Sunday, December 10, 2006

Observations from Pro Football Weekly

Pro Football Weekly is one of the best sources for information on the football (despite the title of the magazine they also have good information on college teams and players). Here are their observations on the Steelers' victory Thursday night over Cleveland (emphasis added):

"Steelers

Positives

Dick LeBeau’s defense enters the final three games as confident as it’s been all season. The Steelers shut down the Browns without starting safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.

The Steelers’ run game, which was under fire after a poor three-game stretch in Weeks 11-13, bounced back because of some excellent blocking by the interior of Pittsburgh’s offensive line. OLG Alan Faneca and C Jeff Hartings had strong games. The Steelers ran at Browns DE Simon Fraser with success. The Browns rarely win the battle in the trenches vs. Pittsburgh. Parker had no shortage of space to work with, and when he can get into the secondary, look out.

Negatives

WR Nate Washington let a potential TD pass slide through his hands early in the second quarter. Washington entered the game with three dropped TD passes, and this would almost certainly have been a fourth. Roethlisberger threw the ball toward Washington’s back shoulder, away from Browns CB Leigh Bodden. Then, a few plays later, Roethlisberger missed Washington in the middle of the endzone. Roethlisberger appeared upset after the play, and the NFLN’s Cris Collinsworth suggested that Washington didn’t finish his route. While Washington did haul in a 49-yard TD pass early in the second quarter, he has a long way to go to become the consistent target the Steelers hope he’ll become. Nevertheless, he’s only in his second season, and he’s getting excellent coaching
."

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