Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 6 vs. Jacksonville
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Game Ball goes to: RB RASHARD MENDENHALL
After missing last week's game with a hamstring injury, Mendenhall looked as good as new against the Jaguars, rushing for 146 yards on 23 carries -- including 113 in the first half, when the Steelers built a 17-3 lead. He scored on an 8-yard run and had a 68-yard run to the Jaguars 4 to set up a field goal. Mendenhall looked tentative in his first four games and had been averaging just 3 yards per carry. "I've been running the same way for 24 years," Mendenhall said. "You can't change your style in a week. It was the same thing."
X's AND O's
After under-throwing WR Mike Wallace on a deep pass on the first play of the series, Ben Roethlisberger finished off the Steelers' second possession with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Wallace that made it 14-0. Wallace ran a simple up-route through the middle of the Jaguars' zone in which S Dwight Lowery was slow to react from the right side. "The back-side safety bit on the over-route," Roethlisberger said. "I just couldn't wait to get the ball out of my hands because I knew he was going to be open."THE COUNTDOWN
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. QUICK START: For the second game in a row, the offense scored on its first three possessions, staking the Steelers to a 17-0 lead. Unlike what happened against the Tennessee Titans, the offense never produced another point and managed just 55 yards in the second half. "We have to keep our foot on the gas," said Wallace, who didn't have a catch in the second half after catching two for 76 in the first. "We have to keep going with the same intensity we had in the first half."
2. ANOTHER BIG RUN: One week after Jonathan Dwyer didn't score on a 76-yard run, Mendenhall failed to score on a 68-yard run in the second quarter. Worse, after a facemask penalty moved the ball to the Jaguars 2, the Steelers had to settle for a field goal and a 17-0 lead.
3. BAD DECISION: Leading 17-3 in the third quarter, S Ryan Mundy was penalized for roughing P Nick Harris, keeping alive a 17-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Jaguars TD. "I acknowledge what that does to a defense when you get off and then you have to go back on," coach Mike Tomlin said.
4. FEAR THE BEARD: The Steelers sacked rookie QB Blaine Gabbert 5 times, none bigger than when DE Brett Keisel dropped him for a 10-yard loss on the Jaguars final possession. "Any time they're out of timeouts and you get a sack, it's pretty devastating for the offense," Keisel said.
5. TROY STORY: S Troy Polamalu's last play was one of his biggest -- stopping RB Maurice Jones-Drew on third-and-1 with the Jaguars down by 4 in the fourth quarter. That was the end of the game for Polamalu, who sustained concussion-like symptoms when he made the tackle.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
365 That's the number of Steelers rushing yards in the past two games, increasing the season average to 122.3 yards per game. That's the most in a two-game span since they had 368 against Oakland (162) and Buffalo (206) last season.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
In the third quarter, the Steelers tried to block the punt of Nick Harris on fourth-and-21 from the Jaguars 20. But S Ryan Mundy was called for roughing the kicker, a 15-yard penalty, giving the Jaguars a first down and, ultimately, a TD. Why call for a block with a 17-3 lead? "Problem is, when you leave your feet on the opposite side of his foot, you got a good chance of getting roughing," said special teams coach Al Everest. "Even if we got running into the kicker, it's still fourth-and-10. We can live with fourth-and-10. We didn't anticipate roughing."
"We felt like we could have had a very explosive productive day offensively, running and throwing the ball. It is frustrating it didn't end up that way. I'm going to be frustrated for about another half-hour, and then I'm going to be happy that we won the game."
-- Ben Roethlisberger, on what happened after the game was 17-3
SUNDAY'S OPPONENT @ ARIZONA CARDINALS, 4:15 P.M.: The Steelers will try to win their second road game Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. This is the first meeting (not counting preseason) between the teams since Super Bowl XLIII, won by the Steelers, 27-23.
First Published October 17, 2011 12:00 am