Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense4th104.2 (19th)273.8 (3rd)
Defense5th105.8 (9th)201.1 (7th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

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


-- QB Ben Roethlisberger, still wearing a steel-plated right shoe to protect a bone that was broken in November and still wearing a shield to protect his nose that was broken in December, has not been intercepted in his past 190 passes.

-- RB Rashard Mendenhall's two touchdown runs against Baltimore were one short of the Steelers' postseason record. His 13 touchdowns rushing in 2010 also fell one short of the team record.

-- WR Antonio Brown, who did not dress early in the season before he climbed up to the fourth receiver, is the team's leading receiver in the playoffs with 75 yards thanks to the 58-yard catch he had vs. Baltimore to set up Rashard Mendenhall's winning touchdown run.

-- TE Heath Miller missed the Dec. 19 game vs. the Jets with a concussion, one of two games he missed due to the injury. Saturday vs. Baltimore, Miller led the Steelers with five receptions, one for a touchdown.

-- CB Bryant McFadden has a lingering abdominal strain that has affected him for three weeks and caused him to leave the past two games early. He will not practice early this week and his status is uncertain.

-- SS Troy Polamalu, who played the past two games, will not practice until Friday, following a routine that began when his Achilles was injured in November.

-- K Shaun Suisham, who made 14 of his 15 field-goal tries in seven games with the Steelers, missed his first one in the postseason from 43 yards. He is now 4-of-8 in the postseason in his career.

-- OT Flozell Adams has recovered from the flu that struck him down during Saturday's game. He will return to start against the Jets.

-- WR Mike Wallace, who led the AFC with 22.0 yards per catch and had 10 touchdowns, was held to three catches for 20 yards, a 6.7-yard average, in the first playoff game of his career last Saturday.

-- TE Matt Spaeth, starting for injured Heath Miller, had three catches for 27 yards and one touchdown against the Jets Dec. 29. He also was Ben Roethlisberger's target twice in the end zone from the 10-yard at the end of the game, both incomplete.

-- DE Aaron Smith will start practicing on Wednesday, the first time since his triceps was torn Oct. 24. Coach Mike Tomlin said if Smith plays, he will not start.

-- LB James Harrison, who injured his right shoulder last Saturday but remained in the game, is not on the team's injury list this week. He had three sacks vs. Baltimore.

-- OT Jonathan Scott, who left last Saturday's game with an injury but returned to play later, is okay to go on Sunday, coach Mike Tomlin said.

-- S Will Allen, one of the Steelers' top special teams players, has a sprained knee and he could miss Sunday's game.

-- DE Ziggy Hood, who replaced Smith as the starter on the left side, has a sack in each of the past three games.


A-minus -- Against one of the NFL's better defenses, Ben Roethlisberger produced a 101.8 passer rating. He completed 19 of 32 for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The one negative: He was sacked six times.

C-plus - The Steelers were unable to get much on Baltimore except when it counted - Rashard Mendenhall ran for two short touchdowns, a 1-yarder to open the scoring and a 2-yarder that ended the scoring and provided the winning points. Mendenhall was held to 46 yards on 20 carries and the Steelers had 71 as a team and a 2.3-yard average.

A - The Steelers rattled Joe Flacco, and so did his receivers by dropping passes. Flacco was 16 of 30 for only 125 yards. He was sacked five times for 34 yards, giving him a net under 100. He did throw one touchdown pass but he also threw one killer interception that set up the tying touchdown after Pittsburgh fell behind 21-7.

A - Baltimore had one good run all day and that was a 14-yard touchdown by Ray Rice. The Ravens were held to 21 yards on their other 17 carries for a total of 35 yards rushing and a 1.9-yard average. Rice finished with 32 yards and a 2.7-yard average and Willis McGahee had just four yards on four tries.

C-minus - They continue to be shaky and now kicker Shaun Suisham has joined them, missing wide right from 43 yards on his first try. The Steelers allowed a 52-yarder kickoff return to open the game that was reduced to 38 when Mike Tomlin challenged it. They gave up a 36-yard punt return that was a touchdown until a holding penalty was spotted. They managed very little returns of their own and their punter had a net of 34.3.

B - Mike Tomlin used up both his replay challenges in the first quarter, one successfully challenging a spot on a kickoff return and the other a failed challenge on a touchdown. Bruce Arians called a good game on offense on a day in which the running game wasn't going well. Dick LeBeau certainly outcoached Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who came out throwing with a 14-point lead in the third quarter.

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


More Steelers