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Thread: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

      
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    Default Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10


    Last edited by Kipper; Oct-07-2012 at 11:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    From Dale Lolley...

    It's 10 a.m., I'm at the stadium and it's already hot and sticky here. Can't imagine what it's going to be like come game time.

    Early word has it that both Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will be active. But that could change between now and game time, specifically because of the heat index, which will be in the 90s.

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    Steelers-Buccaneers Preview
    STATS LLC

    With three unspectacular options to replace Ben Roethlisberger, many assumed the Pittsburgh Steelers would be hoping to simply survive their star quarterback's four-game suspension.

    The return of their once-vaunted defense has them thriving.

    Seven forced turnovers made Charlie Batch's reserve role much easier last week, and the veteran would love a similar boost Sunday when he leads the visiting Steelers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a battle of unlikely unbeatens.

    Pittsburgh (2-0) hasn't scored an offensive touchdown in regulation -- Rashard Mendenhall's 50-yard overtime burst in Week 1 against Atlanta is its only visit to the end zone -- but its defense has kept the pressure off an offense missing its two-time Super Bowl-winning signal-caller.

    It was the Steelers' defense that struggled without safety Troy Polamalu and lineman Aaron Smith during a five-game skid last season, but one of the NFL's most physical units appears to be back. Pittsburgh shut down rushing champ Chris Johnson last Sunday in a 19-11 win at Tennessee in which the offense finished with 21 passing yards.

    "We've got a chip on our shoulder this year because of how things went down last year with our losing streak," nose tackle Chris Hoke said. "So we have something to prove. Sometimes when people wrote that we're not going to be very good or maybe they'll go 2-2 or 1/3 when Ben's out, that's a lot of the stuff that (makes us mad)."

    The Steelers won't be any worse than 2-2 when Roethlisberger returns, but they haven't had much luck keeping any of his replacements healthy.

    Dennis Dixon was lost in the first half at Tennessee with a torn meniscus, leaving Batch -- the only remaining QB on the roster -- to play the rest of the way.

    Now apparently healthy again is Byron Leftwich, who suffered a knee injury in the final preseason game and was actually released prior to Sunday's game to allow the team to dress an additional defensive lineman. The Steelers re-signed him Monday.

    But after speculation that Leftwich -- who started three games for Tampa Bay in 2009 -- would start, coach Mike Tomlin announced Wednesday that Batch will get the call.

    Leftwich's return to Tampa won't be Sunday's only significant reunion. Tomlin was the Bucs' defensive backs coach from 2001-2005 before becoming Minnesota's defensive coordinator, and in 2007, the NFL's youngest head coach in Pittsburgh.

    That's a title that now belongs to Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris, who worked as an assistant with Tomlin before being hired last season.

    "We always used to talk about competing against each other," Morris said. "We have the opportunity to go out there and compete on a top stage and there's nothing better than that. ...

    "We might have a phone call or two (this week), but it's safe to say we won't be exchanging information."

    Tomlin isn't the only defensive-minded coach that has to like the look of his club. The Steelers are tied for first in the NFL in allowing 10.0 points per game, and Tampa Bay is giving up an average of 10.5.

    The Bucs (2-0) have forced three turnovers in each game, and after a 20-7 win at Carolina in Week 2, Morris' team might be the NFL's most surprising unbeaten.

    "They're playing with a little bit of wisdom beyond their years," Morris said. "We've been winning as a team ... with everybody contributing. That's the only way we can do it."

    Josh Freeman has led the way. The second-year quarterback has thrown four touchdowns and one interception, a far cry from the 13 picks he threw in his final five games of 2009 after supplanting Leftwich as the starter.

    "You go out there and he tells you to calm down and bring your route and he has you," rookie receiver Mike Williams said. "You here that from a quarterback and you're like, 'Dang, all I have to do is just catch the ball.'"

    Freeman will likely have to attack the Steelers through the air. Atlanta's Michael Turner and Tennessee's Johnson -- All-Pros over the past two seasons -- combined for 35 carries and 76 yards rushing against Pittsburgh, which should get nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) back Sunday.

    Those totals don't bode well for Carnell Williams, who's averaged 2.6 yards on 49 carries.

    The Steelers will probably stick to Mendenhall and the ground game with Batch starting for the first time since 2007. They'll likely have left tackle Max Starks (ankle) back as they seek their second 3-0 start since 1993.

    Tampa Bay, though, will be without safety Tanard Jackson, who was suspended for a minimum of a year without pay Wednesday for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

    Jackson sat out the first four games of 2009 while serving a previous suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. He finished with five interceptions in 12 starts and had 13 tackles in two games this season.

    Pittsburgh is 7-1 against Tampa Bay, which hasn't started 3-0 since 2005.

    http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/nflpre...meId=300926027

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    This Week's Line

    2010 Trends (Regular Season)
    The Steelers are 2-0 ATS.
    The Steelers are 1-0 ATS away.
    The Steelers are 2-0 ATS as the underdog.
    The Steelers are 1-0 ATS as an away underdog.
    The Buccaneers are 1-0 ATS.
    The Buccaneers are 0-0 ATS at home.
    The Buccaneers are 1-0 ATS as the underdog.
    The Buccaneers have not been a home underdog.

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    3 reasons why the Steelers will win

    Defense — That's two games and one touchdown allowed by the Steelers' defense. Going up against another young and inexperienced quarterback like Josh Freeman could be overwhelming for him.

    Charlie Batch — Batch starts for the first time in nearly three years and could provide a much-needed spark to an offense that has yet to score a regulation touchdown in two games.

    Jeff Reed — The Steelers' kicker has been the offense's most valuable player, accounting for 22 of the Steelers' 34 points. Reed will likely be asked to attempt multiple field goals yet again.

    3 reasons why the Steelers will lose

    Turnovers — With the way the Steelers' defense is playing, the only means by which any team will be able to score is if it is able to take advantage of a short field or two.

    Heat — The temperature in Tampa is expected to approach 90, and the Steelers showed that they aren't very good at dealing with high heat last week in Tennessee.

    Josh Freeman — Freeman is young, athletic and can make plays outside the pocket, which might be the only way a play can be made against the Steelers' defense.

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_701363.html

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    When the Buccaneers have the ball: QB Josh Freeman has won four of his past five starts and at 6 feet 6, 248 pounds is tough to bring down. He has made several plays downfield after shaking off potential sacks. That's why he is often referred to as "Little Ben" -- a comparison to Ben Roethlisberger. Still, their primary objective is to run the ball, even though they have not been productive (214 yards on 64 attempts). RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams appears to be fully recovered from two major knee injuries that limited his 2007 and 2008 seasons, but he is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. He will have a tough time against the Steelers, who are allowing an average of just 2.2 yards per carry.

    When the Steelers have the ball: QB Charlie Batch will make his first start since the 2007 regular-season finale in Baltimore. Right CB Ronde Barber is in his 14th NFL season and leads the Buccaneers with two interceptions, both of which have come when he moves into the slot in the nickel defense. But Barber's lack of speed makes him susceptible to deep passes, something the Steelers will try if he lines up against WR Mike Wallace. The Buccaneers, however, like to use their other corner, Aqib Talib, to shadow the opponent's top receiver. Strong-side LB Quincy Black is emerging as a dynamic playmaker, especially when the Buccaneers switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. Black had a sack and a big tackle for loss in the victory last week in Carolina. The defense has allowed only 21 points and 280.5 ypg.

    DT Gerald McCoy ... He was the third overall pick in the draft, the highest interior lineman drafted by Tampa Bay since Warren Sapp in 1995 (12th overall). He has two tackles for losses and three quarterback pressures in two games despite getting double-teamed at times. He will go against rookie C Maurkice Pouncey, who played against McCoy in the 2009 BCS national championship game. The Buccaneers occasionally will switch to a 3-4 defensive front and use McCoy at nose tackle and defensive end.

    INTANGIBLES

    This will be the first time Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has faced his former team. He was the secondary coach in Tampa Bay from 2001-05. ... The Steelers are 7-1 lifetime against the Buccaneers and are 5-1 in Tampa, not counting their Super Bowl XLIII victory against the Arizona Cardinals. ... The Buccaneers, 3-13 a season ago, are 2-0 for the first time since 2005.

    KEYS TO VICTORY

    [HIGH-LIGHT]To win, the Buccaneers must ...[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    1 Get picks in batches. They have four interceptions in two games and have allowed opposing QBs a combined 55.6 rating -- second lowest in the NFL.

    2 Have Josh be Free(man). Running the ball is not going to work against the Steelers, so the Buccaneers' second-year QB has to make plays downfield.

    3 Keep Harrison in the Penn. That job falls to LT Donald Penn, who has to keep OLB James Harrison out of the Buccaneers' backfield.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]To win, the Steelers must ...[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    1 Jostle Josh. If Vince Young was confounded by Dick LeBeau's defensive looks, what do you think will happen to Freeman?

    2 Win with Winslow. They have to be aware of the Buccaneers' tight end on third down, when he has all eight of his catches.

    3 Keep Cadillac in the garage. They have shut down Michael Turner and Chris Johnson, allowing them a combined 76 yards on 35 attempts.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10269/1090398-66.stm

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    Key Matchups

    Harrison vs. Penn

    Every week, it’s an adventure for any left tackle assigned to block James Harrison, the Steelers’ menacing right outside linebacker. Certainly Tennessee’s Dave “Big Country” Stewart couldn’t handle Harrison, who earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in last week’s 19-11 win over the Titans.

    Harrison had 10 solo tackles and two sacks, each resulting in a fumble the Steelers recovered. On one of those sacks, it wasn’t Stewart who was victimized by Harrison. It was running back Chris Johnson, who was no match for Harrison and offered little resistance.

    This week, it’s Tampa’s Doug Penn who’ll try to slow down Harrison, who’s been to three straight Pro Bowls.

    “Let me tell you, you can’t trust anybody to handle James Harrison. He’s a trained assassin,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris. “I don’t like using those terms but that’s what he is out there on the football field.”

    Polamalu vs. Winslow

    As he proved last week in the win at Tennessee, Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu makes plays all over the field. His end-zone interception ended a Titans’ scoring threat. Twice, he was in on tackles that stopped running back Chris Johnson for a loss of 1 yard. He blitzed at least one. And in the fourth quarter, he made an amazing tackle of Kerry Collins on a quarterback sneak. Polamalu leaped over the line of scrimmage to nail Collins for a 1-yard loss.

    Today, some of Polamalu’s duties will be to stop tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who leads the Bucs with eight catches for 115 yards.

    Winslow, Cleveland’s first-round pick in the 2004 draft, has never quite lived up to the hype. At least he didn’t when he played for the Browns. But now that he’s in his second season with the Bucs, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow seems like he has a new lease on life.

    Ward vs. Barber

    Ronde Barber might not be guarding Hines Ward on every snap today. But these two aging war horses will go at it one-on-one plenty of times in an intriguing cornerback vs. wide receiver duel.

    Barber, who’s 35, is in his 14th season with the Buccaneers. Today, he makes his 170th consecutive start, which is just one shy of the NFL record. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau holds the record with 171 straight starts. Already this season, Barber has two interceptions.

    Ward, who’s 34, and in his 13th season with the Steelers, has caught at least one pass in 180 straight games. That’s the fifth-longest streak in NFL history. Ward opened the season with six catches for 108 yards in a win over Atlanta. But last week against Tennessee, he was held to just one catch for 9 yards.

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sp...-matchups.html

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    Five questions

    What is Charlie Batch’s record in games he’s started with the Steelers?

    Batch, who’ll start today in Tampa, only started four games in his first eight seasons in Pittsburgh. He’s 3-1 in those games, although he left one of them early due to injury.

    How did Byron Leftwich fare last year in Tampa Bay?

    After getting a Super Bowl ring as Ben Roethlisberger’s backup in 2008, Leftwich went to Tampa because he wanted a chance to start. He got that chance, at least for three games. Leftwich played OK, but the Bucs lost all three (34-21 to Dallas, 33-20 at Buffalo and 24-0 to the New York Giants).

    Josh Freeman, the Bucs’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft, went 3-6 in games he started last year.

    Is Ronde Barber a legitimate candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

    When it comes to longevity, Barber has few peers. Barring injury, he’ll set the NFL record for most consecutive starts for a cornerback Oct. 17 when Tampa Bay plays New Orleans. He’s played in five Pro Bowls. He has a Super Bowl ring (the Bucs won SB 37). And he ranks fourth in league history with 11 defensive touchdowns.

    About the only knock on Barber when it comes to his Hall of Fame hopes is that he only has 39 career interceptions, not even ranking in the top 25 all-time.

    Who’s the latest to be suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell?

    On Wednesday, Bucs free safety Tanard Jackson was give a one-year suspension after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy for the second time. Jackson also missed the first four games last year for the same reason. He’s not eligible for reinstatement until Sept. 22, 2011.

    Except for the four games he missed last year, Jackson has started every game for the Bucs since they picked in the fourth round of 2007 draft.

    Starting in place of Jackson today will be rookie Cody Grimm, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft. Grimm will be making his first pro start.

    Will there be many Steelers’ fans attending today’s game at Raymond James Stadium?

    It’s safe to say many black-and-gold-clad fans will be waving Terrible Towels, as tickets were still available as of Saturday. For the second straight home game, the Buccaneers have failed to sell out. Only 47,211 fans attended the home opener on Sept. 12 against the Browns in a stadium that holds 65,908.

    By comparison, the Steelers have hosted sell-out crowds for 319 straight games (294 regular-season games, 25 playoff games), dating back to the early 1970s.

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sp...questions.html

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    Innnnnnnnnnnnn GO GOOD GUYS!

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    I. Love. Gamedays. ....

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10


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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    STEELERS INACTIVES

    QB Dennis Dixon
    CB Keenan Lewis
    RB Jonathan Dwyer
    CB Crezdon Butler
    T Tony Hills
    G Trai Essex
    WR Emmanuel Sanders
    LB Thaddeus Gibson

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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10

    Whew... Feelin' rough today...

    ... Yesterday I hurt my back, ordered a sweater, and broke a lamp... Not sure in which order...

    Need a good game today to cure all the "ills"!.........


    ...HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!!...



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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10


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    Default Re: Game 3 : Steelers @ Buccaneers : 09.26.10


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