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hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 01:58 AM
Is it Roethlisberger's time?

MONDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2011
WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1347807/38464598E.jpg

Thereís going to be a lot written and said in Pittsburgh this week about Tom Brady. Same with Wes Welker. And well there should.

Brady might not be the best quarterback in the NFL these days, with the ascendancy of Aaron Rodgers, but heís already an all-time great and a dead-certain Hall of Famer. Welker is his favorite receiver with the New England Patriots and leads the NFL in yards, catches and yards-after-catch.

They are a formidable pair and many see them as the leading villains in yet another rout of the Steelers when the teams meet Sunday at Heinz Field.

But at the same time there should be a lot written and spoken in Boston and throughout New England this week about Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace. Neither has reached the level of their profession that Brady and Welker have. But theyíre moving in that direction.

Sunday would be a grand opportunity to show the world.

Brady has traditionally given New England an advantage over almost every team and he has been especially effective is torching the Steelers. But as Steelers fans concern themselves with Brady and Welker, New England fans would do well to do the same with Roethlisberger and Wallace.

Roethlisberger is no Brady and might never be. But Sunday would be a good time to start convincing people he is at least in the discussion. Wallace is in the discussion with any NFL receiver based on his play this season, where he has emerged as perhaps the most dangerous deep receiver in the NFL. He caught a 95-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger yesterday in the Steelersí 32-20 win over Arizona.

Thereís reason to believe Roethlisberger is ready to assert himself against the Patriots. After a poor start this season, he has excelled, albeit against below-average teams, the past three weeks. Heís peaking at exactly the right time, especially with Baltimore coming to town seven days after the Patriots.

In his past three games, Roethlisberger has completed 62 of 96 passes (.646) for nine touchdowns and one interception. His passer ratings in those three games have been 116.2, 96.3 and 121. 8.

In Bradyís past three games, heís completed 67 of 104 (.644) for five touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer ratings have been 100.1, 100.7 and 82.3.

It might be said the Steelers are getting Brady at the right time, except thereís never a good time to face Brady.

Thereís one other element to this matchup: The defenses. Yardage is not always the best barometer in evaluating defenses. Teams like New England and Green Bay, for example, give up a lot of yards, particularly through the air, because theyíre so often ahead.

But the facts are these: New England has given up more passing yards per game than any team in the NFL. The Steelers have given up the fewest passing yards per game.

Itís not Brady vs. Roethlisberger. Itís Brady vs. the Steelers defense and Roethlisberger vs. the Patriots defense.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... rgers-time (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/30530-is-it-roethlisbergers-time)

LouSteel
10-24-2011, 10:50 AM
Itís not Brady vs. Roethlisberger. Itís Brady vs. the Steelers defense and Roethlisberger vs. the Patriots defense.

IMO, this game comes hinges on just two factors:

First, if Bad Ben shows up, we're sunk. Period. The Pats are extremely vulnerable against the pass, so we need Good Ben to exploit that.

Beyond that, we find out if our pass D is a paper #1 -- inflated against terrible QBs and teams -- or if it is for real. And we desperately need it to be real. If it can shave even one touchdown off the Pats PPG, we bring the game into reach.

With the way Ben has been playing for the past few games, and the complete inability for the Pats to defend the pass, I think we are in a real position to win...

skyhawk
10-24-2011, 04:14 PM
The Pats were #32 in yards against on D going into last weekend. Will it be a real test v. Big Ben?

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2011, 05:34 PM
MONDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2011

WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE

The Steelers have faced only two halfway decent quarterbacks this season and lost to both of them, Joe Flacco of Baltimore and Matt Schaub of Houston. They face a little better one next Sunday and then get Flacco again. This week is not their Super Bowl because a victory over Baltimore is more important than one over New England. I just don't see Tom Brady, 6-1 against them, missing guys wide open the way Kevin Kolb did on Sunday.

-- Bill Belichick will have had two weeks to prepare for the Steelers, albeit without taping their defenses to match up with the signals, which now are relayed through helmets anyway.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... outdo-fitz (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/112738-ed-wallace-brown-outdo-fitz)

Scarletfire1970
10-24-2011, 06:59 PM
There is NO WAY our defense stops Brady. And there is nothing Belechick needs to study film on. This D has looked bad against way less QBs and RBs for that matter. We need our offense to win this one.

RuthlessBurgher
10-24-2011, 07:31 PM
The Pats were #32 in yards against on D going into last weekend. Will it be a real test v. Big Ben?

If Ben has a huge game and the Steelers win, will people think it's no big deal because he was able to score on the 32nd ranked pass D?

Flasteel
10-24-2011, 07:52 PM
I think the Pats game last year finally convinced LeBeau to play more press coverage. We went from rarely seeing it in 3rd and short, to seeing it mixed in far more liberally on many down and distance situations, immediately following that game. If we're going to beat Brady, we have to pressure him and play press coverage, so he can't consistently carve us up underneath. We need to disguise our coverages and dictate the game to him for a change.

I won't think we can slow Brady down until I see it. I'm counting on Ben and our receivers to at least match what the Pats attack can do against our defense.

Sonny
10-24-2011, 09:50 PM
If Ben has a huge game and the Steelers win, will people think it's no big deal because he was able to score on the 32nd ranked pass D? Would be silly if they did. Worst pass defense or not, pressure will be on Ben all game to match Brady touchdown for touchdown, which is where I have my doubts about Ben. Winning a game 38-34, a game where the defense just falls apart and he being the only reason we win the game.

No excuses people. Ben is at home, facing the much weaker defense, with a much better set of receivers. We will need him to shine this weekend and just outplay Brady. Period.

hawaiiansteel
10-26-2011, 12:28 AM
Patriots' defense porous for a reason

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-10-25/1026spbrady-a.jpg

Tom Brady has made opposing defenses look bad for years. Apparently, the New England quarterback is doing the same to his own this season.

Numbers don't paint a pretty picture for the Patriots' defense, which is yielding more than 300 passing yards per game.

But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said such statistics are skewed since opposing teams frequently play from behind -- and throw the ball a lot -- because of Brady's brilliance.

"If you come in and think they're the 32nd-best defense in football, you're kidding yourself," Tomlin said of the Patriots, who visit Heinz Field on Sunday for an AFC showdown. "That's a function of them just whacking people and being way out in front."

The Patriots (5-1) have scored at least 30 points in all but one of their games. They are coming off a bye, and they are returning to the stadium where they have beaten the Steelers three consecutive times, including in 2010.

And now, the defense

New England has been known more for its offense since Tom Brady has been playing quarterback for the Patriots. Here is how New England has fared in four major defensive categories for its first six games:

Yards per game NFL rank

Rushing 101.5 8
Passing 322.2 32
Total 423.7 32
Points per game NFL rank
Scoring 22.5 10 (tie)

Brady torched the Steelers last season in improving to 6-1 against them, including playoffs. He threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-26 win, completing passes to eight receivers.

One of those receivers, Wes Welker, leads the NFL in receptions (51) and receiving yards per game (130.8). The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder is one of several Patriots receivers who present a matchup problem because of how New England uses him.

"He is extremely quick and elusive and very adept at getting away from jams along the line of scrimmage," Tomlin said of Welker. "They move him around quite a bit through a variety of formations and motions."

Ike Taylor is the Steelers' best player in pass coverage. But Tomlin said it anything but a foregone conclusion that Taylor will shadow Welker all game because the latter frequently lines up as a slot receiver.

"That might be a little bit out of Ike's comfort zone," Tomlin said. "Ike is an outside corner."

What might get Tomlin out of his comfort zone is envisioning a game in which the Steelers simply have to outscore the Patriots to beat them.

He sidestepped a question about it Tuesday. Tomlin later was asked if his background as a defensive coach precludes him from thinking that the Steelers have to score a certain number of points Sunday -- and game-plan accordingly.

"I would hope I wouldn't let ego, pride or anything of that nature, comfort zone, prohibit our teams from doing what's required for us to win," Tomlin said. "I fashion myself to be more intelligent than that."

The Steelers' offense accounted for 30 points last Sunday in Arizona. What pleased Tomlin most about the win was the offense marching 80 yards for a touchdown after the Cardinals had pulled to within three points of the lead.

The one area, Tomlin said, where the unit needs to improve: cutting down on mental mistakes that lead to penalties.

"We cannot have pre-snap and post-play penalties if we want to be the kind of offense that we desire to be," Tomlin said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1bqpkvUoo (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_763787.html#ixzz1bqpkvUoo)

skyhawk
10-26-2011, 01:17 AM
The Pats aren't concerned at all, make no doubt, about the stats. Brady doesn't play defense and the Steeler O doesn't scare them.

hawaiiansteel
10-27-2011, 07:23 PM
On The Steelers: Brady does damage from pocket; Big Ben does it on the run

Thursday, October 27, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201110/lf03steelers1027_330.jpg

Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace enjoy a lighter moment before the start of practice Wednesday at the team's South Side facilities. Roethlisberger has passed for 1,937 yards == 730 of them to Wallace.

Peyton Manning's absence from the NFL this season has left Tom Brady as the unchallenged passing maestro in the AFC.

At No. 2? Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers and their quarterback again have become a more dominant passing team one season after they responded to team president Art Rooney's wishes and paid more attention to the run.

Roethlisberger has passed for 1,937 yards and is on pace for 4,427 yards for the season, which would break his team record of 4,328 set in 2009.

So, can he go toe-to-toe with Brady if necessary Sunday at Heinz Field?

"We'll see," Roethlisberger answered simply.

The one-two quarterbacks in passing yards in the AFC are as different in style as Boston is to Pittsburgh. Brady is the prototype pocket quarterback; Roethlisberger is bigger, stronger and often throws on the run.

"If you watch a game of the Patriots, Tom Brady just stands back there flat-footed," Roethlisberger said. "That's not a knock on him, that's just because he seems to be sitting there and he has time and there's no one around him. But, when you see him start having to move and run and get out of the pocket and not hit things in rhythm, that's when teams usually have success against him."

And when Roethlisberger does that, it's often when he has some of his best success.

"They are two different kinds," Steelers receiver Mike Wallace said. "Defenses think Tom Brady is going to sit back in the pocket and pick you apart. Ben can do that, but he can also kill you on the outside and with broken plays. That's the fear they have of him more so than him just sitting back throwing the ball and leading the league."

Last season, the two got into a passing duel in November at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger threw for 387 yards, Brady 350 and each passed for three touchdowns. But Antwaan Randle El let one bounce off him that was intercepted and returned for a Patriots touchdown, and Brady ran for a fourth touchdown as New England took a big early lead and cruised to a 39-26 victory.

So it's not a question of whether Roethlisberger and the Steelers can match Brady throw for throw, but whether they can keep up with New England's production.

"Our goal is always to score as much as we can," Roethlisberger said. "It's hard because if I sit here and say I feel like we need to score every time we're going, that means I don't think our defense will do a good job, because I think our defense will do a great job. But, if you look just at the numbers, they put up a lot of points. Therefore, we need to put up a lot of points because that's what we want to do and need to do as an offense."

Almost overlooked in this Brady vs. Roethlisberger scenario is that the Steelers have the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL and No. 3 overall defense. But they were ranked highly last season, too, when Brady shredded them, so, if the Steelers are to beat favored New England, they likely will have to do it behind Roethlisberger's right arm and his bevy of young receivers.

"We're ready to score however many points we have to," said Wallace, who averages 104.3 yards receiving per game. "We don't have a choice but to be ready. You can't go out and score 7 points and beat the Patriots."

Remembering pain, or not

Receiver Hines Ward said he plans to play vs. the Patriots as does nose tackle Casey Hampton. Both played in the AFC championship game losses to New England after the seasons of 2001 and '04 at Heinz Field and had different recollections.

Said Ward: "I think it hurts more just because of the magnitude of the losses we had against them, getting a chance to go to a Super Bowl and having them in our own backyard and them beating us numerous times here. That taste stays in lot of guys' mouths. They remember those losses in the AFC championship game."

Said Hampton: "Man, I can't even remember two weeks ago. I definitely can't remember 10 years ago. I'm being serious about that. It's hard for me to remember last year's game, let alone 10 years ago."

Ward did not practice Wednesday because of a sprained ankle that forced him out of the game Sunday in Arizona. Hampton (shoulder) practiced after missing the past three games.

Others who did not practice for the Steelers: linebacker James Harrison (eye), nose tackle Chris Hoke (neck), offensive guard Doug Legursky (ankle) and linebacker Jason Worilds (quad). None of them is expected to play. Linebacker James Farrior (calf) was limited in practice.

Harrison update

Harrison still has slight swelling in his right orbital bone that was broken Oct. 2 at Houston and repaired surgically. He will not play next week nor until the bone is fully healed because of possible complications. Harrison said there's a danger that contact bacteria could shoot from the nose into the eye socket, which could cause major problems.

The Steelers said he would miss 4-6 weeks, and next week will be four.

Quick hits

ē Offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu was fined $25,000 by the NFL for two fouls Sunday at Arizona. Kemoeatu said he was fined $15,000 for a late hit and $10,000 for a hands-to-the face penalty. He said his agent was appealing both fines.

ē Hampton, on whether Brady and New England's top-rated offense are intimidating: "We're not intimidated by nobody because we feel like when we play our game we can beat anybody. That's never been the case with us."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11300/11 ... z1c1HHWTKi (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11300/1185307-66.stm#ixzz1c1HHWTKi)