1.The Steelers came back last week after being down two touchdowns. What did they do differently in the second half that allowed them to come back against the Ravens?
Most people think the Ravens lost the game due to the 2 turnovers that resulted in 14 points and another that resulted in 3. However, those same people forget the Steelers basically gave the Ravens 14 points in the first half with turnovers deep in their own territory. This was the main difference between the 1st and 2nd half. The Steelers defense and offense alike were very opportunistic.
2. Ben Roethlisberger always seems to convert key 3rd down plays. What is it about him and their passing game that allows him to be successful in these key situations?
That’s a really difficult question. I think certain players just have a knack for making clutch plays and he’s one of those guys. I compare him to a Derek Jeter in this aspect. Jeter, like Big Ben, has historically made big plays in clutch moments.
For example, if I need a run to win the World Series and there is a runner in scoring position, Jeter is the guy I want at the plate regardless if he’s in a slump at the time. I can say the same thing for Big Ben.
3. Troy Polamalu has been hindered by Achilles and ankle injuries late in the season and does not appear to have his normal burst. Is that still the case and do you think he is healthy enough to make an impact in this game?
I think the Achilles and ankle injury is still bothering Troy Polamalu. He missed a few tackles last week and wasn’t a huge factor against the Ravens. With that being said, I always think Troy makes an impact on the game. He’s a guy that must be accounted for on every play regardless of if he’s 100% healthy. When offensive players get fixated on where Troy’s at, this opens up plays for Harrison, Timmons, Woodley and our other playmakers. In that instance, Troy isn’t actually making the play but he’s still having an impact.
4. There are some good match ups in this game. Which one would you rate as the most critical in determining the outcome of this game?
There are several great match-ups in this game. I see the following as the most critical:
1)Steelers offensive line vs. your defense line and linebackers
2)Steelers secondary vs. the Jets solid wide receiving corp
3)Steelers young receivers vs. Cromartie and Revis
4)Sanchez vs. Polamalu
5)Steelers outside linebackers vs Jets tackles
5. Break down this game for us. What does each team need to do to prevail?
I think turnovers and penalties are going to have a big effect on the outcome of this game. Ben Roethlisberger and Sanchez will need to protect that ball. Aside from that, the Jets could see a huge advantage in the special teams and offensive lines area. I’m very interested in seeing how the Steelers passing attack matches up to the Jets defense. Most people aren’t giving the Steelers WR’s any credit but they have 3 young, fast players in Mike Wallace, Emmanual Sanders, and Antonio Brown. Let’s not forget veteran WR Hines Ward and TE Heath Miller.