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Old 12-31-2010, 07:19 PM   #1
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Default Up against the Browns: Pittsburgh Steelers

Up against the Browns: Pittsburgh Steelers
By Steve Doerschuk
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Dec 31, 2010 @ 11:36 AM
Print Comment

Run offense

Key notes Rashard Mendenhall (5-10, 225) is more the classic Pittsburgh grinder than Willie Parker was. He has run for 1,237 yards at 4.0 per carry, which was a typical Jerome Bettis season before “The Bus” wore down in his 10-year Steelers career. Mendenhall has run for 11 TDs, a number Bettis surpassed just once. He can look flashy, as he did on a 35-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in last week’s 27-3 rout of Carolina. He can look ordinary, as he did in running for just 30 yards on 17 carries the rest of the way. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey has quickly become the team’s best run blocker, one reason he is going to the Pro Bowl. Right tackle Flozell Adams, 35, has held up for 15 starts at right tackle.

Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh Mendenhall ran 27 times for 84 yards and a fourth-quarter TD that gave the Steelers a 21-10 lead.

Trending In recent games against AFC North foes Cincinnati and Baltimore, Mendenhall totaled 111 yards at just 3.0 per carry.

The edge
The Browns’ rushing defense has given up 192, 188 and 161 rushing yards in its last three games. PITTSBURGH

Pass offense

Key notes Big Ben Roethlisberger sheds attacking sackers as well as anyone, and he needs to with his line. Rookie Round 5 pick Chris Scott has started the second half of the year after veteran Max Starks went on injured reserve. Right guard Ramon Foster is huge, but there is a reason he went undrafted in 2009. Roethlisberger has been sacked 32 times despite missing four starts. That’s partly because he tries to keep plays alive, partly because he has one of those lines that can get a quarterback killed. Roethlisberger was 22-of-32 for 320 yards against Carolina in his most recent game. His season passer rating, 94.3, mirrors his career rating, 92.1. Tight end Heath Miller caught five passes for 73 yards against Carolina after missing two games.

Trending Wideout Mike Wallace (1,152 yards, 202. per catch) has been getting bigger cushions from defenses fearing his deep speed. Just one of his nine touchdown catches has come within the last five games; yet, 21 of his 57 catches have come within the last four games. Hines Ward, 34, has been below 40 yards in 10 games.

Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh Roethlisberger went 23-of-33 for 281 yards and three TDs. Wallace had three catches for 90 yards.

The edge Roethlisberger torched Carolina for 259 passing yards in the first half. He is 11-1 against the Browns. PITTSBURGH

Run defense

Key notes Starting with a breakout 144-yarder at Baltimore in Game 3, Peyton Hillis has five 100-yard games. Good luck getting No. 6. Pittsburgh has allowed an NFL-best nine 100-yard rushers in the last eight years. This year’s run defense is off the charts, leading the league in allowing 64.1 yards a game. Linebackers Lawrence Timmons (139 tackles) and James Farrior (134) entered the league as Round 1 picks. Linebacker James Harrison (six forced fumbles) knocked out Joshua Cribbs during a Wildcat scramble Oct. 17, warping the Browns’ game plan. Nose tackle Casey Hampton still is plugging away, at age 33. 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood has filled in nicely for mainstay Aaron Smith at end. Safety Troy Polamalu is a beast in run support.

Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh Hillis ran 12 times for 41 yards. Mike Bell ran two times for 3 yards. Cribbs ran two times for 1 yard.

Trending Since running for 184 yards against the Patriots on Nov. 7, Hillis is averaging 74.3 yards (3.97 per carry) in seven games.

The edge Cribbs ran for more yards in a win over Pittsburgh last December than he has in the entire 2010 season. PITTSBURGH

Pass defense

Key notes Two Sundays ago, the Steelers lost a home game, partly because the Jets got 89 rushing yards from backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, helping young quarterback Mark Sanchez mount an efficient pasing game. Wideout Braylon Edwards bruised Pittsburgh’s secondary to the tune of eight catches for 100 yards. It’s debatable whether that game applies to the Browns’ chances behind rookie QB Colt McCoy. More recently, Carolina rookie Jimmy Clausen was running for his life. Clausen went 10-of-23 for 72 yards and a 33.2 rating. He was sacked four times. The Browns have a good enough left tackle, Joe Thomas, to neutralize Pittsburgh’s best pass rusher, James Harrison, but that may not save McCoy from coordinator Dick LeBeau’s unpredictable zone blitz. Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Wodley all were in on two sacks against McCoy in the first meeting.

Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh McCoy went 23-of-33 for 281 yards, with a TD and two interceptions. Tight end Ben Watson caught six passes for 88 yards.

Trending Mohamed Massaquoi has three catches for 25 yards in McCoy’s last two starts. Brian Robiskie has 117 yards and two TDs in those two starts.

The edge Cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden are shaky, but safety Troy Polamalu ties it all together. PITTSBURGH
Copyright 2010 The Times-Reporter. Some rights reserved


Pittsburgh offensive Coordinator Airhead Arians vs Clowns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan

Edge: Clowns, The unimaginative Airhead will reuse his game plan from last year in an attempt to "fool" the clowns. It will be cold and windy again and Airhead's two brain cells will freeze on pass mode in the red zone like they did last year. I have no faith that the Airhead won't "throw" the game away again. - mesa)

Last edited by mesaSteeler; 12-31-2010 at 08:00 PM.
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