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Old 12-25-2011, 09:01 AM   #1
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Default Steelers report card: Game 16 vs. Rams

Steelers report card: Game 16 vs. Rams
Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers
Sunday, December 25, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Charlie Batch was not flashy in his first start since last season, but he did what they wanted him to do in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger -- run the ball and not turn over the ball. Batch was not sacked, did a nice job to duck under pressure and finished with 208 yards and one interception. When he needed to make a play in the passing game for his confidence, he connected with Mike Wallace for a 46-yard catch to set up a TD.


The Steelers wasted little time exploiting the Rams rush defense, which ranked last in the league. They rushed for 126 of their 169 yards in the first half, including 97 yards on 10 carries by Rashard Mendenhall, and averaged 6 yards per carry. Mendenhall finished with 116 yards on 18 carries, his first 100-yard game since Week 6, and his 52-yard run set up the first TD. Props to John Clay for a 10-yard TD on his first NFL carry.


It was not a game for making plays, at least, not when the longest reception was a 35-yard catch-and-run by Mendenhall for 3 1/2 quarters. But Batch finally connected with Wallace, who ran by CB Josh Gordy for a 46-yard catch to set up the final TD. Before that, the longest reception by a WR was 19 yards by Hines Ward in the second quarter. Ward finished with 4 catches to inch closer to 1,000 and Antonio Brown went over 1,000 yards.


Considering they played without C Maurkice Pouncey, disciplined RT Marcus Gilbert and lost LG Doug Legursky on the second play, the unit was more than dependable. Trai Essex had to play center and Chris Kemoeatu got another shot at left guard, and yet the running game produced its third-highest total of the season. Batch was not sacked, though he did a nice job to duck under pressure and make plays on at least two occasions.


The Steelers wanted to stop RB Steven Jackson and dared the Rams to beat them with the pass, but they couldn't do that. Jackson had 103 yards on 24 carries -- the third back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Steelers. The front line offered little resistance, especially when he had two 15-yard runs on third-and-12 in the first half and third-and-14 in the third quarter.


The Steelers did the most important thing, which is keep the team with the fewest points in the league (166) from scoring any. Of course, they got some help with two missed field goals from 52 and 33 yards. Nonetheless, the Rams did a decent job of moving the ball, finishing with 164 yards rushing, which was third most by an opponent this season. OLB James Harrison had one of the three sacks in his first game back from a suspension.


Rams QB Kellen Clemens didn't complete a pass longer than 17 yards and wasn't able to get their best receiver, Brandon Lloyd, involved in the game. Lloyd was shadowed by CB Ike Taylor and had just three catches for 29 yards, despite being targeted 12 times. The secondary limited Clemens to 91 yards -- 28 in the second half -- the lowest they have allowed this season. S Troy Polamalu was very active in the run game.


They almost got gouged on a fake punt in the first half, but a nice play by returner Antonio Brown, who came up to make the tackle, stopped P Donnie Brown 1 yard short of the first down. It was his biggest play in the game when Brown's grandest accomplishment was setting a franchise record for 2,048 all-purpose yards in a season. Shaun Suisham had two field goals, including a 49-yarder in the third quarter for a 13-0 lead.


It might not have been flashy, but the performance was solid, effective -- and much needed, especially without so many starters. The defense showed some of its usual flaws in the run game, but it did what it should have done against the worst offense in the league -- post its second shutout of the season. The offense was minus four starters, including its QB, but ran for its third-highest total of the season.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11359...#ixzz1hYi4Ht2M
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Old 12-25-2011, 12:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers report card: Game 16 vs. Rams

Every grade is spot on, Batch played perfectly and Mendy ran for 100+. The defense played well but Steven Jackson is a beast,all and all a complete game for the first time in a while!
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers report card: Game 16 vs. Rams

Good post. Hopefully Mendenhall get's more than four touches in the second half next week and hell break 1000!

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