Matchup to watch: WR Santonio Holmes vs CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Holmes at 5‚Äô11 ‚Äì 192 lbs, is built like a sprinter and is the Steelers top playmaker on offense. The Cardinals game plan coming into tonight‚Äôs game is to focus on limiting Santonio Holmes. With Hines Ward limited, Holmes is the Steelers lone receiver who can be a difference maker in the open field. Holmes is a good route runner and is physical enough that corners playing Holmes aggressive at the line of scrimmage will not take him off of his game but his size hurts him at times against bigger corners who can match his speed and who¬†have an edge on him physically. Where Holmes excels in the Steelers offense is the ability to keep his routes alive when Ben Roethlisberger is rushed out of the pocket. Holmes scored a 65 yard touchdown against the Ravens after a play broke down and when in the open field he is a dangerous player.
Rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will have the primary duty of shutting down Holmes. Cromartie has two interceptions in the playoffs after shutting down Roddy White and Steve Smith in the Cardinals first two games. Cromartie was beat deep against the Eagles by DeSean Jackson for a touchdown. Cromartie started 11 regular season games this season, and has a good combination of speed and athletic ability. Cromartie has the speed and size to match up with Holmes. Where Holmes may be able to expose Cromartie is Holmes aggressiveness. Cromartie is not very strong but Cromartie has a great knack for the ball and is not tentative to jump routes.Corners who jump routes are vulnerable on deep routes when a quarterback throws a pump fake, which Donavan McNabb exposed Cromartie in the NFC Championship game.