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Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense2nd114.9 (13th)300.5 (2nd)
Defense20th99.3 (6th)255.2 (27th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

The Sports Xchange
 
Strategy and personnel · Inside slant · Notes, quotes
 

PLAYER/PERSONNEL

--FS Ryan Clark did not play vs. the Broncos because of the health issues he had in the high altitude two years ago. Clark will return to start Sunday.

--DE Travis Kirschke hopes to be able to play Sunday vs. Cincinnati. He did not play vs. the Broncos because of a torn left calf muscle.

--DE Nick Eason replaced injured Travis Krischke as the starting left defensive end. Eason was the third starting left end in the past four games. Aaron Smith was placed on IR.

--LB Lawrence Timmons missed his third start of the season with a sprained ankle. Timmons missed the first game and did not start the second because of a sprained left ankle. He missed Monday's game with a sprained right ankle.

--LB Keyaron Fox made his third start at inside linebacker, for injured Lawrence Timmons. Fox is a special-teams co-captain.

REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS

PASSING OFFENSE
B -- Ben Roethlisberger completed 21 of 29 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 116.0. However, he also threw a bad interception on first down at Denver's 15 with the game still in the balance, throwing behind Hines Ward in the end zone. And he was sacked and stripped of the ball that was returned for another TD.

RUSHING OFFENSE
A -- Rashard Mendenhall continued to tear up NFL defenses. He rushed for 155 yards on 22 carries, a 7.0-yard average. Mewelde Moore added 18 yards on four carries as the Steelers ran 29 times for 173 yards against the NFL's top-ranked defense.

PASS DEFENSE
B-plus -- Kyle Orton was humming along, completing high-percentage passes until the bottom fell out. He was 23 of 38 for 221 yards, but he had no touchdowns, and of his three interceptions, one was returned for a TD and another set up a touchdown. Tyrone Carter, subbing for Ryan Clark at free safety, had two of the interceptions. He was sacked twice, both by end Brett Keisel, and had a 43.9 passer rating. He did not try one long pass against the Steelers.

RUSH DEFENSE
A -- Denver did not try much, but when it did it went nowhere. The Broncos ran only 14 times for only 27 yards, a 1.9-yard average. The Steelers entered the game with the No. 1-ranked run defense and left with it intact, even though they played with three starters out.

SPECIAL TEAMS
B -- Little took place on either side of note, except that punter Daniel Sepulveda dropped three of his five punts inside the 20 and averaged 44.2 gross. The Steelers held Denver return man Eddie Royal in check. One field goal was tried, by the Broncos, and it was good.

COACHING
A -- Dick LeBeau, missing three starters from his defense, mixed and matched as the game in the high altitude went on and got good play from all. Even though Denver kept to the short passes, the Steelers got good pressure on Orton and made him hurry some throws, one of that was intercepted and returned 48 yards for a touchdown. Bruce Arians thought he could run on the Broncos and they did that behind Mendenhall.

Copyright (C) 2009 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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