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Thread: Steelers Report Card: Game 5 vs. Cleveland Browns

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    Default Steelers Report Card: Game 5 vs. Cleveland Browns

    Steelers Report Card: Game 5 vs. Cleveland Browns

    GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort Sunday in their victory against Cleveland

    Monday, October 18, 2010
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
    Linebacker LaMarr Woodley celebrates after sacking Browns quarterback Colt McCoy Sunday at Heinz Field.


    It did not begin as an artistic performance for Ben Roethlisberger, especially when his third pass, from the Browns' 14, was intercepted and returned 62 yards. But he made enough plays to make his return a success, including a 29-yard touchdown toss to Mike Wallace on the series following the interception and back-to-back throws of 50 and 36 yards to set up the second touchdown.


    Rashard Mendenhall had 38 of his 84 yards on two runs and had the first rushing touchdown allowed by the Browns in the past eight games when he scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. But maybe his most important contribution was in blitz pickup, part of the reason Roethlisberger was not sacked by the Browns. He also caught three passes for 15 yards.


    There were big plays all around, from Wallace's 29-yard touchdown and 50-yard catch to Hines Ward fighting off cornerback Eric Wright on a sight-adjustment pass for an 8-yard touchdown. Rookie Emmanuel Sanders had his first two catches, both on third-down conversions. Tight end Heath Miller's 36-yard catch set up a touchdown, and he caught a 14-yarder for another.


    The Steelers seemed to have little trouble figuring all the Browns' sub-package looks, and a lot of the credit goes to rookie center Maurkice Pouncey. He did a great job recognizing and calling out their three- and four-man fronts, which allowed Roethlisberger to make the protection calls and blitz pickups. Also, a nice job to pound out 121 rushing yards on 35 carries.


    The Steelers played all but two plays without DE Brett Keisel, who injured his hamstring on the first play and did not return. The Browns finished with 70 yards rushing on 22 attempts, second most against the Steelers this season, and Peyton Hillis' 14-yard run was the longest against them in five games. But no back has rushed for more than 42 yards in five games.


    James Harrison took out two of the Browns' top offensive players -- wide receivers Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi -- with debatable hits in the first half preventing the Browns from using their Wildcat package for the final 2 1/2 quarters. Harrison finished with a team-high 10 solo tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. Lawrence Timmons had 11 tackles, 2 sacks and an interception.


    Quarterback Colt McCoy did not play like a rookie his first NFL start, throwing for 281 yards and completing six passes of 20 yards or longer. He did most of that without two top receivers, Cribbs and Massaquoi. But he also threw two interceptions, one by safety Ryan Clark, the second setting up the final touchdown. Bryant McFadden continues to see lots of throws, but makes lots of tackles.


    It is good news any time the Steelers face the Browns when Cribbs doesn't return a kickoff for a touchdown. He had just one return for 26 yards before leaving the game. Otherwise, the biggest plays were reserved for a pair of rookie linebackers -- Stevenson Sylvester for delivering a big hit and Jason Worilds for recovering an onside kick in the fourth quarter.


    It shouldn't go unnoticed that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians never got away from the game plan of trying to run against the Browns, even when yards were hard to come by. Of course, having Roethlisberger back gave him the luxury of calling back-to-back long passes when the offense was backed up at its own 4. The decision to dress Sanders looked like a good one for Mike Tomlin.

    Gerry Dulac:
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    Default Re: Steelers Report Card: Game 5 vs. Cleveland Browns

    Steelers highlights/lowlights

    October 18, 2010
    By Buck Frank

    PITTSBURGH The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers' 28-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field:

    Play of the game: With the Steelers leading 7-3 in the second quarter, the Browns' Joshua Cribbs took a direct snap from center and ran for 1 yard before getting smashed by Steelers linebacker James Harrison on a helmet-to-helmet hit. Cribbs' fumble was recovered by a teammate, but the Browns lost their best offensive and special teams player for the game with a head injury.

    Offensive player of the game: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his triumphant return from a four-game suspension by completing 16-of-27 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

    Defensive player of the game: Harrison had 10 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, one pass defensed and one forced fumble. In addition to Cribbs, he also knocked out wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.

    Most telling statistic: The Steelers averaged 9.5 yards per pass play (including incompletions).

    Hidden statistic: The Steelers have won 19 of the last 21 meetings with the Browns and now lead the all-time series, 61-50, after one time trailing, 32-9.

    Best pass: Roethlisberger showed he was in midseason form by rolling out of the pocket, pointing to a spot and firing a bullet to rookie Emmanuel Sanders for 22 yards in the second quarter.

    Worst pass: Roethlisberger overthrew running back Mewelde Moore on third-and-4 in the first quarter and was intercepted by Browns rookie Joe Haden.

    Best run: Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall ran into a crowded line and bounced out to the left and dashed 25 yards before Browns safety Abram Elam caught him near the sideline.

    Best catch: Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace out-battled Browns cornerback Eric Wright in the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

    Best block: Mendenhall followed left guard Chris Kemoeatu and received another big block from right guard Doug Legursky to get into the end zone for a 2-yard score in the fourth quarter.

    Missed block: Browns running back Peyton Hillis was beaten by Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley for a first-quarter sack of Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

    Best tackle: Steelers right tackle Flozell Adams made a pro wrestling takedown of Haden on his 62-yard interception return.

    Best hit: Harrison crushed Massaquoi right after he caught a pass in the second quarter.

    Missed tackle: Wright allowed Hines Ward to escape from him on a third-and-goal pass, and Ward ran over Sheldon Brown for an 8-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

    Worst coverage: Elam was little help on a 50-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Wallace in the third quarter that got the Steelers from their own 4 to the Browns' 46.

    Best kick(s): Browns punter Reggie Hodges had three punts downed inside the 10-yard line and one fair-caught inside the 10.

    Best return: Haden weaved his way around the field on his 62-yard interception return.

    Best decision: The Steelers declined a penalty on Browns fullback Lawrence Vickers for illegally touching the ball at the Pittsburgh 37 with the Steelers holding a 7-3 lead in the third quarter. The resulting 1-yard gain was followed by a sack on third-and-9, forcing the Browns to punt.

    Worst decision: The Browns accepted two penalties on back-to-back Steelers punts in the fourth quarter. On the third punt, Cleveland returner Chansi Stuckey fumbled the ball, setting up a Pittsburgh touchdown.

    Best effort: Ward caught five passes for 54 yards and now has at least one reception in 183 straight games, tying him for fourth best all-time.

    Unsung heroes: The Steelers' offensive line helped the team run for 121 yards and allowed no sacks of Roethlisberger.

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