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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Post-Kansas City thoughts

How in the world do you lose a game in which you roll up more than 500 yards of offense?

Yeah, I know, three turnovers and a special teams touchdown.

But, seriously, that was pretty pathetic to lose to Kansas City's popgun offense.

Put it this way, Lance Long had a big catch against the Steelers in the fourth quarter, picking up 30 yards down the middle of the field on third down from the 10.

Lance Long for cripes sakes. Dude with a name like that should be making porn, not catching 30-yard passes.

© As things stand, the Steelers would be the No. 2 wildcard in the AFC playoffs. But I'm seeing nothing from this team that would suggest it could make it through a playoff run as a wildcard as the 2005 team did.

Then again, a healthy Troy Polamalu would help.

A number of national reporters have said Polamalu will miss a month.

Don't believe it. Polamalu is closer than that and could play this week against Baltimore.

© I would expect to see Ben Roethlisberger as well.

He seemed pretty lucid in the locker room after the game.

© Four kickoff returns in the past five games has left this team shellshocked. That's also eight consecutive games with a return of some type against this team, an NFL record.

It's stat akin to the 'fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life' line from Animal House.

© Rashard Mendenhall ran hard Sunday and blocked well in blitz pickup.

Willie Parker ran hard Sunday and even looked good catching a pass out of the backfield.

Yet it was Mewelde Moore, the slowest of the three, carrying the ball on a critical sweep on third-and-two in overtime.

Genius. I've defended Bruce Arians quite a bit this season, but I can't defend that.

Moore also blew a couple of blitz pickups late in the game.

I'm sorry, but Mendenhall should be on the field full-time from here on out. If he needs a breather, Parker has shown he's healthy enough to effectively spell him.

Moore would be my last resort at this point.

© Ike Taylor, you've got to come up with that interception if you want to make the Pro Bowl.

Taylor had an interception on the play before Matt Cassel threw a six-yard pass to Chris Chambers that turned into a 61-yard catch-and-run to set up Ryan Succop's game-winning field goal.

But Taylor lost control of the ball as he rolled over.

It would have been a nice interception. Instead, it's a footnote to a sorry day.

Taylor was also one of the guys who missed Jamal Charles on the opening kickoff.

© Nobody will be blaming Jeff Reed for missing any tackles this week.


Anonymous said...

I've been reading stuff saying Tomlin didn't act upset after the game and was shaking all the guys hands. Also that players were laughing and joking around like they didn't care.
Is any of this true?

other_patrick said...


Is Sunny Harris inactive because he doesn't know the scheme, physically not ready, or not needed?

Greg Mercer said...

that was a terrible call on third and two. even worse may have been the first down call. putting Batch under center with an empty backfield.

that pass Charlie threw had pick six written all over it.

again, didn't see much of the no huddle today. Do you think Arians lobbies against it, because it takes control of the game out of his hands?

Patrick said...

The players execution was awful today. The huge Chambers play in OT was like a practical joke. Everyone slowed down as if he was just going to magically get tackled or voluntarily stop. What was that?

But, I hope Tomlin starts to catch some heat. This isn't random things, or the other team playing so unbelievably well, to justify these losses. There is a theme - kickoff coverage, turnovers, Ben throwing a ridiculous amount of passes per game, the defense all of the sudden lacking pressure and giving up huge plays at critical late moments in the game, penalities, and blown assignments.

A lot of that is on the coach, and when it is repeated game after game, its REALLY on the coach.

I have no interest in arguing back and forth with people, but if there is one thing everyone can agree to, its this: This is a superiorly talented team NOT playing to its potential.

Anonymous said...

Lots of blame to go around, but Arians continues to insist on throwing at a 2/3rd clip. we have first and goal and he can't help himself. empty set, turnover. has good ever come from an empty set in the red zone. At that point in the game a FG probably seals the deal, but we have a 95 int the other way. Ben has to get rid of the ball there. This is like 2006 redux. Too many turnovers, and this year too many kick returns for TD.

Dale Lolley said...

I didn't see any need for no-huddle today. They had 500 yards for cripes sakes.

Pro players don't take wins and losses the same way players at lower levels do. Yeah, there's some laughing and joking. Life goes on, they've got another game to play.

Didn't see Tomlin hand shaking, but he usually does.

Joe E. said...

What a waste of an opportunity to get within a game of the Bengals.

I doubt that Chambers would have gained so many cheap yards with Troy P. in the middle of the field.

This teams lacks focus this year. How many complete games have they played this year?

Arians hasn't changed a bit since he was with the Browns. This time he has a QB that most of the time has masked his inept play calling.
Arians and his pot luck, grab-bag junk offense has got to go.

rocket9 said...

I think I have figured it out. The Steelers aren't that good this year. D is aging along the line and the secondary (Deshea, Ike and Clark all missed key plays in this one), the coverage teams are a disaster that spots the opponent 7 every week, and they don't make the key sacks or INT's that seemed to be plentiful last year. I am not a BA basher but he's on thin ice with me after that overtime call on 3rd down. Even though I believe MM to be one of the best 3rd down backs in the NFL, that was a brutal call. But so many things cost us this game..there are so many people to blame...that you start to question whether they have it together as a football team yet. They havne't played 60 minutes of football this year. Thats pretty bad.

There's still time but I am thinking they need to win 5 of 6 to have a realistic shot at the playoffs. I am not sure they can do it. I am wondering if Ben will have much left in the tank quite frankly. He's taken another beating this year and there's only so many hits you can absorb, even is you are 240 lbs. Next weeks game should tell us all we need to know about the 2009 edition of the Steelers. It's a must win and even more than that..they have to win in a way that restorse their confidence. And ours.

adamg said...

Don't feel sorry for BR. He WANTS to throw the ball around. I think he'd throw 100% of the time if it was up to him. Being hit is part of the package if you like to throw a lot and BR is evidently ok with that.

Is that going to catch up with him? Of course it is. I've already read some reports that he's got a sore arm. He had one in training camp, but downplayed it as "the usual". He's taken a lot of shots to the head, too. That won't be an issue with him during his playing days, but see Paul Martha for what happens much later in life.

Neither the HC, OC nor QB coach sees fit to rein BR in because of his ability to make "something" plays out of nothing.

Anonymous said...

Dale the idea that those that are paid don't take the game as seriously (hence winning and losing) is the problem. The desire to win is lacking and leading to execution problems. Hines Ward was shown smiling on TV after the return.
The team is acting like they did after the last Super Bowl win, unfocused and not desiring victory.
When you are paid to do a job, it should be MORE serious, not less. It is why so many of us have so little respect for the professional athlete. One of the problems of sports reporters is that sometimes they get too close to see the forests for the trees. The subject becomes someone they like that they have a hard time being critical in regards to.
It is time for some kicking ass and Tomlin needs to demand that "eye of the tiger" or sit some of their asses down.

Mike said...

It's funny how things change so quickly. Everybody was quick to defend BA last week despite the absurd pass/run imbalance. Now, this week the same people have come to the realization that he just isn't that good, or not the type of talent that should be calling the plays for our elite talent.

If I were Tomlin, I would have been half-tempted to fire him after that 3rd and 2 call. Very reminescent of the 3rd and 6 QB boot in 2007. The man does not understand situational football, plain and simple.

Also, the team seems to undervalue first downs. I know the players execute the plays, but how many 3rd downs do we have in the Red Zone where Ben tries for the TD. What's wrong with keeping the chains moving. The Steelers need to play smarter, period.

Anonymous said...

anyone that defends Bruce Arians doesn't know a goddam thing about football (Patrick?)

Anonymous said...

I like Tomlin but I am guessing if Bill Cowher was coaching the Steelers, the record would be 9-1 (Chicago loss). We are giving way too many easy points to other teams and are always playing catch up. How many 10 point leads has this team blown? Cowher was something like 100-1 once the Steelers got up by 10. This team is throwing passes when they should be running and vice versa. A screen pass or quick slant would be a nice option when you can clearly see the other team bringing the house. Instead we are always trying the 40 yard bomb.

I think the Balt game is make or break for this season.

Chas Steel

Anonymous said...

I think there's plenty of blame to go around, but the last group I would attack is the defense. Yes they gave up plays but if you take the mistakes out of the offense/special teams, the defense had a monster day. Sacks galore, forced fumble etc... not to mention they haven't had a 100 yard rusher in how long?

I think criticism of the OC is fair, Tomlin as well but they're still in the wild card race and maybe even in the division hunt after the way the Bungles gave their game away to the Raiduhs. If this team focuses on the fundamentals and balances their offense it has a chance to far. All the way? Doubt it.

Patrick said...

you just refuse to listen to what I say don't you.

One again, find where I defended BA and put it here. Because my posts last week put it on the players, that doesn't mean I defended him.

I have a hard time blaming only the Offensive Coordinator when the execution was as bad as it was in the Cincy game. This week the exeuction was terrible in critical moments, but the entire coaching (including Tomlin and BA through Ligashesky) was awful.

You (or someone) also said last week that they didn't run any screens and I pointed out that they started the game with 2.

I like to put the blame where its due and last week everyone wanted to blast BA, and I had a hard time putting it ALL on him.

I also have a hard time calling out BA without calling out Tomlin. Why does he get a pass?

Scotty said...

The D isnt aging performance wise, a few miscues on critical drives. But Deshea was looking like Dewayne Washington out there. Why is arians so afraid to use Mendenhall? He is a good back. Sweep on 3rd and 2? Come on. Im officially starting to hate arians.

Joe E. said...

They have been afraid of Mendenhall
not holding on to the ball.

You can blame the loss on everything that happened before overtime, but the Steelers had a chance to get in field goal range to win the game. There simply is no way to defend throwing a toss several yards behind the LOS in a 3rd and 2 situation.

Special Teams needs more tough players and less of the skill guys.
Is there any way to hide Sweed? Pratice Squad? IR?

Anonymous said...

Dale, I just saw that Batch is out for 6 weeks with a wrist injury. I'd imagine that the Steelers almost have to bring in a veteran backup. Any names that you think we should look for?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dale,
ESPN is reporting that Batch has a wrist injury that requires surgery and will be out 6 weeks.
Any truth to this?

Pat S said...

hey dale, Any truth to the report that Charlie Batch has a wrist injury? reported by ESPN

Anonymous said...

Dixon or do we sign Leftwich?

shame on the Steeles for keeping some broken down injured bumb as a backup QB

FIRE TOMLIN! said...

Let me be the first.

adamg said...

Lefty singed a 2 yr contract with Tampa Bay. I'd love to see him back, but I'd imagine if the Steelers wanted him, he'd cost a low round draft choice.

Patrick said...

Dear Other Patrick,

Please clarify your stance on the following proposition, which I think summarizes all of your points:

The team is not playing as well as it could be playing, largely because of the coaches and the players.

Thank you in advance.

Patrick Patrickson III

HaiTran said...

Anyone think it is weird that on 1st down, Mendenhall gets 6 to 7 yards and on the next play, we go empty set? You get 7 yards on 1st down means the opposition is ripe for play action pass, yet we go empty back field so the D knows it's going to be a pass. I have seen it all year and it is just so frustrating to see. Bad coaching. We got lucky last year, but this year teams are playing cover 2 to take away the deep pass, figure that we won't run it and figure on getting a sack while BB runs around.

SKINLEY said...

Parker should only be spelling Rashard at this point...but yesteday it looked like they were locked into giving Willie every third series. Why? Giving him a chance to audition to a new team? Mendenhall runs harder, blocks better, and catches the ball better out of the backfield.


Please. My name says it all. For the love of football, please.

Joe E. said...

Jeff Garcia is a free agent. Brucie would love to have him. Joking aside, Garcia may be the best available.

Patrick said...

yeh my point is that, that the team overall is under achieving. Obvious? Sure it is.

But according to most people on here,(and you) its just Bruce Arians. I'm pointing to larger things, you are pointing to one person.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone think it is weird that on 1st down, Mendenhall gets 6 to 7 yards and on the next play, we go empty set? You get 7 yards on 1st down means the opposition is ripe for play action pass, yet we go empty back field so the D knows it's going to be a pass. I have seen it all year and it is just so frustrating to see. Bad coaching. We got lucky last year, but this year teams are playing cover 2 to take away the deep pass, figure that we won't run it and figure on getting a sack while BB runs around."



Dale Lolley said...

It appears Batch is done, likely for good. He can't stay healthy.
The team knew this going into the season, but rolled the dice with him anyway.
I'd look for a Jeff Garcia signing.

Adam said...

Anyone else at least happy to see Mendy playing with heart and running hard? He isn't used enough in this offense...I was especially pleased to see his play on the Ben INT....I may be high on Mendy, but I think it showed some great determination in that he made it all the way back down the field to save the TD.

Patrick said...

this season is getting funny

It would really be a hoot if Dixon started and beat Baltimore.

I think it will be Ben, but Dixon would be entertaining at the least.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, hilarious.

Patrick said...

ha ha

Anonymous said...

Dale NFL network is reporting that CLEO LEMON might be signed. Is this for info on Baltimore? Or what is up with this? Garcia makes more sense, but Tomlin seems to want something different.

Anonymous said...

I said a few weeks ago this team was in chaos, and several commented that I was an idiot. Anything to say now??

If they start Troy in the Baltimore game, Tomlin needs to have his head examined. Not sure he shouldn't anyway - as well as he led this team last year, I'm sorry but this year has been pathetic. Mistakes made from start and they keep coming.

The Offense is the same as last year (which was in the bottom half of the league.) We made no substantial changes, why expect any real inmprovement.

The Defense (one of the all time best)was thin in the secondary last year. So what did we do? we let our starting CB get away and we not only didn't bother to replace him, we didn't bother worrying about our one other good backup Townsend nearing the end of his career.

signed chaosingly.

Farmer Fran.

marc said...

i find it hard to put too much of the blame on the players. every game they will make mistakes. it's a given. but, it's the coach's responsibility to put the players in a position to succeed.

when you throw the ball 60%+ the way we do, it is considered a high risk offense. naturally, ben will throw more picks and more pressure will be put on the defense. the way our offense is being run, the fate of the game comes down to one player, ben. yes, i know, we gave up another return TD. but, we also overcame that by halftime.

the game was ours for the taking in the second half and we came out slinging it. high risk, for no reason. that's just a very poor job of managing the game by the coaches.

i don't like comparing coaches because circumstances can vary, but cowher understood that very well as evidenced by his record when leading by 10+ points.

after another game of this nonsense, we will learn a great deal about BA and Tomlin next week.

Patrick said...

well said marc,and I agree with you, the only problem is we've been saying next week will tell us a lot since week 2. I was saying above that the problems this year have been a theme, and that is troubling.

We'll see.

Hopefully Dennis Dixon will be carrying the SOS flag .
(sarcasm people, cheer up)

Anonymous said...

The whole team is underachieving, it's the players, it's the coaches, it's BA, it's BR, it's a theme, next game will tell us, etc. This has devolved into utter nonsense.

Let's make it real simple:

1. Troy P. is out. This team's defense is a shadow of itself without him.

2. Special teams have been a weakness on this team since the end of the Noll era. Apparently, it was good enough to let the team get to three Superbowls and numerous AFC Championship games. Still, all teams have strengths and weaknesses, and this has been perpetually the team's greatest flaw. I don't have the answer to this one. But this is an area where the team has tolerated mediocrity to a point that cannot be. Patrick, maybe you have some ideas?

3. The offense has a franchise quarterback, which is great and all. I love him. With some of the other good pieces on the offense, he makes the coordinator look much better than he is. Proof? This offense looks best during BR's playground scramble ball or when the hurry-up is in. The offense plays well in spite of BA.

Most of the pieces for a complete offense are there. However, between the o-line and the coordinator, something is broken. I personally think it is more BA, but also o-line. I blame the o-line problems on choice of personnel: namely, insufficient attention to the line in the draft. The o-line has looked intermittently improved, but it needs an upgrade. I hope Mike Wallace allows the fascination with wasted high- and mid-round picks on WRs to end.

The only solution for BA is replacement. The replacement should implement a more balanced attack, with more focus on an effective running game. I'm sorry, that may not suit BR's ego, but for his own safety this is the way it must be.

Dale Lolley said...

I would not agree that special teams has been a weakness since the Noll era.

The past four or five years, their coverage teams have been among the best in the league, year-in and year-out. The return game was lacking, but that's no biggie.

Patrick said...

I like how you say "its a theme" is part of the nonsense, and then name the theme, 1, 2 and 3.

Good logic there.

Heres an idea for the coverage: Tackle the guy with the ball. Lets start there and see where we end up.

Patrick said...

and in all seriousness, I'd honestly either consider dropping the ST coordinator, or finding someone to come in and work with him. If that is even possible - I don't know who is out there and anyone good probably already has a job.

Not to undermine ST, but that isn't like an offensive/defenseive coordinator, in the sense a change could be implemented quicker.

It is probably too late for that. In the offseason, it almost has to be done though.

Anonymous said...

Dale, under what metric do you characterize the kick and punt coverage as best in the league the last few years? Just looking at the past few years' on Yahoo Sports (which doesn't seem to calculate the net return), the net returns do not seem to have been any better than middling. The kicks are the shortest in the league. Though the returns are shorter on a gross basis than those allowed by other teams, the net returns stink. Last season's league best gross returns don't hold up when you look at the net. Furthermore, statistics aside for a moment, there have been some infamous breakdowns (e.g., (1) the AFC championship game a few years ago against the Patriots--admittedly outside your five-year time frame but within my post-Noll era one--and (2) this season) where the coverage allowed either a TD or excessive return yards in a critical situation. In any event, I'm not sure that ST stands out in the public's mind as a strength of the team, and I maintain that it is a persistent weakness. If one had to choose a weakness, within limits this would probably be the one to have.

Patrick, I called a truce, and I am an anonymous person of my word. I'll ignore the illogical parts of your response, and I would simply say thanks for focusing your criticism on STs rather than, variously, the players, not the players, the coaches, not the coaches, the head coach, not the head coach, the offensive coordinator, not the offensive coordinator, the defense, not the defense, the offense, not the offense, special teams, not special teams; apologies if I missed some of your conflicting positions.

Patrick said...


I called the truce. And you're wrong, it's all because of the injuries.

Patrick Patrickson III

Patrick said...

Yeh I'm not ashamed to point our particular things for particular games. Rather than a blanket "Bruce Arians" idea some people have.

My first post in this thread was the player's execution was awful, but I hope Tomlin starts to catch heat. Are they not intertwined? Do you think they are mutually exclusive and we can only look to one or the other?

When have I ever said the ST was not a problem?

If you're going to argue stop making things up. Or at least read what I write.

Also, in response to everyone blaming BA for that game, I said last week I have a hard time putting this all on Arians shoulders, so where did I switch? You pointed out 2 things (Troy, and Kick coverage) which show that BA is not the problem entirely. And Tomlin can't fix Troy, but it is damn well his responsbility for fixing the coverage unit.

But no shit, a better gameplan would definitely help. But that falls on TOMLIN and no one brings up his name.

And you asked me for ST suggestions in a smart ass way. Is firing the ST coach a workable solution? Probbaly not, which I said. But theres a suggestion for you wise ass.

The other suggestion I said a week ago (which you ignored) was trying to find a kick off specialist to solve things. You want to make things up, go ahead, but theres what I said.

FIRE TOMLIN! said...


You're right. No one is saying a thing about the Head Roach, Mike T.

Patrick said...

Patrick, was that a suggestion for a specialist to cover or return?

Dave W. in Las Vegas said...

Speaking of special teams lets add a kicker to our wish list that can put the ball in to the end zone.

Patrick said...

"kick off specialist" as in a kicker. If we're going to delegate a roster spot to an average returner who could easily be replaced by someone on the current roster, why not use that spot for a kicker to kick the ball well into the endzone to help with this problem?

I just don't know how many of them are around. I would assume there is someone with distance, but not necessarily accuracy - which is obviously what you want for a Kick off guy. Maybe Czech could do it.

I know Logan had a decent game this week, but lets be honest, he has not had the impact we thought we were getting in the preseason. Wallace, Burnett, Moore could easily replace him on kicks, and he only does half the punts as it is. Plus Holmes wasn't bad on that either.

Logan is also part of the esteemed kick coverage unit.

And if you want to assume losing Logan would hurt fieldposition, which would you prefer, reoccuring returns against us v. losing some starting field position? I'll take losing the field position if it eliminates unnecessary and easy TD's against us.

Patrick said...

Good idea, Patrick.

Mike said...

I can't blame Tomlin yet because his philosphy has been to trust his coordinators, and as someone pointed out, Tomlin has a pretty good three year history in the 'burgh.

However, now that there is some serious adversity, I will begin to focus more on the man at the top. But, that still does not excuse what Arians is doing as a coordinator.

You can hear it in how the players' responded after the game...they do not trust BA. Let's hope Tomlin will start to take control because I can't take another week of our listless game plan. And, remember, Patrick, the other side gets paid to play too. In the end, strategy comes before execution. It's the play-calling that keeps the defense honest and the execution that exploits the defense.

marc said...

"It's the play-calling that keeps the defense honest and the execution that exploits the defense."

that could not be said any better.

Anonymous said...

Arians sucks.

Dale Lolley said...

I'm looking at the average return yardage against, touchdowns allowed, etc.
Everyone gets one popped against them once in a while. The Steelers have given up more kick return touchdowns this year than in the previous five combined.