Steelers Report Card: Game 3 vs. Colts
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It was just the kind of game Ben Roethlisberger and the offense needed, at least in the first quarter. He completed 8 of 12 passes for a personal-best 171 yards in the first quarter alone, including an 81-yard TD to Mike Wallace. But he had three turnovers -- two fumbles and one interception -- in the second quarter that led to all 13 points by the Colts. Roethlisberger finished with 364 yards passing.
RUNNING BACKS C-
The running game continued to sputter, only this time it happened in the first half when Rashard Mendenhall had almost as many runs for zero or minus yards (4) as he did positive yards (5). He had only 11 yards on nine carries in the first half and finished with 37 yards on 18 carries, horrible totals against one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Thank goodness for Mewelde Moore on the final drive.
WIDE RECEIVERS B
Wallace's 81-yard TD was the quick strike the Steelers needed early. Wallace had his sixth consecutive 100-yard receiving game by the first quarter and finished with 144 yards. A big third-down drop by Emmanuel Sanders on the first series forced the offense to settle for a field goal. And he made another bad mistake when he failed to touch down safety Joe Lefeged after an interception.
OFFENSIVE LINE F
It was a long night for LT Jonathan Scott, especially when he got beaten badly by DE Dwight Freeney on the play Roethlisberger's fumble was returned for a touchdown -- tying the game at a point when the Steelers were dominating. The Steelers managed just 10 yards on 10 carries in the first half against a defense that was allowing 136.5 yards per game.
DEFENSIVE LINE B-
The Steelers continue to have problems defending the stretch play because it creates gaps in their defense. And RB Joseph Addai took advantage all game, with 39 yards on 8 carries and finishing with 86 yards on 17 carries. All in all, though, the defense was solid against the Colts until the final drive. They were put in bad positions by three Roethlisberger turnovers.
James Harrison delivered what the unit has been lacking for several games -- big, game-changing plays. His strip-sack on Curtis Painter resulted in Troy Polamalu's 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown. It was the first takeaway by the defense this season. But, when they needed a defensive stop, the Colts drove 80 yards on 10 plays to score their only offensive touchdown.
DEFENSIVE BACKS B
It was difficult to tell if the Steelers secondary coverage was that good or Kerry Collins was that bad. He was just 10 of 20 for 78 yards in the first half and 3 of 9 for 15 yards in the second half before he was injured. Still, give credit to CBs William Gay and Keenan Lewis for keeping the ball in front of them and S Ryan Clark for several big plays in coverage.
SPECIAL TEAMS B
Shaun Suisham had a 48-yard FG on the opening drive and the 38-yarder with :04 remaining to win the game, though he missed a 36-yarder that hit the upright in the third quarter. The Steelers were not able to take advantage of what had been poor special-teams play by the Colts, who had allowed returns of 79, 52, 46 and 43 yards in the first two games the season.
The Steelers started the way they need to start on the road, throwing the ball and making big plays to quickly take the Colts out of the game. But three first-half turnovers by Roethlisberger let the Colts back in the game and the Steelers spent the rest of the time trying to recover. What should have been an easy victory instead turned into a narrow victory against a team that has been horrid.
First Published September 26, 2011 12:27 am