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Old 10-12-2009, 12:12 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions
GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort in a 28-20 victory over the Lions yesterday.
Monday, October 12, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Quarterback - B+

Ben Roethlisberger really made only one mistake, and that was throwing a late sideline pass to Mike Wallace that was picked off and returned 38 yards for a touchdown by CB William James. Otherwise, he did a good job reading pressure, sliding protection and beating blitzes with quick passes. He finished with three touchdown passes and a 123.9 passer rating.

Running backs - B

Rashard Mendenhall finished with 77 yards on 15 carries and a TD but never got much of a chance in the second half after rushing for 65 yards on nine attempts in the first half. His 27-yard run on his first carry was his fourth run of 22 yards or longer in his past three games. He showed good speed and vision to bounce outside and beat cornerback Anthony Henry to the corner on his 7-yard TD run.

Receivers - B

Good thing Mike Wallace atoned with a 47-yard TD catch after pulling a Limas Sweed and dropping what would have been a 71-yard TD, then getting a delay penalty for kicking the ball. Hines Ward had seven catches for 85 yards and made a nice play to dive over a defender for his 17-yard TD. Heath Miller had all five of his catches in the first half, including three for 22 yards on the third TD drive.

Offensive line B-

The protection was very good, at least for three quarters, but then it should have been against a Detroit defensive line playing without two starters. Roethlisberger, though, was sacked three times, all during a four-play sequence in the fourth quarter. The running game averaged only 3.9 yards on 21 attempts, and part of that was because Roethlisberger knelt three times for minus-3 yards.

Defensive line C+

The Lions had 110 yards rushing, the most by an opponent this season, but the number is slightly misleading because QB Daunte Culpepper had 44 yards on two scrambles. Lions RB Kevin Smith finished with 53 yards on 20 carries but hurt the defense more with screen plays, catching three passes for 42 yards. Backup end Travis Kirschke had a big run-stuff for a 4-yard loss.

Linebackers - A

The Steelers had a season-high seven sacks on Culpepper, and their linebackers accounted for 5 1/2. James Harrison had a season-high three and also forced a big intentional grounding penalty that caused the Lions to settle for a field goal. LaMarr Woodley got his first 1 1/2 sacks of the season, but he also got beat on a 27-yard pass that set up a field goal.

Defensive backs - C+

Wlliam Gay made the two biggest plays on the final series with back-to-back blitzes that forced two sacks, Ryan Clark had the first interception since the season opener and Ike Taylor made a leaping pass breakup on the Lions' final play. But nickel back Keiwan Ratliff continues to get beat in coverage, and the Lions were allowed to convert too many third-down chances (11 of 18).

Special teams - C+

The good news is no costly mistakes. Stefan Logan has been mostly ineffective on kick returns, but he did have a big 47-yard return that allowed the Steelers to quickly counter Detroit's TD interception return in the second quarter. The kick coverage eventually tightened on Derrick Williams after a 34-yard return, and the punt coverage didn't allow a return longer than 9 yards.

Coaching D

The game shouldn't have been this close, and the blame goes to the offense as much as the defense. The insistence on throwing the ball with a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter led to three sacks and only 18 plays in the second half. Mendenhall had only six carries in the second half. The defense allowed the Lions to repeatedly convert third downs, but it atoned with three sacks to finish the game.
Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09285...#ixzz0Th9JqbEN

("The insistence on throwing the ball with a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter led to three sacks and only 18 plays in the second half. " banging:

"Mendenhall had only six carries in the second half."

Why don't we run the ball when we are ahead? It makes no sense not to. This is what I mean when I say we don't RUN the ball enough! - mesa)
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post

("The insistence on throwing the ball with a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter led to three sacks and only 18 plays in the second half. " banging:

"Mendenhall had only six carries in the second half."

Why don't we run the ball when we are ahead? It makes no sense not to. This is what I mean when I say we don't RUN the ball enough! - mesa)
Because running the ball in the second half has lost us way more games than we have run since 2007. That is why.

(I think I answered this about the same way in another thread).

But, basically, lining up and running the ball doesn't work for us anymore. We don't have Jerome. We don't have the dominant O line anymore. We have top notch QB and receivers. We go with our best, and our best is now on the passing side of the offense.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Because running the ball in the second half has lost us way more games than we have run since 2007. That is why.

(I think I answered this about the same way in another thread).

But, basically, lining up and running the ball doesn't work for us anymore. We don't have Jerome. We don't have the dominant O line anymore. We have top notch QB and receivers. We go with our best, and our best is now on the passing side of the offense.
Sorry I completely disagree. We were running the ball successfully in the first half. Mendenhall has been doing well the last two games and the O-Line is getting better. Why did we stop running when we were ahead? It makes no sense not run the ball and chew up the clock when we have a lead. Maybe we should rename Arians offenses the PREVENT Offense. It's stops us from winning.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

Here's a better situation for ya.....Take note. When Willie is in the Steelers run the hell out of him no matter the situation, even if its for 3 yard loss they will still run him even if the running game isnt working. I know he's the starter but, while we have Mendy in , why not use him more in the 4th quarter?. Ben stated they need to get back to the 4th quarter running of the clock.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Sorry I completely disagree. We were running the ball successfully in the first half. Mendenhall has been doing well the last two games and the O-Line is getting better. Why did we stop running when we were ahead? It makes no sense not run the ball and chew up the clock when we have a lead. Maybe we should rename Arians offenses the PREVENT Offense. It's stops us from winning.
Let's back up for a second...maybe we are assuming the other person is saying things they aren't....

I don't want us to throw the ball every moment of the 4th quarter. In actuality, I prefer us to keep playing EXACTLY like we played in the 1st and 2nd quarter.

Pass run...run pass, run run, pass pass, pas run pass, run run pass, etc. etc. etc.

I see NO reason for changing what got us to the the 4th quarter with a big lead. Your thoughts?
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Old 10-12-2009, 02:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Here's a better situation for ya.....Take note. When Willie is in the Steelers run the hell out of him no matter the situation, even if its for 3 yard loss they will still run him even if the running game isnt working. I know he's the starter but, while we have Mendy in , why not use him more in the 4th quarter?. Ben stated they need to get back to the 4th quarter running of the clock.
I think it's because for the past three years, we've gotten used to having a running game that can't be counted on to pick up first downs against any team that's capable of keeping the game close. Hopefully, we'll get over that, like the junkie who one day realizes that heroin was ruining his life.
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
Let's back up for a second...maybe we are assuming the other person is saying things they aren't....

I don't want us to throw the ball every moment of the 4th quarter. In actuality, I prefer us to keep playing EXACTLY like we played in the 1st and 2nd quarter.

Pass run...run pass, run run, pass pass, pas run pass, run run pass, etc. etc. etc.

I see NO reason for changing what got us to the the 4th quarter with a big lead. Your thoughts?

Well I DO see a reason. The Steelers with a 28 to 13 lead with approximately 9:00 minutes remaining in the game, elect to pass the ball on 3 straight downs and come away short of the 1st down so they punt.

Item #1. They used VERY LITTLE of the clock during that possession.

Item #2. The Steelers franchise QB was hit on TWO of the three plays. VERY UNNECESSARY hits.

Now I'm not looking for the Steeelers to run, run, run, and run some more but I'll tell you what, had Roethlisberger been injured during the aforementioned drive, someone would have looked pretty damn foolish. Imagine, losing Roethlisberger to injury because the Steelers decided to call 3 consecutive pass plays with a 28 -13 lead over the Detroit Lions with approximately 9 minutes remaining in the game. That was some VERY risky business right there. Not too mention, STUPID!
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Old 10-12-2009, 03:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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Well I DO see a reason. The Steelers with a 28 to 13 lead with approximately 9:00 minutes remaining in the game, elect to pass the ball on 3 straight downs and come away short of the 1st down so they punt.

Item #1. They used VERY LITTLE of the clock during that possession.

Item #2. The Steelers franchise QB was hit on TWO of the three plays. VERY UNNECESSARY hits.

Now I'm not looking for the Steeelers to run, run, run, and run some more but I'll tell you what, had Roethlisberger been injured during the aforementioned drive, someone would have looked pretty damn foolish. Imagine, losing Roethlisberger to injury because the Steelers decided to call 3 consecutive pass plays with a 28 -13 lead over the Detroit Lions with approximately 9 minutes remaining in the game. That was some VERY risky business right there. Not too mention, STUPID!
Rashard had a decent first half. I see no reason not to give him the ball to kill some time. That was just bad play calling in the fourth.
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

I have to say I am one of them that in the past running the ball in the fourth quarter and trying to kill the clock sucks. As preacher stated that has costed us several games trying to do that. We would run three times and punt. I think we should mix it up a little bit more with the pass and run.
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game Five vs. Detroit Lions

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I have to say I am one of them that in the past running the ball in the fourth quarter and trying to kill the clock sucks. As preacher stated that has costed us several games trying to do that. We would run three times and punt. I think we should mix it up a little bit more with the pass and run.
The pass first/pass often approach isn't working any better. Do you consider it a viable solution? It's DRAMA to the end each and every week so lets not act as if passing the ball with a sizeable lead is the BEST option.

Besides, as I stated in another thread, it puts the franchise QB at risk for injury. We alll saw what happened when Arians called 3 consecutive pass plays in the 4th quarter with approximately 9 minutes remaining in the game. The Steelers were up 28-13 at the time and Roethlisberger was hit twice while attempting to pass the ball. The end result, 3 plays and a PUNT. I KNOW that I would rather see a RB taking those hits as opposed to Ben.

Last edited by Steelers & I; 10-12-2009 at 04:59 AM.
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