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Making the Grade: The Offensive Line

No group deserves more credit for Sunday's rout than the bigeaters up front. There was cause for concern with Kendall Simmons being out at the right guard position, but Chris Kemoeatu filled in admirably. Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings, Max Starks, and Marvel Smith worked with Kemo to help open up huge running lanes all game long. The Steelers OL was so agressive and explosive off the line that the slow-footed Najeh Davenport was even able to run nearly 50 yards before being touched. It was more than a couple of big plays though. There was open real estate all game for Willie Parker to navigate in obvious running situations and he took full advantage. This is still one of the better units in all of football, and you can bet your last dollar that they took it upon themselves to give the offense the boost it needed to excel for 4 quarters.

The OL did an equally impressive job in pass protection, allowing just one sack of Ben Roethlisberger all day. Sacks can be a misleading number though. A quarterback may get rid of the ball and avoid the sack, but still not have the necessary time to go through his progressions effectively. This was not the case Sunday. Not only was Ben not sacked, he had inordinate amounts of time and space to step up in the pocket, go through his reads, and deliver the football with nary a hand in his face. Roethlisberger needed a confidence building game, and his friends protecting him made sure he had every opportunity to do so.

Grade: A+