Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 10 Report Card
Week 10 Report Card
The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a good start to the second half of the 2013 NFL regular season with a 23-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Although the Steelers (3-6) are still last in the AFC North, they are only one game out of second place thanks to the Baltimore Ravens beating the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals this week.
Everything for Pittsburgh seemed to be clicking all at once, resulting in their most convincing win of the season. The offense did get off to a rough start with an early turnover to start the game, but they eventually assumed control throughout the rest of the contest. The offensive numbers weren’t eye-catching, but it was enough to complement the performance on the other side of the ball.
The Steelers’ defense did get things back on track after horrific displays of play over the past two weeks. Pittsburgh almost went the entire game not allowing a touchdown. The Bills (3-7) did manage to put the ball in the end zone on a fourth-and-goal with 0:03 remaining in the game. More importantly, the Steelers found a way to limit Buffalo’s seventh-ranked rushing attack under 100 yards after surrendering nearly a combined 400 yards on the ground in Weeks 8 and 9.
Pittsburgh will need to do whatever they can to ride this wave of momentum for the rest of the year. Of their last seven games of the season, four of them are against division foes. To be totally honest, their margin of error has virtually vanished and every game is now labeled as a “must win.”
Before we look too far into the future let’s see how well the Steelers were graded on this past Sunday’s victory.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
Ben Roethlisberger’s early interception was thought to have been a sign of bad things to come for the Steelers, but fortunately for them that didn’t come true. Roethlisberger’s 207 passing yards and one touchdown were a far cry from the numbers he put up last week, but it was enough to help pull out a much-needed win.
Pittsburgh’s running backs combined for 111 yards on the ground. Rookie Le’Veon Bell had 22 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown (all game highs) and added three receptions for 39 yards out of the backfield. Fellow running back Jonathan Dwyer handled the rock only six times, but he proved to be effective averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wide receiver Antonio Brown had another big day with 104 receiving yards on six catches. Brown continues to lead the league in receptions (67) and is now tied for fifth in the NFL in receiving yards (805). Veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery continues to find the end zone and chipped in with Pittsburgh’s first touchdown of the game in the second quarter.
The offensive line continues to surrender sacks. Roethlisberger tasted the Heinz Field turf four times. However, their contribution to the running game was good enough to help their running backs gain over 100 yards.
The line of scrimmage was finally controlled by the Steelers’ defensive front. Pittsburgh’s run defense has been one of the worst in the league this season, yet they managed to hold a top-ten rushing offense under 100 yards. In addition, defensive end Cameron Heyward got his second sack of the season.
Just like the defensive line, Pittsburgh’s corps of linebackers improved against the run. There were no missed tackles that led to long runs by the Bills. Lawrence Timmons led all Steelers linebackers with eight tackles and recorded a sack. Rookie Jarvis Jones also chipped in with his first career sack.
The rust on Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel was evident after not setting foot on a football field in over a month, and the Steelers’ secondary took full advantage of that. Pittsburgh held Manuel to just 155 yards passing, and safety Ryan Clark intercepted the rookie for Pittsburgh’s fifth pick of the year. Cornerback William Gay had a game-high 11 tackles and was helpful in stopping the run.
Even in windy conditions, kicker Shaun Suisham was a perfect 3-for-3 for the game. Antonio Brown did come up with some big punt returns, one of which was a 50-yarder (the team’s longest punt return of the year).
The biggest turnaround seen in this game was the Steelers’ run defense, and that change was a major one going up against one of the best running games in the NFL. It’s clear that head coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of Pittsburgh’s coaching staff made the necessary changes after two disappointing losses.