Roethlisberger saves Steelers
*Great players deliver in clutch situations and Ben Roethlisberger did exactly that as the Steelers franchise quarterback threw for a team record 503 yards and saved the Steelers season with a 19 yard game winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace as time expired.
Roethlisberger’s heroics against Green Bay was one of the greatest quarterback performances in the history of the game (10th to be exact) as Roethlisberger became the first quarterback to throw for 500-plus yards in a win since Boomer Esiason in 1996.
Roethlisberger’s game winning pass has given the Steelers life, after driving the Steelers 86 yards on 11 plays for the Steelers winning score that included a 4th and 7 and 3rd and 15 conversion. The drive quickly drew comparisons of Super Bowl XLIII
“It was obviously pretty reminiscent of the Super Bowl, ” Steelers center Justin Hartwig said.
Tomlin makes right call on the constroversial onside kick
Jeff Reed’s onside kick with 3:58 remaining in the game as the Steelers led 30-28 was a clear sign that Mike Tomlin had no faith in his defense to close out the game. And how could you blame him.
Tomlin made an aggressive call and it turned out perfectly. I liked the call regardless of whether the Steelers would have won or lost.
The Steelers defense gave Tomlin no reason that they could stop Green Bay from running the clock down and kicking a game winning field goal or scoring the go-ahead touchdown.
Tomlin put the game in No.7’s hand and for a 6-7 team fighting for their playoff lives, the Steelers best hope of ending their 5 game losing streak Sunday night was going to rest on the shoulders of their offense not their defense.
Holmes = Clutch
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson kept Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes in check for most of the game (3 receptions for 77 yards) but it was Holmes who delivered in the clutch again making a 32 yard catch and run on a 4th and 7 on the Steelers 11 play – 86 yard game winning drive to keep the Steelers playoff hopes alive.
Miller has career day
Tight end Heath Miller has been forced to block in passing downs more than the Steelers would like but Miller had a career day against Green Bay, hauling in seven receptions for 118 yards. The 118 yards receiving were a career high for Miller.
Steelers get Mendenhall involved in the passing game
Bruce Arians showed no comittment to the running game against Green Bay but did get running back Rashard Mendenhall involved in the passing game.
Mendenhall had 6 receptions for 73 yards and is quickly establishing himself as an option out of the backfield in the passing game.
Mendenhall rushed for 38 yards on 11 carries as the Steelers only rushed the ball 19 times. The 2nd year running back remains on the cusp (978 yards) of 1,000 rushing yards. Willie Parker had 22 yards on 6 carries.
Harrison, Steelers defense continue to disappoint
William Gay led the Steelers with 6 tackles and when a cornerback leads your team in tackles, it’s not a good thing.
It’s been clear this season that major changes are needed needed next season in the Steelers secondary. However, if you want to pinpoint the blame of the Steelers struggles on defense during the second half of the season, it falls on the shoulders of star linebacker James Harrison.
Harrison, the Steelers highest paid defensive player was neutralized against Green Bay finishing the game with 0 sacks and only 1 tackle. It’s the fourth straight week without a sack for Harrison.
The Steelers have a below average secondary and their pass rush last season along with Troy Polamalu kept their secondary from being exposed.
With Harrison not playing at the level of a pro bowl linebacker and inconsistent play from LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers defense has the look of a defense whose best days are clearly behind them.
When the offense struggles it falls on the shoulders of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the same should go for James Harrison when the defense struggles for a long period. He’s the leader of that group and Steelers need more production from him in the final two games.
*If the Steelers want to fix their secondary for next season, their going to have to spend money in free agency and draft a cornerback/safety in the first round.
Safety Ryan Clark will not be re-signed and safety Tyrone Carter could be let go. Steelers executives won’t lose any sleep over losing those two.
However, Ryan Mundy is not a starter in this league and the Steelers can’t make the same mistake with Mundy that they made with William Gay in having faith that Mundy can easily be a starter next season.
At cornerback, William Gay is a restricted free agent and while the Steelers drafted Keenan Lewis (3rd round) and Joe Burnett (5th round), neither player is ready to be a starter in this league.
In fact, Lewis can’t even get on the field right now. Lewis was drafted with the intention of not being a starter for at least two years and Burnett was drafted due his special teams ability not his cover skills.