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Old 09-24-2007, 07:51 AM   #1
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Default Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers
Monday, September 24, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort in the 37-16 win against the 49ers yesterday at Heinz Field. The report is broken down into defensive, offensive positions and coaching.

Quarterback=B
It was another efficient performance for Ben Roethlisberger, who did not throw an interception and produced a late first-half touchdown to tight end Jerame Tuman. He also made a nice play to bide time and find Heath Miller for a 29-yard catch to set up a field goal to start the second half. Still, there was that fumble on the sack on the second play from scrimmage.

Running backs=A+
Willie Parker had his fourth 100-yard game in a row and sixth in his past seven starts, and he did a marvelous job waiting for his blocks and hitting holes. He had 79 of his season-high 133 yards on just 11 carries at halftime, including a 23-yard run in which he spun off a tackle at the line of scrimmage. Najeh Davenport closed it out with a nice 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Receivers=BHines Ward was held to just one catch for 2 yards and Santonio Holmes did not catch a pass until the third quarter. But tight end Heath Miller finished with four catches for 82 yards and backup tight end Jerame Tuman caught a 9-yard touchdown pass, the third game in a row a tight end has caught a touchdown. Holmes finished with three catches, the best an 18-yarder on third-and-6.

Offensive line=A+
The running game finished with 205 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry, and the reason was the performance of the offensive line. Left tackle Marvel Smith was a terror in run blocking and guards Alan Faneca and Kendall Simmons took turns leading the way on counter plays. Right tackle Willie Colon did an outstanding job on defensive end Bryant Young, who had one tackle and no sacks.

Defensive line=B+
The first priority was to stop running back Frank Gore, the NFC's leading rusher in 2006, and the Steelers did that, holding him to 39 yards on 14 carries. The 49ers finished with 91 yards on 22 carries, but that's because Alex Smith scrambled for 25 of his 34 yards on one play in the fourth quarter. Nose tackle Casey Hampton made a big stop on Gore on second down at the Steelers' 5 in the first quarter.

Linebackers=B
The Steelers underestimated Smith's ability to scramble, costing them several sacks and allowing him to make some big plays. James Farrior (two passes defensed) and rookie LaMarr Woodley accounted for the two sacks, but the linebackers let Smith escape too many times when they had a chance to get him on the turf.

Secondary=B+
It's a big performance any time the defense produces a touchdown, and so it was when cornerback Bryant McFadden returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Smith's longest pass play was 31 yards, and that came on a short swing pass to tight end Vernon Davis on the first series. Cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend were solid in run defense, keeping Gore from getting to the edge.

Special teams=A
The big spark was provided early by Allen Rossum, who returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead. Jeff Reed added three more field goals to run his season point total to 37 and McFadden made a nice backhand save to have a punt downed at the 8. And there was punter Daniel Sepulveda, recovering an onside-kick attempt as part of the hands team.

Coaching=A
Mike Tomlin continues to keep the team prepared and focused, producing a third consecutive lopsided win and giving the Steelers a 3-0 record for the first time since 1992. What's more, the Steelers received touchdowns from the offense, defense and special teams, another sign he is getting production from all three areas. His impact on the team is not to be discounted.
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

Not bad but I do disagree on the QB grade. Should be an A

I loved seeing the multiple times Ben shrugged of a potential sack and then mad a completion for a first down. Those plays are huge, and a spirit breaker, and he did it like 3 times!!

Loved it
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

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Not bad but I do disagree on the QB grade. Should be an A
I would disagree. It is a QB's job to protect the football. We know Ben can, but didn't, so I think it's a fair grade.
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

I'd agree. I'm fine with a B or B+ rating.

I know some people are going to bare teeth at the mere mention of "game manager", but do you guys think this is the year Ben Roethlisberger breaks free of that tag? To be honest, I'm pretty much okay with him "just" being a game manager and not a 35 attempts-per-game QB, so long as we show we can still do what's necessary, which, as VolatileMan pointed out, Ben has shown so far this season. Ben looks good going deep, he looks comfortable under pressure, and other than the overthrows to Ward yesterday, he seems to be able to predict with his wideouts and TEs. He and Holmes connecting on comebacks yesterday was pretty headsup playing :)
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

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I would disagree. It is a QB's job to protect the football. We know Ben can, but didn't, so I think it's a fair grade.
I agree with you to a point...

But his line has to block as well. That play, they didn't. Yes, the QB has to protect the ball. But when your in your passing motion, and the ball is ****ed all the way back, it is hard for ANY QB to protect the ball at that time.

For all the other times that he DID protect the ball while being sacked (he escaped to throw, or tucked and run), he did well.

I would give him an A-
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
I agree with you to a point...

But his line has to block as well. That play, they didn't. Yes, the QB has to protect the ball. But when your in your passing motion, and the ball is ****ed all the way back, it is hard for ANY QB to protect the ball at that time.
I'll swing it to a B+. Sometimes subs might come in, sometimes an assignment gets missed, sometimes there are more rushers than blockers, etc. When the D gets pressure, you know, the QB has a decision to make: Throw it, or protect it.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

I have to stick with the B grading for Big Ben! Yeah, he made some great passes, but he also left Ward hanging out to dry and led him into some really big hits. He threw high on a few occasions and did fumble the ball on the second play. I know, it is the OL's job to pass protect, but every now and then someone is going to get through and hit the QB. All in all, he did a great job, but please don't start leading Ward into big hits, we kinda need him for the rest of the season.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

i think a B is a good grade for the qb.. he did fumble the ball... maybe he should go hang out with tom brady and see how he has crazy stats.. like only 6 incompletions and 10tds and 1 int(i think) , he is just going crazy out there... could you imagine if ben was putting those numbers up how good we would be.
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

I agree for the most part but, I think the linebackers did ok, its not that they missed him often, SF was running things that they had not ran all year. Even the announcers said rolling Smith out was new and had not done by the 49's in previous game. But for the most part I do agree with your assessment.
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Reportcard: Game 3 -- Steelers vs. 49ers

i believe i'd drop the offensive line to a B . the run blocking was great ,but the pass protection just wasn't there at times.
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