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Thread: Defense is outscoring offense

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    Default Defense is outscoring offense

    Defense is outscoring offense

    By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer,

    PITTSBURGH - The freshly resodded turf at Heinz Field might only get a workout between the 20s Sunday when the Steelers host the New York Jets.
    Touchdowns might be tough to come by in a game matching the Jets' fifth-ranked defense against the Steelers' sixth-ranked unit.

    But not only do the Steelers (10-3) and Jets (9-4) boast strong defenses, both teams also have struggling offenses.

    Pittsburgh has scored one offensive touchdown in its last two games (both victories). And even that score, two weeks ago at Baltimore, was set up by a fumble forced by safety Troy Polamalu that was returned to the 9-yard line by linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

    The Jets, meanwhile, have been even more anemic on offense, going nine quarters without a touchdown and scoring only nine points in that time period during a pair of losses.
    The Steelers had 354 total yards and controlled the ball formore than 34 minutes Sunday in a 23-7 win over Cincinnati, but managed just three field goals. Both of Pittsburgh's touchdowns were scored on interception returns, by Polamalu and Woodley.

    "We're moving the ball, we're just not finishing drives," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.

    Penalties have been the biggest problem as the Steelers have committed 42 in their last four games.

    The Steelers' offense overcame the miscues in a 35-3 dismantling of Oakland Nov. 21. In the three games since, the Steelers have scored only two offensive touchdowns. Placekicker Shaun Suisham has kicked nine field goals.

    "Field goals aren't good enough," admitted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    They might be against the Jets.

    After a hot start in which he had eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the first four games, New York's second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez has eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the past nine games. Sanchez has completed better than 60 percent of his passes only once during that span, and Jets coach Rex Ryan said he contemplated pulling the quarterback from a 10-6 loss Sunday to Miami.

    Sanchez has struggled despite the addition of former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was supposed to bolster the Jets' passing game.

    The Steelers traded Holmes to the Jets last offseason for a fifth-round draft pick when it was learned he would be suspended for four games for a second failed drug test.

    Sanchez's struggles have coincided with Holmes' return, though the receiver has 41 receptions and four touchdowns.

    The Steelers are looking forward to seeing Holmes again, even if it will be a business meeting.

    "We've got Santonio and those guys, and Rex Ryan and that crazy defense. It's going to be a good game, more than likely between two teams that will face each other in the playoffs," said Ward. "It's not make-or-break for anybody. It's just the next game we've got on the schedule."

    Odds and end zones

    The Steelers lead the AFC with 30 takeaways. ... Pittsburgh is allowing only 10.5 yards per reception. Only Indianapolis (10.2) is better in the AFC. ... The Steelers have allowed 781 rushing yards and are the only team in the NFL that has not given up more than 1,000 on the ground.


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    Default Re: Defense is outscoring offense

    Oh no! Santonio is going to give away all of our offensive secrets. Wait a minute, we don't have any. OK, we're cool, let the games begin.

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    Default Re: Defense is outscoring offense

    Shades of 2008: Pittsburgh's defense carrying the day

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Defense steps up
    Christopher Horner | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


    Santonio Holmes, Jets WR

    It will be interesting to see what the jeers/cheers ratio at Heinz Field will be for the former Steelers wideout and MVP of Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes has established himself as the Jets' No. 1 wide receiver after serving a four-game suspension at the start of the season.

    Mark Sanchez, Jets QB

    Second-year man has alternately looked like a franchise quarterback and an overmatched passer; he has thrown six interceptions and no touchdown passes in the Jets' four losses.

    Mike Wallace, Steelers WR

    Needs 55 receiving yards to go over 1,000 for the season; the second-year speedster likely will be shadowed by Darrelle Revis, the premier cornerback in the NFL, for much of Sunday's game.


    0 — Interceptions Revis has this year, after averaging 4.7 in his first three NFL seasons

    .364 — Steelers' winning percentage in games decided by seven points or less in 2009

    .833 — Steelers' winning percentage in games decided by less than seven points this season

    118.5 — Average Jets rushing yards in four losses this season

    154.9 — Average Jets rushing yards in their nine wins

    A four-game winning streak has the Steelers on track to win the AFC North and secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

    Since an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots on national TV, the Steelers have won with a nasty, opportunistic defense while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has made enough plays for them to get by on offense.

    That is similar to the formula they used in 2008 to win a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

    Not that Ryan Clark is willing to go there just yet.

    "I can't make those parallels," the Steelers' starting free safety said. "Two totally different teams."

    The two teams are more alike than they are different. And with all due respect to Clark, there are many parallels between the squads.

    They range from the good (punishing defense and pulling out an unlikely win at Baltimore), the bad (the Steelers winning in spite of their injury-riddled offensive line) and even the unfortunate (having to replace punter Daniel Sepulveda because of a torn ACL).

    What would really help the Steelers, assuming they don't stumble while playing three teams with a combined record of 15-34: Circumstances falling into place just as they did during the 2008 postseason.

    The Steelers did not have to make a return trip to Nashville after the top-seeded Titans, who had embarrassed them when the teams played in late December, were upset in the playoffs by the Ravens.

    The Steelers may need a similar shakeup this season.

    The Patriots are almost a lock to nail down the top seed in the AFC playoffs, and coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady are proving to be as unbeatable a combination as peanut butter and jelly.

    Brady is 6-1 lifetime against the Steelers, and it's hard to imagine them beating the best quarterback of his generation if they have to do it in Foxboro, Mass.

    It is, of course, as premature to look ahead to the AFC title game as it is to anoint New England as Super Bowl champions.

    The Patriots are the hottest team in the NFL right now, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be the best one by the end of the season.

    There are no guarantees for the Steelers, either -- no matter how well things are falling into place for them.

    "When you start looking ahead, that's when teams beat you," Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "We just have to focus on what's in front of us."

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    Default Re: Defense is outscoring offense

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Oh no! Santonio is going to give away all of our offensive secrets. Wait a minute, we don't have any. OK, we're cool, let the games begin.
    Your negativity here has turned you into a full blown troll. Nothing but an annoyance seeking attention and reaction. I'm tired of your act, so off to ignore land you go. I'm sure others will do the same. Sad, you were a good poster in the past. Later LVG...

    Troll (Internet)
    From Wikipedia, Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion

    Last edited by Skeeter; Dec-14-2010 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Defense is outscoring offense

    Offense a score subject for Steelers, Jets

    By: Mike Bires Beaver County Times
    Wednesday December 15, 2010 12:17 AM

    Mark Sanchez (6) and the Jets have been grounded on offense of late. Newsday photo by DAVID POKRESS

    Touchdowns are being scored with more frequency than ever before in the NFL. But when the Steelers host the Jets on Sunday, no one expects either team to light up the Heinz Field scoreboard.

    They are defensive-minded playoff contenders who’ve struggled at times offensively. That’s especially been true in recent weeks. The Jets (9-4) have gone two straight games without a touchdown. The Steelers (10-3) scored three TDs in the past two weeks. But two came on interception returns by safety Troy Polamau and linebacker LaMarr Woodley while the other came on a 9-yard drive set up by a takeaway from the defense.

    This week’s game, a showdown of huge consequence in the AFC, could be a low-scoring affair decided by the kickers.

    Could this be a 9-6 decision?

    “We want to score touchdowns,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “In the recent past, we haven’t done as well as we would like. There are a myriad of reasons, and usually they’re centered around execution.”

    Based on the amount of touchdowns scored throughout the league in the first 14 weeks of the season, it’s projected that 750 will be scored by the time the regular season concludes Jan. 2.

    The Jets are currently tied for 22nd in the league with 28 TDs — nine rushing, 17 passing, one by their defense and one on special teams.

    The Steelers are tied for 17th with 31 TDs — 10 rushing, 17 passing, three by their defense and one on special teams.

    Why are the Jets finding it hard to reach the end zone?

    The main reason is inconsistent play by quarterback Mark Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft, who’s been struggling in recent weeks. Sanchez ranks 28th in the NFL with a 74.2 passer rating.

    The Steelers don’t have a quarterback problem. Ben Roethlisberger ranks seventh with a 94.8 passer rating. Still, the Steelers have struggled to score touchdowns.

    Part of the problem is inconsistency on an offensive line that’s had its share of injuries.

    Another part of the problem is the rash of holding penalties the Steelers are taking. They were flagged six times for holding in a 19-16 overtime win in Buffalo on Nov. 28. And they were flagged another six times for holding in Sundays’ 23-7 win over Cincinnati in which the defense scored twice.

    On the Steelers’ first possession of the second half last week, they marched deep in Bengals’ territory and had a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. But on first down, tight end David Johnson was called for holding. That drive ended with a Shaun Suisham field goal.

    On the Steelers’ next possession, they controlled the ball for 9 minutes and 22 seconds. They ran off 15 plays, picked up four first downs and gained 80 yards. But still they had to punt. That’s because three holding penalties called against tackle Jonathan Scott, tight end Matt Spaeth and tackle Flozell Adams wiped out 30 yards of offense.

    “We need to cut down on holding,” Tomlin said. “No question holding occurs just about on every snap in the National Football League. I think anybody in this industry will acknowledge that, and so what we need to do is cut down on the actions that are triggering the flags.”

    Going into Sunday’s game against the Jets, the Steelers rank 27th in the league in red zone offense. New York is even worse at No. 30.

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