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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jacksonville debacle

Running back Willie Parker pretty much summed up what happened to the Steelers in Monday night's 9-0 loss at Jacksonville with one statement.

"They kicked our asses," said Parker, who was held to 20 yards on 11 carries as the Steelers were limited to 26 yards rushing.

It was a statement nobody who watched the game could argue.

The Steelers, a team used to being a bully, were out-bullied by the Jaguars. And there was nothing the Steelers could do about it.

"They were out there dancing and having a good time because they were beating us up," said Parker. "Heck, they were even doing it before the game. We just got out-physicalled."

And thats not ever supposed to happen to this team.

"I know I'm not happy about it and there's nobody else in this locker room who's happy about it either."

What the Steelers will do about that remains to be seen.

But as the defending Super Bowl champions, the Steelers are going to get everybody's best shot when they play them, especially on the road. Monday night, they weren't ready for that.

© One week after showing up in a big way in a victory over the Miami Dolphins, Joey Porter completely disappeared from action against Jacksonville.

I know I saw Porter on the field Monday night. But the stat sheet said he had one assist on a tackle. I don't even recall that one.

The NFL's most feared player was more like the Invisible Man here at Alltell Stadium.

© The same couldn't be said of the rest of the Steelers linebackers, who played their butts off.

Fred Taylor gashed the Steelers for a couple of mid-range runs in the third quarter, but other than that, he was largely held in check.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton also had a strong game against Jacksonville center Brad Meester, who is one of the best at his position in the league.

But the secondary was flat-out awful.

Cornerback Deshea Townsend missed a bunch of tackles coming up on short passes. And Ike Taylor was giving too much cushion. He was pulled from the game for a play and chewed out by head coach Bill Cowher after giving up back-to-back passes to Matt Jones.

© It's becoming apparent that opposing teams are going to double Hines Ward constantly until the other Steelers receivers prove they can do something to hurt them.

In two games, Cedrick Wilson has drawn more pass interference penalties -- two -- than he has catches -- one. And that one catch came late in the fourth quarter Monday night meaning Wilson played seven quarters without catching a pass.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn't sharp and threw some bad balls Monday night. But the receivers didnt give him a lot of help, either.

Wilson is getting very little separation from opposing defensive backs, hence the extra contact he's drawing for the pass interference calls.

At some point, Nate Washington has to push Wilson out of the starting lineup.

© After he very nearly muffed another punt in the first quarter, I'm pretty sure we've seen the last of Ricardo Colclough as a punt returner.

The question is, what took so long?

Then again, Santonio Holmes didnt exactly light things up returning punts after Colclough's near muff, allowing several kicks to drop inside the 10 rather than fielding them and coming up for one fair catch.

Cowher said Tuesday Reid will not be active again this week when the team plays Cincinnati.

Did Reid get caught with his hand in the cookie jar or something?

© Speaking of punters, Chris Gardocki was the Steelers MVP in this game, dropping five of his eight punts inside the 20 and kicking very well when backed up in his own territory.

The coverage units were also much better with Anthony Smith and Colclough serving as the gunners on punts. Their hustle down the field caused a lot of those balls to be fair caught.

© Monday night's loss is nothing a victory Sunday against Cincinnati wouldn't cure. Then again, a loss Sunday to Cincinnati would put the Steelers in a pretty big hole just three games into the season and have them searching for answers heading into their bye week.


Captain Cocktail said...

Its pretty bad when the punter is the MVP.

I'm suprised you never mentioned Troy and is swinging arm. I think if he wasn't injured he could have had that interception down by our goal line as well as several tackles he missed.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't think Polamalu's arm was as big a problem as Theesman would have people believe. If it was, the Steelers would hold him out of practice and they haven't done so.