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Thread: Steelers' defense 'took it personally'

      
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    Default Steelers' defense 'took it personally'

    Steelers' defense 'took it personally'
    Monday, November 22, 2010
    By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    This is how bad the Steelers' defense was in the 39-26 home loss Nov. 14 to the New England Patriots: "If our offense had scored a million points, it wouldn't have mattered," safety Ryan Clark said. "We would have lost, one million-and-one to one million."

    [IMGL]http://i54.tinypic.com/ogbaeo.jpg[/IMGL]This is how good the Steelers' defense was in the 35-3 home win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders: The two teams still could be playing and the Raiders wouldn't have a touchdown. "Your pride kicks in at some point," Clark said. "We all have egos. We took it personally all week. It wasn't because of the bad things people were saying about us. It was because we felt like we let the team down [against New England]. We couldn't allow that to happen again."

    And so they didn't.

    The performance by the Steelers' defense was especially significant for two reasons:

    1) It ended, at least for now, the comparisons to last season when the defense's futility was huge in the team's five-game losing streak after a 6-2 start. A loss Sunday would have made it two in a row after the 6-2 start this season. "I thought our defense came out of the locker room ready to play," coach Mike Tomlin said.

    And 2) It came against maybe the NFL's hottest offense. The Raiders came in after averaging 38 points and 458 yards in consecutive wins against Denver, Seattle and Kansas City. Their running game was second best in the league, averaging 162 yards per game. Running back Darren McFadden was best in the league, averaging 108 yards.

    On this day, McFadden had nowhere to run. It didn't matter that the Steelers were playing without defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. McFadden finished with an almost-unbelievable 14 yards on 10 carries. As a team, the Raiders had 61 rushing yards, 24 coming on a run by backup Michael Bush late in the third quarter. That was the first run of 20-plus yards that the Steelers allowed this season, making them the last team to give one up. The Raiders finished with 182 total yards, the fewest, by far, that the Steelers have allowed this season.

    "We knew they were going to try to run the ball," Clark said. "They weren't going to be tricky. They were just going to try to run downhill. As a defense, we enjoy that. We're built for that. Teams that want to come in and outphysical the Steelers, how many are able to do that well?"

    The Raiders had a big problem when they couldn't do it. The other part of their offensive game is the deep pass. "When you can't block 51, 56, 92 and Lawrence" -- that would be linebackers James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons -- "you can't throw the ball downfield," Clark said. "The pressure our guys got was unbelievable."

    The Steelers sacked quarterback Jason Campbell four times and drove him out of the game, then got to backup Bruce Gradkowski twice. Harrison had two of the sacks and generally was a monster with two tackles for losses, two quarterback hurries, an interception, a pass defense and a force fumble. Farrior, who played another strong game with seven solo tackles, had a sack as did Woodley, cornerback Bryant McFadden and linebacker Jason Worilds.

    "[Defensive coordinator Dick] LeBeau called a lot more blitzes," Harrison said.

    "Coach LeBeau called a great game," Clark added.

    The Raiders' longest pass was for 17 yards to wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins. They converted just three of 14 third-down situations and made it into Steelers territory twice. Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu had interceptions. Cornerback Ike Taylor forced a fumble that Timmons recovered.

    But it wasn't just Taylor and Polamalu who played well in the secondary. Bryant McFadden had a solid game. And get this: So did nickel back William Gay, who was picked on by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, then absolutely trashed by the fans and media. On consecutive plays midway through the first quarter, he strung out Darren McFadden on an end sweep enabling Polamalu to make the tackle for a 5-yard loss, then blitzed and batted down a Campbell pass at the line of scrimmage.

    "I was proud of him, how he came to work this week," Clark said. "Here in Pittsburgh, you can't have a bad game. But it wasn't just him. We all didn't play well last week. He came back and played a lot better today and had a lot tighter coverage. And he did it against receivers. He wasn't guarding the tight end like last week."

    It's funny how it works in the NFL. When you play poorly, you hear about it from the coach. Tomlin made the Steelers practice in pads on a Wednesday last week for the first time since who knows when. But when you kick a little fanny, you get rewarded. Tomlin gave the team the day off today. It's the first Monday they've had off this season.

    "We earned it," Farrior said, grinning.

    Agreed.

    http://www.post-gazette.net/pg/10326/1105126-66.stm
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    Default Re: Steelers' defense 'took it personally'

    11/22/2010
    Steelers rebound as defense dominates
    By F. Dale Lolley
    Staff writer

    PITTSBURGH - Embarrassed by New England in their previous game at Heinz Field, the Steelers wanted to turn in a memorable performance Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

    They did that. And then some.

    Ben Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the Steelers routed the Raiders, 35-3, in a game that featured 21 penalties, several skirmishes and the ejection of Oakland's Richard Seymour for punching Roethlisberger in the facemask following a second-quarter touchdown pass.

    "I liked our energy. I liked our intensity," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "It was necessary. It was a nice bounce-back performance."

    As a result, the Steelers improve to 7-3 and remain in a tie with Baltimore for the AFC North Division lead.

    And the Steelers did so in impressive fashion, outgaining Oakland (5-5) 431-182, recording six sacks and forcing three turnovers.

    "I think all three phases of the game were pretty good," said Roethlisberger, who completed 18 of 29 passes and also scrambled for 55 yards, throwing three touchdown passes and running for another score.

    The Steelers overcame 14 penalties for a team-record 163 yards.

    "We're going to play football, and play it as fairly and cleanly as we can," said Tomlin, who refused to question some dubious penalties against his defense.

    "That's what we're always going to try to do. We didn't do it very successfully today in some instances."

    The penalties helped keep the Raiders competitive despite being completely suffocated by Pittsburgh's defense.

    Oakland had six first downs in the first half, four of which came on defensive penalties by the Steelers.

    "You just have to move on to the next play," said Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who had two sacks and an interception. "You can't let the penalty bring you down because the next play is coming."

    That was never more apparent than in the second quarter, with the Steelers leading 14-3 following touchdown runs by Rashard Mendenhall and Roethlisberger.

    Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor was penalized 27 yards for "cutting off the receiver's path to the ball," according to referee Tony Corrente. That allowed Oakland to turn a third-and-14 from its own 6-yard line into a first down at the 33. On the next play, however, Taylor punched the ball loose from Oakland receiver Louis Murphy following a 12-yard catch. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons recovered the fumble with 2:49 remaining in the half.

    Four plays later, Roethlisberger tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Emmanuel Sanders. While celebrating, Roethlisberger was punched in the facemask by defensive end Richard Seymour.

    Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu retaliated, smacking Seymour in the head with his open hand, but only Seymour was ejected.

    "I haven't seen a quarterback get punched since I've been in this league," said Tomlin. "It was unfortunate."

    That gave the Steelers a 21-3 lead at halftime and things really heated up after that. The Steelers were penalized seven times in the third quarter, including a personal foul on Harrison for roughing Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell that negated an interception return for a touchdown by Taylor.

    The Steelers turned the pressure up on Campbell, who was pulled from the game in favor of Bruce Gradkowski later in the third quarter. Campbell was 7-for-19 for 70 yards and an interception. He was sacked four times and fumbled twice.

    Gradkowski, who manufactured Oakland's 27-24 come-from-behind victory at Heinz Field last season, couldn't find the same magic. He was 13-for-24 for 98 yards with one interception. The Steelers limited the Raiders to 121 net passing yards.

    "We played against a really tough defense today that got after us," said Campbell. "Once we got behind the 8-ball and they got all the momentum, they just kept bringing it and bringing it."

    Roethlisberger finished off the Raiders with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes, a 52-yarder to Mike Wallace on a short crossing pattern, and a 16-yard dumpoff to running back Isaac Redman with 1:20 remaining.

    "It was a good job of bouncing back and playing well, but we left a lot out there," Roethlisberger said. "It wasn't our best performance (offensively) by any means. I don't know how many yards were negated by penalties, but it had to be a lot. That's just not us.

    "But we were good enough in all phases to win."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Odds and end zones[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Already without injured tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon, the Steelers lost center Maurkice Pouncey to a thigh injury in the second half. Kemoeatu and tackle Jonathan Scott briefly went out with injuries. Trai Essex, who was replaced in the starting lineup at right guard by Ramon Foster, played left tackle, and left guard and Doug Legursky filled in at center. ... Wallace had three receptions for 116 yards, his third-straight 100-yard game. ... The Steelers' previous high for penalty yards was 154 against Cincinnati in 1989. ... Wallace and Mendenhall each scored their eighth touchdowns, setting career highs.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...s-Raiders-game
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Steelers' defense 'took it personally'

    11/22/2010
    Steelers rebound as defense dominates
    By F. Dale Lolley
    Staff writer

    PITTSBURGH - Embarrassed by New England in their previous game at Heinz Field, the Steelers wanted to turn in a memorable performance Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

    They did that. And then some.

    Ben Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards and accounted for four touchdowns as the Steelers routed the Raiders, 35-3, in a game that featured 21 penalties, several skirmishes and the ejection of Oakland's Richard Seymour for punching Roethlisberger in the facemask following a second-quarter touchdown pass.

    "I liked our energy. I liked our intensity," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. "It was necessary. It was a nice bounce-back performance."

    As a result, the Steelers improve to 7-3 and remain in a tie with Baltimore for the AFC North Division lead.

    And the Steelers did so in impressive fashion, outgaining Oakland (5-5) 431-182, recording six sacks and forcing three turnovers.

    "I think all three phases of the game were pretty good," said Roethlisberger, who completed 18 of 29 passes and also scrambled for 55 yards, throwing three touchdown passes and running for another score.

    The Steelers overcame 14 penalties for a team-record 163 yards.

    "We're going to play football, and play it as fairly and cleanly as we can," said Tomlin, who refused to question some dubious penalties against his defense.

    "That's what we're always going to try to do. We didn't do it very successfully today in some instances."

    The penalties helped keep the Raiders competitive despite being completely suffocated by Pittsburgh's defense.

    Oakland had six first downs in the first half, four of which came on defensive penalties by the Steelers.

    "You just have to move on to the next play," said Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who had two sacks and an interception. "You can't let the penalty bring you down because the next play is coming."

    That was never more apparent than in the second quarter, with the Steelers leading 14-3 following touchdown runs by Rashard Mendenhall and Roethlisberger.

    Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor was penalized 27 yards for "cutting off the receiver's path to the ball," according to referee Tony Corrente. That allowed Oakland to turn a third-and-14 from its own 6-yard line into a first down at the 33. On the next play, however, Taylor punched the ball loose from Oakland receiver Louis Murphy following a 12-yard catch. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons recovered the fumble with 2:49 remaining in the half.

    Four plays later, Roethlisberger tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Emmanuel Sanders. While celebrating, Roethlisberger was punched in the facemask by defensive end Richard Seymour.

    Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu retaliated, smacking Seymour in the head with his open hand, but only Seymour was ejected.

    "I haven't seen a quarterback get punched since I've been in this league," said Tomlin. "It was unfortunate."

    That gave the Steelers a 21-3 lead at halftime and things really heated up after that. The Steelers were penalized seven times in the third quarter, including a personal foul on Harrison for roughing Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell that negated an interception return for a touchdown by Taylor.

    The Steelers turned the pressure up on Campbell, who was pulled from the game in favor of Bruce Gradkowski later in the third quarter. Campbell was 7-for-19 for 70 yards and an interception. He was sacked four times and fumbled twice.

    Gradkowski, who manufactured Oakland's 27-24 come-from-behind victory at Heinz Field last season, couldn't find the same magic. He was 13-for-24 for 98 yards with one interception. The Steelers limited the Raiders to 121 net passing yards.

    "We played against a really tough defense today that got after us," said Campbell. "Once we got behind the 8-ball and they got all the momentum, they just kept bringing it and bringing it."

    Roethlisberger finished off the Raiders with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes, a 52-yarder to Mike Wallace on a short crossing pattern, and a 16-yard dumpoff to running back Isaac Redman with 1:20 remaining.

    "It was a good job of bouncing back and playing well, but we left a lot out there," Roethlisberger said. "It wasn't our best performance (offensively) by any means. I don't know how many yards were negated by penalties, but it had to be a lot. That's just not us.

    "But we were good enough in all phases to win."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Odds and end zones[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Already without injured tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon, the Steelers lost center Maurkice Pouncey to a thigh injury in the second half. Kemoeatu and tackle Jonathan Scott briefly went out with injuries. Trai Essex, who was replaced in the starting lineup at right guard by Ramon Foster, played left tackle, and left guard and Doug Legursky filled in at center. ... Wallace had three receptions for 116 yards, his third-straight 100-yard game. ... The Steelers' previous high for penalty yards was 154 against Cincinnati in 1989. ... Wallace and Mendenhall each scored their eighth touchdowns, setting career highs.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...s-Raiders-game
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Steelers' defense 'took it personally'

    Good thing we took it personally against Campbell/Gradkowski . Maybe the next time we are embarassed and want to take it out personally on someone we play against Brady, Manning, Rivers or even Brees.

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