PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 23: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during the game against the Carolina Panthers on December 23 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Steelers came out today and made a statement by smothering the Browns in a 41-9 game that was never close. The momentum was taken by the Steelers when Troy Polamalu picked off Colt McCoy on their first series of the game. Ben Roethlisberger took advantage of the turnover on the next play by hitting Mike Wallace for a 54 yard TD bomb on the Steelers first offensive snap. From there on out, the game was never in doubt. The Steelers dominated both every aspect of the game en route to reclaiming the AFC North title. Honestly, you could not have asked for a more perfect end to the season, unless the Steelers had claimed the #1 season.
Just look at the boxscore gives you a relative idea on the blowout. The Steelers only gave up 224 yard to the Browns, and about 100 of those or more came against the 2nd and 3rd string defense. On offense, the Steelers racked up 418 yards. The big key to this blowout is that the Steelers really made no crucial mistakes. They had no turnovers, no sacks, and no drops to my recollection. Additionally, the Steelers only allowed 43 yards rushing, albeit against a banged up Peyton Hillis and company. Moreover, Mike Wallace was electric early in the game gaining 97 yards and a touchdown on just two receptions (he ended up with 103 yards). Rashard Mendenhall did not have a particularly fantastic game as far as yards per rush goes (2.6), but he did score twice. Besides Wallace and Mendy, Heath Miller and Hines Ward also found the endzone.
The Steelers will get to kick back and watch the other teams play next weekend, after they earned the first round bye. The team definitely needed the rest with several banged up players like Troy Polamalu, Ben, Aaron Smith, and Maurkice Pouncey who got hurt late in the game today, but probably not seriously.
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