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Super Bowl Report Cards

Position-by-position marks for Steelers and Seahawks

Posted: Monday February 6, 2006 2:32AM; Updated: Monday February 6, 2006 3:08AM
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Willie Parker; Etric Pruit
Willie Parker's record-setting 75-yard touchdown run broke open the game and put the Steelers on the road to victory.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Steelers 21, Seahawks 10
High on Hines
By Peter King
It wasn't one of the best Super Bowls in history, but MVP Hines Ward made his mark despite nerves and injury.
Super Bowl blues
By Dr. Z
After covering 39 of 40 Super Bowls, Steelers-Seahawks may rank among the five worst big games.
Long road to redemption
By Don Banks
Jerome Bettis goes out in style, and a new era of Steelers football is born.
Snap Judgments: Porter quieted
Words get in the way
By John Donovan
Jerramy Stevens talked up a big game during Super Bowl week, but his big drops in key spots doomed Seattle.
Super Bowl Blog
By Pete McEntegart
You are looking live at the press box in Ford Field for running commentary of all the Super Bowl XL festivities.
Other stories
Steelers win one for the thumb -- and the jaw
Big Ben's off day enough for a Super victory
Two big plays propel Ward to MVP honors
Alexander kept in check in possible farewell
Seahawks struggle with 'uncharacteristic' errors
ABC edits Rolling Stones' 'lyric malfunction'
Downtown Pittsburgh flooded with Steelers fans
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This guy is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback? Ben Roethlisberger did the job -- barely -- which is the only reason he doesn't get an F. Because a 22.6 passer rating, two terrible interceptions and 123 yards is lame, lame, lame. And, no, it didn't look as if he scored on that semi-dive toward the end zone.

It's amazing what one big run can do for a team. Willie Parker's 75-yard dash around the right end early in the second half may have been the most important play in the game for the Steelers. If not for that run, Parker would have had a line that read "9 carries for 18 yards", and the Seahawks might be celebrating right now. Jerome Bettis went quietly in his last game (14 carries, 43 yards).

This, too, is based mostly on one play. Guard Alan Faneca pulled on the big run and buried linebacker LeRoy Hill, sending Parker on his way. Other than that, the Steelers' OL was pretty pedestrian, allowing too much heat on Roethlisberger and not getting enough push in the running game.

It's hard to get a good read on the receivers when Roethlisberger completed only nine passes. Still, the Steelers had all they needed with MVP Hines Ward, who caught five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. It shows the struggles of the passing game, though, when the Steelers' best pass came from a wideout. That was a 43-yard TD toss from Antwaan Randle El to Ward on a trick play, which ultimately buried the Seahawks.

Yeah, nose guard Casey Hampton slipped in for a sack, but the Steelers' defensive line didn't hold against the run (Shaun Alexander averaged 4.8 yards a carry) and didn't get consistent pressure on Matt Hasselbeck (he was 26-of-49 for 273 yards and a touchdown).

James Farrior had six tackles, and Clark Haggans had five, including a sack, but for all his pregame mouthing off, where was Joey Porter? (He had three tackles.) Where was the consistent pressure on Hasselbeck?

Cornerback Ike Taylor was picked on a lot -- that's why he led the team with seven tackles -- but he did manage to get a gift interception at a critical juncture, and his fellow corner, Deshea Townsend, sacked Hasselbeck and was credited with six tackles. The Seahawks had a lot of open receivers in the secondary. If the Seahawks hadn't dropped so many easy balls, the Steelers' secondary would have been blamed for the loss.

Absolutely nothing special, nothing close to spectacular, nothing egregiously bad. Special teams often win or lose games. This was not one of those times. Punter Chris Gardocki was average and kicker Jeff Reed never attempted a field goal. Plus, the return teams did nothing. Ho hum.

At least Bill Cowher didn't panic when things were going so badly. Parker had only 11 yards on six carries in the first half, but the coach handed the ball to him early in the second and the trust paid off. Likewise, even though defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's zone blitzes weren't effective, he mostly stuck with his plan, and it worked. LeBeau made some adjustments, moving the safety over the top to try to hold down wide receiver Darrell Jackson. But, mostly, the Steelers played the way they always do. And that was enough.