December 2009 - Pittsburgh Steelers Wiretap
Woodley: Pats, Bengals Will 'Lay Down'
Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley thinks the Patriots and Bengals will "lay down" for their opponents on Sunday because they don't want the defending Super Bowl champs to make the postseason. The Steelers (8-7) would reach the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons if they beat Miami, the Patriots defeat Houston, and the Bengals beat the New York Jets. "All of them lay down," Woodley said Wednesday. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."
Tomlin Won't Ask Bengals, Patriots For Help
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says that he won't lobby for help from the Bengals and Patriots this Sunday. In order to make the postseason, Pittsburgh needs to win this Sunday and see some of their competitors lose. "I could care less how the Bengals approach what it is they do," Tomlin said Tuesday.
Polamalu May Not Make Return
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu could miss Sunday's game against the Dolphins. Polamalu, out for the last six games and most of a seventh with a left knee injury, only began running on Monday. He has yet to begun cutting, turning or twisting, moves needed to play in a game. "[Monday] was a positive step," coach Mike Tomlin said. "The door's not closed on him participating. ... He's just progressing, trying to get him ready, hopefully to play."
Galloway Could Face Ravens
Joey Galloway could make his debut for the Steelers this weekend against the Ravens. However, Galloway may be deactivated unless Pittsburgh dresses five wide receivers or if Hines Ward or Mike Wallace suffer injury setbacks.
Polamalu To Have Knee Examined
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will have his injured left knee examined Wednesday prior to practice. According to sources, the examination will determine whether or not Polamalu will play this weekend against the Ravens. Polamalu has twice injured the knee and missed much of the season.
Steelers Sign Joey Galloway
The Steelers have added wide receiver Joey Galloway to replace Linas Sweed. Sweed was placed on injured reserve Monday with a non-football related illness. Galloway was cut by New England earlier this season. He has 689 receptions for 10,777 yards and 77 touchdowns in his career.
NFL Power Rankings For Week 16
The scoreboard is where games are officially won and lost, but they are largely decided by the team that wins the battles of yards per pass, yards per carry, penalty yards lost, first downs, and turnovers. For this reason, I created the following formula called the ?Trench Counter? to look at which team truly controls the game: (2x Yards per pass) + (2x Yards per carry) + (.5 First downs) - (Penalty yards/10) - (2.5 Turnovers) - (Opposing Team's Trench Counter) Click here for more information on the Trench Counter For the 2009 season, our weekly team rankings will be based solely off this formula. 1. Indianapolis Colts: 10.7 Peyton Manning wills the Colts to victories unlike anyone else in the game; Indianapolis averaged just 2.7 yards per rush, but that 10.3 yards per pass average allowed the Colts to effectively extend drives against Jacksonville. 2. New Orleans Saints: 9.9 I thought the Saints' odds of winning the Super Bowl would increase if they lost a regular season game along the way and getting one out of their system against Dallas doesn't really cost them anything. Though it could awake a sleeping giant in Dallas that has experience winning in New Orleans in a winter month. 3. Green Bay Packers: 9.7 The Packers and Steelers combined to score 35 points in the 4th quarter alone on Sunday with four lead changes and unfortunately for Green Bay, Mike Wallace caught a 19-yard game winner. 4. New England Patriots: 7.4 The Patriots looked hardly dominant, especially with Tom Brady's 59.1 passer rating, but they essentially locked up the AFC East with Sunday's road win in Buffalo. 5. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7.1 Ben Roethlisberger threw for a staggering 503 yards, including 70 or more to five different receivers. The Steelers are one of 12 teams in the AFC to have a .500 or better record. 6. San Diego Chargers: 7.0 Vince Jackson is fully and officially a lethal weapon, as he caught five balls for 108 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals. 7. Minnesota Vikings: 6.9 In seven of Adrian Peterson's previous eight games, he has averaged fewer than 3.9 yards per carry. Over the past three games, the Vikings have used him more frequently through the air, as he had 74 yards receiving against Carolina, 40 against the Bengals and 46 against Arizona. Brett Favre, meanwhile, hasn't had a passer rating over 80.0 in his previous three games. 8. Philadelphia Eagles: 6.3 The Eagles continue to force interceptions with 23 now on the season after they forced three from Alex Smith. 9. Baltimore Ravens: 6.2 Ray Rice has logged over 100 total yards from scrimmage in 11 of Baltimore's 14 games. 10. Dallas Cowboys: 5.5 The Dallas defense held Drew Brees and the Saints to a 1-for-7 mark on 3rd down, which is something we plainly don't see. 11. New York Giants: 4.4 After a little rough shot during that four-game losing streak, Eli Manning has put up three consecutive very good games with passer ratings of 88.9 against Dallas, 130.5 against Philadelphia and 144.4 against Washington. 12. Denver Broncos: 4.3 The Broncos couldn't stop the Oakland run and Elvis Dumervil was almost completely neutralized by the Raiders' offensive line. 13. Cincinnati Bengals: 3.0 The Bengals outplayed San Diego, on the road, just a few days after the death of teammate Chris Henry, so it was difficult to watch Nate Kaeding's 52-yarder at the buzzer crush what would have been a huge win. 14. New York Jets: 2.3 The Jets defense was stingy against a returning Matt Ryan, but going 0-for-3 in the red zone is inexcusable for Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer's offense. 15. Houston Texans: 1.4 He didn't reach the end zone, but nine catches for 196 yards just seems like another day at the office for Andre Johnson at this point. 16. Jacksonville Jaguars: 0.9 David Garrard has clearly been a first half quarterback, with a 94.2 passer rating in that part of the game, versus 76.2 in the second half. He has been sacked with far greater frequency (24.0 to 13.0) as well. 17. San Francisco 49ers: 0.5 The 49ers may have been 3-for-4 on 4th down, but were a horrible 0-for-11 on 3rd down. 18. Arizona Cardinals: 0.4 The Cardinals didn't look like worldbeaters late last season either, but at least it was at the hands of playoff/near-playoff teams and not the 49ers and Lions. 19. Washington Redskins: -0.5 Even though he didn't look like it on Monday against the Giants, I agree with the overall assessment from Ron Jaworski that the Redskins have a dependable quarterback already in place with Jason Campbell. 20. Tennessee Titans: -0.5 The Tennessee offense has fully become Chris Johnson, Vince Young, more Chris Johnson and a little bit to Bo Scaife, Justin Gage and Kenny Britt. 21. Atlanta Falcons: -1.3 Brent Grimes picked off two passes in Atlanta's 10-7 win at the Jets. 22. Miami Dolphins: -2.1 The Dolphins that won the AFC East a season ago took extremely good care of the ball, but they've had 25 turnovers this season, almost doubling last season's total. 23. Buffalo Bills: -2.4 A late touchdown to Lee Evans made Sunday's 17-10 victory over New England make the game look closer on Monday morning than it really was. Buffalo went a dreadful 2-for-12 on 3rd down and racked up 124 yards in penalties. 24. Carolina Panthers: -2.4 Matt Moore looked very impressive late in the game in Carolina's win over Minnesota, as he finish the game with a 123.2 passer rating. 25. Seattle Seahawks: -4.1 The Seattle defense didn't record a single sack on rookie quarterback Josh Freeman and only five hits on him. 26. Chicago Bears: -6.3 Not even Caleb Hanie's 8.3 passer rating can make Jay Cutler's 7.9 rating against the Ravens look respectable. 27. Kansas City Chiefs: -6.7 The Chiefs wasted Matt Cassel's first effective outing since the Pittsburgh overtime win by allowing two special teams TDs from Josh Cribbs. 28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -9.0 The Buccaneers are 2-1 when Josh Freeman finishes with a passer rating over 85.0, as he did in Seattle on Sunday. 29. Detroit Lions: -11.8 The logic of trading away Calvin Johnson is logical when you consider their 57.2 team passer rating, but it isn't as if Johnson is wasting his legs away as a running back. He has a dozen prime seasons remaining, at least. 30. St. Louis Rams: -13.3 Steven Jackson had 123 total yards of offense at the Rams' leading rusher and receiver in their 16-13 loss at home against the Texans. 31. Oakland Raiders: -16.7 The Raiders exhibited a return to that highly effective ground game we've seen in recent seasons, with 133 yards from Michael Bush and 74 from Darren McFadden. 32. Cleveland Browns: -16.8 Jerome Harrison's previous career high in rushing yards before Sunday's 286 was 121, which was the only other time in his career that he gained more than 100 yards. In other Cleveland 100 yard game news, the Browns have passed for less than 100 yards in six separate games, including Sunday.
RealGM's Week 15 Rundown
The Colts are two wins from perfection, but the Saints fell to the Cowboys on Saturday night for their first loss of the 2009 season. We will calculate each team's Trench Counter*. Indianapolis 35, Jacksonville 31 Team Trench Counter: Colts +2.1, Jaguars -2.1 The Indianapolis Colts (14-0) stormed back to remain undefeated on Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7). Peyton Manning went 23-for-30 with 308 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Joseph Addai led with Colts with 59 rushing yards, while Reggie Wayne (five catches for 132 yards and a touchdown) and Dallas Clark (seven receptions for 95 yards and two scores) where Manning?s top targets. David Garrard had 223 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 110 yards and score on 27 touches. Garrard threw touchdown strikes to three different receivers ? Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas and Jones-Drew. The Jaguars appeared to have the Colts on the ropes in the fourth quarter, before the Colts took the ball and scored on one play for the game-winning touchdown. Dallas 24, New Orleans 17 Team Trench Counter: Cowboys +9.3, Saints -9.3 The Dallas Cowboys (9-5) dominated the first three quarters against the New Orleans Saints (13-1) to hand the home team their first loss of the season. Tony Romo had 312 yards and a touchdown and Miles Austin was his leading receiver with seven catches for 139 yards and a score. Marion Barber (17 rushes for 62 yards and two touchdowns) and Felix Jones (58 yards on 14 touches) helped Dallas control field position and the clock. The Cowboys lead the game 24-3 heading into the fourth period. Drew Brees struggled, going 29-for-45 with 298 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Cowboys limited the Saints to 66 rushing yards, as Reggie Bush lead the way with a 29-yard rush on his only attempt of the game. Brees lost two fumbles at the Superdome, including one on the team's final offensive position of the game as he was sacked by Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware. Tennessee 27, Miami 24 (OT) Team Trench Counter: Titans +7.0, Dolphins -7.0 The Tennessee Titans (7-7) clawed back to .500 with an overtime win over the Miami Dolphins (7-7) on Sunday afternoon. Vince Young had 236 yards, three touchdowns and an interception as the Titans had a big lead early. Chris Johnson was relatively quiet, rushing for 104 yards on 29 carries and grabbing two passes for 55 yards. Justin Gage was Young's top target, hauling in two receptions for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rod Bironas hit a 46-yard field goal in overtime for the win. Chad Henne struggled, going 29-for-46 with 349 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The three turnovers proved to be the difference in the game. Ricky Williams surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season with 80 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Rookie Brian Hartline led Miami in receiving with two catches for 96 yards at LP Field. Houston 16, St. Louis 13 Team Trench Counter: Texans +7.0, Rams -7.0 Kris Brown's 28-yard field goal with a little more than four minutes left in regulation pushed the Houston Texans (7-7) past the St. Louis Rams (1-13). Matt Schaub had 367 yards and a touchdown as Houston struggled on the ground. Ryan Moats led the Texans in rushing with 46 yards on 13 attempts. As usual, Andre Johnson starred with nine receptions for 196 yards. Rookie Keith Null had 173 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Null also lost a fumble in his second career start. Steven Jackson managed 82 yards on 20 touches, while also leading St. Louis in receiving with four catches for 41 yards at home. Danny Amendola caught a two-yard pass from Null for the Rams' only touchdown in the second quarter. Atlanta 10, N.Y. Jets 7 Team Trench Counter: Falcons +4.8, Jets -4.8 Matt Ryan found Tony Gonzalez for a game-winning touchdown in the final minutes as the Atlanta Falcons (7-7) dampened the playoff hopes of the New York Jets (7-7). Ryan had just 152 passing yards in what was a defensive battle. Jason Snelling, Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner combined to rush for 88 yards. The Falcons sacked Mark Sanchez twice and intercepted the rookie three times. Sanchez connected with Braylon Edwards on a beautiful 65-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but that was the extent of New York's scoring. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene combined for 82 yards and Edwards led in receiving with five catches for 105 yards and the aforementioned score. Cleveland 41, Kansas City 34 Team Trench Counter: Browns -10.2, Chiefs -10.2 The Cleveland Browns (3-11) got a couple of highlight performances in their defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs (3-11) on Sunday. Josh Cribbs returned a pair of kickoffs more than 100 yards for touchdowns and Jerome Harrison shattered Jim Brown's single-game rushing record with 286 yards and three touchdowns. The pair helped mask the struggles of Brady Quinn, who went 10-for-17 with 66 yards and a pair of interceptions. Matt Cassel had 331 yards and two touchdowns as Kansas City?s defense struggled mightily. Jamaal Charles rushed for 154 yards and a score on 25 touches. Chris Chambers continues to thrive with the Chiefs. The veteran receiver had five catches for 114 yards and a trip to the end zone. Arizona 31, Detroit 24 Team Trench Counter: Cardinals +2.2, Lions -2.2 The Arizona Cardinals (9-5) withstood a late charge by the Detroit Lions (2-12) at Ford Field. Kurt Warner had 233 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Cardinals, who jumped out to a 17-0 lead at halftime. Beanie Wells had 110 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushes and Anquan Boldin (six catches for 72 yards) and Larry Fitzgerald (four receptions and 36 yards) caught scoring strikes from Warner. The Lions benched Daunte Culpepper at halftime in favor of Drew Stanton. Detroit rallied in the second half, but the quarterbacks combined to go 16-for-31 with 136 yards and two interceptions. Maurice Morris was the lone bright spot as he rushed 17 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Louis Delmas provided a highlight play in the third quarter when he returned an interception 100 yards for seven points. New England 17, Buffalo 10 Team Trench Counter: Patriots +5.9, Bills -5.9 The New England Patriots (9-5) improve their playoff chances with a win over the Buffalo Bills (5-9) in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicates. Tom Brady went 11-for-25 with 115 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Laurence Maroney rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and Randy Moss led New England in receiving with five catches for 70 yards and a score. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 178 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was replaced by Trent Edwards at one point, but an injury forced Edwards to leave the game after throwing just two passes. Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch combined to rush for 105 yards and Josh Reed led Buffalo in catches with four for 63 yards at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills were penalized 11 times for 124 yards. San Diego 27, Cincinnati 24 Team Trench Counter: Chargers -2.3, Bengals +2.3 Nate Kaeding kicked a 52-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the San Diego Chargers (11-3) a dramatic win over the emotional Cincinnati Bengals (9-5). Philip Rivers had 308 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 59 yards in the victory. San Diego has now won nine straight games. Vincent Jackson led the Chargers in receiving with five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Carson Palmer went 27-for-40 with 314 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The combination of Cedric Benson, Larry Johnson and Chad Ochocinco combined to rush for 114 yards and Ochocinco grabbed three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals took the field just three days after wide receiver Chris Henry died in a domestic dispute. Oakland 20, Denver 19 Team Trench Counter: Raiders -2.3, Broncos +2.3 The Oakland Raiders (5-9) won after JaMarcus Russell led the team on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos (8-6). Charlie Frye started the game, going 9-for-17 with 68 yards and an interception, but Russell finished it by going 5-for-11 with 47 yards and a touchdown. Michael Bush (133 yards and a touchdown) and Darren McFadden (74 yards) dominated on the ground. Russell connected with Chaz Schilens for the go-ahead score with 35 seconds left. Kyle Orton had 278 yards and a touchdown, but the Broncos struggled on the ground. Knowshon Moreno rushed for 42 yards and LaMont Jordan managed 27 yards on five tries. Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos, who led 19-13 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Tampa Bay 24, Seattle 7 Team Trench Counter: Buccaneers +9.9, Seahawks -9.9 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) got just their second win of the season against the spiraling Seattle Seahawks (5-9). Josh Freeman went 16-for-26 with 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Derrick Ward (67 yards) and Cadillac Williams (66 yards) helped Tampa Bay control the ground game and the pair also caught touchdown strikes in the victory. Matt Hasselbeck tossed four interceptions and lost a fumble at the Seahawks lost at Qwest Field. Julius Jones and Justin Forsett combined to rush for 120 yards and tight end John Carlson hauled in seven receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown, but Hasselbeck's turnovers doomed Jim Mora's crew. Pittsburgh 37, Green Bay 36 Team Trench Counter: Steelers +3.7, Packers -3.7 Ben Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 passing yards and found Mike Wallace on the side of the end zone for a game-tying touchdown as time expired. The extra points gave Pittsburgh their first win in six tries. Roethlisberger added three touchdowns to his epic yardage total and Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 38 yards and a score in the dramatic victory. Hines Ward (seven catches for 126 yards), Heath Miller (seven receptions for 118 yards) and Mike Wallace (two catches for 79 yards and two scores) led Pittsburgh in receiving. Aaron Rodgers had 383 yards and three touchdowns, including one on a drive that gave the Packers a 36-30 led with a little over two minutes left in the game. Ryan Grant and Rodgers also both found the end zone suing their feet. Greg Jennings was Green Bay's leading receiver with five catches for 118 yards and a trip to the end zone. Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 13 Team Trench Counter: Eagles +11.4, 49ers -11.4 Donovan McNabb tossed two interceptions, but the Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) got big plays when they needed them against the San Francisco 49ers (6-8). McNabb had 306 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 19-yard pass to DeSean Jackson in the first quarter. Rookie LeSean McCoy rushed for 48 yards and a score and fullback Leonard Weaver added 52 yards on 17 carries. Jackson starred with six catches for 140 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Alex Smith went 20-for-37 with 177 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Frank Gore starred for the 49ers with 107 rushing yards on 16 carries, including a 37-yard burst. Josh Morgan, who had seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown, led San Francisco in receiving. The Eagles clinched a playoff berth with the victory. Baltimore 31, Chicago 7 Team Trench Counter: Ravens +20.3, Bears -20.3 Already out of the playoff race, the Chicago Bears (5-9) looked listless against the Baltimore Ravens (8-6). Joe Flacco had 234 yards and four touchdowns before giving way to Troy Smith. Flacco threw a pair of scores to tight end Todd Heap (56 yards) and also found Derrick Mason (87 yards) and Demetrius Williams (71 yards) for scores. Ray Rice led Baltimore's ground game with 87 yards on 16 touches. Jay Cutler went 10-for-27 with 94 yards and three interceptions before Chicago replaced him with Caleb Hanie. Matt Forte led with 69 yards on 20 carries and Earl Bennett was the leading receiver with two catches for 50 yards. The Bears have lost six of their last seven games. *Explaining The Trench Counter
Roethlisberger: Bettis Shouldn't Be Talking
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn't think Jerome Bettis should be criticizing the team. Bettis said earlier this week that Pittsburgh has lost their "spirit." "I guess he's entitled to his opinion," Roethlisberger said. "He's not on this team, he's not in this locker room, so he's just taking an outside view as all of you (media) guys are. If you don't know, I don't think you should speak on it." The Steelers are 6-7 after losing five straight.
Bettis: Steelers Have Lost Their Spirit
Jerome Bettis believes that the Steelers, his former team, have lost their spirit. "When you lose your spirit, then everything is pretty much gone," Bettis said. "And that's what I saw when they hit the field against the Cleveland Browns." The Steelers are falling out of the AFC playoff race after winning the Super Bowl just ten months ago. "It tells me the leadership isn't there," Bettis said. "There was a lack of committment. The season is basically over."
Polamalu Hopes To Play In At Least One Game
Troy Polamalu wants to return this season, playoffs or not.
Steelers Have History Of Post-Super Bowl Downturn
The Steelers have missed the playoffs twice after Super Bowl wins in their history.
Changes Likely To Pittsburgh's Staff
The Steelers are likely to miss the playoffs.
Ward: Next Three Games Will Show Who Cares
Hines Ward wasn't happy after Pittsburgh's loss to Cleveland on Thursday night.
Steelers Free Fall Continues
The Browns beat the Steelers 13-6 on Thursday night, sacking Ben Roethlisberger eight times.
Players Dismiss LeBeau Criticism As 'Ridiculous'
Dick LeBeau has come under scrutiny lately.
Ward, Gay Could Miss Thursday's Game
Hines Ward could miss Thursday's game with a hamstring injury.
Roethlisberger To Start Against Raiders
Ben Roethlisberger will play against the Raiders on Sunday.
Big Ben Now Agrees With Decision To Sit
Ben Roethlisberger was initially shocked the Steelers held him out of Sunday's loss in Baltimore.
Polamalu Unlikely To Face Raiders
Troy Polamalu is still a week or so away from returning.
Ward Apologizes To Roethlisberger
Hines Ward has apologized to Ben Roethlisberger for questioning the quarterback's toughness.
NFL Power Rankings For Week 13
How the Saints are like the 04-05 Suns and why the Steelers are significantly better than their record indicates, while the Colts are their exact opposite.