Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense2nd109.5 (16th)301.6 (2nd)
Defense18th100.3 (6th)253.1 (27th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

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

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Ben Roethlisberger now has two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter/overtime this season and 22 in his seven-year career. Roethlisberger finished the game with what appeared to be a mild foot sprain, though he continued to play.

--CB Bryant McFadden left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and was replaced by William Gay, last year's starter on the left side. Gay tipped a pass that led to Troy Polamalu's diving interception at the 2-yard line to prevent a possible Bills victory in regulation.

--DE Brett Keisel has missed five of the past six games with injuries to his hamstring/calf. He practiced all last week but was downgraded on Saturday.

--DE Steve McClendon could get the call to start at right defensive end in Baltimore because of the injuries to Keisel and now to Nick Eason (MCL). McClendon began the season on the practice squad.

--RB Rashard Mendenhall, who scored his ninth touchdown, remains in contention to challenge an iconic Pittsburgh record -- the 14 rushing touchdowns by Franco Harris in the 14-game season of 1976.

REPORT CARD VS. BILLS

PASSING OFFENSE
B -- Ben Roethlisberger completed 20 of 33 passes for 246 yards with no interceptions. He didn't throw a touchdown pass, and he was sacked five times. Rookie Emmanuel Sanders dropped what might have been the winning touchdown pass on a third-down play when he was wide open.

RUSHING OFFENSE
B-plus -- It's hard to fault a running game that produces 206 yards on 45 carries and the team's only touchdown. The one criticism: The Steelers did not run it enough against the NFL's worst rush defense. Rashard Mendenhall led the way with 151 yards on 36 carries and a 1-yard touchdown.

PASS DEFENSE
B -- Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 23 of 45 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown. Although he threw an interception -- a diving catch of a tipped ball by Troy Polamalu -- he operated without much pressure on him; he was sacked just twice. Also, had rookie Stevie Johnson not dropped a wide open pass in the end zone in overtime, it would have been 305 yards, two TDs and a Buffalo victory.

RUSH DEFENSE
B-plus -- The No. 1 defense against the run in the NFL held another foe under 100 yards, with the Bills managing only 74 yards. But Buffalo also quit trying, running only 17 times despite a respectable 4.4-yard average against that stout run defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS
A -- Despite almost giving up a kickoff return for a touchdown on the first play in overtime, the Steelers' special teams brought home the bacon. Kicker Shaun Suisam, playing in just his second game with Pittsburgh, made all five of his field-goal tries, all five from beyond 40 yards, including the winner in OT from 41. Daniel Sepulveda also had a booming 55-yard punt that got his team out of trouble in OT.

COACHING
C -- Penalties continue to dog the Steelers, with 107 more yards piled onto the team-record 163 from the previous week. Also, the offense never did try to grind things out after the Steelers took a 13-0 halftime lead, and it nearly cost them.

Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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