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Week 12: All Units Recover From First Half Disaster
Defense plays much better after getting dominated in first half.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled in the first half completing only four passes. He got hot after halftime and finished with 23 receptions on 45 attempts for 265 yards. He only found the end zone once and the interception wasn't his fault but he did throw it slightly early.
Grade C: Needed to put the game away and couldn't.

Running Backs:

Fred Jackson is the one reason the team got back in the game. He had 104 yards receiving including the 65 yard touchdown on the screen pass. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry against the best run defense in the league but only had 12 carries.
Quinton Ganther had three carries for 11 yards and two catches for 9 yards.
Corey McIntyre was used some as a blocking back but not too much.
Grade B: Decent performance against top defensive team against the run.

Receivers:

Lee Evans touched the ball twice. He fumbled the ball away after his only catch and he did recover a fumble by Jackson. He couldn't pull in a bomb from Fitzpatrick in overtime that could have won the game.
Stevie Johnson saw his star drop like a rock at least for one week. He dropped five passes including the big drop in overtime when he was wide open in the end zone. He also dropped a pass that went off his shoulder and was picked off in the red zone.
Donald Jones had two catches for 17 yards.
David Nelson was busy with six catches for 58 yards including some big catches down the stretch.
Grade F: This unit failed the team. No catches by the tight ends.

Offensive Line:

Demetrius Bell had another solid game.
Kraig Urbik had a nice downfield block on Jackson's 65 yard touchdown catch.
Mansfield Wrotto got called for a false start penalty.
Andy Levitre was beaten for a sack by James Harrison in the third quarter.
Grade B+: Gave up two sacks but Fitz had a lot of time to throw most of the game. Opened up some holes for the running game as well.

Defensive Line:

Kyle Williams got some good penetration early and got two sacks stopping a 2nd qtr drive. He drew a holding penalty that brought back a 42 yard run by Mendenhall.
Marcus Stroud had two half sacks and was very active with seven tackles.
Dwan Edwards left the game during the opening drive with a serious hamstring injury.
Alex Carrington got a lot of playing time with the injuries to Edwards and Spencer Johnson. He shared two half sacks and got good pressure to draw a holding penalty that wiped out a long pass completion. He also helped out on another sack.
Torell Troup had great pressure to make Mendenhall slip down for a two yard loss.
Grade A: Best game of the year for this unit as they got a lot of pressure without blitzing.

Linebackers:

Aaron Maybin drew a holding penalty on one play when he made a good pass rush around the edge.
Chris Kelsay overran the pass rush on Roethlisberger's 18 yard run to convert a 3rd and very long in the 4th quarter. He was out of position on many plays. He did get a big sack in overtime that was almost a game winning safety.
Reggie Torbor made a nice open field tackle on an opening drive screen pass.
Paul Posluszny had a very quiet eight tackles.
Akin Ayodele was very quiet in this game.
Antonio Coleman had a bad offsides penalty on a failed trick play to give Pittsburgh a first down.
Grade B: Very active in shutting down Steelers in 2nd half.

Secondary:

Drayton Florence was beaten on two third down conversion crossing routes.
Leodis McKelvin had a great open field tackle to force a punt late in the third quarter.
Jairus Byrd ripped the ball out of Mendenhall's hands for a huge takeaway. Very active with 11 tackles.
Donte Whitner had nice penetration and tackle of Mendenhall for a one yard gain. Finished with a whopping 18 tackles.
George Wilson only had two tackles this week in little playing time.
Bryan Scott got called for a very bad illegal contact penalty that wiped out a Steelers turnover.
Reggie Corner had five tackles.
Grade B: Did a really good job after halftime.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman knocked a punt out of bounds at the 4 in OT. His next punt was a touchback that set the Steelers up on their winning FG drive. Averaged only 36.4 yards on his five punts for a bad net of 29.4 yards.
Rian Lindell got out of his slump by going 3 for 3 on field goals. Hitting from 29, 32, and 49 to send the game to overtime.
Leodis McKelvin was headed to the end zone with the OT kickoff but he ran into Arthur Moats. He then fumbled a punt later in overtime that Drayton Florence recovered.
Coverage Units allowed one punt return for 15 yards and gave up an average 20.3 yards per kick return.
Grade B: Made some big plays.

Coaching:

Chan Gailey made the right adjustments at halftime to get his team to turn the game around. Nice play call on the screen to Jackson for a score.
George Edwards also made the right adjustments on defense in the 2nd half as his unit played much better after the intermission.
Bruce DeHaven his unit made plays. Interesting alignment on one punt in the first half.
Grade B+: Big job ahead putting this tough loss behind them and the players.



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