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Old 10-20-2008, 07:13 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals
Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers' effort in a 38-10 win against the Bengals yesterday.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Quarterback: B-
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 216 yards passing, threw for two touchdowns and was not intercepted. But he was sloppy in the first half, completing 12 of 21 passes, and failed to capitalize on some good field position. But he made some big second-half plays in the passing game and, along with backup Byron Leftwich, produced three touchdowns in six minutes, 23 seconds.

Running backs: A-
Mewelde Moore has turned into the team workhorse, rushing for 120 yards on 20 attempts and scoring two touchdowns, his fifth career 100-yard game and first with the Steelers. He also caught five passes for 14 yards, including a 2-yard TD. But he got little help from Gary Russell, who had four carries for no yards. Also, each was stopped for no gain on third-and-1 attempts.

Receivers: B
The Steelers used a lot of three wide-receiver sets, and the result was a lot of big plays. Santonio Holmes had five catches, including a 32-yarder. Hines Ward had four catches, including a 29-yarder and a 34-yard pass interference call against him that set up a touchdown. Nate Washington, though, made the big play, catching a 50-yard TD pass that gave the Steelers a 24-10 lead.

Offensive line: B+
OK, so it was the Bengals who have one of the league's worst rush defenses. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger was not sacked for the first time this season and the running game finished with 125 yards on 27 attempts, an average of 4.6 yards per attempt. Good job by Max Starks replacing Marvel Smith at left tackle. And Darnell Stapleton delivers the big block on Moore's 13-yard TD run.

Defensive line: B
The Bengals had five consecutive three-and-out series to start the game and were outgained, 173 yards to 18, at one point in the second quarter. Part of the reason was the dominance by the defensive line, which continues to rotate players. Cedric Benson finished with 52 yards on 14 carries, including a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter -- the longest allowed by the Steelers this season.

Linebackers: A
This unit executed all seven sacks against quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, with two each by James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons. James Farrior had the other. Harrison also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage and Woodley forced a fumble and recovered the ball on his final sack. Timmons made consecutive big plays in the fourth quarter, including a sack.

Defensive backs: B
After five failed series to start the game, Fitzpatrick began successfully throwing underneath the coverage -- something the Steelers were willing to concede to prevent the big play. He completed 21 of 35 passes -- eight each to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- but for only 164 yards, none for more than 19. CB Ike Taylor was outstanding with a couple big pass breakups.

Special teams: B-
For a while, the kick coverage was looking like last year's, allowing returns of 34 and 36 yards. But then the Steelers clamped down and allowed only 8-, 15- and 18-yarders in the second half. Still, there were no debilitating mistakes, and Jeff Reed kept his field-goal record clean (10 of 10). But where are the return units? Najeh Davenport's 27-yard kick return tied for longest this year.

Coaching: B
There was no question the offense -- and Roethlisberger -- looked rusty after the open date, magnified by three failed pass plays from the Bengals' 3. But offensive coordinator Bruce Arians used a lot of three-wide receiver sets to spread the field and take advantage of Moore's diverse abilities, and the offense erupted. Still, why have Leftwich throw three passes with a 31-10 lead?
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08294/921274-66.stm
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

As much of an Offensive line fan as I am, I cant agree with the B+ for them. They played average against a bad defensive line and failed to convert short yardage.

This ranking is probably just because they didnt give up any sacks against a Bengals team that only has 5 sacks all season.

The coaching too was only average. But a win always makes everybody generous around here.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Disagree. Coaching was exceptional, great gameplans by both OC and DC. Coaches can't actually EXECUTE the plays, so that doesn't fall under their purview.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Fine, you are entitled to your opinion.

I would just rather see some Pittsburgh Steelers football instead of 3 consecutive incomplete passes from first and goal on the Bengals 3 yard line.

I guess we are a finesse team now though.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Ben didn't get sacked once gotta give the OL an A+ thats amazing!

Ben was sloppy at first, but a B- is pretty low, with no INT's i would give him an A- for effort and great plays.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Hard not to give the OL a nice nod for giving up zero sacks. I don't care who they played!

Despite the score (which is all that matters) we didn't dominate their defensive line like I thought we would. Still plenty of work to be done, but it's a good step in the right direction.
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Fine, you are entitled to your opinion.

I would just rather see some Pittsburgh Steelers football instead of 3 consecutive incomplete passes from first and goal on the Bengals 3 yard line.

I guess we are a finesse team now though.
Finesse? Really? guess we are going to have to tell Hines Ward, and Washington (who also through a tremendous block) that we are a finesse team.

For the thousandth time, three yards and a cloud of mediocrity is over. We had an exceptional back that could do it. however, that kind of football demands a lot from certain players. It demands a certain type of offensive line, a big, mean fullback, and a big, mean halfback. As a result, the team simply CANNOT AFFORD to pay enough money to have a great QB and multiple threat receivers as well.

"Steelers football" NEVER won us a Superbowl. It lost 4 AFC championship games for us.

It was a balanced offense that won all 4 SB's in the 70's, that even GOT us to the SB in 95, and won the SB in 2005.

We are still running the ball. We are still stopping the run. I am just amazed how everyone on this board SCREAMS when we see run, run, pass... how horrible it is. and then turns around and SCREAMS about how we are not a power run team anymore.

(sorry el-gonzo.. don't mean to be picking at you specifically, I just get frustrated when I read things like that... <--- pepsi)
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

As for this thread...

The line did pretty dang well.

I say we let Starks start on the left for the rest of the year. If he continues to do well (as he did last year when he came in and played there) we should resign him to that position (yes, you heard it here first!!! I actually have wondered is this is the position he was being saved for anyway). I like Stapleton at RG... at least for right now. If we keep this lineup, it meanst he only replacements would have to be for Colon... and then Hartwig, in that order.

All in all, that line may not be that bad at all. Hartwig is having a bit of problems with the snaps at times... shotgun seems to go high quite a bit.. (the fumble off the snap last sunday looked to be Ben's fault completely). But he has settled in a bit.

Regardless... they played against professionals last weekend, and did very well. congrats line!


On the coaching....

I LOVE the rotation of the D line. IT keeps them fresh throughout the game. It seems that Tomlin really learned his lesson last year about keeping players fresh. Good for him. To learn a lesson after one mistake is pretty dang good.
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
As much of an Offensive line fan as I am, I cant agree with the B+ for them. They played average against a bad defensive line and failed to convert short yardage.

This ranking is probably just because they didnt give up any sacks against a Bengals team that only has 5 sacks all season.
I wouldn't minimize it, personally. I remember the OL giving up 7 sacks to a lousy Jets D last season that up to that point only had 9 sacks in 9 games on the season as a whole. Zero sacks is zero sacks.
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Six vs. Bengals

keep in mind before you start blasting the play calling/coaching......Ben has the option to change the play. so it doesn't always meen arians screwed up, it may be Ben screwing up by changing the original call.
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