Monday, December 04, 2006

Tampa Bay v. Steelers: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

A win is a win, and given all that the Steelers have been through this season we should all be grateful. But if a win can feel like a loss then the Steelers' offense saw to that.

But after the complete meltdown versus the Ravens it's good to get back on the winnning side of things.

Here's a quick look at just how the Steelers performed.

The Good
Obviously the best part of the Steelers on Sunday was their defense; and though they were up against a vastly inferior opponent, they did all that was necessary to win.

Certainly if any individual defenders are deserving of praise they are perennial team MVP James Farrior (3 tackles, 9 assists), Larry Foote (2 tackles, 4 assists, 1 interception), and Bryant McFadden (8 tackes, 1 assist, 1 interception). These three led the way as the Steelers dominated the Buccaneer's anemic offense.

Finally, in what has been less than his best season, it was wonderful to see Jeff Reed make a little history in Heinz Field with a reall live 50 yard field goal!

The Bad
What is given with one hand is taken away with the other -- the defensive unit, despite five sacks of Bruce Gradkowski -- has to be criticized for allowing 110 yards of rushing to the team that was 29th in the league in rushing, and averaging only 92.1 yards of rushing per game.

From the "dead horse" file . . . Chris Gardocki continues to perform horribly. His net average of 34.8 yards -- despite good coverage by his teammates (Tampa Bay had a total of 9 yards on four punt returns) -- was more than two yards below his season average coming into the game.

The Ugly
The offense.

All of it.

76 yards rushing?

ANOTHER interception?

When will it end?

Then there are the injuries to Ryan Clark (who has proven to be everything the Steelers could have hoped -- i.e. an adequate replacement for Chris Hope) -- and Cedric Wilson (who has been something of a disappointment this season). The list of the walking-wounded only deepens the pall that hangs over this team and its fans.

Epilogue
The remaining schedule is certain to be rocky, with none of the games appearing to be a "gimme" for the Black & Gold. With the short, short week there's no rest for the weary and battered Super Bowl champions.

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