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Tomlin Report - Sunday Night in Indy

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The Steelers followed their Week 1 whipping in Baltimore with a resounding shutout over the Seahawks at Heinz Field. The Black and Gold look to get a winning streak going with a trip Indianapolis to face the reeling Colts on Sunday Night Football.

2011 Week 3
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN
Sunday, September 25 – 8:20 PM on NBC

 

LAST WEEK
Colts:
Indianapolis moved the ball well enough, but settled for far too many field goals in a 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Colts hit on four field goals, but failed to score a touchdown until Kerry Collins hit TE Dallas Clark for a six-yard score. Unfortunately, that touchdown came with only 24 seconds left and with Indianapolis still down by 8 points.

Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger completed 22-of-30 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown, and the Steelers defense dominated the Seahawks, holding them to 164 total yards as Pittsburgh bounced back from a Week 1 loss to soundly defeat Seattle 24-0. Mike Wallace shined on the offensive side of the ball with eight catches and 100+ yards and the defense notched five sacks of Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
A Look Around the AFC North
Baltimore (1-1)
looked as bad in Week 2 as is made the Steelers look just one week earlier. The Ravens turned the ball over three times in a 26-13 loss to the Titans, who dismantled the AFC North stalwart in the second half. Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing game disappeared, with only Ray Rice registering a productive day as a receiver.

While the defense registered just one turnover and zero sacks in week two, they’ll be happy to know that one of their own, lineman Haloti Ngata, isn’t going anywhere. Ngata, one of the most unique physical specimens in the NFL, signed a five-year deal that will pay him $40 million in the first two seasons and $61 million overall. The deal came in just under the deadline, as Tuesday was the last day to sign franchise-tagged players to multi-year contracts.

Cincinnati (1-1) battled back from a fourteen-point deficit in the second half against the Denver Broncos, but ultimately fell on the road 24-22. WR A.J. Green had a dominant performance in the loss, grabbing 10 passes for 124 yards and one hell of a toe-drill in the end zone for a touchdown.

Ultimately, the Bengals were undone by big plays, mistakes that had Mike Zimmer, the team’s defensive coordinator, running his men in a walkthrough just one day after the loss. He could have a new tool in the toolbox this week if safety Taylor Mays returns to health. He has yet to play after arriving in Cincinnati in a trade from the 49ers.

Cleveland (1-1) picked up their first win of the season at the hands of the Manning-less Indianapolis Colts in a 27-19 Sunday matchup. Former Pitt defense Jabaal Sheard played well in the victory, posting five tackles and a sack, and forcing a fumble in the process.

All-purpose threat Joshua Cribbs racked up 173 total yards, with big contributions on each of Cleveland’s three scoring drives. With no receiver separating himself from the pack at this point in the season, Cribbs figures to continue as one of the team’s biggest weapons. He, and the Browns, will square off against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

MIKE LIKED…
The performances of Ramon Foster and Marcus Gilbert, who started on the line due to injuries.

STEELERS INJURY UPDATE
DE Brett Keisel
suffered a Grade-1 PCL Sprain in Sunday’s win. Tomlin determined that he is “QUESTIONABLE at best” for week three.

CB Bryant McFadden (hamstring), WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), and LG Chris Kemoeatu (knee) are all QUESTIONABLE for week three after sitting out Sunday’s game.

LB Chris Carter (hamstring) is PROBABLE for Sunday, and will spend the week teaming up with second-year backer Jason Worilds to play the roles of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis for the scout team.

COLTS INJURY UPDATE
OG Ryan Diem left Sunday’s game with an ankle sprain and his status for Week 3 is unknown. LB Gary Brackett is also questionable against the Steelers.

MAIN STORYLINE FOR SUNDAY
One embarrassing loss to the Ravens ane one dominant shutout of the Seahawks – that begs the question: which team shows up on Sunday night?

COLTS TO WATCH
QB Kerry Collins
– When Pittsburgh lines up on defense Sunday night, they won’t be looking at Peyton Manning under center, as they have for the last dozen years. Collins was signed out of retirement late in the offseason once the Colts realized that Manning would be unavailable for the first portion of the season. He has shown a knack for moving the ball against Pittsburgh’s defense, most notably in a loss with Tennessee last season, but he’ll now be in charge of a relatively unfamiliar offense and is filling the shoes of a four-time MVP. Indianapolis will likely sink or swim with Collins on Sunday.

DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis – With Manning on the sidelines, Indianapolis’ bookend duo is the highlight of their team. The undersized ends thrive in the Colts’ defense, and have wreaked havoc on many an offense. They’ll take the field across from a journeyman backup in Jonathan Scott and a rookie making his second career start in Marcus Gilbert. Those two matchups add up to a need for Big Ben to get the ball out as quickly as possible.

TE Dallas Clark – Reggie Wayne is the offense’s best receiving threat, but Clark is what makes the offense go more often than not. More of a slot receiver than a traditional tight end, Clark could capitalize on matchups against safeties and linebackers. With Ike Taylor likely posted up on Reggie Wayne, look for the rest of the defense to key on taking Clark out of Collins’ progressions.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

  • Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer was Pitt's defensive coordinator under Walt Harris from 1997-1999.
  • Colts quarterbacks coach Ron Turner was a coaching assistant at Pitt in 1983 and '84.
  • Colts running backs coach David Walker held the same position at Pitt for head coach Dave Wannstedt from 2005-10.
  • Colts P Pat McAfee was born in Plum, Pa., attended Plum High School and nearby West Virginia University.
  • Colts DB Terrence Johnson was born in Braddock, Pa. He attended Woodland Hills High School, the same high school as Steelers S Ryan Mundy. Johnson also attended California University (Pa.).

ACCORDING TO TOMLIN
“Obviously, when you have a change at quarterback I am sure you lose a little bit of that, but I am sure that is one of the reasons they were interested in Kerry Collins because he is a veteran football player, I am sure a quick study and I am sure that he will adjust and learn the nuances of some of the things that they have evolved to very quickly. That is why I am more concerned about him and them and what they are capable of than I am in terms of what I have seen on tape. Because I imagine under those circumstances he’s capable of improving quickly, as are they.” – On Indy’s change from Peyton Manning to Kerry Collins. Manning has yet to play this season and is recovering from offseason neck surgery.

"They do some unique things the way they place people. Reggie Wayne is always on the offenses' left and Pierre Garçon is always on the offenses' right. Dallas Clark does some unique things. They do a nice job utilizing the skill sets of all of their players.” – Discussing the Colts' receivers.

“I don’t know. I’d be interested in that. Ask them. Maybe I will join them if it is a good enough explanation. That is just how they handled business. Maybe it just started initially with the great rapport that Peyton had years ago with Marvin Harrison and just simply wanting him available to him on his right at all times. I don’t know that. But I recognize it as being unique and something that is unique to them.” – When asked why he thinks the Colts always line up Reggie Wayne on the left and Pierre Garçon on the right.

“I thought we moved the ball. I thought we won the line of scrimmage in the first half, not so much in the second.  Maybe that is a function of conditioning. We’ve had some guys who’s roles have been back ups in the past playing in the line of scrimmage for us.  Maybe the snap count became a factor.  I have to address that with them.  The reality is that we have to be able to play 60 minutes of football in the manner of which we desire. I didn’t think we ran the ball as effectively as you would like to in the second half.” – On the performance of the offensive line, which featured two new starters (Ramon Foster and Marcus Gilbert) in week two. Tomlin did point out that both men were “above the line” with their performances.

“He is playing at a high level.  He really is and he is doing a nice job of playing through personal adversity that he is going through in terms of his injury.  He hadn’t missed a lot of time.  He has found ways to continue to work and improve in spite of it.  Really, he is a blue print for young guys in terms of what it is about to be a veteran player and to prepare and to deal with things that occur in professional football and not allow them to become excuses.  He is prepared.  He has performed to this point and we are pleased with what he is doing.” – Discussing cornerback Ike Taylor, who has barely been targeted by opposing quarterbacks through the first two weeks.

LOOK FOR…
Cornerback Ike Taylor to be in Reggie Wayne’s back pocket all night. Taylor has been shutting down receivers this season, and will be given the daunting task of stopping Wayne on Sunday night.

SPLASH TALK
“We have to go on the road and win in a hostile environment. We haven’t done that yet. We have an opportunity to go seek an AFC road victory. We haven’t done that yet. We need to sharpen our sword for it.”
– On the Steelers impending matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.

“He removes himself from the corps quite a bit. They’ve designed some things for him. He is very dangerous. They throw him screens. He’s a very heady player. He understands zone coverage. He understands man coverage. I would imagine Kerry Collins is working very hard to build a rapport with that man because he is a chain mover and he can ring the scoreboard up.” – On Colts tight end Dallas Clark, who acts as more of a wide receiver in their standard offense.

“Yeah, but I am not going to let that affect our mentality in terms of what we expect.  I don’t care what our opponents do to be quite honest with you.  They need to be nameless, gray faces to us. We have a job to do.  We have a level of expectation in terms of how we perform and we fell below that in the second half of the game.” – When asked if the Seahawks’ increased use of run blitzes affected the team’s running game in the second half.

“He’s a one-trick guy. He’s working though. I like Mike.” – On wide receiver Mike Wallace, whom Tomlin referred to as a “one-trick pony” all of last season as a motivational tool.

“I broke into this league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We were in the division with the Minnesota Vikings. We all knew that Randy Moss was fast and it didn’t change the highlight reels week-in-and-week-out. When a guy has a distinguished skill set you have to deal with it, even though you know it is coming. That’s the awesome challenges of coaching and playing in the NFL.” – Answering why Wallace continues to shine despite teams being aware of his excellent deep speed.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMM…
If Chris Kemoeatu returns to the starting lineup for week three, Pittsburgh will be operating with its ninth different starting offensive line combination since week one of last season. Here are all the combinations we’ve seen since then:

From left to right
Week 1, 2010: Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Maurkice Pouncey, Trai Essex, Flozell Adams
Week 2, 2010: Jonathan Scott, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Essex, Adams
Week 3, 2010: Starks, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Doug Legursky, Adams
Week 9, 2010: Scott, Ramon Foster, Pouncey, Essex, Adams
Week 10, 2010: Scott, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Foster, Adams
Super Bowl: Scott, Kemoeatu, Legursky, Foster, Adams
Week 1, 2011: Scott, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Legursky, Willie Colon
Week 2, 2011: Scott, Foster, Pouncey, Legursky, Marcus Gilbert
Week 3, 2011 (Projected): Scott, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Legursky, Gilbert


Steelers Game Live Chat
Chat LIVE with Ellis Cannon from Heinz Field vs the Tennessee Titans during the game on October 9, 2011 at 1 P.M.! Exclusive real time insight and fan participation!

 

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