Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Clausen's Coming to Town: Steelers Win


For 60 minutes, Jimmy Clausen played Santa Claus to the Steelers defense. Seriously, what could be a better Christmas gift for a defense than receivers that can't get open, a line that can't block, and a quarterback who can't throw?

Carolina wins the toss and elects to receive.

The Panthers come out and move the ball a bit, converting 2 third downs but 2 false start penalties knock them out of field goal range and kill the drive.

In my game preview I mentioned that Carolina had the 23rd ranked run defense. That was blatantly obvious on the first play when Mendenhall bounced it to the outside and took it down the sideline for 35 yards.

Ben gets rolling, completing passes to Wallace and Heath to get us into Field Goal range. Mendenhall gets brought down in the backfield and Ben goes back to Heath to get us inside the 10. On 3rd down, he hits Sanders in the corner of the end zone, but John Fox challenges and it gets overturned. Suisham stays perfect as a Steeler.


Carolina's offense starts moving again, but Potsie blows up an attempted Wildcat play on 3rd down.

Second Quarter

Fox decides to go for it and Potsie blows the A-gap and brings down Clausen for the Steelers first sack of the game.

A holding penalty on Kemoeatu halts the next drive in its tracks.

Thankfully, Santa Clausen was in a giving mood. He badly overthrows a receiver down the right side and B-Mac makes a great over-the-shoulder interception.

Ben goes back to the air, hitting Heath over the middle. Carolina was stacking their linebackers on the line of scrimmage and playing 2 safeties deep to try to take away Mike Wallace, leaving the middle of the field wide open. Speaking of Wallace, two plays later, he makes the Panthers pay. He gets a mis-match on a linebacker out of the slot,

...turns on the jets...

...and blows between the safeties to the end zone. 

"Visibly fast"


Ike Taylor is all over Steve Smith. No way Clausen is finding him. 3-and-out.

The Steelers look like they're rolling again, but Carolina falls on a fumbled snap, putting the brakes on things. 

Carolina still can't do anything with the ball.

Redman comes in and starts grinding. Manny Sanders makes a big-time play with a 35-yard catch and run to get us into Panthers territory. Ben finds Heath again to get down to the 10. Two plays later, Ben hits Sanders who stretches for the goal line but can't quite get in.

After the 2-minute warning, RAISE SOME pounds it in.


With just under 2 minutes to play, Carolina tries to run a 2-minute drill, but 3 incompletions later, it's Steelers ball with a minute and a half to play.

Ben starts things off going down the left sideline for Wallace who makes a great leaping catch against the corner on the sidelines and somehow gets his feet in to get down to the 15. Ben tries to find Heath and Wallace on the middle post but overthrows both of them. Suisham.


We were perfectly content to go into the half 20-0, but after Carolina fumbled the kickoff, we had a shot for more points. AB gets us down to the 15, but Ben gets sacked on 3rd down and Suisham pushes a 41-yarder wide right.

Third Quarter

The offense comes back out picking up right where they left off with Ben connecting to Hines for 23 to get across midfield. A personal foul on Carolina gives us even more yardage and Ben goes to Heath on the same left-sideline out-route that burned Carolina all game. Mendenhall shoulders the load, but can't quite get to the sticks on a 4th and 1 swing pass inside the 10. Turnover on downs. I really don't mind the call to go for it on 4th and 1 there.

Did Bruce Arians switch sides? Carolina busts out the motif offense and Harrison brings down Clausen for a sack.

The Steelers take over at the Panthers 35 and get a free pass down to the 1 when Hines draws a Pass Interference call in the end zone on a play when Carolina had 12 guys on the field. Three plays later, Ben plows it in from the 1.


How freaking good has Brett Keisel been since he came back? He sacks Clausen on first down and kills Carolina's drive.
Shootin' them doooown

A holding call on Matt Spaeth puts the brakes on the next drive, but Kapinos keeps the field position positive, pinning Carolina back inside the 20.

Carolina picks up their first first down since 8:00 left in the 2nd quarter. Jonathan Stewart is able to pick up another first down on the ground as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

Carolina gets close to midfield and the refs start feeling bad for their offense, so try to give Clausen a completion, but Tomlin throws the red flag. No way it's a catch. Call overturned, punt.

Motif offense. Punt.

Carolina returned the punt all the way to the Steelers 23. Stewart picks up another first down, but the defense holds to keep them out of the end zone. Mundy makes a solid play in the end zone to break up a pass. John Fox decides to save his team some dignity and kick a meaningless field goal.


Motif offense. AB makes it to the sticks on 3rd and 7 on a crossing route. Redman comes in but fumbles a handoff from Ben for the Steelers 2nd turnover of the game.

Ziggy Hood and the D-line storm the backfield on 3rd down and bring Clausen down again.

The Steelers get the ball back with 4 1/2 to play and that was really all she wrote. Redman bowls over people to convert a 3rd and 6 with a 23-yard plow down the left sideline. Two plays later, Ben goes to Wallace on a quick hitter to get Wallace over 100 on the game and take the clock down to 2 minutes.

Victory Formation.



Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Mike Wallace
Defensive Game Ball: James Farrior

Honorable Mentions:
Ben Roethlisberger
Heath Miller
Hines Ward
Rashard Mendenhall
Bryant McFadden
Ike Taylor
James Harrison
Brett Keisel
Ziggy Hood
Ryan Mundy

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Larry Foote wearing sleeves

As Hines once said, "I wore sleeves once as a rookie, but some O-lineman came up and tore them off my shirt, telling me 'We don't wear sleeves around here.'" Larry Foote was a Steeler for a long time. If you looked, he was the only guy on the defense wearing sleeves yesterday. Did his one year in the dome in Detroit make him soft? Quite possibly. I know this seems like something small to nit-pick, but hey, we played a damn good game so if this is the only thing I have to complain about, I'm totally cool with that. Seriously though, Larry...lose the sleeves.

Final Thoughts
  • Carolina had 2 3rd down conversions on their first drive and 1 on their second. After that they didn't convert another 3rd down the whole game.
  • The Steelers had 408 yards, including 320 through the air from Ben. I swear he gets better as it gets colder. Ben's skill is inversely proportional to the temperature.
  • Clausen had 72 yards passing. Santa Clausen for the Steelers defense indeed.
  • A 4-sack performance for the defense. James Harrison for DPOY. Probably won't happen because of the fines though.
  • Mike Wallace. Wow. What can we say about him that hasn't already been said? What a player. He deserves to go to the Pro Bowl.
  • Wallace is currently 5th in the league in receiving yards. Granted, that will change a bit after this weekend since he currently has played 1 more game than everyone else. 
  • Wallace's 2010 season is currently 10th in Single Season Receiving Yards in Steelers history. Another 100-yard performance will get him close to the Top 5.
  • One more 100-yard receiving game will tie Wallace with John Stallworth for the most 100-yard games in a season in Steelers history, with 7.
  • Great game for Heath. It's good to have him back in the lineup.
  • If the Browns beat the Ravens on Sunday, we lock up the #2 seed. If the Ravens win, all we have to do to lock it up is beat the Browns next weekend.
  • Have a Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks to everyone who read the blog this year, it really means a lot to us!
  • Best Christmas Song Ever:

No comments: