´ Steel Curtain Rising: Steelers Report Card vs. the Ravens at Home

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Steelers Report Card vs. the Ravens at Home

Each week Steel Curtain Rising grades the performance of the individual Steelers units. “Scouts Honor” no other “grades” have been consulted. Here are the grades for the Steelers loss to the Ravens.

Quarterback

Charlie Batch avoided costly mistakes (at least until the end) and managed to make some tough throws, despite facing a heavy rush during much of the game. Still, he missed on two deep throws to Wallace that he should have made, and he failed to get it done on third down, pressure or no. Grade: C-

Running Backs

Isaac Redman did not get carry, but made some key blocks and caught a pass. Rashard Mendenhall ran when, when he had room and scored both of the team’s touchdowns. The problem was that he had little room to run. But that was not his fault. Grade: B

Receivers

Randal El reminded everyone of why the Steelers brought him back, even if he doesn’t have the speed he used to have. Health Miller also had to clutch catches. Ward and Wallace each had two passes for short yardage, and Brown and Battle each had a grab. The receivers made no “splash” plays, but they did do what was asked of them. Matt Spaeth’s false start hurt badly. Grade: B-

Offensive Line

Mendenhall had no rushing room and Charlie Batch had little time. Unlike against the Titans, their were no injuries or dehydration to fight. The Steelers in large part lost because they could not control the line of scrimmage. While he certainly did not get “crushed” the stat sheet says that Ngata got the better of Pouncey. The false start and holding penalties were inexcusable. The offensive line was, “below the line.” Grade D

Defensive line

Although none of them was in full health, the Raven’s three running backs averaged 2.6 yards per carry. That’s the good part. The bad part was that Flacco had ample time to throw. Pressure is not the line’s prime responsibility in LeBeau’s defense, but the Steelers needed more than they got from their front 3. Grade: C

Linebackers

Timmons had another monster game with 14 tackles. Farrior had a pass defense, Woodley and Harrison both had tackles for losses. Those stats are nice, but don’t be foold. The LeBeau blitzed infrequently, and ultimately ineffectively, meaning the linebackers were used in converge extensively. While they made a few plays, they failed to make enough as evidenced by Flacco’s seeming ease at passing at key moments. Grade: D

Secondary

The Steelers goal line stand was a thing of beauty, and the fact that the Ravens got the ball back does not count against them. But Flacco’s final drive was facile (Spanish for easy.) He also made some other key throws earlier in the game. Grade: D

Special Teams

The return game was a net wash for both teams. 45 plus yards in the open end of Heinz Field is tough for anyone, but Jeff Reed has got to make at least one of those. And if the false start penalties with the Steelers playing out of their own goal were a “get back in the game gift” for the Ravens, the holding penalty was beau on the wrapping paper. Grade: F

Coaching

It is way too early to say that Cam Cameron and Jim Zorn “have Dick LeBeau’s number,” but they clearly had a better game plan, stuck to it, and their players executed better. Roethlisberger or no, the Steelers did nothing to tarnish the credentials of the league’s number one defense. Grade: D

Unsung Hero

Daniel Sepulveda. It may seem odd to honor a man whose unit receive a collective “F” but he averaged 49.4 yards per kick with a long kick of 57, and pinned them inside the 20 once. In a game where yards and points were scarce and field position at a premium, Sepulveda’s punting help keep the Steelers competitive.

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