Pittsburgh Steelers: Grade Report for Dominating Win over Seattle Seahawks

Chris Gazze@ChrisG_PITCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers: Grade Report for Dominating Win over Seattle Seahawks

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    Maybe Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t done, at least not on Sunday as they suffocated Seattle’s offense.

    Pittsburgh shut out the Seahawks on Sunday, holding them to only 164 total yards with much of them coming in the fourth quarter when the defense was sitting back.

    The win, coupled with a Baltimore Ravens loss, ended a very nice weekend for the Steelers.

    Pittsburgh ran the ball effectively in the first half and Ben Roethlisberger was efficient, but most importantly, they did not turn the ball over.

    Part of the reason was Bruce Arians allowed for outlets to the backs, which Roethlisberger used effectively.

    The win was exactly what the Steelers needed after last week’s debacle and gives them some momentum as they head into Indianapolis next week.

Quarterback: A-

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    Roethlisberger had a quiet 298 yards, as he completed 22-of-30 passes for a 115.7 passer rating.

    He efficiently moved the ball down the field on the team’s second possession in the third quarter, hitting all seven of his passes for 77 yards including a two-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace.

    More importantly, Roethlisberger did not turn the ball over. He used his running backs when pressured and was able to connect with Wallace on an impressive 53-yard bomb.

    Roethlisberger did get lucky on one pass, which should have been intercepted and returned for a touchdown, but it was dropped by Aaron Curry.

    Besides that play, Roethlisberger played more like how we expected him to at the start of the season, and it showed in the Steelers win.

    Season GPA: 1.65

Running Backs: B

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    Rashard Mendenhall, like last week, had a great first half with over 50 yards rushing but finished with only 66 yards on the day.

    During the second half, the holes closed up and Mendenhall was unable to get anything going. He only averaged 3.5 yards per carry but did add two receptions for 12 yards and had a rushing touchdown.

    Isaac Redman had a fine day with 10 carries for 49 yards including a 20-yard touchdown run.

    Both Redman and Moore added one reception and contributed to an overall good day by the running backs.

    Season GPA: 1.5

Wide Receivers: A

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    The receivers had an excellent day against Seattle. Led by Mike Wallace, the Steelers receivers accounted for 18 receptions.

    Wallace finished the day with eight receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. His 53-yard grab on a heave by Roethlisberger was impressive, as it looked like he had no chance when the ball was thrown.

    Hines Ward had four receptions, including one on a trick play from Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders caught two balls for 44 yards, and Antonio Brown had four catches for 67 yards.

    The receivers were also able to get yards after catch when given the opportunity on quick slants. It was a very productive day for this group.

    Season GPA: 2.35

Tight Ends: A

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    Heath Miller had the only catch of the day by the tight ends, and it went for 16 yards.

    Miller, David Johnson and Wesyle Saunders all got a significant amount of playing time but were held in blocking.

    Miller had a strong day blocking, and Johnson had some nice blocks as well. There was little to complain about here.

    As the season progresses, it would be beneficial to get Miller more involved in the passing game over the middle of the field.

    Season GPA: 2.35

Offensive Line: C

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    Marcus Gilbert got his first start of his NFL career, taking over at right tackle for the injured Willie Colon.

    Gilbert played fairly well in his first start, holding his own against a decent Seattle defensive line.

    Ramon Foster also got his first start of the season in place of Chris Kemoeatu, who still is bothered by a knee injury.

    While the line did not perform poorly, they could have done better.

    Roethlisberger was sacked twice and faced a fair amount of pressure at times. The line did have a good start run blocking, but Seattle shut down the Steelers’ ground game in the second half.

    The line, as always, will be a concern as the season progresses.

    Season GPA: 1.00

Defensive Line: A

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    As bad as the defensive line was last week, that is how good they were this week.

    Seattle was held to 31 yards rushing for a 2.4 yards per carry average. The longest run of the day was only eight yards.

    Brett Keisel left the game with a PCL injury, but that did not pose many problems as Ziggy Hood performed well.

    Hood caused some disruption and was able to get in the face of Tarvaris Jackson once to force a throw away.

    Steven McLendon even got some snaps and came away with a half of a sack.

    This was the type of performance that was expected of the line.

     Season GPA: 2.00

Linebackers: B

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    Pittsburgh’s linebackers once again did not get pressure through three quarters, but they were primarily sitting back.

    By the end of the day, Larry Foote, James Farrior and James Harrison all had a sack, while LaMarr Woodley was credited with a half of a sack.

    Harrison was relatively quiet again and was unable to disrupt much with the exception of a couple of plays.

    Lawrence Timmons led the team with eight tackles including one for a loss, while Foote spelled Farrior and finished with four stops.

    Season GPA: 1.50

Defensive Backs: A

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    Bryant McFadden sat out the game with an injury and it did not show. The defensive backfield actually played well.

    Pittsburgh only allowed 133 passing yards with many of these coming in the fourth quarter when they were sitting back in coverage.

    Both Troy Polamalu and William Gay were credited with passes defended.

    Polamalu was outstanding with a sack and eight tackles. He nearly had a pick six but was unable to bring in the ball.

    Season GPA: 2.00

Special Teams: B

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    Daniel Sepulveda had another great game, as he averaged an impressive 58.3 yards per punt. He actually may have been punting too well because he had punts of 66 and 61 yards, which went for touchbacks.

    Shaun Suisham was effective on kickoffs, with two going out of the endzone. And he also went one for two on field goals, missing one from 41 yards out.

    Brown returned one kick for 23 yards and averaged 14 yards on four punt returns. Sanders also returned two punts for eight yards but did field one inside of the five yard line rather than let it bounce into the endzone.

    Curtis Brown took a stupid personal foul penalty on a special teams player, when he swatted at a Seahawk’s player after the play was over.

    Season GPA: 1.50

Coaching: B+

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    The Steelers came into this game and did what they were supposed to do.

    They outgained Seattle 421 to 164 and possessed the ball for 38:44. It was complete domination.

    Arians was more effective with his play calling, going back to some of what was successful in the preseason.

    Dick LeBeau did not have his defense attacking but did not need to.

    The only faults on the day were Mike Tomlin’s failed challenge and the confusion on the fourth-and-goal from the one on their first drive, which resulted in a time out.

    Season GPA: 1.65

Study Up: What Must Improve

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    The Steelers still need a lot of work along the offensive line.

    The week of experience for Gilbert should help, but they are still very weak at the guard position. They will have to find ways to hide their weaknesses.

    Pittsburgh will also need to work on their short yardage plays inside the red zone. They twice failed to score touchdowns from inside the five.

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