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|11-30-2009, 06:04 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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Game Rewind: At Ravens
Game Rewind: At Ravens
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Monday November 30, 2009 12:39 AM
Dennis Dixon obviously wasnít a true hero because the Steelers didnít win. But all things considered, even in defeat Dixon played well in his first career start. Considering he hasnít played at all this year, he did as well as could be expected as he went from third-string quarterback to starter. Dixon was forced into action under difficult circumstances. But against the archrival Ravens, Dixon held more than held his own. A second-year pro, Dixon proved heís more than capable of replacing Batch as the backup QB and filling in for Roethlisberger whenever needed.
The Steelersí defense didnít play winning football. They canít be blamed for the game-winning field goal in overtime. The interception Dixon threw set up Billy Cundiffís 29-yarder. But knowing that the offense was in a predicament with Ben Roethlisberger sitting out, the defense needed a stronger performance. However, on the first series of the game, the Ravens marched right down the field for a nine-play, 73-yards touchdown drive. On four straight plays, the Ravens gouged the Steelers for gains of 15, 20, 12 and 19 yards. Just before halftime, the Steelers allowed an 89-yard TD drive that included a 59-yard pass completion. Then late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers allowed an 84-yard game-tying field goal drive that included a 44-yard pass completion.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The interception and 26-yard return by Baltimore linebacker Paul Kruger in OT put the Ravensí in position to kick the game-winning field goal. But for two honorable mention plays of the game, there was Dixonís 33-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes in the second quarter and Dixon's 24-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
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THE BIG NUMBER
0: Thatís the number of interceptions through 11 games by Ike Taylor and William Gay, the Steelersí first-team cornerbacks.
The Steelers desperately need a win, and they should get it this coming Sunday when the Oakland Raiders (3-8) come to Pittsburgh. In all likelihood, the Raidersí starting QB will be Bruce Gradkowski, a former Seton-LaSalle High School star. A fourth-year pro, Gradkowski is playing with his third NFL team and 0-2 against the Steelers. As a rookie with Tampa Bay in 2006, Gradkowski threw two interceptions and was sacked three times in a 20-3 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field. Last year when he played Cleveland, he threw three interceptions and was sacked five times as the Browns lost 31-0 to the Steelers at Heinz Field.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Steelers (6-5) have lost three straight for the first time since the 2006 season. Thatís when they unsuccessfully defended their Super Bowl XL championship by failing to qualify for the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Right now, theyíre tied for second in the AFC North with the Ravens (6-5) and trail the Bengals (8-3) by two games. On a positive note, the Steelersí next two opponents are the Raiders and Browns, who, at 1-10, have the worst record in the AFC. So the Steelers should be 8-5 when they host the Packers on Dec. 20.
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