Steelers Report Card: Game 15 vs. Ravens
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It was not one of Ben Roethlisberger's better efforts, even though he threw for 259 yards and became the first 4,000-yard passer in team history. He had two interceptions negated by penalty, including a TD return, and his first interception in three games led to the Ravens' field goal. But, he made two big throws and passed for 96 yards on the seven-play, 94-yard TD drive at the end of the first half.
Rashard Mendenhall became the seventh back in Steelers history to surpass 1,000 yards when he scored on a 4-yard run. But he finished with only 36 yards on 17 carries and lost a fumble at the Steelers' 30 in the second quarter. He also dropped a pass at the goal line that forced the Steelers to settle for a field goal. Willie Parker had two carries for 17 yards, including a 13-yarder.
Mike Wallace might have made the biggest catch of all, a 45-yarder on third-and-2 from the 4 that set up Santonio Holmes' 24-yard TD at the end of the first half. Wallace also had a 26-yarder on a third-and-2. Give Holmes credit for making good runs after his catches, including the TD when he ran around S Dawan Landry. He also had a 24-yard catch-and-run to set up the winning FG.
The Steelers finished with only 48 yards rushing and averaged just 2.1 yards per carry, their fewest totals since the season opener against the Titans. And Roethlisberger was sacked four more times, bringing his season total to 44, second highest in the AFC. RT Willie Colon gave up the third sack when he got beat by LB Antwan Barnes, knocking the Steelers out of FG range.
Ray Rice became the first player in 37 games to rush for more than 100 yards against the Steelers, finishing with 141 yards on 30 carries. The Ravens finished with 175 yards rushing, the most against the Steelers this season, and also had a 32-yard TD run by Willis McGahee negated by a holding penalty. Ziggy Hood played well, getting one of the four sacks and recovering a fumble.
The defense didn't have a takeaway since the fourth quarter of the first meeting, but they had three this game -- all forced by the linebackers. LaMarr Woodley had 10 tackles and two sacks, the biggest when he forced a Flacco fumble. He also hit Flacco's arm on James Farrior's interception -- the Steelers' first in seven games. James Harrison had his first forced fumble in 10 games.
Flacco finished with only 13 completions and 166 yards passing and didn't really attack the deep middle of the field. Still, he took advantage of the Steelers trying to cover TE Todd Heap with a cornerback, throwing TDs of 30 and 7 yards in single coverage over Deshea Townsend and William Gay. CB Ike Taylor was disruptive with a big third-down sack, fumble recovery and pass breakup.
Stefan Logan averaged 32.3 yards on four kick returns, his best average of the season, to set a team single-season record for return yards (1,383). His biggest return was a 49-yarder to set up the second of three field goals. His 17-yard punt return helped set up Jeff Reed's winning 38-yard FG. But, on the ensuing kick, LB Patrick Bailey let KR Jalen Parmele run around him for a 48-yard return.
It was the second time this season the Ravens outgained the Steelers, but give the Steelers credit for not making the same costly mental gaffes. The Ravens had 11 penalties for 113 yards, two of which negated TDs. The rush defense continues to deteriorate, but defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau did enough juggling in the secondary to patch some holes and keep Flacco under control.
First Published December 28, 2009 2:33 am