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Steelers beat Broncos 28-10

November 10, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

The Broncos have been one of the darlings of the NFL this season after surprising everyone with a 6-0 start.  Meanwhile, the Super Bowl champions have been all but ignored.  After last night’s game, that will probably change.

The entire nation got to see the Pittsburgh Steelers dominate the AFC West leading Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

The game was truly a tale of two halves.  In the first half, the Broncos completely dominated the Steelers.  The Steelers seemed to be struggling on both offense and defense.  The Steelers went into the locker room at halftime with a 7-3 lead.  But the score was not indicative of what was happening on the field.

The Broncos kept the ball for 19:16 of the first half, and only allowed the Steelers to have the ball for 10:44.  That’s almost twice the time of possession. 

The Broncos were leading the Steelers in almost every statistical category at the half.  Kyle Orton had thrown for 163 yards, while Ben Roethlisberger had only accumulated 49 passing yards while being sacked twice.  The Broncos’ defense had held the Steelers running attack to a mere 23 yards on the ground.  It was only an interception by Tyrone Carter that was returned for a touchdown that kept the Steelers from being shut out in the 1st half.

I don’t know what the coaches said at halftime, but when the Steelers came out in the second half, they looked like a completely different team.

In the second half, the Steelers dominated the time of possession even worse than the Broncos had done in the first half.  The Steelers kept the ball for 22:19 in the second half, while only allowing the Broncos to have the ball for 7:41.

After doing almost nothing in the 1st half, the Steelers offense came alive in the 2nd half.  Running back Rashard Mendenhall broke several very nice runs, and ended the game with 155 total rushing yards.  He averaged a whopping 7 yards per carry.

RB Rashard Mendenhall

RB Rashard Mendenhall

But the biggest offensive hero of the game was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  After being ice cold in the 1st half, Big Ben caught fire in the 2nd half.  He completed passes to 5 different receivers, and ended the game with 233 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 116 passer rating. 

Big Ben threw two touchdown passes to Hines Ward, and one to rookie receiver Mike Wallace.

The Steelers defense also got in on the fun.  Brett Keisel got two sacks, Tyrone Carter got two interceptions, and Troy Polamalu added an interception of his own as the Steelers defense kept the Broncos from scoring a touchdown. 

The Broncos were only able to generate a single field goal against the Steelers defense.  Their other 7 points were actually scored by their defense.

Interception by Polamalu

Interception by Polamalu

Coming into the game, the Broncos’ defense was rated #1 in the NFL.  But after seeing the two defenses side-by-side, it is clear that the Broncos’ defense is not in the same league as the Steelers’.  The Steelers held the Broncos to 27 rushing yards.  For the entire game.  How is that for a statement?

Having beaten the undefeated Vikings in their last game, and the media darling Broncos this game, the Steelers have announced to the rest of the NFL that they cannot be counted out this season. 

Next week, they have another important statement to make.  The Steelers are tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for 1st place in the AFC North.  The Bengals have swept their season series with the Baltimore Ravens, and have also beaten the Steelers in their first meeting of the season.  But that was then, and this is now.  The Bengals are going to find that this is a very different Steelers team from the one that they faced earlier in the year.  And next Monday, I believe the Steelers will stand alone at the top of the AFC North.


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Steelers lose to Redskins 17-13.

August 23, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

August 23, 2009
By Donald Starver

The Steelers came up short last night in a 17-13 loss to the Washington Redskins.  However, we need to be careful not to read too much into the results. 

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play at all, due to an injury that he suffered on the last day of training camp.  Offensive tackle Max Starks stepped on Big Ben’s foot, but the injury is not serious.  Roethlisberger might have even played a series or two last night if the field weren’t soaking wet.  Heavy rains made for a slick playing surface which posed too great a risk for further injury to Roethlisberger.  So Charlie Batch started the game in place of Roethlisberger.

The outcome of these games really isn’t important.  What matters is how the Steelers execute their assignments, and how they perform in what head coach Mike Tomlin calls “situational football”. 

The first unit left the game with the Steelers leading.  The 1st team defense had a nice stop within the Redskins 5 yard line that forced them to settle for a field goal.  However, there were still several areas of concern. 

The team finished the game with 13 penalties.  That is far too many.  Few teams can find a way to win when they give up that many penalties.  Most concerning was the fact that the first unit was just as penalty-prone as the substitutes were.

Also concerning was the protection by the offensive line (sound familiar?).  Though the Steelers’ quarterbacks were only sacked twice, they were under pressure quite often.  I paid close attention to Max Starks’ battle with Redskins DE Andre Carter, and Carter owned Starks.  If you look at the box score, it will show that Carter only had one tackle during the game.  However, that is not an accurate reflection of what really happened.

On the positive side, Stefan Logans made the game his personal coming out party.  Logans returned 4 punts for an average of 12 yards per return.  Even more impressive, he returned 4 kickoffs for an average of 39.3 yards.  No, that’s not a typo.  He averaged almost 40 yards per kickoff return.  He even had one 60 yard return. 

Logans pretty much closed the door on his competition with Joe Burnett for return duties.  Burnett fielded one punt and fumbled it after gaining only 4 yards.  The Redskins scored on the next play.  Burnett was also beaten for a touchdown while playing cornerback.  When you combine that with the fact that Burnett also had a fumble in last week’s  game, it becomes clear that Burnett is not having a good pre-season.  Fortunately, Burnett had an interception last week, else he might have been cut immediately following the game.

Other notable performances:

Dan Sepulveda- Sepulveda punted 5 times for an average of 47.8 yards.  His longest punt of the night traveled 58 yards.

Rashard Mendenhall- While he didn’t get many touches, Mendenhall averaged 5.2 yards on his 5 carries.

Tom Korte - Recorded an interception, and returned it 27 yards.

Ziggy Hood - Hood recorded both of the Steelers’ sacks.

Martin Nance - Nance made 2 catches for an average of 13 yards per catch.

Needs Improvement:

Tony Hills - Hills accounted for 2 of the Steelers’ 13 penalties.  I can live with physical errors.  Holding is a part of the game.  Heck, if an offensive lineman isn’t holding, then is he really even trying?  But what I can’t tolerate is mental errors.  Both of Hills’ penalties were due to mental errors.  On one he was called for a false start, and on another he was flagged for an illegal formation.

Joe Burnett - Hold onto the ball Joe.

Jeff Reed - Jeff Reed actually missed two field goal attempts in a row.  Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either.  After missing his first attempt, Reed was given another shot due to a penalty by the Redskins, and he missed again.  It must be snowing in Hell.

Other news:

Back-up quarterback Dennis Dixon left the game with an unspecified shoulder injury.

300x100_Steelers_shop now picture

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And then there were four.

January 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

In an unusual playoff weekend, only one of the favorites managed to defend their home field advantage.  Fortunately, that one team was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers 35-24 in a game that looked like old fashioned Steelers football.  The Steelers ran the ball, controlled the clock, and played stingy defense.  Sound familiar?

Willie Parker ran for 146 yards on 27 carries.  That’s a 5.4 yard per carry average.  Not a bad day’s work.

The Steelers ran the ball 42 times while only throwing the ball 27 times.  That’s probably not a bad ratio, particularly when the running game is working as well as it was on Sunday.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 17 of 26 passes for 181 yards.  More importantly, Roethlisberger avoided careless turnovers.  He threw no interceptions, and never fumbled the ball.  Roethlisberger did take several long attempts downfield that just missed their intended receivers.  Though the long bombs missed their intended receivers, they were enough to keep the defense honest.

On the defensive side of the ball, the NFL’s #1 ranked defense held the Chargers to 15 yards rushing.  Total.  In the whole game.  That is impressive under any circumstances, but considering that Chargers’ running back Darren Sproles had torched the Indianapolis Colts’ defense for 328 all-purpose yards last week, it is absolutely astounding.  Sproles averaged 1.4 yards per carry, and his longest carry was only 8 yards.

But the most impressive aspect of the entire game was probably the third quarter.  The Steelers controlled the ball so effectively that the Chargers only got to run one play from scrimmage during the entire quarter.  Their total time of possession during the quarter was less then 20 seconds.  it’s pretty hard to score when you don’t get to touch the ball.

So the Steelers move on to the AFC Championship against the Baltimore Ravens.  The Steelers have already beaten the Ravens twice this season.  Now they’ll have to do it a third time if they hope to move on to the Super Bowl.  As they say, “three’s a charm”.

On the NFC side, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the highly favored Carolina Panthers to move on to the NFC championship.  Former Steelers coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm will lead the Cardinals to the NFC championship game for the first time in……….. well, it’s been so long that I don’t think anyone really remembers the last time it happened.  Suffice it to say that it was a looooonnnng time ago.

Finally, the Philadelphia Eagles ousted the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, to move onto the final four.

The Steelers-Ravens and Cardinals-Eagles will meet next week to determine which two teams will meet in the Super Bowl.  Stay tuned.

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Steelers spank Browns

December 29, 2008 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports, We hate the Browns!

December 28, 2008
By Donald Starver

I wrote a piece on Christmas day called Steelers vs. Browns Recap (In Advance).  In that piece, I stated that the outcome of the Steelers-Browns game was so inevitable that I could write the post-game recap before the game was even played.  Well, now that the game is over, I see that I wasn’t very far off.

I predicted that the Steelers would beat the Browns 31-6.  The actual score was 31-0.  I also said that the Steelers would keep the Browns from scoring a touchdown for their sixth consecutive game.  They did.  Lastly, I said that Romeo Crennel would be fired after the game.  I believe that will happen within the next 48 hours.

Now, back to the game.

The Steelers won by a score of 31-0, but the score should have been 45-0.  The Steelers had a touchdown brought back when a flag was thrown on Limas Sweed for holding on a Steelers’ touchdown.  Another touchdown was called back when the referees incorrectly said that a Browns’ fumble that Anthony Smith returned for a touchdown was an incomplete pass.  Steelers’ head coach should have challenged the ruling on the field, but for some reason he didn’t do so.  Had he challenged the play, it would have proven to be a Steelers touchdown.  Fortunately, we didn’t need those 14 points.

Despite the two lost touchdowns, nobody can complain about a 31-0 victory.  There were a couple of positive things about the game that should be mentioned.

First, wide receiver Hines Ward surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the fifth time in his career.  He also caught his 800th career pass during the game.  Both are Steelers records.  Not a bad day’s work.

Also on the offensive side of the ball, running back Willie Parker ran for over 100 yards for the first time in…..way too long.  The Steelers need the running game operating on all cylinders if they’re going to be effective in the playoffs.    The 176 rushing yards that the Steelers accumulated Sunday against the Browns should make them feel good going into the playoffs.  Of course, the Bengals’ Cedrick Benson rushed for 171 yards last week against the Browns, so maybe we shouldn’t take too much comfort from this.

The Steelers’ defense held the Browns to 126 yards of offense.  That’s right, 126 yards.  Total.  Now that’s some mighty fine defense.  Bruce Gradkowski passed for 18 yards on 16 attempts.  If that’s not some kind of defensive record, then I’d sure like to see what defense allowed even fewer passing yards.

Steelers’ safety Tyrone Carter, who was starting in place of Ryan Clark due to injury, recorded 2 interceptions during the game.  He ran one of those interceptions back for a touchdown.

On the negative side, Ben Roethlisberger did have to leave the game due to a concussion.  Roethlisberger was hit hard by D’Qwell Jackson and Willie McGinest.  Roethlisberger stayed on the ground for a long period of time, and was finally carried off the field on a stretcher.  As he was leaving the field, Roethlisberger gave the thumbs up sign to the crowd to let the fans know that he was okay.

Mike Tomlin had planned to play Roethlisberger in the first half, and then play Byron Leftwich in the second half.  The plan almost worked, but Roethlisberger got hurt with only 1:58 left in the half.

Some will say that Roethlisberger shouldn’t have even played during a meaningless game, but that isn’t necessarily true.  There is no definitive answer to whether a coach should rest veterans late in the season.  The Colts rested their key players 3 years ago and then lost their very first playoff game because the players were rusty.  It’s a catch-22 for coaches.  If they don’t rest their players and they get hurt, then the coach will be questioned for playing them.  If the coach rest them and they lose in the playoffs, the coach will be questioned for allowing them to get rusty rather than keeping them in playing condition.  The coach just can’t win.

Every indication is that Big Ben should be fine for the Steelers’ first playoff game.  With the bye week, he will have two weeks to recover from the concussion that he incurred.  If Ben can’t go, the Steelers can take comfort knowing that they have a veteran QB like Byron Leftwich waiting in the wings.  Leftwich is a playoff veteran, and is more than capable of leading the Steelers’ offense.

Let the playoffs begin!

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Steelers-Titans recap haiku contest

December 22, 2008 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

The game for AFC supremacy certainly didn’t turn out the way that I had hoped.  Our Steelers fell to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 31-14.  Ouch!

As I do each week, I will summarize the game in the form of a haiku.  A haiku is  a form of Japanese poetry that contains only 3 lines.  The first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third line has 5 syllables.  Typically, haiku do not rhyme.  Here is my offering for this week:

Turnovers galore
Sunk us like the Titanic
We will meet again

Okay readers, your turn.  Try to write a better haiku than mine to summarize the Steelers-Titans game.  The best entry gets posted on the front page of the blog.

Last week, our reigning champ Patrick got upset due to a technicality.  He’ll probably be looking to win back his crown this week, so I’d suggest being extra creative this week.  Good luck.

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