|Other Week 13 Game Recaps|
|ARI at PHI||ATL at SD||BAL at CIN||CAR at GB||CHI at MIN||DEN at NYJ||IND at CLE||JAX at HOU|
|KC at OAK||MIA at STL||NO at TB||NYG at WAS||PIT at NE||SEA at DAL||SF at BUF||TEN at DET|
Week 13 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 33, New England Patriots 10
What you need to know
QB Ben Roethlisberger was victimized by an early turnover, but recovered to have a decent passing game despite very poor playing conditions. The Steelers offensive game plan was to spread the ball around. Roethlisberger connected with six different receivers fairly evenly. During the second half, and facing a steady Patriot pass rush, Roethlisberger was able to move around the pocket and extend the play to make his downfield throws. Only a few passes were deep downfield, so his final yardage numbers were limited. An under thrown ball to WR Nate Washington missed a possible score in the first half. Pittsburgh's offensive line only allowed one sack.
RB Mewelde Moore did not get the start, sharing time with RB Willie Parker, but was the more effective back when the game was in doubt, both in the running and passing game. Moore led two key drives in the late second quarter and early third quarter that turned the game into Pittsburgh's favor. He showed the ability to break tackles and kept his feet. For his part, Parker seemed to benefit from the extra rest and came into the game fresh in the late second half. Both backs had solid yardage numbers. Backup RB Gary Russell was not a major factor throughout the game, but chipped in with three carries and one touchdown on short yardage.
WR Hines Ward had a quiet first half but in the second half he became Ben Roethlisberger's favorite wideout target in the passing game hauling in a third quarter touchdown that broke the game open. Ward ended up with decent numbers on a day where passing yards were hard to come by.
|New England Patriots|
QB Matt Cassel was unable to generate a passing game early on due to a driving rain in New England and surprisingly from some key drops in the first half by his normally sure-handed receiving corps. Cassel was kept in the pocket for most of the game and was under tremendous pressure from the Pittsburgh pass rush. New England was clearly trying to throw the ball early, given a two to one pass/run ratio at halftime. In the second half. Pittsburgh was able to consistently get pressure on him that forced two fumbles in addition to other sacks.
RB Sammy Morris was moderately productive in the first half, a surprising fact when you consider how effective the Steelers' run defense has been the season. He gained nearly five yards per carry. If anything, Morris should have gotten the ball more. The game situation and turnovers limited running attempts in the second half. RB Kevin Faulk netted 46 yards on three carries, with one on a well timed draw late in the half when the Steelers were looking for a pass. He finished with 73 yards on six carries.
WR Randy Moss was the focus of the passing game, but had some uncharacteristic dropped passes early on, one of which should have been a sure touchdown. He was out of synch with Matt Cassel and Pittsburgh defensive backs played Moss very physically all day long which disrupted his impact. His final numbers were average at best.
What you ought to know
|QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 17 - 33 - 179 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0|
Pittsburgh wanted to establish balance in its passing and running games early and was able to move the ball more effectively through the air during the second half. Ben Roethlisberger was able to get the ball to his starting wideouts, his tight end and his running back, keeping drives alive by converting half of his third down attempts. Most of his passes were short and intermediate range. Roethlisberger just missed a ball deep to an open WR Nate Washington for a possible touchdown, under throwing it. Ending up with less than 200 yards, Roethlisberger's numbers were clearly impacted by the bad weather.
|RB Willie Parker, Rush: 16 - 87 - 0|
RB Willie Parker's return from a knee injury did not begin very well. He was not able to get going early but did post some nice numbers in the second half running the ball. However, before a 31 yard run, he was on his way to a below average day. Even on that play, his early season speed was not there. Parker was on the bench during two drives by the Steelers with the game on the line. He is not looked for out of the backfield and now RB Gary Russell has taken the short yardage role. It is unclear how Parker will be used and his fantasy potential will drop unless he gets a more sizeable opportunity.
|RB Mewelde Moore, Rush: 12 - 67 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)|
Although he did not get the start due to the return of RB Willie Parker from a knee injury, RB Mewelde Moore made the most of his opportunity. He was able to get going late in the first half with the running game and helped to break a close game open in the second half on another big drive. By staying on the field in all situations, Moore allows the Steelers to take advantage of his wide range of skills. His pass catching ability is the reason the team got him in the off season and he is a frequent target out of the backfield. Moore's role is changing given Parker's return and may not continue to be a reliable fantasy play going forward.
|WR Hines Ward, Rec: 5 - 37 - 1 (7 targets)|
Hines Ward had two balls thrown his way in the red zone, including a TD on a nice catch in traffic. He caught most of his short and intermediate passes in the second half. Ward remains in good health and still looks to be a solid play most weeks. He is still the focus of the passing game in Pittsburgh.
|WR Nate Washington, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (5 targets)|
WR Nate Washington did some damage I the first half, helping to keep some drives alive on third down. He did get open but could not connect on any deep passes. He is getting making the most of his limited looks, and is an integral part of the passing game.
|WR Santonio Holmes, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (6 targets)|
WR Santonio Holmes looked for by Ben Roethlisberger early on in the passing game hauling in a second quarter touchdown near the sideline, but did have a key drop as well on another ball that could have gotten him close to the end zone. Holmes's impressive talent shows itself in flashes, but he seems to have trouble staying focused in the game and is quite inconsistent.
|TE Heath Miller, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (8 targets)|
Miller was very productive today and posted a great yard per catch average. He caught two passes in the red zone and was able to turn up the field and make good yardage. Miller has all the talent to be a top flight TE, but Pittsburgh does not put up big passing numbers on a regular basis to make him a major fantasy threat.
|PK Jeff Reed 4 - 5 FG, 3 - 3 XP, 15 points|
Reed hit three field goals under 30 yards in the first three quarters and another from 45 yards in the fourth. He missed a 40 yard field goal. Reed has been very reliable this season.
|PIT Rush Defense|
The Steelers gave up over six yards a carry to Patriots rushers. Given how well the Steelers' defense has been playing well all season, that number was a major surprise. Game situations contributed to how few carries the Patriots got so they could not take full advantage.
|PIT Pass Defense|
The Pittsburgh pass rush was outstanding recording five sacks and several other QB pressures. LB James Harrison and brought pressure all game registering two sacks and two forced fumbles. LB Lawrence Timmons took an interception back to the one yard line late in the game. The New England offense could not produce a consistent offense.
|QB Matt Cassel, Pass: 19 - 39 - 169 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0|
Cassel was unable to continue his recent pace of great passing games, where he threw for over 400 yards the past two contests. He was under constant pressure all day, taking five sacks. He also was unable to use his legs, a normally reliable tactic for him, to keep the chains moving. His most glaring statistic was an anemic one for thirteen conversion rate on third down. That kept the New England offense off the field and when they were out there, Cassel made two critical fumbles. Fantasy owners should not read too much into his poor performance due to weather and the league's best defensive unit.
|RB Kevin Faulk, Rush: 6 - 73 - 0, Rec: 7 - 48 - 0 (10 targets)|
Kevin Faulk was a significant factor in both the running and passing games. He was able to take advantage of the Steelers' pass rush on draw plays and also caught a game high seven passes. He was not given the ball in any red zone situations. He had 121 total yards. His role looks to be shifting back to one of a change of pace or third down back, where it had been for most of his career.
|RB Sammy Morris, Rush: 10 - 45 - 1, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)|
Morris was the best New England back early in the game. He was able to get a solid five yards a carry in the first half and ended up with just under that for the game. He was able to make the most of his limited opportunities and showed an ability to move the pile. His longest gain was 14 yards. The real issue was the lopsided score and the turnovers which limited time of possession and running opportunities. He had only a minor role in the passing game. In a closer game, he would have likely posted much better numbers.
|WR Randy Moss, Rec: 4 - 45 - 0 (12 targets)|
Moss was subjected to very physical play from the Steelers for most of the game. While one play did draw a pass interference call, other times Moss seemed to feel the defenders and that resulted in more than one dropped pass. One was potentially a long gainer and another was a possible touchdown. His longest reception was 27 yards on his first catch, but was largely quiet after that. Moss's very inconsistent season has caused some to question his elite #1 receiver status .His is limited by his still inexperienced quarterback.
|WR Wes Welker, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (7 targets)|
Welker was moderately involved in the first half, making a few catches on short patterns underneath the Steelers' linebackers, but did not generate any big plays in the first half or for the rest of game for that matter. Owners should check his status this upcoming week due to a spectacular hit he took from DB Ryan Clark late in the game. He left the field under his own power, but did not have a catch after that play. His longest play was twelve yards, hardly meeting high expectations of his fantasy owners.
|WR Jabar Gaffney, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (3 targets)|
Gaffney had a drop and did not catch a pass in the second half. He was never a factor.
|TE Ben Watson, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (4 targets)|
Cassel looked for Watson more than a few times, as noted by his targets. He was unable to connect however.
|PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 - 2 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 4 points|
Gostkowski connected on a 29 yard field goal and one extra point. He missed a short FG in the first half which turned the momentum around to the Steelers.
|NE Rush Defense|
The Steelers posted over four and a half rushing yards per play. New England was not able to contain RB Mewelde Moore or Willie Parker, who combined for 154 yards on just 28 attempts. Backup RB Gary Russell, a former practice squad player, had a one yard. If anything, Pittsburgh could have run the ball more.
|NE Pass Defense|
The Patriots' pass rush was able to generate some pressure, but QB Ben Roethlisberger was able to escape rushers and make a few plays. They ended up with just one sack. Injuries to linemen and defensive backs caught up to the Pats today.