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fordfixer
12-13-2011, 03:02 AM
Beating 49ers is important goal for Steelers
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 71738.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_771738.html)

What looked like a challenging road trip when NFL schedules were released in the spring has turned into one of the most daunting games on the Steelers' slate.

The Monday nighter in San Francisco has also become a contest the Steelers have to win if they want to stay in the chase for a fourth AFC North title in five years under coach Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers and Ravens are tied atop the division with 10-3 records. Baltimore, however, holds the all-important tiebreaker by virtue of its first season sweep of the Steelers since 2006.

The reality of that for the Steelers is that they may well finish 13-3 and still have to take the wild-card route in their pursuit of a seventh Super Bowl title.

The Ravens should go no worse than 2-1 in their final three games, and their toughest remaining opponent is San Diego.

They play the Chargers in San Diego on Sunday, a day before the Steelers try to beat a 49ers franchise that has been energized and revitalized by first-year coach Jim Harbaugh.

Even if Baltimore loses in San Diego, the Steelers have to win out because they probably won't get the help they need from the Browns and Bengals, Baltimore's final two opponents.

"We can't depend on anybody," Steelers inside linebacker James Farrior said. "All we can do is control the games we play and hopefully be on the good end of them. We know we don't have any room for error."

They will have to overcome a lot to beat San Francisco, including injuries to their franchise quarterback and several other key players, thousands of miles of air travel and a team that has won 10 games and restored hope and pride to a storied organization.

"The odds are stacked against us," Farrior said, "but we'll be ready."

It's hard to imagine them not playing with a sense of urgency in San Francisco.

And that could be the difference in what figures to be a low-scoring, defensive struggle.

By the numbers

1 San Francisco's NFL rank in scoring defense and rushing defense

2 Steelers fans' rank on list of most difficult to play against for visiting teams, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players

7 Consecutive games in which Antonio Brown has led the Steelers in receptions or receiving yards

14.0 Points per game allowed by the 49ers

24.1 The Steelers' third-down conversion rate in their past three games

70.5 Average rushing yards allowed by the 49ers

179.1 Passing yards allowed per game by the Steelers, the lowest in the NFL

3 players to watch

NaVorro Bowman, ILB: His emergence has given the 49ers the best inside linebacker tandem in the NFL. Bowman, who teams with perennial All-Pro Patrick Willis, is tied for seventh in the NFL with 113 tackles. The former Penn State standout, a third-round draft pick in 2010, also has recovered three fumbles.

Frank Gore, RB: Despite the vast improvement of quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, the 49ers' offense still runs through Gore. The seventh-year veteran is fourth in the NFL with 1,054 rushing yards, and earlier this season Gore became the 49ers' all-time leading rusher.

Mike Wallace, WR: Wallace hasn't gone over 100 yards receiving in six consecutive games, and he is more than due to break out in San Francisco. The Steelers will need some big plays, too, since it may be difficult to put together sustained drives against one of the stingiest defenses in the league.

Q&A with Ryan Mundy

Q: Where is it harder for the opposition to play, The Wolverina (Woodland Hills High School's field) or Heinz Field?

A: I've got to say Heinz Field when they play Renegade, but the Wolverina is a very close second. We used to sell out every week, 15,000.

Q: Does Mike Tomlin call you Wonderlic?

A: Here and there. I've heard it quite a bit lately. Sometimes he calls me Mundy. Sometimes he calls me Wonderlic, but it's funny nobody calls me Ryan. I've rarely been called by my first name. Everybody just calls me by my last name. I don't know what's up with that, but I like being called Ryan.

Q: If you were on a deserted island, what three things would you have?

A: I need a computer, my Bible and probably a nice beach blanket.

Quotable

"We aren't surprised by his contributions. We see it. We've seen it for two years on the practice field. This guy comes to work every day, and it's just good football justice, seeing it transpire in stadiums. We respect him in terms of his big playmaking ability, but we respect him more for how he approaches his profession at work." Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on wide receiver Antonio Brown

"Every day I can get an inch on this game to get better with Hoke, I know it's worth it and I'm going to take advantage. I want to be a great player. I don't want to be a drop-off from Hoke or Hamp." Defensive tackle Steve McLendon on why he will continue to work with Chris Hoke even though the latter is out for the rest of the season with a neck injury

"It's all a friendly competition. We never sit down and talk about, 'I'm doing better,' it's all for the team. We just go out there and work as hard as we can." Cortez Allen on his working relationship with fellow rookie cornerback Curtis Brown

"It's nice getting to 10, and we'll just hopefully keep stacking hot cakes." Defensive end Brett Keisel on the Steelers reaching double digits in wins

Read more: Beating 49ers is important goal for Steelers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1gOabEBji (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_771738.html#ixzz1gOabEBji)

hawaiiansteel
12-13-2011, 08:37 PM
49ers experiencing some issues on offense

By Associated Press
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-12-12/1213SmithFrontAP-a.jpg

49ers quarterback Alex Smith had his worst performance of the season in Sunday's loss to division rival Arizona

SANTA CLARA, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers don't seem to have much momentum heading into the stretch run after losing two of their last three.

What they do have is a growing list of concerns, most of them on offense.

Running back Frank Gore is hurting, quarterback Alex Smith had his worst performance of the season in Sunday's loss to division rival Arizona and the offensive line has surrendered 18 sacks over the past three games.

There are also the team's season-long struggles in the red zone, which proved to be the difference against the Cardinals as San Francisco drove inside the 10 three times only to settle for field goals.

On top of that, the NFC West champs have a tough Monday night game against Pittsburgh coming up next.

Suddenly, the 49ers' grip on the conference's No. 2 playoff seed isn't as strong as it once was, though coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't seem overly concerned.

"Hey look, we know there's going to be criticism," Harbaugh said Monday. "We know there's going to be why's for what happened, for what took place. ... and we're not going to talk about it. We're going to talk about it to our players, to our team, and make a real effort as we always do to try to address (them) and get them fixed. We'll take on those problems."

At 10-3, San Francisco is tied with New Orleans for the second-best record in the NFC behind unbeaten Green Bay. The 49ers have the edge over the Saints in tiebreakers based on conference record.

Any chance they have of securing a first-round bye, however, could dwindle if their red zone issues persist. San Francisco has scored touchdowns a league-worst 35.6 percent of the time (16 of 45) from inside the opposing 20. The NFL average is 52 percent.

The problem has gotten worse as the season has gone along, too.

In their last 19 trips inside the red zone, the 49ers have only three touchdowns with 15 field goals and one interception. That includes Sunday's 0-for-3 effort.

Harbaugh acknowledged he's involved in the red zone play-calling but doesn't plan to take on a bigger role despite the problems.

"Offensively we moved the ball and then didn't take as much of an advantage of the turnovers and the opportunities in the red zone that we could have. ...," Harbaugh said. "There was a lot of opportunities to win the football game and we did not get it done."

A handful of players trickled into the locker room on their mandatory day off, and only punter Andy Lee spoke to reporters.

Injured linebacker Patrick Willis declined an interview request, saying he would speak once he's back playing. Smith walked through but did not stop.

Even Harbaugh was tight-lipped when asked about Gore's disappearance in the second half against the Cardinals.

San Francisco's career rushing leader, Gore had 10 carries for 72 yards and was virtually absent in the second half Sunday after scoring a 37-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

"I don't have an answer for you," Harbaugh said. "He's got some (health) things. He's not 100 percent."

The 49ers managed only 78 yards in the second half against Arizona while Smith struggled all day with his accuracy. The San Francisco quarterback, who has been stellar most of the season, was 18 of 37 for 175 yards but completed only 2 of 8 throws inside the red zone. He was also sacked five times.

That was in stark contrast to the way Smith played two weeks earlier when the 49ers blanked the Cardinals 26-0. In that game, Smith passed for two touchdowns, completed 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards and compiled a season-best 142.3 passer rating.

Harbaugh doesn't expect things to get easier for the 49ers in the coming weeks as teams jockey for position in the postseason.

"You're the hunted now, you're not the hunter as much," Harbaugh said. "You have a target on your back. That's raised. Not saying it wasn't like that before, but that expectation, that bar has raised."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1gSdvGN4X (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_771690.html#ixzz1gSdvGN4X)

fezziwig
12-13-2011, 08:40 PM
Thanks for posting that article HS. I also love the caption, your adopted. LMAO

Oviedo
12-13-2011, 09:02 PM
Hurt Ben!
Hurt Pouncey!
Hurt Troy!
Who knows what Woodley!
Suspended Harrison!
West Coast trip!
Monday night game!

Sorry, but I think we are looking at loss #4. Just looks like the perfect storm against us.

Pahn711
12-13-2011, 09:35 PM
Hurt Ben!
Hurt Pouncey!
Hurt Troy!
Who knows what Woodley!
Suspended Harrison!
West Coast trip!
Monday night game!

Sorry, but I think we are looking at loss #4. Just looks like the perfect storm against us.

It definitely seems so. I have a feeling this game will be a great indicator of how far the Steelers can go in the playoffs. They haven't played that well this year on the road against quality opponents, if they can turn it around with this much adversity, who knows.

flippy
12-13-2011, 09:58 PM
The 49ers are overrated.

Alex Smith will be confused. On offense they have the best TE on the planet. This guy would have 30 TDs in a season if he played with Brady. But really that's the only guy that I see as a major matchup problem. It's a good reason to see more Cortez Allen instead of so much Ryan Clark.

Their defense is decent, but again overrated. Look at who they've played. Look at their conference. They don't matchup well against all of our receiving options and I'd spread em out. The only way we can mess this up offensively is if BA has Gimpy under center taking 7 step drops all game long.

We'll womp these tricks with our 2nd stringers.

Sugar
12-14-2011, 12:39 AM
SF should be able to run on us without Woodley or Harrison. On top of that, Smith should be able to find Davis and Crabtree in down/distance situations because of the lack of pass rush.

If both teams are healthy and at their best, I pick the Steelers every time. That is not the case, however.

WindyCitySteel
12-14-2011, 09:20 AM
Hope we win, but I'm already chalking this up as a 'L'. Take the 5th seed and go to Denver with Ben, Pouncey, and Woodley healthy. Play this like a preseason finale and hope they young guys show something, but the last thing I want to see is and of the three aforementioned players aggravate their injuries.

In fact, I think it would be a good thumb to the eye of ESPN and the NFL to rest our players and, along with the 49ers, play good old fashioned smash mouth football on the Monday Night stage.

snarky
12-14-2011, 10:00 AM
While we might be underdogs due to the travel and injuries, it isn't Mission Impossible. We need some guys to step up and deliver for one game.

AFAIAC, as long as we have Ben taking snaps, we have a chance.

Slapstick
12-14-2011, 10:12 AM
The AZ defense gave SF fits...it is similar to our D...

WindyCitySteel
12-14-2011, 10:31 AM
The AZ defense gave SF fits...it is similar to our D...

And we've struggled in night roadies against Indy and KC.

I don't see us winning no matter who plays, so I'd rather not see the season end with another injury to Ben.

WindyCitySteel
12-14-2011, 10:33 AM
Oh great, and Troy's questionable, too.

http://postgazette.com/pg/11348/1196620-66.stm

**** it, bench them all and give the NFL a Monday Night **** sandwich. We have bigger goals than beating a NFC team.

snarky
12-14-2011, 10:52 AM
If we are going to rest everyone (including Ben) for the game, sign Favre to a one day contract and just try to win it in gunslinger mode. :stirpot :stirpot

EDIT: He can even wear his Wrangler jeans if he wants to.

Slapstick
12-14-2011, 12:20 PM
The AZ defense gave SF fits...it is similar to our D...

And we've struggled in night roadies against Indy and KC.

I don't see us winning no matter who plays, so I'd rather not see the season end with another injury to Ben.

And we've won night roadies against Indy and KC...

Screw style points...just win the game...

papillon
12-14-2011, 12:44 PM
The Steelers will know by the end of the day Sunday if a playoff spot is secured.

If any one of the following occur Sunday the Steelers are in the playoffs:

The Raiders lose or tie (vs Detroit)
The Titans lose or tie (vs Indianapolis)
The Broncos lose (vs New England)
The Jets lose (vs Philadelphia)

There aren't any guarantees there except that the Titans will win, there are three good possibilities of a loss between Oakland, Denver and New York based on their opponents.

Pappy

kindlecatsb'ng
12-14-2011, 01:00 PM
Are we on the chat already? :HeadBanger


GO STEELERS! :tt2

Kindle

WindyCitySteel
12-14-2011, 01:33 PM
The AZ defense gave SF fits...it is similar to our D...

And we've struggled in night roadies against Indy and KC.

I don't see us winning no matter who plays, so I'd rather not see the season end with another injury to Ben.

And we've won night roadies against Indy and KC...

Screw style points...just win the game...

SF has more wins than KC and Indy combined. Point being we should have walked on those teams. We'd be a slight favorite or underdog if healthy in SF. I could see a double digit loss if we come out like we did against the other two.

fezziwig
12-14-2011, 01:45 PM
The way we played against the Colts, Cheifs, Browns, our first loss to the Ravens or even our last defensive stand against the Ravens, our Steelers could be in for a long day.

To me if a team is Super Bowl worthy, they should crush teams like the Browns, Colts, Cheifs and our Steelers just don't have it in them.

SF will be jacked for this game because they lost to the Cards, they're at home, have something to prove, want to make the grade against the Steelers and Harbaugh has a chip on his shoulder since the day we broke his tooth in the playoffs.
i'm sure him and his brother have spoke on what to do against the Steelers.

JAR
12-14-2011, 05:35 PM
Damn, what a bunch of doom and gloomers. I hope you all don't live your lives with the same black cloud hanging over you that you always have lingering over the Steelers.

Baby Harbaugh;s cockiness has gotten to this team... they've been choking and will continue to on Monday. :tt1

fezziwig
12-14-2011, 05:43 PM
It's not doom and gloom for me. I just look at it as the things that the Steelers need to overcome outside of the hash marks.
The niners have their work ahead of them too. The Steelers have a lot riding on these last few games.
The Steelers baffle QB's that have little experience or Qb's that are not of the upper crust.
Then there's our resume of we usually win these type of games when it comes to a slugfest.
Their coach hasn't faced our team and I doubt he has the experience he needs.
No doom and gloom but it isn't going to be a walk through the Candles Stick Park either.