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Old 02-09-2011, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default Steelers report: Inside slant

Steelers report: Inside slant
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 9, 2011

Hines Ward started the 2010 season injured, while Emmanuel Sanders finished it with a broken foot in Super Bowl XLV. Both Pittsburgh wide receivers are headed for offseason surgery, according to the Post-Gazette.

Ward will have surgeries on his left knee and left thumb. He played through cartilage damage in his knee since training camp, and tore a ligament in his thumb while blocking in Week 2.

He refused to blame the injuries for catching just 59 passes, his fewest since 2000.

"They said it'll feel much better," Ward told the paper regarding his knee. "I've been playing for so many years on it and never really had surgery on it. They'll go in there and clean it up a little bit and I'll be fine."

Sanders was injured after making a catch during the first half Sunday and never returned.

Ward has already committed to returning in 2011.

"I'm not going anywhere," he said after the Super Bowl loss, and Ward said coach Mike Tomlin has said he wants the receiver to return.

--The Pittsburgh Steelers, who own a record six Lombardi trophies, will long remember one that got away after their comeback attempt came up short and they lost to Green Bay Sunday, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV.

"You're always going to say, What if?" Hines Ward said. "On the losing side, you're always going to look at things in perspective and say, well, what if we didn't turn the ball over? But we turned the ball over three times against the Packers. Not too many teams are going to beat the Packers like that. That's really the difference in the game."

The Steelers prided themselves on protecting the ball all season and coming up with turnovers, but it was the Packers who dominated that one statistic on Sunday with two interceptions and a fumble recovery to Pittsburgh's none.

During the season, the Steelers ranked tied for third in the NFL with 35 takeaways and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had thrown just five interceptions during the regular season. Their three turnovers led to three touchdowns by the Packers.

"We made plays, they made plays," Ward said. "Their defense was solid, our defense was solid. Our offensive line was phenomenal. It came down to the turnovers."

One Roethlisberger interception was returned 37 yards for a touchdown. Rashard Mendenhall also lost a fumble at the Green Bay 33.

"We were unable to get any turnovers on defense," Steelers safety Troy Polamalu said. "That was the difference. They made plays on defense and we didn't."

Pittsburgh had the edge on virtually every other stat, but that turnover figure and that has been the most dominant foretelling in Super Bowls. Teams with fewer turnovers are 33-3 in Super Bowls.

The Steelers had more offense than Green Bay, 387 to 338, more first downs at 19-15, better third-down conversions and even fewer penalties and yards. But those turnovers and the hole they put them in were just too much to overcome.

"Ultimately we got in too deep of a hole to start the game," tight end Heath Miller said of the 21-3 second-quarter deficit for the Steelers, "and we weren't able to climb out of it."

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 9, 2011


-- S Troy Polamalu had only three tackles, and two of those came after long pass completions. He had no other stats and was beaten badly on one Greg Jennings touchdown when he guessed wrong and Jennings was wide open in the corner of the end zone.

-- LB James Harrison, who finished third in the voting behind winner Polamalu for defensive player of the year in the NFL, had just one tackle, a sack, and otherwise was as quiet as his strong safety.

-- TE Heath Miller, who led the Steelers with seven receptions in their first two postseason games, was not a factor in the Super Bowl with just two catches for 12 yards, including one that lost three yards.

-- WR Hines Ward moved into second place with most receptions in postseason history in the NFL with 88. He caught seven on Sunday and passed Michael Irvin.

-- LB LaMarr Woodley's sack of Aaron Rodgers gave him three in his two Super Bowls, tied for second place with eight others in the game's history.



C - Two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, ruined what could have been a seventh Lombardi trophy presentation for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger was hit trying to throw a deep pass to Mike Wallace which resulted in a 37-yard pick-six. He tried to zip a pass to Wallace between two defenders the second time, and that was intercepted and led to another touchdown. Roethlisberger was off on a few other throws but generally was a big reason the Steelers were able to come back and make a game of it. He was 25 of 30 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and just one sack.


B - What might have been the highest grade was knocked down when Rashard Mendenhall fumbled from the Packers' 33 on second-and-2 and his team mounting a comeback from 21-3 to 21-17 in the third quarter. Mendenhall scored once on a powerful 8-yard run and was having a good game right up until that fumble. He had 63 yards rushing and a 4.5-yard average. With help from Roethlisberger's four scrambles for 31 yards, the Steelers had a healthy 126 yards rushing and a 5.5-yard average. It was a winning performance, except for the fumble that Green Bay turned into a touchdown drive.


D-minus - Aaron Rodgers picked them apart and after some early pressure, the Steelers were largely ineffective against another good quarterback, joining Tom Brady and Drew Brees the past season. Rodgers was 24 of 39 with three touchdowns, no interceptions and three sacks. He had a 111.5 passer rating. The Packers also converted 6 of 13 third downs, including perhaps the most important of the game, a third-and-10 from their 25 with 6 minutes left and clinging to a 3-point lead. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings over the middle for a 31-yard gain. It helped Green Bay eat up time on way to a field goal.

B - Green Bay did not try much, which may have shown their respect for the No. 1 run defense in the league. However, the Packers averaged 4.7 yards on 11 James Starks carries (Rodgers lost two yards officially on two kneel-downs to end the game). Starks was the only runner who carried the ball for the Packers. He had 52 yards rushing.


D - Two killer penalties and Shaun Suisham's bad miss on a 52-yard field goal try indoors dragged down some otherwise decent performances. Suisham made his other kick from 33 yards and punter Jeremy Kapinos had three strong punts with no returns. However, Ryan Mundy's block-in-the-back penalty took what would have been an Aaron Brown kickoff return to the 43 back to the Steelers' 7 where, on the next play, Roethlisberger threw his pick-six. And special teams captain Keyaron Fox committed another in a season-long series of errors when he was penalized for roughing on Green Bay's final kickoff with two minutes left. Instead of setting up for one final drive from their 26, the Steelers had to go from their 13.

B - Mike Tomlin made a questionable decision to try a 52-yard field goal that, when badly missed, gave Green Bay great field position at the 43. His team also wasted two timeouts in the third quarter. However, the Packers failed to score on that one. For the most part, however, this was a well-coached game by Tomlin and his staff. Bruce Arians mixed the run and pass as well as he could and Dick LeBeau threw a variety of defenses at the Packers to try to confuse them. It just didn't work.

Steelers report: Notes, quotes
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 9, 2011

--CB Ike Taylor and the Steelers have already begun to talk about a new contract, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune. Taylor is set to become a free agent, but the sides would like to get an agreement done before the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire March 4.

-- Pittsburgh lost for the first time in four Super Bowls wearing its white away jerseys. The Steelers wore white in Super Bowls 9, 40 and 43 victories before losing Sunday.

-- Although some early calls hurt them, the Steelers refused to blame their loss on the officiating.

"I thought the officials did a really good job largely," coach Mike Tomlin said. "With 160 to 180 plays in a football game you can talk about instances, but I thought largely referee Walt Anderson and his crew did a really good job in this football game."

-- The Steelers had overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit in their first playoff game to come back and beat Baltimore, 31-24. They held a 24-0 lead over the Jets in the AFC Championship Game and had to hold on to win, 24-19. So they knew when they trailed 21-3 to the Packers and 21-10 at halftime that it was not over.

DALLAS - Super Bowl XLV was the most watched television program in history, becoming the first ever to top 100 million viewers (100.9) for a night in prime time, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It's the fourth consecutive year the Super Bowl has set a new record for viewership. The telecast averaged 111 million viewers, topping the previous U.S. record of 106.5 set last year, and was 13.5 million more viewers than FOX's last Super Bowl broadcast in 2008.

Super Bowl XLV also scored a 47.9/71 overnight rating, tying it with Super Bowl XXI in 1987 as the high-rated Super Bowl ever in metered markets, and was three percent higher than last year's game.

The 71 share for the Green Bay Packers' 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers matches the highest for a Super Bowl since 1982.

--DALLAS - The 400 fans who were forced to watch Super Bowl XLV on television monitors or from standing-room only seats in the corners of Cowboys Stadium will receive tickets to next year's Super Bowl, the league announced.

That's in addition to a refund at triple the face value cost of their $800 tickets.

The NFL was forced to scramble to attempt to accommodate 1,250 fans with tickets to the game who were affected by incomplete installation of temporary seats at Cowboys Stadium.

About 850 fans were relocated to "similar or better" seats, according to the league. The rest were given the option of watching the game on monitors inside the stadium or from standing room platforms in the corners of the stadium. Those 400 fans were also allowed onto the field after the game ended, in addition to being given free merchandise and concessions.

"The safety of the fans attending the Super Bowl was paramount in making the decision and the NFL, Dallas Cowboys and City of Arlington officials are in agreement with the resolution, the NFL said in a statement. "We regret the situation and inconvenience that it may have caused. We will conduct a full review of this matter."

On Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there are "no excuses" for fans having to give up their seats due to structural issues with temporary seating.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers report: Inside slant

DAMN I HATE that they lost!!!!!!!!!!!!! But great season. The Steelers overcame a ton of injuries and Ben's suspension. Here we go 2012 SB!
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