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Old 01-03-2011, 07:32 AM   #1
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Default Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 16 vs. Browns

Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 16 vs. Browns
Monday, January 03, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Game ball goes to: QB Ben Roethlisberger

The Browns were the only team in the league to not allow 30 or more points in the first 15 games, but Roethlisberger and the offense topped that in the first half. He started it with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the first play from scrimmage and didn't stop until he had completed 11 of 16 passes for 218 yards before halftime. For good measure, he had a big third-down conversion on a quarterback draw to set up the second touchdown. No sacks, no picks, either. "You look to get on top and put a dagger in their heart," Roethlisberger said.

X's AND O's

It took only one play after Troy Polamalu's interception for the Steelers to take a 7-0 lead and start the assault against the Browns. On their first play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger faked a stretch handoff and threw a deep post pass to WR Mike Wallace, who easily beat rookie CB Joe Haden for a 56-yard touchdown. It was the eighth time Roethlisberger and Wallace have connected on a touchdown of 40 or more yards, a Steelers record. "We intended to go with that play, regardless of field position, to start the game," coach Mike Tomlin said.


A quick look at the top performances Sunday from the game:

1. TROY'S IMPACT: In his first appearance in three games, Polamalu wasted little time impacting the outcome, just as he had in his previous three games. On the Browns' second play from scrimmage, Polamalu intercepted a pass from QB Colt McCoy that skipped off the hands of TE Ben Watson at the Steelers' 44. One play later, the Steelers had a 7-0 lead. "We expect him to make that kind of play," LB James Farrior said. "He didn't let us down [Sunday]. He started us off."

2. QUICK PASS: On their second possession, on third-and-3 at their own 47, Roethlisberger threw a quick slant pass to Wallace for a 41-yard gain, setting up Rashard Mendenhall's 1-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

3. CLARK'S MARK: After Mendenhall's second 1-yard TD made it 21-3, S Ryan Clark intercepted McCoy with a diving catch and returned the pick 23 yards to the Browns' 24. Three plays later, Roethlisberger's 4-yard TD pass to Heath Miller made it 28-3.

4. EASY PICKINGS: When McCoy was intercepted by CB Anthony Madison at the Steelers' 24, setting up a field goal for a 31-3 lead, it marked the third time this season -- and second in four games -- the Steelers had three interceptions.

5. EL OF A THROW: Antwaan Randle El threw a 3-yard TD pass to Hines Ward to cap a 13-play, 77-yard scoring drive to start the second half. That improved Randle El's career regular-season passing statistics to 22 of 27 for 323 yards and six TDs.


1,004 That's the number of rushing yards allowed by the Steelers this season, the fewest in franchise history. It eclipses the old record of 1,125 yards set in a 12-game season in 1953.


The Steelers tested Troy Polamalu one more time before sending him on the field against the Browns, running him inside the stadium two hours before the game to see how an injury to his Achilles' area responded. Once he was medically cleared to play, coach Mike Tomlin didn't hesitate about saving Polamalu for the postseason, not with a first-round bye at stake. "We have our guys, and if our guys can play, they play," Clark said. "This was an important game."


"We knew we were better than them. We felt we were more talented, we felt we played better all year, but we had to come out and show it. We didn't want it to be close. We didn't want it to be a nail-biter. It's a good way to go into the playoffs."

-- Steelers safety Ryan Clark


The Steelers (12-4) clinched a first-round bye and will not play until a divisional playoff game Jan. 15 at Heinz Field. The Steelers are 8-1 in the past nine wild-card or divisional playoff games at home.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11003[/YOUTUBE]/1115224-66.stm#ixzz19yVTX2IN
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