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Archive for the ‘Post-Game Reports’

Young Money comes through

October 23, 2011 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

When the Steelers flew to Glendale, they knew that they were going to be playing the Arizona Cardinals.  What they didn’t know was that they were going to be having a coming out party for Young Money.

“Young Money” is the nickname given to the Steelers’ trio of young wide receivers, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders.

In a game in which Ben Roethlisberger threw for 361 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 121.8 passer rating, “Young Money” accounted for 266 of those yards and 2 of the 3 touchdowns.

Mike Wallace, who is already the Steelers’ star receiver, had 118 receiving yards, including a 95 yard touchdown reception.

Mike Wallace outruns Cards

Antonio Brown contributed 102 receiving yards.  He also had over 100 yards on combined kickoffs and punt returns.

Emmanuel Sanders had 5 receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.

If the Cardinals didn’t know who “Young Money” is before the game started, they certainly do now.

But the Steelers wide receivers weren’t the only ones who had a stellar game.  Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was a one-man wrecking machine.  He led the defense with 7 tackles, 2 quarterback hurries, 2 sacks, and a safety.  And he probably should have been credited with 3 sacks, but he wasn’t awarded a sack on the play in which he had Cardinals’ quarterback Kevin Kolb in the grasp, but Kolb threw the ball away and was charged with intentional grounding.

The Steelers run defense also returned to form.  They held the Cardinals to 73 total rushing yards.  That’s the type of performance Steelers fans have come to expect from their defense.  Hopefully, today’s performance was a sign of things to come.

The final score of the game was 32-20.  And it was actually 32-14 with about 5 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter.  So the Steelers won this one by a pretty comfortable margin.  That was good to see, since the Steelers have a habit of making games closer than they need to be.

Now it’s on to New England to face the hated Patriots.

Here we go Steelers!

Steelers dominate Jags in close game

October 16, 2011 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

No, you didn’t read that headline wrong.  The Steelers did actually manage to dominate a game, and also keep it close.  Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

The Steelers had almost twice the total yard that the Jaguars accumulated.  They outgained them 315-68 in the first half alone.  They held the Jaguars to only 76 net passing yards for the game.  They sacked Jags’ QB Blaine Gabbert 5 times.  Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 146 yards.  Sounds like total domination, right?

Most sane people would read the paragraph above and assume that the Steelers won 28-3.  Or perhaps they’d assume that the Jags had been kept off the scoreboard completely.  Maybe 31-0.  But that wasn’t the case.  Believe it or not, the Steelers barely won.  The final score was 17-13, and the Jaguars had a chance to win on the final play of the game.

So how did a game that should have been a blowout turn into a nailbiter?  The answer lies in the second half statistics.  After racking up over 300 yards on the Jags in the first half, the Steelers were held to only 70 yards in the 2nd half.  Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only completed one pass in the 2nd half.  That’s right, one.  And to make matters worse, he was sacked 3 times in the second half.

It isn’t often that a quarterback finishes a half with more sacks than completions.  In fact, prior to this game, I would have assumed that it was impossible.  But Big Ben proved me wrong.

That was really the story of the game.  The Steelers suffered from schizophrenia.  In the first half, they were a determined, prepared team that was set on winning an important game.  And in the second half they were a tentative, unprepared team that seemed like they were trying to lose.

Perhaps the Jaguars made some amazing adjustments at the half.  But shouldn’t the Steelers have made adjustments to the Jaguars adjustments?  Instead, they appeared to be completely inept for the final 30 minutes of the game.

A win is a win, and we have to be happy any time the Steelers can leave with a victory.  But to be honest, this was one of the least satisfying wins I can remember.

Real Steelers return

October 09, 2011 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

Going into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, most Steelers fans weren’t sure which team was going to show up.  Would it be the REAL Pittsburgh Steelers, or would it be that group of imposters who donned the black and gold for the first 4 games of the season?

As if it weren’t bad enough that the Steelers had played badly to this point in the season, they were also going to have to face the Titans without James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Rashard Mendenhall, and Chris Kemoeatu.  Gulp!

And to add an even greater degree of difficulty to the game, the Steelers were starting Max Starks at left tackle after less than a week of practice with the team.

Despite seemingly impossible odds, the patchwork group of Steelers delivered their most dominant performance of the season as the Steelers beat the Titans 38-17.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tied a Steelers record when he threw Five touchdown passes.  But perhaps more important was the fact that the offensive line gave Big Ben plenty of time in the pocket.  As a result, Ben was only sacked once during the game.

While the entire offensive line played well, special recognition has to go to Max Starks.  This was Starks’ first game back since signing with the Steelers earlier in the week.  Yet, Starks was not only forced to start, but also to play almost the entire game due to injuries among the Steelers’ offensive linemen.  And Starks more than rose to the occasion.

The offensive line also did a great job of opening holes for the running backs.  Without Rashard Mendenhall in the lineup, the Steelers had to rely on Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer to carry the running load.  And carry it they did.  The Steelers rushed for a total of 174 yards, with Dwyer leading the way with 107 yards.

The defense also did a stellar job.  Prior to Sunday’s game, the Steeler were having difficulty stopping opponents from running on them.  But they held Titans’ running back Chris Johnson to only 51 yards.  They also kept pressure on Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, and managed to sack him 3 times.  Young defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward each participated in a sack.

LaMarr Woodley, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Ike Taylor, and Antonio Brown also had good games.  It was just a good overall game for the team.

Hopefully, this is the type of performance that we’ll be seeing for the rest of the year.  I’m sure that Steeler Nation would love to believe that those imposters are a thing of the past, and the real Steelers are here to stay.

Steelers lose to Texans

October 02, 2011 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

The game ended over 6 hours ago.  But I still don’t want to write about it.  I don’t even want to think about it.  I just want to forget about the debacle in Houston.

The Texans beat the Steelers by a score of 17-10.  But anyone who watched the game knows that it was much worse than that.

In case anyone missed the game, suffice it to say that the best players for the Steelers were wearing Houston Texans jerseys.

The Texans repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with silly penalties (9 in all).  Twice the Texans had touchdowns called back because of penalties.  It seemed like every time the Texans made a good play, it was called back due to a penalty.  If it hadn’t been for all of the penalties, the score would have been much, much worse.

After last week’s game against the Colts, when the defense made Colts’ running back Joseph Addai look like Jim Brown, I thought that it couldn’t get any worse.  But I was wrong.  This week, they made Texans running back Arian Foster look like Barry Sanders.  I haven’t looked at the box score yet, but I’m pretty sure that Foster ran for over 1,000 yards in this one game.

Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating.  In truth, the Texans only ran for 180 yards.  So while I may have exaggerated a little, I didn’t exaggerate much.

But the defense wasn’t the only unit that was completely overwhelmed.  The offense was equally over-matched.

The Steelers’ offensive line couldn’t block anyone.  In fact, I’m not even sure if they played today.  If they did, they certainly didn’t make their presence felt.

And Rashard Mendenhall didn’t play much better.  Last week Mendenhall was held to a mere 37 yards rushing.  But as if to prove to us that he could do even worse, Mendy rushed for only 25 yards this week.

Initially, I blamed the offensive line for Mendenhall’s poor performances.  But Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore seemed to have no problem running behind the same offensive line in both games.  So perhaps the problem isn’t with the offensive line.  Perhaps the problem is Mendenhall.

Perhaps the worst performance of all was given by #7.  Ben Roethlisberger played terribly.

To be fair, the offensive line didn’t give him much time.  It’s no coincidence that Roethlisberger was sacked 5 times.  But Ben still played badly.  He and his receivers don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to “hot reads” when the blitz is coming.  On several occasions, Ben tried to get rid of the ball quickly because a blitz was coming, and the receiver didn’t even look back for the ball.  Clearly, that’s not Ben’s fault.

The thing that’s been most concerning this season has been Big Ben’s tendency to turn the ball over at the least opportune times.  If he’s not throwing an interception, he’s fumbling the ball.  Knowing that he’s playing behind a porous offensive line, Ben either has to throw the ball away, or secure it so that he doesn’t give up a fumble.

Okay, that’s enough.  Rehashing the game is making me upset, so I’m going to stop now.  But that’s probably a good thing, because it leaves me time to go out and buy a new TV before the stores close tonight.   I threw my shoe through my old TV during the game.

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Steelers (Barely) Beat Colts

September 26, 2011 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

When the game was over, the scoreboard showed a win.  But just barely.

The Steelers defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 23-20, in a game that wasn’t supposed to be that close.

The Colts were without their superstar quarterback Peyton Manning.  That alone, put them at a significant disadvantage coming into the game.  No other team relies on one player the way the Colts depend on Manning.  Without him, the Colts’ season was supposed to be a hopeless cause.

Not only was Manning out, but the Colts were without several other starters as well.  Moreover, the Colts were forced to bring in 90 year old quarterback Kerry Collins to replace Manning right before the start of the season.  Nobody expected Collins to even come close to being able to carry the team in Manning’s absence.

And then, to make a hopeless situation seem even more futile, Collins had to leave the game with a concussion, and somebody named  Curtis Painter (who?) had to play quarterback for the Colts.

Curtis Painter gets sacked.

Had this scenario been described to most fans prior to the game, they would have likely predicted a 54-0 win by the Steelers.  But that’s not what happened.

Despite being short-handed, the Colts hung with the Steelers to the very end.  In fact, they led the Steelers 13-10 at the beginning of the 4th quarter.

Somebody forgot to tell the Colts’ defense that they had no hope of winning the game.  They pressured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger all night.  They sacked him, intercepted his passes, and forced him to fumble the ball.

More importantly, the Colts’ defensive line beat up the Steelers’ offensive line the way Ike Turner beat Tina Turner.  Dwight Freeney made Jonathan Scott look like an abuse victim.  He beat him more ways than I thought were possible.  At times, I thought Scott was wearing a pair of roller skates.  Freeney had him moving backwards so fast, Scott had to be on wheels.  In fact, Scott was moving backwards so fast at times that I’m certain it defied the laws of physics.

Rashard Mendenhall also got completely humbled in the game.  The futility that he experienced running the ball was probably partially due to the ineffectiveness of the offensive line.  Nevertheless, it would have been nice to see Mendenhall run for more than one yard on most of his carries.

Mewelde Moore seemed to be much more effective running the ball when he came into the game.  And he was running behind the same offensive line that Mendenhall did.  In fact, by the time they started using Moore, the O-line was already depleted.  So Mewelde’s performance seems even more impressive as compared to Mendenhall’s.

Despite their struggles, the Steelers were able to squeeze out a win.  Kicker Shaun Suisham booted a field goal with 8 seconds left in the game to give the Steelers a 3 point victory.

The Steelers are now 2-1.  On paper, that sounds good.  But anyone who watched that game knows that the Steelers just barely won, and things are far from good.

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