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
 
Inside slant · Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel
 

PLAYER NOTES

-- QB Ben Roethlisberger has a slight thigh bruise sustained in the AFC Championship Game. However, the injury occurred early, he never left and he should miss no time this week or next in practice.

-- CB William Gay, who scored what ultimately was the winning touchdown on a 19-yard run with a Mark Sanchez fumble, started because Bryant McFadden was limited to nickel duty because of his abdominal injury.

-- C Maurkice Pouncey, whose left foot/ankle is in a boot to protect his high ankle sprain, had a high ankle sprain to his right foot in college and played the following week.

-- DE Aaron Smith could play in the Super Bowl, but he likely must practice some this week to show his arm (he had triceps surgery after an injury Oct. 24) is at full strength.

-- WR Mike Wallace, who led the Steelers in yards receiving and led the NFL with 21.0 yards per catch, has been held to four receptions for 26 yards in two postseason games.

REPORT CARD VS. JETS:

PASSING OFFENSE
D - Ben Roethlisberger completed just 10 of 19 passes for 133 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and two sacks. His passer rating was 35.5. He missed some open receivers as well. However, he completed several big third-down passes, including one for 14 yards to rookie Antonio Brown to essentially end the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE
A - Pittsburgh ran 43 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, getting 135 yards and both scores in the first half when the game was won. Rashard Mendenhall had 121 yards on 27 carries and a 1-yard touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger scrambled for three first downs including one on third-and-12, and he also ran for a 2-yard touchdown. All came against one of the NFL's better defenses.

PASS DEFENSE
B - Mark Sanchez was able to complete 20 of 33 passes for 233 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions for the second time in Pittsburgh and a 102.2 passer rating. However, he also gave up seven points when Ike Taylor stripped him of the ball and William Gay scooped it up and ran 19 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-0 in the second quarter and ultimately proved to be the winning score.

RUSH DEFENSE
A - The expectations are high for one of the best rush defenses in the history of the NFL. The Jets had run for 106 against them last month, more than anyone, but on Sunday managed just 70 on 22 carries with 23 of that coming on one run by Shonn Greene. There were no touchdowns and their 22 carries averaged 3.2 yards. The epitome came in the fourth quarter when the Steelers stacked up LaDainian Tomlinson for no gain on fourth down at their 1-yard line.

SPECIAL TEAMS
B-plus - Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham again used the squib kick to his team's advantage as the Jets returned five kickoffs for an average of 10.2 yards. One did bounce out of bounds. The Steelers punted just once and had no long returns themselves. Each kicker converted his only field-goal attempt.

COACHING
A - To have his team come out and play at such a high level was Mike Tomlin's major impact on Sunday. He pushed all the right buttons in the week leading to the game. His offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, leaned on the run as it continued to work and to his credit stayed with it. Tomlin also was not afraid to throw a pass on third down that, if incomplete, would have prompted a punt to turn the ball over to the Jets with more than 90 seconds left trailing by five. He could have tried to take a big chunk of that off the clock by calling for a run. Ben Roethlisberger completed the pass to Antonio Brown for the first down, sealing the victory.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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