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Old 09-12-2011, 06:25 AM   #1
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Default Steelers linebackers largely ineffective in blowout loss

Steelers linebackers largely ineffective in blowout loss
By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 12, 2011

BALTIMORE -- Linebackers have dominated the Steelers-Ravens rivalry for much of the past decade.

On Sunday, while Baltimore linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis were dismantling an erratic, turnover-plague Pittsburgh offense, the Steelers' linebackers were chasing shadows.

With the exception of James Harrison's fourth-down hit on running back Ray Rice that left the Ravens short of a first down at the Pittsburgh 8 early in the third quarter, the Steelers' linebackers were largely ineffective in a 35-7 loss.

Lawrence Timmons put together impressive numbers: 10 tackles and two assists. But Timmons wasn't impressed, as nearly half of his tackles were made downfield and after Baltimore had converted on third down.

The Ravens led 21-7 at halftime, in part, because they were efficient on third down, converting 6-of-8 attempts.

"(Baltimore) did a great job blocking and controlling the gaps," Timmons said. "They just came at us from different angles."

"We knew it was coming," said Farrior, who sat out the final three defensive series in the first half. "They just executed better than us. They were looking for matchups, and I'm sure they thought they had a better matchup with Ray Rice on our linebackers.

"We couldn't stop anything. We tried to changed things up, but we couldn't get it going today."

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco consistently attacked the Steelers' linebackers on third down. He utilized tight end Ed Dickson (five catches, one TD) on drag routes and fed the ball to Rice and fullback Vonta Leach on short routes.

"In our outside zone scheme, the linebackers are playing you," said Rice, who rushed for 107 yards on 19 carries and had four receptions, including an 11-yard touchdown. "So early in the game, trust your speed. Later in the game, you're going to get that cutback."
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