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Old 12-06-2010, 07:47 PM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default Steelers Report Card: Game 12 vs. Ravens

Steelers Report Card: Game 12 vs. Ravens
Monday, December 06, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Considering his condition, a gutsy game by Ben Roethlisberger, especially in the second half when he was able to make more plays on the run and the winning TD throw to Isaac Redman. He was 8 of 10 for 111 yards in the third after completing just 9 of 19 for 92 with an interception in the first half and finished 22 of 38 for 253 yards. Roethlisberger took only five of 31 snaps under center in the first half.


The short-yardage offense sputtered at a key point in the fourth quarter when the Steelers had to settle for a field goal after a first down at the Ravens 2. But Isaac Redman made the big play, breaking two tackles on the winning 9-yard TD. Rashard Mendenhall, who had 79 yards against the Ravens in the first meeting, had just 27 on eight carries in the first half and only 42 yards through three quarters.


Mike Wallace had a team-high five catches for 79 yards and Emmanuel Sanders had three for 49 yards, including a 28-yarder to set up the second FG. But it's not a productive first half when backup TE David Johnson is the leading receiver with two catches. A concussion to Heath Miller in the third left them with just one tight end. Hines Ward had a big third-down drop at the Ravens 26 in the first half.


More injuries caused more juggling on the line, but the protection was good enough in the second half to allow Roethlisberger to make plays. The Steelers rushed for only 39 yards in the first half and the line was had problems containing DE Terrell Suggs, who had 1 1/2 sacks and pressured Roethlisberger. But it got tougher in the fourth when Miller and RT Flozell Adams went out with injury


Another strong performance by a unit that plays unselfish and disciplined. The return of DE Brett Keisel solidified the league's No. 1 rush defense, holding the Ravens to 43 yards rushing through three quarters, including just 11 yards on 11 carries in the first half. DE Ziggy Hood had one of the two sacks on QB Joe Flacco in the first half and did a good job at the point of attack in run defense.


James Harrison was very disruptive, especially in the first half when the Ravens had 11 yards rushing, and collapsed the pocket on several occasions. Same with OLB LaMarr Woodley, who drew holding calls -- something that was missing in Buffalo. Woodley made the big 19-yard return with a fumble recovery to set up the winning TD and ILB James Farrior had a sack and tipped pass on the final drive.


Just as he did in the 2008 AFC title game, S Troy Polamalu made the big play, forcing a fumble on a sack that led to the winning score. But Flacco's ability to convert third-down passes was almost too much to overcome. Two passes of 61 and 67 yards, both on third down, in the first half were crippling. CB Ike Taylor had a big third-down sack to push the Ravens out of FG territory.


The Steelers needed to get a big-play from their special teams and instead they got three silly penalties that cost them 38 yards in field position. But K Shaun Suisham's 45-yard field goal in the third quarter was his 13th in a row between 40-49 yards and he also had a 19-yarder. After P Daniel Sepulveda injured his right knee on a 35-yard return by Lardarius Webb, Suisham also had to handle punts.


Letting the Ravens hit a pair of 60-something passes from horrid field position was inexcusable against a team that doesn't hit long passes. And three special-teams penalties could have been more problematic. But the offense was saved on Roethlisberger's winning TD pass to Redman and the defense made the big play when it was needed most. A big win in tough circumstances.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340...#ixzz17NltkKOm
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