Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 7 Report Card
Week 7 Report Card
Since the team’s Week 5 bye, it seems that the Pittsburgh Steelers have finally figured things out after their 0-4 start to the 2013 regular season. The Steelers (2-4) are now riding the momentum of a two-game winning streak on the heels of defeating the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in a seesaw battle in Week 7 by the score of 19-16.
The game coming down to the wire wasn’t a surprise. Prior to this game, eight of the last 10 matchups between these two teams has been decided by three points.
The Steelers held the lead for virtually the entire game. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter where the Ravens (3-4) tied the game by scoring a touchdown with 1:58 left on the clock. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, the offense, with two timeouts at their disposal, was able to move the ball downfield in just enough time for a game-winning field goal.
Everything seemed to be clicking at all at once for Pittsburgh for the first time this season. The running game finally got going, and for the second week in a row, the defense held the opposing team’s ground attack under 100 yards. The special teams even got some big returns to help in the battle for field position.
After a slow start to the year, everything looks to be headed in the right direction for the Steelers. However, even with their recent success, there is much room for improvement on their quest to close the gap in the AFC North.
Let’s look at Pittsburgh’s Week 7 report card.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
The numbers weren’t eye-popping, but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger engineered another turnover-free game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger finished the game with 160 passing yards and a touchdown while completing 17 of 23 pass attempts. More importantly, Big Ben led the offense on the all-important game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
For the first time this season, Pittsburgh’s running backs combined to rush for over 100 yards. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell had a game-high of 93 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Roethlisberger completed passes to four wide receivers and two tight ends throughout the game. Though none had huge numbers, clutch catches were made when it mattered most. Tight end Heath Miller scored the team’s lone touchdown in the first quarter, and two of receiver Antonio Brown’s six catches came on the game-winning drive. The only blemish was the dropped pass in the end zone by wide receiver Derek Moye.
Even with the early injury to right tackle Marcus Gilbert, the offensive line held their own against one of the best pass rushing teams in the league. Guy Whimper did a good job filling in for Gilbert, and Kelvin Beachum looked as if he could man the left tackle position for the remainder of the season. As mentioned earlier, the running game did gain over 100 yards.
The defensive line only combined for four tackles, but did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage. Baltimore averaged a mere 3.2 yards per carry, and the defensive front did a good job of clearing space for linebackers to make plays in the open field.
Even though they only were able to get one sack, which was by LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh’s linebackers did get pressure on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons was by far the defensive star of the game with 17 tackles. However, they did allow Ravens tight end Dallas Clark to score the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The secondary contained Baltimore’s receiving corps, and kept them out of the end zone all day. Ravens receiver Torrey Smith entered the game ranked fourth in the league in receiving yards, yet was held to only 61 on the game. Cornerback William Gay came up big with two pass deflections in the end zone.
Once again, kicker Shaun Suisham was perfect all game, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts, including his 42-yard game winner. The Steelers also had kick returns of 42 and 44 yards by Felix Jones and Emmanuel Sanders respectively. Sanders’ return set up the game-winning drive.
Head coach Mike Tomlin definitely has Pittsburgh on the right track. Divisional games are the toughest to prepare for, and Tomlin clearly was one step ahead of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.