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Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense19th86.4 (26th)251.1 (10th)
Defense13th115.6 (18th)221.6 (10th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

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

PLAYER NOTES

-- WR Santonio Holmes led the Steelers with six receptions for 93 yards to reach his first 1,000-yard season. He has 1,080 yards.

-- QB Ben Roethlisberger has 38 sacks in 12 games played and is well within reach of his personal high of 47, set in 2007.

-- WR Hines Ward shook off a hamstring injury to start but he caught just four passes for 21 yards and has 943 yards as he tries for his sixth 1,000-yard season.

-- LB LaMarr Woodley had his seventh sack in the past five games and, after a slow start, has nine, one off James Harrison's team lead.

-- RB Rashard Mendenhall dipped under a 5.0 yards rushing average for the first time since he became their starter. He has 940 yards and a 4.8-yard average.

REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS

PASSING OFFENSE
D -- Ben Roethlisberger completed 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 75.1 passer rating. He was sacked eight times. Receivers dropped four or five passes on a bitterly cold, windy day that was not conducive to throwing the ball. Under the circumstances, Roethlisberger did as well as he could have and Santonio Holmes was the only other shining element with six catches for 93 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE
F -- The Steelers managed only 75 yards, led by Rashard Mendenhall's 53. But they did not give their ground game a chance, running only 20 times, including one quarterback sneak and two scrambles by Roethlisberger. This, against one of the worst run defenses in the league that was playing without five starters.

PASS DEFENSE
B -- Brady Quinn completed just six passes in 19 attempts for only 90 yards and a 48.1 passer rating and no touchdowns. One pass completion carried 37 yards. The Steelers, though, sacked him just once and came away, again, with no interceptions for the fourth straight game.

RUSH DEFENSE
F -- It did not matter that the Browns were without injured Jamal Lewis. The Steelers' once-proud run defense was shredded for 171 yards as Joshua Cribbs, operating out of the wildcat, gained 87 yards on eight carries and Chris Jennings another 73 on 20 carries. Jennings ran one around right end for a 10-yard touchdown, becoming the first Brown to score a touchdown from the running back position this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS
D -- The Steelers allowed another big return, a 55-yard punt return by Joshua Cribbs that set up a Cleveland field goal. They tried three different punt returners who covered six yards on two returns and made three fair catches. They averaged 11.0 yards on four kickoff returns. Jeff Reed was the only bright spot with two field goals of 27 and 42 yards in tough conditions.

COACHING
F -- Mike Tomlin's pronouncements the last three weeks not only fell on deaf ears, they appear lame and someone akin to crying "wolf." He promised Redemption Sunday in Baltimore and then to "unleash hell in December." He promised changes in his lineup for Thursday in Cleveland. None of it happened. In weather conditions suited for the run, the Steelers tried to pass with disastrous results. Their defense missed tackles, failed to come up with any big plays and seemed uninspired all night long.

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

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