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01-16-2011, 12:47 AM
Steelers-Ravens report card
By Mark Kaboly
MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Quarterback: Steelers A; Ravens F
Ben Roethlisberger was impressive in the red zone by scoring touchdowns and not settling for field goals, and that ultimately was the difference. Joe Flacco was just putrid.
Running back: Steelers C; Ravens C
Rashard Mendenhall didn't rush for many yards, but ran hard and was able to find more space the usual against the Ravens. Ray Rice had a nice touchdown run, but not many chances to shine.
Wide receiver: Steelers A; Ravens F
Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and Antonio Brown made huge plays. Brown's 58-yarder late in the game was a thing of beauty. Baltimore's receivers caught four balls. Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin combined for one.
Tight end: Steelers B; Ravens B
Heath Miller caught a touchdown pass and was targeted seven times. Todd Heap caught a touchdown, but wasn't dominant.
Offensive line: Steelers D; Ravens D
The banged-up line saw Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott leave with injuries. They gave up six sacks and didn't open up many holes for the running game. Flacco was sacked five times.
Defensive line: Steelers A; Ravens B
Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood came up with a lot of pressure on Flacco, and Casey Hampton controlled the middle. Baltimore's line wasn't as disruptive as in previous games.
Linebacker: Steelers A; Ravens A
LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons made plays and, most important, kept Rice in check underneath. Terrell Suggs was unblockable once again.
Secondary: Steelers A; Ravens C
Ryan Clark had an interception, and Ike Taylor and William Gay shut down Baltimore's receivers. The Ravens allowing Brown to get behind the defense on 3rd-and-19 was unacceptable.
Special teams: Steelers C; Ravens B
Shaun Suisham missed a 41-yard field goal, but made a 35-yarder. The coverage teams were poor. The Ravens punt return team put them in position to win the game late.
Overall: Steelers A; Ravens C
When your team rallies from two touchdowns down in the second half, you're doing something right. John Harbaugh's dink-and-dunk plan offensively didn't work.
Mark Kaboly can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161.
01-16-2011, 12:52 AM
Mike Preston's report card: Ravens vs. Steelers
By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun
10:15 p.m. EST, January 15, 2011
Joe Flacco had two turnovers that led to 10 Pittsburgh points, and his decision-making was slow and poor. He missed several open receivers, and a third-year quarterback shouldn't be taking sacks when he is out of the pocket. That's inexcusable. Grade: C-
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Ray Rice looked good on that 14-yard touchdown run in the first half, but that was it for highlights. His cut-back style isn't good against a team that plays swarming defense like the Steelers, and his fumble led to a Pittsburgh touchdown. Backup Willis McGahee was tiptoeing into the holes in short-yardage situations.The only impressive player was fullback Le'Ron McClain. Grade: D
Pittsburgh was very physical with the Ravens receivers, and Derrick Mason seemed to lose his cool early. Mason had no catches; Anquan Boldin had one. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and tight end Todd Heap were Flacco's only weapons. Boldin and Houshmandzadeh dropped key passes in crunch time. Grade: D-
In the first half, this group performed well in pass protection, which allowed the Ravens to turn a takeaway into points. But the second half was a disaster. The Ravens had 98 yards of total offense in the first half and finished with 126 for the game. Pittsburgh had five sacks. Say again? Only 126 yards of total offense? Grade: D
This was one of the better games for the defensive line. Tackles Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg and Brandon McKinney controlled the action up front, and ends Cory Redding and Paul Kruger got pressure. The Ravens, though, got winded being on the field for so long. Grade: B
The Ravens made the Steelers earn every one of their 71 rushing yards, and inside linebackers Jameel McClain and Ray Lewis cleaned up everything along the line of scrimmage. Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson kept constant pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the Ravens needed more bodies and more oxygen. Grade: A
Chris Carr played well, especially against the run. The Ravens' other cornerbacks, though, feared giving up the big play, and Pittsburgh took advantage by throwing underneath. There is no excuse for the Ravens' giving up the long pass at the end of the game, and it might be time to change safeties, teaming someone else with Ed Reed. The Ravens are in need of big, physical cornerback. Grade: C
The Ravens got a lot of mileage out of their return units, averaging 18.5 yards per punt return and 19.5 per kickoff return. Lardarius Webb made an impact returning punts and kickoffs, but a holding penalty nullified a punt return for a touchdown. It wasn't a big day for Billy Cundiff as far as kickoffs, but punter Sam Koch was good again, averaging 53.8 yards. Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden each had two special teams tackles. Grade: B
01-16-2011, 01:20 AM
Report card: Steelers vs. Ravens
Sunday, January 16, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood had one of five sacks for the Steelers in Saturday's game against the Ravens at Heinz Field.
It wasn't pretty, especially after his fumble gave the Ravens a 14-7 lead, but Ben Roethlisberger made a number of big throws in the second half to capitalize on turnovers and pull out the victory. The biggest was a 58-yard pass to Antonio Brown to set up the winning touchdown, but don't forget about the sneaky sneak of fourth-and-1 to set up a go-ahead field goal by Shaun Suisham.
Running Backs: C+
Rashard Mendenhall didn't post big numbers -- 46 yards on 20 carries -- but he scored two touchdowns, the latter on a tough cutback from the 2. His first TD from 1 yard out came after he carried six times for 17 yards on the opening 80-yard scoring drive. In between, it looked as though he might have committed the back-breaking play when his fumble led to the touchdown that made it 21-7.
Wide Receiver: B
Antonio Brown made the biggest catch of all -- a 58-yarder behind CB Lardarius Webb to the Ravens' 4 to set up the winning touchdown. Veteran Hines Ward was shut out in the first half, but he came back to make several big plays, the biggest an 8-yard catch for a touchdown on a slant that tied the score, 21-21. TE Heath Miller's 9-yard TD catch was a big momentum lift after a Ray Rice fumble.
Offensive Line: C-
DE Terrell Suggs was a difference-maker again, registering two of his three sacks in the first half and forcing the fumble on Roethlisberger that was returned for a touchdown. G Ramon Foster wasn't the only player standing around on the play that made it 14-7, but he stood over the ball and never thought to pick it up. Roethlisberger was sacked six times, but injuries forced more juggling on the line.
Defensive Line: A
The Ravens had just 21 yards rushing on nine carries in the first half and finished with only 35 yards on 18 carries, but one play hurt the NFL's No. 1 rush defense -- a 14-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice that gave them a 7-0 lead. Big plays by DE Ziggy Hood and a fumble recovery by DE Brett Keisel were big factors in the second-half comeback. Hood had a sack on third down on the final series.
James Harrison broke out of his sack slump -- he had just a half-sack in the past five games -- with three of the Steelers' five sacks against QB Joe Flacco. OLB Lamarr Woodley had a sack and a fumble recovery that set up a touchdown. And ILB Lawrence Timmons is starting to play as he did early in the season, finishing with a team-high nine tackles. Rice had just 18 yards on 11 carries after his TD run.
Defensive backs: B
It seemed as if a pass-interference penalty in the first quarter against CB Anthony Madison would start the team's downfall. Even Pro Bowl S Troy Polamalu was guilty of poor plays, missing a couple of tackles on Rice that resulted in touchdowns. But S Ryan Clark made big plays in the second half to change the game. He forced a fumble by Rice and had the only interception against Flacco.
Special Teams: F
It started bad with a 38-yard kick return and it just went downhill from there. Keyaron Fox's holding penalty on a kick return resulted in poor field position that led to a fumble by Roethlisberger; and Keenan Lewis' illegal-block penalty on a punt return led to poor field position and Mendenhall's fumble. Both turnovers resulted in touchdowns. On top of that, Shaun Suisham missed a 43-yard field goal.
In the end, it was turnovers and big plays on defense that helped them come back from a 21-7 deficit. And, next time someone wants to complain about the Steelers offensive plan, just remember the horrid play-calling by the Ravens in the third quarter. A couple big drops by Raven receivers Anqaun Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh helped to Send the Steelers to the AFC Championship game. (Oh goody I'm supposed to be happy that someone is worse than the Airhead? Not! - mesa)
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11016/1118441-66.stm#ixzz1BB0PegkA
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