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Scorp
12-24-2010, 11:05 AM
Free safety Ryan Clark hadn’t been happy with the defense after the Steelers had lost a hard-fought, 22-17 decision to the Jets and he still wasn’t thrilled following Thursday night’s 27-3 demolition of the Panthers.

Clark isn’t the Grinch Who Stole the Thrill of Victory. He just has high standards.

“We didn’t get the shutout,” Clark lamented. “We were really pushing for it. I think it would have been a big statement for us going into next week (and the regular season finale at Cleveland).

“And we started very slow. And that’s kind of two weeks in a row _ look at the Jets game _ (the Panthers) were able to run the ball early. So we need to pick that up.”

Carolina’s game-opening drive lasted 11 plays and netted 42 yards, by far the Panthers’ longest of the night. It reached the Steelers’ 32-yard line but ended with a punt.

The Panthers’ drive for the fourth-quarter field goal that achieved the game’s final score lasted six plays and covered 14 yards after starting at the Steelers’ 23 following a punt return.

Still, Clark has his standards, and he isn’t alone in that regard among Steelers defenders.

“We wanted to get the shutout, obviously,” said cornerback William Gay. “I mean, playing in the Steelers organization, you have all these great defenses on the wall that you’re trying to live up to.

“Shutouts are expected. We had an opportunity to get a shutout but we didn’t do it.”

The Panthers got their three points with 8:29 remaining in the game.

Their 60-minute totals included seven first downs, 3-for-13 on third down (23 percent), 0-for-1 on fourth down, 119 total net yards and a 2.4-yard average gain per offensive play.

And this despite strong safety Troy Polamalu and defensive end Aaron Smith exiting the locker room at Heinz Field just as the media was gaining entrance, as injured players who don’t play often do.

Ryan Mundy filled in for Polamalu for a second consecutive game.

“Troy’s status is always evaluated week to week, and he’s probably the most important player on our team,” Mundy said. “If he’s ready to go (at Cleveland) I’m sure he’ll go. If not, I’m ready to step in again.

“Our goal is a shutout every game. We believe we have the people to do that and we have the coaches to do that. Sometimes things don’t always go our way. We bounce back and we play the next play. That’s the philosophy of our defense.”

A great deal went the way of the Steelers’ defense in its pummeling of the Panthers.

Clark expected as much of and demanded as much from the defense given the circumstances.

“You know, 2-12 team, it was kind of cold, they got behind, they’re a running football team, they’re not really a come-from-behind team, rookie quarterback (Jimmy Clausen) against Coach LeBeau, not really a matchup at all,” Clark said. “We did some good things schematically and the guys got pressure.”

nuclearchihuahuas
12-24-2010, 11:19 AM
Frankly, I was disappointed they mounted any drives at all. Stewart had 71 yds rushing I believe. He should have been held to 30 or so since we knew going in, he is their entire offense. I am very happy with the win, but disappointed the defense really did not take the opportunity to crush the panthers on each and every play

SteelCityKid5
12-24-2010, 01:13 PM
71 yards rushing.... thats so high!! This defense is playing at a high level and you bitch about a running back getting 71 yards? Bitch if he gets 125-150 not 71.

Black@Gold Forever32
12-25-2010, 01:21 AM
Just get the shut out in Cleveland against the Browns......:)

JensK
12-25-2010, 06:41 AM
Just get the shut out in Cleveland against the Browns......:)

Hah, amen! Really, when Browns beat Ravens tomorrow, I could not care less about the game in Cleveland. Hopefully they'll play some of the youngsters if that were the case! :)

DanRooney
12-25-2010, 07:00 AM
Haha you should read Woodley's analysis by Still Mill:

LB: The defense got gashed on the ground early on, with the LB failing to make many plays.

Taunto Farrior tied with Mundy to lead all Stillers with 7 solos. He whiffed on the 1st play, allowing a 12-yard run. On a 2d & 10, he was also far too high on Stewart -- literally trying to tackle the man around his neck -- on a short dumpoff in the 1Q. Taunto got shrugged off like a fly, allowing an extra 3 yards and setting up an easy 3d & 1. He applied a good stick on a 3D wildcat run for -3. He also got a Dong Sack on a coverage sack on the 1st play of the 2Q.

Harrison had some good stuffs in the running game. He came down the line for a stop on a run up RG on the 2nd series. He had a bat late in the 3Q.

Timmons had a good clean-up hit in the 1Q, which I like to see LB’s delivering, as these hits both wear down a ballcarrier as well as force fumbles. He whiffed on a sack in the 3Q, which enabled Keisel to get the sack.

Jason Woodley had yet another ****-laden, sub-par game. On the field for EVERY snap, he finished with (hold your laughter) 1 solo and 1 assist. Like the complete, over-rated homo that he is, on a 3d & 20 in the 3Q, Big LaMarr was shrugged off on a screen pass, allowing extra RAC yardage. He then whiffed on backside pursuit on a 9-yard carry in the 4Q. Pass pressure? None. Harassment? None. Meaningful contributions? None. A total waste of oxygen.

Despite the enormous lead, Jason Worilds was never permitted to play at all on defense.

Farrior, Harry, Timmy: B+ Woodley: C-

LarryNJ
12-25-2010, 07:06 AM
A total waste of oxygen... Love it, I haven't heard that in years. ;)

KSSteelerfan
12-25-2010, 12:10 PM
At least some players on the D are realizing that maybe, just maybe; the defensive backfields performance is how shall we say it? A bit lackluster...

Scorp
12-26-2010, 01:03 AM
Surely, there have been bigger mismatches in Steelers history than their defense against the Carolina Panthers offense Thursday night at Heinz Field.

I'll be darned if I can think of one.

The two teams could play until next Christmas Eve and the Panthers wouldn't score a touchdown.

The Steelers didn't even need safety Troy Polamalu to win, 27-3, at cold, damp Heinz Field. The only points the defense allowed came after the Panthers took possession at the Steelers 23 after a fourth-quarter punt. The defense deserved a shutout.

"If only our special teams had helped us out just a little bit ... " linebacker James Farrior said, grinning.

Not that anyone would have bragged all that much about a shutout.

"They were 2-12 for a reason," safety Ryan Clark said of the Panthers.

A couple of reasons, actually.

Carolina's offense ranks last in the NFL in points scored, passing yards and total yards. Its rookie quarterback is -- how can I say this politely -- pathetic. Jimmy Clausen wasn't very good at Notre Dame.

Not to be critical.

"A rookie quarterback against coach LeBeau? That's not a matchup at all," Clark said of Clausen trying to solve Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's defense.

The Panthers' only chance was to run the football. I didn't say it was a big chance; the Steelers rank No. 1 in the league against the rush. But it was their only chance.

Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart had a couple of nice runs early for 12 and 7 yards. That helped Carolina keep the ball on the game's opening drive for more than seven minutes. But the Panthers self-destructed, as they so often do, taking consecutive false-start penalties on the Steelers 35 and 40. They ended up punting from the 32.

The Steelers took a 3-0 lead on their first drive.

I swear, it felt like the game was over.

The Panthers did make it to the Steelers 29 on their next possession before they were turned away by the ageless Farrior. OK, he'll be 36 Jan. 6. But he's playing like he's 26. On third-and-2, running back Mike Goodson took the snap in the Panthers' version of the wildcat and was thrown for a 3-yard loss by Farrior. On fourth-and-5, Clausen was sacked for a 4-yard loss by Farrior.

"Not bad for an old guy," Farrior said, grinning again.

Funny thing is Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had talked before the game about the Panthers being the younger team and having an advantage in a short week. He made it clear afterward that he wouldn't trade Farrior for any of Carolina's young guys.

"He's the unquestioned leader of our football team," Tomlin said. "He does it all for us -- inside the white lines and outside the white lines. He's a professional. He's a competitor. He's a leader and they follow."

Not long after Farrior shut down the Panthers' second drive, the Steelers took a 10-0 lead.

Now the game really was over.

Let me count the ways Clausen was tormented:

Cornerback Bryant McFadden intercepted one of his passes.

Farrior, linebacker James Harrison and defensive ends Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood sacked him.

The defense held him to 10 completions in 23 attempts for 72 yards.

It sent him home with a 33.2 passer rating.

It held his offense to 119 yards.

Merry Christmas!

Make no mistake, it will be a great holiday for the Steelers. They get the weekend off to spend with their families. They might even find a little time Sunday to watch some football and root for the Cleveland Browns to beat the Baltimore Ravens on the Lake Erie shore. That would clinch the AFC North Division championship for the Steelers and assure them of the No. 2 seed for the AFC playoffs.

"That would be huge," nose tackle Casey Hampton said. "It gets you one step closer to the Super Bowl. You only have to win two games to get there, not three."

A Browns win against the Ravens would be nice, but the Steelers probably shouldn't count on it. The division race figures to come down to their game Jan. 2 in Cleveland. Win it and they accomplish all of their regular-season goals.

By then, Polamalu's calf injury might be well enough for him to play.

I'm thinking the Steelers will need him.

This I know:

The Browns will put up much more of a fight than the Panthers.

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Brett Keisel sacks Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the third quarter Thursday at Heinz Field. Clausen was 9 of 19 for 67 yards and no touchdowns.



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10358/1113242-87.stm#ixzz19BuP9n6s