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Steelers Report Card
Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Monday, September 08, 2003


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Grading the Steelers:

Ron Wabby, who is in his 22nd season as the head coach at Brashear High School. His teams have won five City League championships.

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Grading the Ravens:

Jack McCurry, who is in his 26th season as the head coach at North Hills High School. His teams have won four WPIAL titles.

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Offense: A

The Steelers made a statement with their "Air Tommy" offense. The use of play-action, no-huddle and empty-set formations kept the Ravens defense guessing. Plaxico Burress' six catches, Hines Ward's nine and tight end Jay Riemersma's two touchdowns should make the NFL take notice that the Steelers are no longer 3 yards and a cloud of dust.

Offense: D

Rookie quarterback Kyle Boller had a less-than-outstanding NFL debut. The Ravens' ground game was supposed to take the pressure off Boller, but Jamal Lewis and company never established the run. If the Ravens are unable to establish a solid running game it could be a long, tough season.

Defense: A

Kendrell Bell's interception in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. The Steelers did what you should do to a rookie quarterback ... zone blitz him on every down. Kyle Boller hurried his throws when he wasn't being sacked. The Steelers defense kept the young quarterback guessing and wondering where the pressure was coming from. Joey Porter was missed, but fill-ins James Farrior and Clark Haggans did an outstanding job.

Defense: D

The once-proud Baltimore was defense humbled by the Steelers' passing attack. Ray Lewis is still a dominating player but the revamped secondary is much better at trash-talking and cheap shots. The Ravens were unable to cover the Steelers' receivers and seemed to be more interested in pushing and shoving. If the Ravens hope to challenge for a playoff berth, a strong dose of discipline is needed.

Special Teams: B

Jeff Reed chipped in with two field goals and Josh Miller's punting was solid. The coverage teams did a great job on kicks, which added to the Steelers' field position.

Special Teams: C

There were highlights and lowlights. Dave Zastudil punted well and then came up with a 16-yard pooch punt. Chester Taylor had a couple of good kick returns but nothing spectacular. Matt Stover is usually a reliable kicker but his range is not what it once was. In a game with a sub-par offense, the special teams can help a team. It didn't happen against the Steelers.

Coaching: A

An outstanding game plan on offense and defense kept the Ravens' coaching staff guessing about what would happen next. The off-season acquisition of tight end Jay Riemersma has given the Steelers offense an added dimension, and the way Mike Mularkey is using Amos Zereoue and Jerome Bettis will keep opposing coaches up late watching film.

Coaching: C

Brian Billick said the road to the playoff goes through Baltimore. Even a PennDot worker knows the road to the playoffs goes through Pittsburgh. Billick's decision to start a rookie quarterback on the road against the Steelers was a gamble. Billick and his staff need to shorten the leash on the trash-talking Ravens.

Team Score: 93

Team Score: 72






Super Bowl performance



Division title contenders



Wild Card possibility



Shooting for high draft picks in 2004



Check waiver wire

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