View Full Version : Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort Sunday in their victory against Tampa Bay:

09-27-2010, 07:27 AM
Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort Sunday in their victory against Tampa Bay:
Monday, September 27, 2010

QUARTERBACK A+ In between having his first and last pass intercepted, Charlie Batch was outstanding, especially in the first half -- throwing three TDs and scrambling 24 yards on third down to set up another. Batch finished with 186 yards and a 106.5 passer rating, giving the offense the kind of production it had been lacking. For a quarterback who hadn't started since the 2007 season finale, it was impressive.

RUNNING BACKS A The Steelers just wore down the Buccaneers, especially in the second half when they rushed for 134 yards of their season-high 201 yards. Rashard Mendenhall finished with a season-high 143 yards on 19 carries, but 103 came after halftime. He had six runs of 10 yards or longer, including a long of 34 yards, and also scored on a 3-yard run in which he ran through S Sean Jones.

WIDE RECEIVERS A Mike Wallace had two long TD catches in the first half, making a nice adjustment to catch a deflected pass in the end zone on the second one. Those plays forced the Buccaneers to drop one of their safeties from the line of scrimmage, creating more running room for Mendenhall. Hines Ward had only three catches, but one was a 9-yard touchdown, giving him 80 TD receptions for his career.

OFFENSIVE LINE A That the line has performed at such a high level with all the injuries and substitutions has been beyond commendable. Batch had good protection all game, never getting sacked and having enough time to wait for his receivers to flash open. And the running game gained big chunks of yards, thanks to some nice gaps in the interior. That's why the Steelers had seven runs of 10 yards or longer.

DEFENSIVE LINE B The Buccaneers had modest success on the ground, gaining 75 yards on 21 carries, the most by an opponent this season. But DE Brett Keisel made the biggest play of all, picking off a deflected pass and weaving 79 yards for a TD. The line did a good job collapsing the pocket on QB Josh Freeman, even though he escaped several times for long early runs. DE Nick Eason had one of three sacks.

LINEBACKERS B+ Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau gave Freeman a lot of different looks with his OLBs, often dropping LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison into coverage. Woodley had a couple of good chances at interceptions and was throwing the lead blocks on Keisel's scoring return. ILB Lawrence Timmons led the team with five solo tackles and had a sack. James Farrior forced a fumble and had a sack.

DEFENSIVE BACKS B The Buccaneers finished with 251 yards passing, but 144 came after the Steelers built a 31-6 lead. Nickel back William Gay made several big plays in coverage, especially on third down at the Steelers' 10 that forced the Buccanners to settle for a field goal, and also had a big third-down sack to open the second half. Ike Taylor dropped another would-be interception on a deep pass.

SPECIAL TEAMS B Thanks to their offense, the Steelers didn't need Jeff Reed or Antonio Brown in this game. But, they did get a solid job from their kick-coverage unit, allowing the Buccaneers an average of 19 yards on six returns. Dan Sepulveda had to punt once -- a career-long 62 yards to the Tampa Bay 9. The only gaffe was thinking the Buccaneers would fall for a fake reverse to Brown on the opening kickoff.

COACHING A+ This was a big homecoming for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, even though he would never admit it, and you can just not say enough about the preparation of the players. They committed just two penalties -- only one from defensive scrimmage -- and weren't even bothered by the heat. Big kudos to offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who is rotating seven players because of injuries.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10270/1090666-66.stm#ixzz10ijG5jsR

09-27-2010, 07:33 AM
Steelers/Buccaneers report card
By Mark Kaboly
Monday, September 27, 2010

Steelers / Position / Buccaneers

B(+) / Quarterback / C

Despite two inconsequential picks, Charlie Batch was able to exploit a weak Tampa secondary with some long passes. Josh Freeman played well enough to win if it weren't for his terrible defense.

A / Running back / D

Rashard Mendenhall averaged 7.5 yards per carry and ran the ball hard and between the tackles with great success. Tampa found room early, but that was cut off very quickly by the Steelers' front seven.

B / Wide receiver / C(-)

Mike Wallace caught two touchdowns passes that were the difference in the game, and Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El made key catches. Mike Williams look good, but the rest of the Tampa receivers couldn't get open.

B / Tight end / C

Heath Miller made a key 21-yard reception that set up a Mendenhall touchdown and, along with David Johnson and Matt Spaeth, blocked pretty well. Kellen Winslow caught one nice pass, but that was it.

A(+) / Offensive line / B(-)

Batch was touched once all day; the line didn't allow a sack for the first time since Nov. 29, 2009, to go along with the 201 yards rushing. When you hold James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley without a sack, you had a pretty good day.

A / Defensive line / D

Brett Keisel's 79-yard interception return was the icing on the cake. The rotation worked again as the Steelers allowed minimal rushing yards. Tampa's line couldn't get any pressure on Batch and couldn't plug the holes.

B(-) / Linebacker / C

Lawrence Timmons was all over the place again, collecting a team-high seven tackles, but Harrison and Woodley were neutralized. Barrett Ruud had nine tackles and Quincy Black an interception.

B / Secondary / D

The secondary didn't let anybody get behind them again, which is a must for the Steelers. If only Ike Taylor could catch. If it wasn't for the play of the venerable Ronde Barber, where would this Tampa unit have been?

A / Special teams / B

Jeff Reed was perfect and had his third touchback of the season; Dan Sepulveda had a 62-yard punt; and the kick return unit gave up only 19 yards per return. Tampa's Connor Barth made two field goals.

A / Coaching / C

Mike Tomlin's decision to go down the field against a rookie safety was brilliant. Tampa counterpart Raheem Morris did what he could do, but it is hard to teach physicality, and that was the difference in the game.

Mark Kaboly can be reached at mkaboly@dailynewsemail.com or 412-664-9161.

09-27-2010, 08:05 AM
QB: C maybe a B-


WR: A for the most part

OL: A (they opened holes and protected batch)

D-line: B


DB: B+

ST: A-

Coaching: B