening weekend overall? It seems like none of the teams that played this weekend were firing on all cylinders. Even the Saints and the Vikes looked pretty bad on Thursday.

kirklandrules
09-13-2010, 10:47 AM
Am I the only one who thought this was a pretty lame opening weekend overall? It seems like none of the teams that played this weekend were firing on all cylinders. Even the Saints and the Vikes looked pretty bad on Thursday.

Typical opening weekend performance for most. It only gets better from here. Glad our defense looked good yesterday. Any time you keep a team from the endzone your doing pretty good ... add in that they kept the opposition under 10 points.

I was rooting for Dixon and have to say I was disappointed in his performance. Had the feeling throughout the game that if Ben were in we would have blown the doors off Atlanta. But I'll keep pulling for whoever they decided to start and if it is DD, then I'll hope he continues to improve. Hell, Ben didn't look impressive his first few starts.

BlackAndGold4Ever
09-13-2010, 10:55 AM
Typical opening weekend performance for most. It only gets better from here. Glad our defense looked good yesterday. Any time you keep a team from the endzone your doing pretty good ... add in that they kept the opposition under 10 points.

I was rooting for Dixon and have to say I was disappointed in his performance. Had the feeling throughout the game that if Ben were in we would have blown the doors off Atlanta. But I'll keep pulling for whoever they decided to start and if it is DD, then I'll hope he continues to improve. Hell, Ben didn't look impressive his first few starts.

+1. Really glad that the defense came to play. It was Dixon's first game. It wasn’t pretty, but it could have been alot worse. He def shouldn’t have made those two throws that almost got picked.

Third Rail
09-13-2010, 11:06 AM
Typical opening weekend performance for most. It only gets better from here. Glad our defense looked good yesterday. Any time you keep a team from the endzone your doing pretty good ... add in that they kept the opposition under 10 points.

I was rooting for Dixon and have to say I was disappointed in his performance. Had the feeling throughout the game that if Ben were in we would have blown the doors off Atlanta. But I'll keep pulling for whoever they decided to start and if it is DD, then I'll hope he continues to improve. Hell, Ben didn't look impressive his first few starts.

Yeah, if the defense keeps up that level of play, then we'll certainly be fine when Ben gets back, regardless of what happens in the next three weeks.

And yeah, hopefully Dennis will improve. I don't know though. I guess we'll see.