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12-13-2010, 02:11 AM
Steelers Report Card: Game 13 vs. Bengals
Monday, December 13, 2010

Ben Roethlisberger continues to get beat up, but he passed for 258 yards, ran for 23 more and did not throw an interception. The offense did not produce a touchdown against a Bengals defense that had allowed 105 points in the past three games. Roethlisberger discarded the protective visor at halftime and passed for 159 yards in the second half. Big throws to Hines Ward and Mike Wallace led to field goals.


Rashard Mendehall finished with 66 yards on 18 carries and didn't have a run longer than 10 yards, surprisingly low numbers against a Bengals defense that kept missing tackles. The Steelers finished with 123 yards rushing on 27 carries, but 13 of that came on Roethlisberger's scramble to set up a field goal and another 12 on an option run to WR Mike Wallace.


Hines Ward had his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season and made a number of big catches, including 18 and 21 yards on both field-goal drives. Mike Wallace added five catches, none bigger than a 33-yarder on third-and-4 to set up the last field goal. But the best grab was by Antwaan Randle El, who made an impressive, leaping one-handed catch of a 22-yard pass to set up the first field goal.


Roethlisberger was sacked just twice, both in the first half, but he continues to take a lot of shots in the pocket. The Steelers didn't have a run longer than 13 yards, but they averaged 4.6 yards per attempt. That, though, doesn't include the four holding penalties along the line, including back-to-back calls against LT Jonathan Scott and TE Matt Spaeth on a 15-play drive that didn't produce any points.


The Bengals kept the defense off balance in the first half by spreading the field with multiple receivers and running the ball against their nickel defense. But, after running 12 times for 30 yards before halftime, the Bengals rushed just twice for 4 yards in the second. Their 14 attempts were a season-low for an opponent. Their 34 yards were the second fewest. DE Brett Keisel had six tackles.


Two sacks and a 14-yard TD interception return by LaMarr Woodley more than made up for his offside penalty on third down that kept alive the Bengals' first TD drive. His first sack on Carson Palmer helped push the Bengals out of field-goal range when it was 7-0. James Farrior had a team-high 10 tackles and was part of a rush defense that held the Bengals to 34 yards on 14 carries.

p>More big plays provided by S Troy Polamalu and a number of solid plays by nickel back William Gay, who had several hurries and a big third-down sack. Polamalu had two interceptions, none bigger than a 45-yard TD interception return that gave the team a boost when it was 7-0. And his interception at the goal line stopped a late Bengals threat, though his lateral to Bryant McFadden was ill-advised.


There are not enough superlatives to describe the performance of K Shaun Suisham since replacing Jeff Reed. He kicked three more FGs against the Bengals, including a 41-yarder that made him perfect on six attempts between 40 and 49 yards with the Steelers. He is 9 for 9 overall since replacing Reed. But doesn't it seem like every punt return comes with some type of penalty anymore?


Penalties (9 for 89 yards) continue to be a recurring theme, especially holding calls (six). It is almost amazing that the Steelers have been penalized 42 times for 330 yards during their four-game winning streak. It might be equally amazing that the offense has managed just two touchdowns in the past three victories. But, even those problems don't seem to affect the players, and that's to their credit.

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12-13-2010, 02:13 AM
Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 13 vs. Bengals
Monday, December 13, 2010
Game Ball goes to: S Troy Polamalu

For the third game in a row, the five-time Pro Bowl safety came up with a game-changing play, even though this one, unlike Buffalo and Baltimore, occurred in the first half. Polamalu returned an interception of a Carson Palmer pass intended for Terrell Owens 45 yards for a touchdown to pump some life into his teammates and tie the score at 7-all. For good measure, he intercepted another pass for Owens near the goal line in the fourth quarter. "Troy is an amazing player," said inside linebacker James Farrior. "He does amazing things."
X's and O's

Outside LB LaMarr Woodley had one of the nine penalties called against the Steelers, and it was a big one, jumping offside on an incomplete pass on third down that kept alive the Bengals' only scoring drive in the first quarter. But Woodley atoned with two sacks that pushed his season total to eight and a 14-yard interception return for touchdown that made it 20-7. "The guy got a pick-6 and two sacks," said outside linebacker James Harrison. "He definitely made up for that."
The Countdown

A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:

1 Polamalu's pick: Troy Polamalu rarely practices on Wednesday and Thursday during the week because of his ankle injury, but it doesn't stop him from making big plays in a game. He did it again in the second quarter, picking off Palmer's pass in the middle of the field and diving with his right arm outstretched at the pylon to tie the score at 7-7. The play changed the momentum of the game. "After that, I think everybody woke up," said inside LB James Farrior.

2 Big Losses: Already leading 7-0, the Bengals moved to the Steelers' 27 after a 24-yard catch-and-run by RB Cedric Benson. But a sack by Woodley and a nice play for a 3-yard loss by ILB Lawrence Timmons pushed the Bengals out of field-goal range.

3 El of a catch: With the score tied at 7-all, WR Antwaan Randle El made his first catch in four games a highlight one leaping to make a one-handed grab for a 22-yard gain to the Bengals' 18, resulting in a field goal that gave the Steelers a 10-7 lead.

4 Sweet Suisham: After Roethlisberger converted a third-and-4 with the perfectly thrown 33-yard pass to Mike Wallace, Shaun Suisham hit a 41-yard field goal to make it 23-7, giving him 14 consecutive field goals between 40-49 yards, dating to his career with the Redskins.

5 Palmer Perfect: With the help of penalties against Woodley and CB Ike Taylor, Carson Palmer was 4 for 4 for 36 yards on the opening drive, staking the Bengals to a 7-0 lead with a 1-yard toss to tackle-eligible Andrew Whitworth
What was he thinking?

On his second interception in the fourth quarter, Troy Polamalu seemed more interested in lateraling the ball to a teammate than running with it. After intercepting Carson Palmer at the goal line, Polamalu ran 12 yards and wildly tossed the ball to CB Bryant McFadden, who recovered the errant toss. Polamalu was laughing as he came off the field, but was confronted by coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Later, Polamalu was near tears as he apologized for his decision.

"Jumping offside and letting a team like Cincinnati drive down the field and put seven on the board, that was definitely on me. But my teammates were very supportive, telling me that it was no big deal, just keep your head in the game and go out there and make plays."

-- OLB LaMarr Woodley on his 14-yard interception return for touchdown, the first of his NFL career
330 Inside the numbers

That's the number of penalty yards accrued by the Steelers during their four-game winning streak, after being penalized nine times for 89 yards against the Bengals. They had 383 penalty yards in the first nine games.
Next Sunday's Opponent

vs. NEW YORK JETS, 4:15 P.M. SUNDAY: Since the 1970 merger, the Jets are 0-7 in Pittsburgh and are 3-16 against them lifetime. New York is making its first appearance at Heinz Field since the 2004 AFC first-round playoff game.

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12-13-2010, 01:06 PM
Roethlisberger was sacked just twice, both in the first half

Do these guys even watch the games? Maybe Dulac was using the bathroom when Roeth was sacked on consecutive plays in the second half?

12-13-2010, 01:50 PM
Everyone associated with the offense deserves an F.

We should just put our Defense out there on Offense and tell them to hit people.

12-13-2010, 07:22 PM
Steelers Team Report

Yahoo! Sports


Ten years after the Ravens showed it could be done, the Steelers are mapping plans for a trip to the Super Bowl based mostly on their dominating defensive play.

They have gotten little help from their offense, especially over the past three games.

Pittsburgh’s offense ranks 20th in the NFL and has scored just two touchdowns in the past three games—one a 9-yard drive after Troy Polamalu forced a fumble in Baltimore. The offense managed only three field goals Sunday, as the defense provided the victory with two touchdowns on interception returns.

“We started out pretty slow, but we were getting some big plays,” receiver Mike Wallace said. “We just weren’t scoring touchdowns. We were getting down there. We just have to finish drives. That’s our biggest problem. We don’t really ever have a problem moving the ball. It’s just finishing drives. We have to score when we get to the red zone.”

The Steelers’ 290 points rank 14th in the NFL. They have scored 27 touchdowns on offense, four via returns.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his offense moved the ball well at times against Cincinnati, reaching inside the 10 twice and the red zone three times, but Pittsburgh could not finish a drive with a touchdown.

“It’s not good enough because we have to score points,” Roethlisberger said. “Field goals aren’t good enough. Luckily our defense bailed us out and played such a great game.”

The running game has not improved much from last season even though team president Art Rooney proclaimed in January a need for that to get better. And the passing game is not nearly what it was in 2010, when Roethlisberger set a team record with 4,328 passing yards. The Steelers have just 2,758 passing yards with three games left.

But the defense has been dominant. It leads the league by far on the ground, allowing a mere 60.1 yards per game, and the Steelers rank fourth overall.

“We know we need to score more points,” safety Ryan Clark said. “Those guys are working on it. It’s crazy because we moved the ball. We move the ball on people. We clearly have the talent, and I think they’ll get it going.”


• The Steelers are up in arms over the number of hits on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that draw no penalties. The only penalty called against a defender for hitting Roethlisberger this season came after the play when Oakland’s Richard Seymour sucker-punched him. On Sunday, Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson clubbed Roethlisberger in the head while sacking him, and nothing was called.

“It’s terrible, man,” linebacker James Farrior(notes) said. “I think they protect all of the quarterbacks but ours. But we’re going to keep on fighting, we’re going to keep on going. Hopefully they’ll catch it one day.”

• The Steelers committed another nine penalties for 89 yards Sunday, bringing their total over the past four games to 420 yards on 42 penalties.

“When you are looking at first-and-30, it’s tough,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “Somehow we overcame that. For the most part, we have all year when we get behind the chains with the penalties. We find ways to overcome them.”

• Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley returned interceptions for touchdowns, the first time that has happened for the Pittsburgh defense in 12 years.

“You win games when you do that,” safety Ryan Clark said. “Coach LeBeau puts up all these stats. I believe it’s in the 90th percentile that if you score two touchdowns on defense you’ll win the football game. Those were big. Troy right now is playing like the MVP of the league on defense.”

Player Notes

• WR Antonio Brown caught three passes, giving him six in the past two games since he returned from a knee injury. The rookie has become the Steelers’ No. 4 receiver after not dressing for five consecutive games at midseason.

• WR Mike Wallace caught five passes for 78 yards, and he ranks eighth in the NFL with 946 receiving yards. He is second in the league with an average of 20.6 yards per catch. His eight TDs are 10th most.

• RB Rashard Mendenhall, who leads the Steelers with 1,073 rushing yards, has had just one 100-yard game in his past 10 games. His average has dipped nearly a yard to 3.9 per carry since a strong start that included 332 yards in his first three games.

• QB Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 19 times in his past five games after going through his first four following his suspension with just seven sacks.

• SS Troy Polamalu has a calf injury, one teammate revealed, and not an Achilles strain as the Steelers have been calling it for a month. Polamalu re-injured the calf on his 45-yard touchdown return of an interception Sunday but did not miss a down.

Report Card Vs . BENGALS

Passing Offense: C—Ben Roethlisberger had some nice stats, as he completed 21 of 33 passes for 258 yards and no interceptions. However, he also had no touchdowns and was sacked four times by a defense that entered the game with just 14. His receivers made some acrobatic catches, including a one-handed grab by Antwaan Randle El. He also almost threw two incompletions at the 5-yard line, forcing the Steelers to settle for a field goal.

Rushing Offense: C-plus—With 123 yards, the Steelers topped their season average, and they also gained a healthy 4.6 yards per run. But their horse, Rashard Mendenhall, had just 66 yards and a 3.7-yard average, and they did not get into the end zone. Roethlisberger (three carries, 23 yards) and receiver Mike Wallace (one carry, 12 yards) boosted the bottom line.

Pass Defense: A—With three interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns by Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley, this part of the game contributed mightily to the victory. The Steelers were trailing 7-0 late in the first half when Polamalu took his interception 45 yards for a touchdown that tied it. He later intercepted Carson Palmer in the end zone. Palmer was 20 of 32 for 178 with one touchdown, three interceptions and three sacks. He had a 48.7 passer rating.

Rush Defense: A—The Steelers slammed another opponent’s ground game, limiting the Bengals to just 34 yards on 14 carries with a long run of 8 yards. Cincinnati did not even try in the second half, even though it trailed by just 10-7 at the half and the Steelers doing little on offense. The Bengals ran four times for 4 yards in the second half.

Special Teams: B—Shaun Suisam made all three of his field-goal tries, making him a perfect 9-for-9 since joining the Steelers for their past four games. The three Sunday were his first field-goal attempts at Heinz Field, and they came through a windy, cold rain. New punter Jeremy Kapinos averaged only 35.2 yards gross and 30.6 net but dropped three of his five kicks inside the 20-yard line. There were no returns of note on either side.

Coaching: B—Wedged between their physical game in Baltimore and one coming up against the New York Jets, the Steelers could have been primed for a letdown against the lowly Bengals. While they started off slowly, they perked up. The Steelers played a solid game on offense except for one glaring fault—they could not score a touchdown.

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