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Old 12-31-2007, 02:15 PM   #1
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Default Steelers/Rats Report Card

Can't say I disagree with this week's report card, even though it was a meaningless game in the end.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07365/845641-66.stm

Report Card / Game 16 - Steelers vs. Ravens

Monday, December 31, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Quarterback: C-

Charlie Batch was making his first start since the 2006 season opener and his inactivity showed early when the Steelers had 57 yards and only four first downs in the first half. Batch, though, did a good job to rally the team in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns, but two interceptions and some failed third-down conversions were too much to overcome in the end. The final interception was costly because he overthrew the receiver on first down with 64 seconds remaining.


Running backs: D

If Najeh Davenport is going to carry the ground game in the postseason, he did not get off to a convincing start in his third NFL start. He had 17 yards on nine carries in the first half and finished with 27 yards on 12 carries. His longest run was 7 yards. Because they got behind, the Steelers didn't have much of a chance to look at Gary Russell, who had six carries for 20 yards.


Receivers: C+

Hines Ward rested and did not play, and it took the receivers too long to start making an impact. Santonio Holmes finished with four catches for 98 yards, including a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown -- his sixth reception of 40 yards or longer this season. Nate Washington had four of his five catches in the second half and drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone that set up the first touchdown. Cedrick Wilson had one catch, but it was a dandy -- a diving 7-yard touchdown on fourth down.


Offensive line: C-

Probably the good news is that LT Max Starks, who injured his knee on the first running play, was not hurt seriously and should be OK for the wild-card playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Steelers rushed for a season-low 46 yards on 19 carries, an average of 2.4 yards per carry, largely because they had difficulty handling DT Haloti Ngata in the interior. Batch, though, was not sacked, only the second time this season the Steelers did not allow a sack.


Defensive line: F

Stopping the run has become a recurring problem and the Steelers had better find a remedy before playing the Jaguars. The Ravens had 128 of their 180 rushing yards in the first half, including 63 on seven carries by Cory Ross, a fourth-team running back. Ross scored on a 32-yard run on the very play the Steelers have had problems stopping -- cutting back on a stretch play. They allowed Musa Smith, who had 83 yards on 22 carries, a 24-yard run -- the first time this season they have allowed two runs longer than 20 yards in the same game.


Linebackers: D-

The Ravens scored four times, posted 12 first downs and gained 163 yards in the first half, and it would have been more if it wasn't for their own mistakes. OK, the game didn't mean anything, but the starters played into the third quarter and looked more disinterested than the Ravens. That was apparent when rookie QB Troy Smith converted a couple of third-and-long situations with scrambles of 11 and 14.


Secondary: D

Troy Smith passed for 171 yards, but he converted 9 of 16 third downs and made enough big plays to give the Ravens their second-most points this season. It might have been more if S Tyrone Carter didn't force a fumble with a big hit on third down at the start of the second half. S Anthony Smith continues to make mistakes, whiffing on an open-field tackle on Ross' 32-yard touchdown run and giving up a touchdown. CB Ike Taylor let another interception go through his hands.


Special teams: D

Allen Rossum, inactive with a hamstring injury, probably never looked so good. His replacement on kickoffs, Willie Reid, fumbled two of his first three returns, though one was reversed with replay challenge. His replacement on punt returns, Cedrick Wilson, ran sideways. To top it off, Daniel Sepulveda's 25-yard punt led to a Ravens touchdown. At least they did something right, recovering an onside kick.


Coaching: C-

Mike Tomlin did the right thing by resting some starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Ward and safety Troy Polamalu. But, when you do that, it reinforces the notion to other veteran players that it's nothing more than a meaningless game -- and the Steelers played that way. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau needs to correct the problems with the rush defense or it will be a short shelf life in the postseason.
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers/Rats Report Card

All i have to say is mommy is not gonna be happy with those grades....OUCH!
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers/Rats Report Card

Quote:
Coaching: C-

Mike Tomlin did the right thing by resting some starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Ward and safety Troy Polamalu. But, when you do that, it reinforces the notion to other veteran players that it's nothing more than a meaningless game -- and the Steelers played that way.
Yeah, and if one of the starters rested yesterday would have gotten injured in yesterday's game, then where would we be? It's bad enough Starks won't be playing Saturday and Silverback may not play due to the amount of time they spent in yesterday's game. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Yeah, and if one of the starters rested yesterday would have gotten injured in yesterday's game, then where would we be? It's bad enough Starks won't be playing Saturday and Silverback may not play due to the amount of time they spent in yesterday's game. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Sad but true, unfortunately.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers/Rats Report Card

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Originally Posted by fansince'76 View Post
Yeah, and if one of the starters rested yesterday would have gotten injured in yesterday's game, then where would we be? It's bad enough Starks won't be playing Saturday and Silverback may not play due to the amount of time they spent in yesterday's game. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
i wonder if the cowboy,colts,seahawk,jax, coaches all got C-, IN THIER LOSING EFFORTS.
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