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fordfixer
01-21-2009, 03:52 AM
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/pitts ... teamreport (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/pittsburgh-steelers/teamreport)

Updated: January 20, 2009, 3:00 AM EST

Inside Slant
Super Bowl XLIII matches strength vs. strength, weakness vs. weakness.

Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense will try to stop Arizona's fourth-ranked offense, while the Steelers' 22nd offense will go against the Cardinals' 19th defense.

The Steelers are 5-1 in Super Bowl play and have the chance to become the first franchise to win six.

"If you win six, nobody else has ever won six," Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said. "We're going to play it how we see it. We're going into Tampa with the idea of playing well and having fun."

Dallas and San Francisco are tied with the Steelers with five Super Bowl winners each. The Steelers were the first team to win three Super Bowls, the first to win four and now can become the first to win six.

"It's one of those things that you don't realize the magnitude of it until you look back on it," tackle Max Starks said. "We're proud to be tied for the most with two other teams, but it's time to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack."

There was little jubilation in Pittsburgh's winning locker room after the Steelers dispatched Baltimore. Winning AFC titles means little in Pittsburgh other than it is the step toward a championship. They do not celebrate conference championships in Pittsburgh.

"The ultimate goal when you are playing professional football is to win the Super Bowl," said linebacker James Harrison. "And right now we have the opportunity to do that. So we're going to take full advantage of everything."


Notes and Quotes
--The Steelers improved to 8-0 overall in the postseason against division foes, including a 2-0 record against the Ravens, 1-0 against Cincinnati, 2-0 vs. Cleveland and 3-0 against the Houston Oilers.

--Mike Tomlin is the youngest coach to take a team to the Super Bowl, beating out his predecessor, Bill Cowher, by nearly two years. On Feb. 1, Tomlin will be 36 years, 323 days old. Cowher was 38 years, 265 days when his team went after the 1995 season.

--Tomlin on Troy Polamalu's 40-yard touchdown run with an interception that delivered the knockout blow to Baltimore: "Certain guys are built for those moments. There is no question that he is a guy who is built for those moments."

--QB Ben Roethlisberger was sandwiched after throwing one first-half pass that left him in pain and caused backup Byron Leftwich to warm up as doctors attended to him. Roethlisberger never missed a snap, though.

"This is a 12-round slug-fest," Roethlisberger said. "It's always these two teams and we always go at it and it's always violent from start to finish. I was ready when I was taking a knee at the end. You never know when somebody's going to fire off the ball."


Strategy and Personnel
PLAYER NOTES

--FS Ryan Clark reported to the Steelers Monday with no hangover from his collision with Willis McGahee that put the Ravens running back in the hospital with a concussion.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception in two postseason games and has a 90.8 passer rating in this postseason.

--RB Willie Parker has 51 of the Steelers' 70 carries in the two playoff games. Second is Mewelde Moore with four carries.

--OT Willie Colon was penalized Sunday for two false starts, at home, no less. Pre-snap penalties have dogged the Steelers' line often this season with Colon a prime suspect.

--WR Limas Sweed's drop of what would have been a 50-yard touchdown pass Sunday was not unusual. He drops passes often in practices and dropped one near the end of their first playoff game.

REPORT CARD VS. RAVENS

PASSING OFFENSE: B - Ben Roethlisberger made chicken salad out of chicken scratch. He was sacked four times and had at least two TDs dropped. He avoided others by stepping up or stepping out. That's what happened when he ran left and lobbed a pass to his right to Santonio Holmes, who turned it into a 65-yard TD. He was not intercepted.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D - Running against the Ravens is always tough but the Steelers made it look ridiculously so. Willie Parker tried 24 times and got just 47 yards and the team overall had 52 yards and a 1.9-yard average. It was so bad that on one third-and-one, they went into a shotgun with an empty set.

PASS DEFENSE: B - If it weren't for two pass interference penalties on Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden that helped Baltimore to its two short touchdowns, the grade would have been perfect. They intercepted Joe Flacco three times and sacked him three times, with no TD passes. He completed just 13 of 30 for 141 yards and had an 18.2 passer rating.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus - Baltimore's Willis McGahee ran for two short touchdowns, both set up by pass interference penalties. The Ravens managed 73 yards and a 2.9-yard average with McGahee getting 60 yards on 20 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus - Jim Leonhard returned a punt 45 yards that set up one Ravens score. Mitch Berger's punting for the Steelers was atrocious. His 21-yard punt gave the Ravens good field position in the fourth quarter that led to a TD and cut the Steelers lead to two. Jeff Reed did make all three of his field-goal tries.

COACHING: C - Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians did not distinguish themselves on Sunday. Tomlin allowed his team with no time outs to go for it at the end of the first half with 16 seconds left at the Ravens 21. A completed pass ended the half before Roethlisberger could kill the clock. The offensive play calling seemed suspect much of the day as well, including one third-and-one play in which they went to the shotgun with no backs.

Djfan
01-21-2009, 03:57 AM
It just seems like the media is trying really hard to make us believe that the Cards are in this big time.

This reminds me of the SB against the Rams.

Oviedo
01-21-2009, 01:05 PM
It just seems like the media is trying really hard to make us believe that the Cards are in this big time.

This reminds me of the SB against the Rams.

Don't kid yourself. If we don't run the ball effectively and control the time of possession the Cards are going to be in this thing until the end. We have to keep their offense off the field. I'm not sure our secondary can cover both Fitzgearld and Boldin for extended periods of time and Warner gets rid of the ball so quick that sacks will be few and far between.

MeetJoeGreene
01-21-2009, 01:13 PM
I love this quote:


They do not celebrate conference championships in Pittsburgh.

SidSmythe
01-21-2009, 01:15 PM
I love this quote:


They do not celebrate conference championships in Pittsburgh.

Nice

Steeler Shades
01-21-2009, 01:34 PM
It just seems like the media is trying really hard to make us believe that the Cards are in this big time.

This reminds me of the SB against the Rams.
As long as it doesn't turn out like the Colts / Jets SB.
The Cards are definitely in this until the game is over. Their offense is capable of putting up a ton of points and we don't want to get into a shootout with our O. 8)

williar
01-21-2009, 02:23 PM
It just seems like the media is trying really hard to make us believe that the Cards are in this big time.

This reminds me of the SB against the Rams.
Man! Don't sleep on these cardinals. They are indeed for real. Fitzgerald is looking like a bigger, stronger, Jerry Rice in his prime. Along with their other offensive weapons (Breaston, Boldin, James, Hightower) they are going to be a tough matchup for our defense. Our offense is going to have to score touchdowns, to keep the pressure off of our defense because they are going to have their hands full.

TallyStiller
01-21-2009, 06:13 PM
It just seems like the media is trying really hard to make us believe that the Cards are in this big time.

This reminds me of the SB against the Rams.
Man! Don't sleep on these cardinals. They are indeed for real. Fitzgerald is looking like a bigger, stronger, Jerry Rice in his prime. Along with their other offensive weapons (Breaston, Boldin, James, Hightower) they are going to be a tough matchup for our defense. Our offense is going to have to score touchdowns, to keep the pressure off of our defense because they are going to have their hands full.

Recalling the game against the Rams isn't going to sleep on a team. Do you remember that game? I rewatched it on CD a few weeks ago... it was tight. We were down 19 - 17 heading to the 4th quarter. Deep ball Bradshaw to Stallworth for the lead... then a Lambert pick inside the 20 to stop a Rams drive under 6 to go preserved the win. We scored late, but that one was anybody's game for 55 minutes.

Truthfully, though, that Rams team was a playoff perennial in the '70's near the end of it's run, with veterans all over the field, especially on D. They beat us, 10 - 7 on a Monday night in LA in 1978 to put one of our 2 losses that year on us. They were tough.

Even though these Cards don't as a team have the pedigree, Kurt Warner sure as heck does. So does Edgerrin James. These guys have beaten three good teams, and are certainly potent. Although I'm confident of victory, I think our guys better be ready for a dog fight.

Good thing is, though, that I believe our offense CAN step up and win this for us. The D has been called upon all season, but the O has scored points when the opponent's D hasn't been stellar... but since most of our opponents have had terrific defenses, we've mostly looked bad on O. We scored on San Diego, Cincy, Cleveland, Houston, and Jacksonville... and the Cards have given up yards and points. Our guys BETTER not take this one lightly, but they're plenty good enough to win... I say 34 - 20.

Djfan
01-21-2009, 10:32 PM
I didn't say what I really wanted to. I'll try again.

The media doesn't seem like it feels any need to explain why we win, but is doing a lot of writing on why AZ can win.

Sorry about the unclear post. I don't think it will be a walk in the park, and I do think that AZ can pull the upset. I don't think they will, but they didn't make it this far by being bad.