Sunday, December 20, 2009
Halftime: Steelers 21, Packers 14
By Kevin Seifert
PITTSBURGH -- Some halftime thoughts from Heinz Field:
- As per their tendency this season, the Steelers came out throwing and have never stopped. The Packers' defense hasn’t been horrendous, but it has been gashed for three big pass plays: A 60-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace on their first play of the game, a 33-yarder to Santonio Holmes and 27 yards to Heath Miller.
- This is a game where the Packers miss cornerback Al Harris, if for no other reason than the domino effect that has left Jarrett Bush as their nickelback. Bush’s “coverage” on Wallace’s touchdown was inexplicable.
- Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed 14 of 20 passes for 233 yards in the first half despite being harassed repeatedly by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. In abusing Steelers left tackle Max Starks, Matthews has two sacks and has brought his season total to 10. He lost a third sack, and forced fumble, in a replay review. Matthews for defensive rookie of the year, anyone?
- I realize the Steelers have a good run defense, but I haven’t been a fan of the Packers’ play selection. They threw on their first six plays, despite a heavy interior rush, and overall threw on 24 of their 35 first-half plays. And one of those runs was a 14-yard scoring scramble by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Steelers almost knocked Rodgers out of the game in the first two series. That’s not the formula the Packers have used in winning five consecutive contests.
- In fact, the Packers are back to their all-or-nothing ways. They have an 83-yard touchdown pass to receiver Greg Jennings and a 49-yard play to receiver Donald Driver.
- Drops are unofficial statistics, but I’ve got the Packers for an inexcusable total of five. Receiver James Jones and tight end Donald Lee had particularly glaring instances.
- If I’m the Packers, I’m hoping I don’t have to send place-kicker Mason Crosby out to win a game, no matter what the distance. He’s now missed five of his past 11 attempts, including a 34-yarder in the second quarter.