R. Star wrote:
19 years later and I'm still irritated how that all went down.
Deanna's thought process:
"Hmm. Open space to the left, open space forward, planet to the right. I know! I'll turn right!"
She was heading away from the planet. Any way but towards the planet is away from it. The shock wave of the Enterprise's explosion pushed the saucer's aft section up, turning the saucer's nose towards the planet and seemed to push it towards the planet. Then it lost helm control; gravity and inertia did the rest.
They barley cleared the destruction range of a warp core explosion. So Deanna did a pretty good job piloting the saucer, forces beyond her control caused the crash.
The only way the shockwave from the drive blowing up could have knocked them into the atmosphere is if she positioned the ship between the drive and atmosphere. They were going parallel to the planet before they separated as witnessed by the planet being to the right of the ship on the Klingon view screen. It's assumed they kept this course as the saucer turns to the right(from a rear view) when they separate, which would be towards the planet. So yeah, the shockwave knocked them into it.
Except after the Klingon view screen (and Worf's full volley of 1 torpedo, guess he thought it was the Federation Open Tennis Championships) there are no more visual clues as to the ships orientation to the planet until the saucer gets pulled in by the planet's gravity.
Yes, when Worf fired the torpedo, the ship was above the planet and listing starboard towards the planet. We can assume the ship stayed on the course it was on which means we can assume she righted the ship, and had its ventral section facing the planet. This also makes sense because the saucer goes not only to starboard but up as well. When the stardrive goes BOOM, the saucer is to starboard and above the stardrive.
So lets assume the ship was still listing starboard towards the planet, by piloting the saucer section starboard and up (from the POV of the stardrive) the saucer is moving away from the planet. Granted going port and up would have been moving completely away from the planet, provided Deanna did not right the Enterprise.
Without a view of the planet when the stardrive blows, we cannot say that Deanna piloted the ship towards the planet. All we can say is that the saucer was close enough to the planet to get caught by the planets gravity when helm was no longer working.