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mesaSteeler
10-31-2011, 07:16 AM
Steelers Notebook: Brown steps in with Ward out
Monday, October 31, 2011
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
Ike Taylor breaks up a pass intended for the Patriots' Taylor Price in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers had to play an entire game without veteran receiver Hines Ward for the first time since the 2007 season, but the offense didn't miss a beat against the New England Patriots with Antonio Brown filling in.

Brown, a second-year pro out of Central Michigan, set a career high in receptions for the second consecutive week in the Steelers' 25-17 victory at Heinz Field.

One week after catching seven passes in a victory at Arizona, Brown caught nine passes against the Patriots. He was the main target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw Brown's way a team-high 15 times.

Brown had 67 yards and several key third down conversions on a day when Roethlisberger threw 50 times for 365 yards.

"He's a baller, man," said fellow receiver Mike Wallace, who had seven receptions for 70 yards. "That's all I really need to say. He's a football player. Hines is our leader, but if a man is down the next man has to step up. That's how we do it around here. We expect nothing less around here."

Brown has quickly developed into another dependable threat for Roethlisberger. He is second on the team in receptions (34) and yardage (431), second only to Wallace in both categories.

"It's kind of paying off, but I'm still not where I want to be," Brown said. "I have to see the little things Ben needs me to see and make the plays I need to make."

Roethlisberger sang a similar tune afterward. He said the passing game can be even more explosive if Brown and Emmanuel Sanders develop a deeper understanding of the offense. Sanders had five receptions for 70 yards and has 20 receptions for 243 yards for the season.

"I've said it a thousand times, the sky is the limit for those guys," Roethlisberger said of Brown and Sanders. "We can be as good as we want to be. There are a few things here and there we can clean up. We can be even more dangerous."
Ben streaks on

Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards or more for the 18th time in his career and the third this season. It was the second time in his career he threw for 300 yards in consecutive games (he had 361 against Arizona Oct. 23). He first accomplished the feat in 2006 against Oakland and Denver. It was Roethlisberger's 16th consecutive game with at least 200 yards passing.

Roethlisberger had thrown for much of his yardage before Sunday on big passing plays down the field to Wallace and his other receivers. That was not the case against the Patriots, who forced Roethlisberger to complete short and intermediate passes.

"They were giving us a lot of the underneath stuff," Roethlisberger said. "It felt like they were trying to take away the big plays early."

"We knew they were going to play two deep and make us go all the way down the field," Wallace said.

"We took we what we could get. Our quarterback is smart. He wasn't going to force anything. If everyone was where they needed to be we were going to win the football game."
Big day for Miller

Heath Miller was one catch shy of tying his career high for receptions in a game. Miller finished with seven catches for a team-high 85 yards.

Miller caught six passes in the first half. That ties the most catches in a half for a Steelers tight end since the team started keeping track of that statistic in 1991. Miller and Eric Green share the record.

"Heath is a great football player," Wallace said.

"It's crazy how underrated a football player he is. He's one of the best tight ends in the league. We don't use him as much because we have so many guys, but he's the most consistent guy on the team."
Woodley exits with injury

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley left the game early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. It is an injury that could prevent Woodley from playing in Sunday's AFC North showdown against the Ravens, although Woodley attempted to downplay the severity of the injury afterward.

"I'll be good," he said. "I don't know how serious it is. I think I'll be pretty good. I didn't want to mess it more than it already is."

Woodley did plenty of damage in the first half. He sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady twice for a total of 21 yards. It was the 16th multiple sack game of his career.

Woodley also became the first Steelers player to register multiple sacks in four consecutive games since the NFL began keeping sacks as an official statistic.

Rookie Chris Carter replaced Woodley. A fifth-round draft choice out of Fresno State, Carter finished with one tackle in his most extensive playing time of the season.

"It was exciting," Carter said. "It [stinks] that I had to get it when someone went down. [Woodley] is a big part of our defense. But at the end of the day someone has to step in and fill the role.

"I did cool. I didn't do perfect. There are some things I need to work on. I just have to keep improving every day. I thought we did a good job as a defense."

Woodley's injury was believed to be the only serious one for the Steelers. Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and cornerbacks Ike Taylor (shoulder) and Keenan Lewis (shoulder) sustained injuries, but came back to finish the game.
Woodland Hills matchup

Steelers safety Ryan Mundy and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, a couple of Woodland Hills High School graduates, were matched against one another in a few of the critical plays of the game.

Mundy, a 2003 Woodland Hills grad, made a big hit on Gronkowski at the goal line with 4:15 left, preventing a touchdown. Gronkowski thought he had crossed the goal line for the score, but officials said he was stopped short at the 1.

"Yeah, I was in," Gronkowski said. "But we didn't get the call and you have to move on. And we couldn't waste a timeout. Had to accept the call and move forward."

Had the Patriots challenged the ruling and lost, they would have forfeited a timeout.

"I thought about it [challenge], but there was no evidence to challenge it," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "I certainly couldn't see it from my angle and they replayed it in the box. There was nothing to tell us."

New England scored its second touchdown two minutes later.

The Steelers did a much better job of defending Gronkoswki than they did last season, when he had five catches for 72 yards and three touchdowns.
Welker shut down

The Steelers held Patriots star wide receiver Wes Welker in check Sunday, holding him to just six catches for 39 yards.

Welker, who came into the game with 51 catches for 785 yards and six touchdowns, said the Steelers gave them a different look on pass defense.

"They played a lot of man coverage," he said. "And they did a good job all the way around."
Inactives

The Steelers' inactives were quarterback Dennis Dixon, linebackers James Farrior, James Harrison and Jason Worilds, offensive lineman Doug Legursky, nose tackle Chris Hoke and Ward.

The Patriots' inactives were quarterback Ryan Mallett, receiver Julian Edelman, linebackers Dane Fletcher and Jermaine Cunningham, safety Josh Barrett, running back Shane Vereen and offensive lineman Donald Thomas.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11304/1186445-66-0.stm#ixzz1cMCYiz9P

Atlanta Dan
10-31-2011, 06:03 PM
Tomlin is going to need to have a hard talk with Hines about where he fits in this offense

IMO Ward is now the #4 receiver

Pa Yankee
10-31-2011, 06:10 PM
Tomlin is going to need to have a hard talk with Hines about where he fits in this offense

IMO Ward is now the #4 receiver

Even Hines would have had a standout performance today. Hines should still be #2 or #3.

DanRooney
10-31-2011, 06:20 PM
you're welcome.

:hatsoff:

ETL
10-31-2011, 06:26 PM
Until Brown and Sanders consistently make the dirty catches in the middle, Hines is still #2 for me.

GMU Steeler
10-31-2011, 06:27 PM
Hard to believe we got this guy in the 6th round a couple years ago. Really whoever is scouting the wide receivers and the WR coach himself deserve a nice pat on the back here. We haven't missed Holmes much at all and I think all three of Wallace, Brown, and Sanders will be better than he is.

Fire Arians
10-31-2011, 07:14 PM
Hard to believe we got this guy in the 6th round a couple years ago. Really whoever is scouting the wide receivers and the WR coach himself deserve a nice pat on the back here. We haven't missed Holmes much at all and I think all three of Wallace, Brown, and Sanders will be better than he is.

well last year's super bowl could have looked a lot different if we still had santonio in the lineup. but that's yesterday's history. this year the wr corps is looking really sharp, and when they're all on the same page, can be a scary thing

Atlanta Dan
10-31-2011, 07:36 PM
well last year's super bowl could have looked a lot different if we still had santonio in the lineup. but that's yesterday's history. this year the wr corps is looking really sharp, and when they're all on the same page, can be a scary thing

Last year's Super Bowl could have looked a lot different if Sanders had not been hurt - I doubt either Brown or Sanders gets drafted by the Steelers if Holmes had stayed

Merchant
10-31-2011, 08:21 PM
Naw.. Hines is the leader of the receivers man. The young money crew still needs that vet to keep em in check and give them guidance. He's still the #2 to Wallace.

steelerchad
10-31-2011, 08:32 PM
He is a great leader and one of my all time favorites, but he just doesn't get open very often any more. Great guy to keep on the roster, but the Steelers can't allow him to cost Brown any snaps when we are in 2 WR sets. As a #3 or #4, I'm ok with. Brown and Wallace with Sanders in the slot could be the most devastating WR corps for the next 10 years.

ETL
10-31-2011, 11:22 PM
There will come a time in cold snowy weather where we need to convert a tough 3rd down and need a WR to use his body to shield the defender and make the catch no matter what - no matter how hard he's going to get hit by the LBs in the area.

I'd take Ward to make that catch

SunshineMan21
11-01-2011, 05:19 PM
Depends how vertical our passing game is going to be. Ironically, Hines would've had a great day Sunday--a horizontal attack with lots of short passes over the middle is his game.

But if Arians goes back to slow-developing deep plays every single time, that doesn't allow for too many targets.

Pa Yankee
11-01-2011, 07:41 PM
Depends how vertical our passing game is going to be. Ironically, Hines would've had a great day Sunday--a horizontal attack with lots of short passes over the middle is his game.

But if Arians goes back to slow-developing deep plays every single time, that doesn't allow for too many targets.

I think that is a major reason why Hines has not had that many receptions this year. I have noticed he had been open a lot of times earlier this season but Ben was looking for the deep ball and would miss Hines and get sacked.

MACH1
11-01-2011, 08:22 PM
I'm sure one or two of those redzone fg's would have been a td with Ward in there. He always seems to be the go to guy down there and gets the hard td's.

grward
11-01-2011, 08:47 PM
I'm sure one or two of those redzone fg's would have been a td with Ward in there. He always seems to be the go to guy down there and gets the hard td's.

+1:thumbsup:

I don't understand why so many people jump to the conclusion that we would be better without Ward in the lineup. Ward is a LEADER, but more importantly teaches by example. It's annoying to see almost every thread end up w/the same cry baby statements ... and this is one of those statements. We are 6 - 2, leading the AFC, isn't that enough? :doh:

MACH1
11-01-2011, 11:51 PM
:huh:

You calling me a crybaby?