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Old 12-20-2011, 03:17 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

[I think the grade on the running backs is unfair. It's hard to perform when you're not handed the ball.]

GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort Sunday in their loss to San Francisco
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Given the condition of his injured left ankle and that he practiced on a very limited basis, Ben Roethlisberger played beyond anyone's expectation -- passing for 330 yards and never flinching in the pocket. But, in a game where points would be precious, he had two costly interceptions in the first half, a lost fumble and another interception in the fourth quarter. Four turnovers with no takeaways by the defense is not a good combination.
The 49ers had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in the previous 35 games, the longest active streak in the league, and that mark was not threatened by Rashard Mendenhall. He finished with 64 yards on 15 carries -- the most by an opponent since Michael Vick had 75 yards in Week 4 -- and bounced several runs off tacklers. That after having nine carries for 30 yards with no run longer than 8 yards in the first half.
There were some nice individual plays, but those only matter for the highlight film. Jerricho Cotchery had a number of big catches in the second half, and so did Heath Miller. And Mike Wallace had a nice 36-yard catch-and-run on the first possession that ended with the most costly interception. But his biggest mistake was failing to touch down Dashon Goldson after an interception, allowing him to make a 21-yard return.
The 49ers had the No. 1 rush defense in the league and had not allowed a rushing TD this season, but the line did a nice job creating some gaps for Mendenhall, even though they were without C Maurkice Pouncey. And Roethlisberger had good protection for most of three quarters until he was sacked and harassed in the fourth quarter. LT Max Starks really struggled with rookie LB Aldon Smith, who had all three sacks.
The line did not exactly shut down Frank Gore, who rushed for 65 yards on 18 carries. And they didn't generate pressure on QB Alex Smith, who was never sacked. The 49ers finished with 100 yards rushing, not overwhelming numbers. But in a game where someone needed to make a play, the defense came up with none. The 49ers scored twice in the red zone, something they had done only three times in 19 trips in six games.
Playing without suspended LB James Harrison, the Steelers failed to sack Smith, even though he had been sacked 18 times in the previous three games. Lawrence Timmons continues to miss tackles and overrun plays and was victimized on pass plays of 27 and 21 yards on the 49ers first TD drive. It did not help that LaMarr Woodley, who returned after missing most of five games (hamstring), aggravated the injury and did not return.
Smith failed to challenge the cornerbacks deep and was content to throw underneath the coverage, especially in the first half when his longest completion was 14 yards. S Ryan Clark had a couple of pass breakups in the first half and SS Troy Polamalu torpedoed a few receivers to hold them to short gains. Smith finished with 187 yards passing, but found other ways to beat the defense, getting the ball to Davis when he was isolated on linebackers.
Shaun Suisham finally converted from beyond 50 yards, and it was a big one -- a 51-yarder to cut the lead to 6-3. But he missed a 48-yarder at the end of the third that could have given the Steelers a little momentum. Big tackle on the second-half kickoff by Stevenson Sylvester on Ted Ginn, pinning the 49ers at their 8. Not a good penalty on Timmons on a FG attempt that gave the 49ers a first down and let them to score a touchdown.
Given an opening to finish as the top seed in the AFC, the Steelers could not overcome three turnovers -- all by their hobbled quarterback -- nor get big plays from the defense. It's tough to play on the road without your best offensive lineman and linebacker, especially when one mistake can make the difference. Nonetheless, with a clear path to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the Steelers failed to beat a winning team on the road again.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11354...#ixzz1h44QmsUs
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Losing to a good West coast team away is not that surprising. Guess we just pickup and move on.
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

coaching = F
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Dulac wants to be allowed in the locker room again? Oh wait, Goodell passed a new rulke whereby reporters can't be honest in grading the teams or they face repercussions?

Ben was beated back there, have the pressure you would see Gilbert wandering 5 yards up the field as Ben is laying down on his back. Starks should have to carry Bens bags all week. Legursky I think was the only one that played well.

d plus? No freaking way. The whole team deserves and F including Ben.

Troy does his typical bs coverages, than makes a couple good plays, than lines up in the next zip code and a TD goes in. I think he has been hit in the head to much, but at least he got a nice big bonus in his xmas stocking.

Woodley was tired? He has had nothing but rest, perhaps giving half his paycheck to charity would be a nice gesture since he took the day off.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Team effort: F If it were not for the black helmets, I could have sworn I was watching the Cleveland Browns.

Last edited by rgj; 12-20-2011 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Our secondary gets a B and Ben gets a C- ???
Yeah right!
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Ben deserves an F
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Coaching - F
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

Why was Ben playing on that ankle risking an even more serious injury going into the playoffs? makes no sense...Batch isn't that Horrible a QB, he has always done a good job filling in for Ben
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Old 12-20-2011, 11:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 14 / 49ers 20, Steelers 3

quarterback turns the ball over 4 times and gets a C-?
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