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 Mike Wallace, who leads the team in both receptions with 57 and yards with 1,152, has a 20.2-yard average per catch. That is second in the NFL. He led the league as a rookie with an average of 19.4 yards. Only two players have led the NFL in average yards per catch their first two years in the league.

-- SS Troy Polamalu missed his second straight game with an Achilles-related injury and will not play in Cleveland Jan. 2 if the Steelers have the No. 2 seed in the AFC locked up.

-- LB James Farrior recorded his sixth sack Thursday night, tying his career high. Five of his sacks have come in the past six games and all of them have come in the past eight games.

-- LB James Harrison's 11th sack Thursday night topped the 10 sacks he had last season. Harrison has not missed a game.

-- RB Mewelde Moore left Thursday night's game with a knee injury and was to undergo tests to determine its extent. If he cannot go, rookie RB Jonathan Dwyer would suit up for the first time in a game this season.

REPORT CARD VS. PANTHERS

PASSING OFFENSE
A - It was easy pickings for Ben Roethlisberger and his band of receivers. Roethlisberger completed 22 of 32 for 320 yards and one touchdown with a passer rating of 111.5. Things were wide open over the middle all day. Mike Wallace's 43-yard touchdown came on a short, hot route over the middle and no one got near him.

RUSHING OFFENSE
C - Rashard Mendenhall scored his 11th touchdown and Ben Roethlisberger ran a sneak from the 1, but the Steelers had some rough going other than two runs - one by Mendenhall for 35 yards early and one by Isaac Redman for 23 yards. Mendenhall got nothing on two cracks from the 1 before the quarterback sneak got in on third down. The Steelers had 115 yards and a 3.5-yard average, with Mendenhall getting 65 of those for 3.6.

PASS DEFENSE
A - The Panthers put up little fight through the air with Jimmy Clausen completing just 10 of 23 for 72 yards and one Bryant McFadden interception. He had a 33.2 passer rating. The Steelers had four sacks. Carolina's longest pass completion was 15 yards and Steve Smith spent the day dropping passes.

RUSH DEFENSE
B - While the Panthers managed only 74 yards rushing, the Steelers have high standards and Carolina exceeded the average game rushing against the No. 1 run-defense in the NFL. The running game largely allowed the Panthers to reach the Steelers' 32 on their first two drives but they came away with nothing from either.

SPECIAL TEAMS
C - This area continues to underperform, although they at least did not give up a kickoff return for a touchdown. Mike Goodson, though, had some decent kickoff returns, one of 36 yards. Steelers had no returns of note. Shaun Suisham missed his first field goal with the Steelers after hitting 13 straight. Jeremy Kapinos had his best day punting since joining the Steelers with an average of 45.3 and a net of 39.3.

COACHING
B - Mike Tomlin had his team ready on short rest and they did not lose focus against the worst team in the NFL. He did not practice them in pads at all beforehand, putting them virtually through walk-throughs. Tomlin, though, wasn't as sharp during the game. He challenged one spot that wasn't even close and kept Roethlisberger and other marquee players in the game long after it was decided, not only risking injury but keeping some with slight injuries like the quarterback in the game until the end.

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

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