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Tomlin Report - Looking for Two

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After a 38-17 victory in what may have been the team's best game of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to win back-to-back games with a home date against the 1-4 Jacksonville Jaguars.

2011 Week 6
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) at
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA
Sunday, October 11 – 1:00 PM on CBS

Jaguars: Jacksonville kept pace with Cincinnati in the first place, but the Bengals pulled ahead with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Cedric Benson to hand the Jags their fourth loss of the season. Blaine Gabbert just barely lost the battle between two rookie quarterbacks (Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton being the other) with a 53.6% completion rate, 221 yards, and one 74-yard touchdown to receiver Jason Hill.

Steelers: Big Ben threw for a career-high five touchdowns to guide the Steelers to a 38-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans to move the defending AFC Champs above .500 once again. Pittsburgh outgained Tennessee 174-66 on the ground thanks to strong efforts by Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.

A Look Around the AFC North
Baltimore (3-1) was off last week and, as such, was able to keep first place in the AFC North even with victories by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Ravens brought in free agent Bryan McCann to help shore up the cornerback position, which has been decimated by injuries this season. He is expected to contribute immediately.

Baltimore gets a bit of a break this week with Houston coming to town. All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson, who was hurt in a game against Pittsburgh, won’t be taking the field for the Texans.

Cincinnati (3-2) continued their surprising start to the season under rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and his favorite target in fellow-rookie A.J. Green. Dalton and Green carried the offense on Sunday with Cedric Benson struggling on the ground (53 yards on 24 carries.) The Bengals are also experiencing success with a deep and talented defense comprised of a plethora of young bodies.

The Bengals will host the Indianapolis Colts this week.

Cleveland (2-2) is also coming off a bye week, but one that wasn’t necessarily drama-free. Defensive end Marcus Bernard recently wrecked his motorcycle while driving at a high rate of speed and broke his hand. Bernard is still in the hospital and faces charges of driving under suspension and reckless operation from the incident.

On the other side of the ball, RB Peyton Hillis is stirring up some drama. Hillis and the Browns have been battling over a contract extension for last season’s surprise star. The drama took another turn when he said that he could have played in the team’s last contest, but sat out on the advice of his agent.

Cleveland will travel to Oakland this week.

That Pittsburgh’s offense came up with touchdowns instead of field goals against a defense ranked first in the NFL in terms of points allowed.

LB James Harrison (eye) and DE Aaron Smith (foot) will both be OUT for Sunday’s game.

RB Mewelde Moore (high-ankle sprain), LG Chris Kemoeatu (knee), and RT Marcus Gilbert (shoulder) are all QUESTIONABLE for Sunday.

OLB Jason Worilds and NT Casey Hampton (shoulder) are QUESTIONABLE on the defensive side of the ball.

C Maurkice Pouncey,CB Cortez Allen,RB Rashard Mendenhall, andQB Ben Roethlisberger are all PROBABLE against the Jaguars.

Head Coach Jack Del Rio expects to have DE Aaron Kampman (knee) back for Week 6 against Pittsburgh, Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports.

OT Eugene Monroe (shoulder) left Sunday's game against the Bengals after re-aggravating the shoulder injury that has limited him in recent weeks, according to the Florida Times-Union.

The Steelers clearly got themselves fired up for a matchup against the 3-1 Tennessee Titans; can they do the same for the 1-4 Jaguars?

RB Maurice Jones-Drew – With a rookie under center, the Jaguars have been shelling out a heavy dose of MJD against their opponents. He has responded with 476 rushing yards, fourth best in the NFL. While Pittsburgh had success in stopping Chris Johnson last week, it remains to be seen whether that game was an aberration. If it was, MJD has the potential to rack up some yardage.

DTs Terrence Knighton and Tyson Alualu – The young duo is the primary reason behind a run defense that has quietly become of the NFL’s better units. If Pittsburgh wants to continue its commitment to the run, that plan starts with making sure these two are accounted for.

QB Blaine Gabbert – Eventually, the game could come down to the rookie’s ability to decipher Dick LeBeau’s complex, swarming defense. If he struggles, Pittsburgh could see its negative turnover ratio improve a little.

Jaguars offensive assistant Ron Heller played collegiately at Penn State University from 1980-1983.

Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny was born in Aliquippa, Pa. and played at Hopewell High School. Posluszny played collegiately at Penn State University from 2003-2006.

Jaguars LB Clint Session played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh from 2003-2006.

“I think the first place you start when you look at the Jaguars is Maurice Jones-Drew. Whether you talk about offense, defense or special teams, there’s probably no one in football that means more to their team than Maurice Jones-Drew, in terms of the things he’s capable of doing and the things he does. When you watch him on tape, he’s a very physical runner. He has great vision, power and speed. He’s not small; he’s just short. He has built-in leverage. We’ve had issues, like many others, with him in the past.” On Jaguars feature back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is fourth in the NFL with 476 rushing yards.

“I thought he did some nice things, particularly against the run. I think he had five or so tackles in the game, and he did a few more things than we even anticipated. He moved around late in the game in some sub-package football, allowing Chris Carter to do the simplest assignment when he was rotating. We value position flexibility. Lawrence has done it before. We expect him to do it, and do it well. It was a good start. He is going to have a few more weeks there, and we expect him to continue to improve.” Discussing linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who shifted from inside to outside to replace injured OLB James Harrison. He is expected to do the same against the Jaguars.

“I think in general, unless you are talking about somebody who is really talented, most of the time it is just a man seizing an opportunity, and the opportunity has nothing to do with what he has done but what is going on around him. I think that is the case with many rookies’ play regardless of position but especially with the quarterback position.” When asked if rookie quarterbacks starting early in their careers is a developing trend in the NFL. Three rookies – Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and the Jags’ Blaine Gabbert – have started games at quarterback this season.

I wouldn’t necessarily call that a surprise. Since Jonathan has been here, I think he has always made it very evident that running the football is something that he does well. But we are more pleased with some of the other things that he did in the game and other things that come with being a professional running back. He made two tackles on kick coverage units. He did a nice job there. He is growing in all areas, and that is what is going to be required for him to continue to move forward and retain his helmet as some of those guys who are injured get healthy.” Answering whether Jonathan Dwyer’s 76-yard splash play came as a surprise.

The Jaguars' passing offense to struggle with Ike Taylor shutting down top-receiver Mike Thomas. Thomas’ 23 catches and 265 yards pace the team. Jason Hill is the only other Jaguars receiver with double-digit catches and triple-digit yards.

“I think when you are going through the type of transition that they have at the quarterback position, not only here recently but dating back to the week prior to the start of the regular season, there is going to be a period of adjustment. They let David Garrard go the week before the opener. Then of course, they went with Luke (McCown), and then they made the transition to Blaine. In the last month, they have had three primary signal callers, and I think that creates a tough transition period. I think they are doing a nice job managing it, playing to their strengths, utilizing Maurice Jones-Drew. That’s a great place to start, and I think they have been really salty on defense.” When asked why the Jaguars have struggled in a 1-4 start this season.

“I think we have been kind of feast or famine.  We have created some big plays but we have also given up some big plays.  We recognize moving forward that giving up big plays could reduce our chances of winning and by that I mean that we have had a kick blocked and punt blocked here in the last two weeks.  We have had some splash, no doubt.  But those negative plays, we have to eliminate, and eliminate them in a hurry if we want that unit to continue to be an asset for us.” On Pittsburgh’s special teams this season.

Ben Roethlisberger posted the second five-touchdown game of his career against the Tennessee Titans in a performance that featured a lot of short, efficient passing.

In fact, Big Ben’s 6.59 yards per attempt is the third-lowest average by a quarterback in a five-TD performance since the merger, behind Baltimore’s Tony Banks (6.55 in 2000) and the Jets’ Vinny Testaverde (6.41 in 2003).

His raw total of 229 yards is the seventh-lowest total by a QB in a five-TD performance, a category which is led by Cincinnati’s Boomer Esiason (197 yards in 1989). Oddly enough, Big Ben’s other five-TD game ranks second, as the quarterback racked up the low total of 209 yards on just sixteen attempts (which is the lowest number of attempts by a QB in a five-TD performance).

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