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Friday, November 05, 2010

Who I like, Cincinnati version

As I said last week when I picked the Steelers to lose a close game at New Orleans, I like the Steelers to win their remaining road games this season.

That starts Monday night in Cincinnati.

The Steelers are by far the more healthy team and should be extremely motivated after losing to the Saints.

The Bengals also swept Pittsburgh last season, adding a little fuel to the fire.

Pittsburgh enters this game as a 3 1/2-point favorite and that looks to be something of a gift.

Cincinnati will put some points on the board, but not enough to keep this close.

Take Pittsburgh to win, 27-17


Anonymous said...

All the reasons why you predicted the Steelers to lose at New Orleans also apply this week:

- on the road
- prime time
- hostile environment
- Bengals need the win more
- Bengals are a talented but underachieving team looking to make a statement and save their season.

You accurately predicted the Steelers would lose last week for the above reasons, so why should this week be any different?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous...have you watched the Bengals this year? They've had three weeks in a row to save their season.

Patrick said...

I actually think Cinci wins this one. This Steelers team is starting to look too much like last year's. Lets not forget the Miami game was a small gift and could easily have been a loss. I wonder if they'll allow a Kick return for a td just to pay homage to last year?

I don't think the offense adjusts again and Cinci has the kind of weapons on O that hurt the Steelers D. I know they play inconsistent, but they've shown flashes this year. Watch out for Gresham.

I'll say Cinci 27-24 in a big dissappointment.

Anonymous said...

John, the Bengals have been competitive in most of their games. They're just a stupid team with no character.

The Saints were struggling too until the Steelers came into town.

It's fair to assume that a prime time game at home might make the Bengals give the Steelers their best shot.

Anonymous said...

2009 really snake-bit you guys didn't it. Always assuming the worst...I would have love to have seen if the Steelers had won last week and lost this week...the lemmings would be still jumping.

Anonymous said...

@ Patrick. "This season's Steelers team starting to look too much like last year's." I must have missed the ST return for touchdowns and the consistent late leads lost by the defense.

Guys they lost a game to the defending SB champs on the road. Get a freaking grip.

Vaflyer said...

As fans we all too often analyze games to critically. Yes, Miami was somewhat of a gift, but wasn't the Baltimore loss also somewhat of a gift? Wasn't the loss to NO there for the taking? If Heath is his normal self, meaning he doesn't fumble, we are in tying FG range with a first down. The team was out of sync all day, yet had a chance to win, and fans look at this and say things like, this reminds me of last year.

Give me a break. This team is 5-2 right now, but the record could be any of the following: 4-3, 5-2, 6-1, or 7-0. We have been in every game this year...period.

Patrick said...

when a QB goes 20/22 in the 2nd half that doesn't remind you of last year?

When the offense can't get moving because the other team is sending all out blitzes, that doesn't ring a bell?

You also said it yourself, they have been in every game. Great, good. They were last year too and lost 5 in a row. I'd love to see them manhandle a team for once, but they don't.

So for me to say that this team loses a close one on the road against a division opponent isn't that crazy.

Dale Lolley said...

Carson Palmer isn't Drew Brees.
Need I say anything else?

Anonymous said...

Unlike South Beach and Bourbon Street, hopefully the Steelers treat going to Cincinnati as a business trip and not a paid vacation.

Patrick said...

either is Chad Henne, Bruce Gradowski, Coly McCoy, Matt Cassell, or even Flacco, etc etc etc

that doesn't make a point at all.

Dale Lolley said...

"either is Chad Henne, Bruce Gradowski, Coly McCoy, Matt Cassell, or even Flacco, etc etc etc"

And the only one of those players who have beaten the Steelers THIS YEAR is Flacco when the Steelers were starting Charlie Batch.

Point made.

Dale Lolley said...

You guys need to get over the last year vs. this year stuff. This is a different year. One means nothing to the other.

Anonymous said...

I can see how the similarities make people nervous.

As far as offense goes, I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that the offense similarly stunk most of the time in 2008.

As for defense, heck, even if we don't have a dominant NUMBER 1 defense which shuts people down most of the time (increasingly difficult the way the game is evolving), we're still one of the best 3 or 4 in the league on that side of the ball. Just A LITTLE better coverage, two or three pass break-ups a game, would make me feel better.

As for complaining about a 5-2 team, it's less boring than saying how great we are and how the other team gets paid too. A sign of being a little too into the Steelers, maybe, but that's part of the fun!

Pittburgh - 17 Cincy - 14

Patrick said...

you act like Henne wasn't close and McCoy didn't put good numbers considering it was his first start ever.

Your point isn't made at all. By your logic, you are seriously saying, Palmer isn't Brees so the Steelers win?

And that has nothing to do with a Steelers O that continually doesn't show it can handle a big blitz and a D that consistently gives up big chunks of yards in critical situations. Just like last year.

"Point made"

Patrick said...

and how can you say one year has nothing to do with another when its the same core of players, same coach, same OC, DC and they are showing EXACTLY the kind of things they couldn't fix last year. The things that have changed are the running game, the line (to an extent, and the ST (big time).

Ironically, or not, the only games where this team looked different is when Ben wasn't playing. I don't know if it was the rallying cry/backs against the wall mentality, or game planning. But all the sudden they look out of sync and the run game has slowed down a lot.

Patrick said...

you can add short yardage/goal line and redzone O to he list of things that haven't changed too (sorry for the multiple posts)

Anonymous said...

Dale, it's true that Palmer isn't Brees, so maybe the Steelers will hold the Bengals to something like 13 points.

However, if the Steelers couldn't score more than 10 points against a team with no healthy CBs, how are they supposed to score more than 10 against the Bengals?

The Bengals will play press coverage and blitz heavily, just like the Saints, just like the Bengals last year, just like the Eagles in 2008.

Dale Lolley said...

The Bengals can't stop the run at all. New Orleans defense is one of the best in the league this season in terms of yards allowed. They're better than given credit for.

Paul Brown Stadium will also not be nearly as loud as the Superdome was last week.

And, believe it or not, the Steelers learned some things about themselves last week and actually went about fixing the problems.

Patrick said...

I'll beleive it when I see it about fixing those problems.

These aren't the same problems that ave plagued them for the past 3 years?

Dale Lolley said...

"These aren't the same problems that ave plagued them for the past 3 years?"

You mean like in 2008 when they won the Super Bowl? That's a heck of a problem to have.
Seriously, some of you guys need to come back to reality. There are no perfect teams in the NFL any more.
You're going to be really good at some things and not as good at others.
The bottom line is if you win games and win big games.

kyle said...

Here's the mistake you're making, Patrick. You seem to think passing yards equal points. They don't. The Steelers offense last year should have proved that. Colt McCoy can throw for 500 yards for all I care. Points are the only thing that beat you.

The offensive struggles are not at all what they were last year. The team is giving up fewer sacks. They're running better. If anything they were better at passing the ball, most likely because Ben had more time to get into sync, had Holmes, and didn't have three new guys to get used to.

You don't like Tomlin. Fine. I'll tell you what I told you earlier this year: Complain when he has a losing season.

Patrick said...

yards don't equal points. Thanks for the lesson. I thought teams won or lost in the 200's or 300's

But yards do lead to lots of things. So you're bascially saying the bend don't break defense is great and hasn't caused them any problems? And like I say below, you don't think the talent on this team has anything to do with the success.

And Dale, I'm glad they won the SB that year and overcame those problems (mostly because of an incredible D and a sandlot offense) but you don't see anything wrong with not correcting obvious mistakes? Its almost like you think this style of offense is acceptable so long as the Steelers don't get blown or have a terrible season. You don't think its possible that the talent on this team is being compromised by those strategies and decisions?

I'm not asking for perfection, but when Mike Wallace has a corner playing almost 10 yards off of him and you can't adjust to that, its a big problem. You can't just shrug things like that off.

This argument is just going to go on and on. If you're happy with the current combo of Tomlin/BA and the way Ben plays in that offense, then great. I hope you enjoy it.

I actually invite Deljcz to weigh in on this, because I know he has similar concerns about the Tomlin/BA/Ben combo.

kyle said...

Nobody likes Arians' play calling. Way to go out on a limb on that one. And yes I'm fine with the bend don't break defense. It works. If McFadden doesn't blow an assignment and give up a big pass play this team is 6-1.

Instead of asking if you're unhappy with the team (I know you are) I'll ask what your solutions are. You mention talent and coaching. What would you fix? What players would you bring in? What strategy would you change with the current players?(bear in mind that Wallace has not shown the ability to read a D adequately on hot routes) What coach would have this team 7-0? Forget that, What coach would have this team 3-1 with Dixon and Batch sharing snaps?

One final thing, blowouts are for idiots. The 76 team was as dominant as any ever. And I would say that if they had won every game 2-0.

Anonymous said...

Some people are just such homers they can't bear to criticize their own team. I love the Steelers but that doesn't mean I won't say when they are doing something stupid, like the pitiful way they manage their offense.

The Brown just put up 31 points in a single game and they don't have HALF the talent on offense or defense that we do. We got throttled on offense by the Saints JV squad defense.

marc said...

there are some things that do carryover from year to year. coaching philosophy and player habits are two easy ones.

when you have the same coaches and an inability to address the same problems, that is a valid concern by anybody.

of course, this team is good enough to make some noise. but they're entering a tough stretch and could easily lose 3 or 4 in a row if they continue to make the same mitakes. considering their pattern of behavior, it is probable they will continue to make the same mistakes. hence, valid criticism from fans.

on a separate note, i was back in pittsburgh visiting family and was told it has been reported that new orleans intentionally sent the local video feed to the steeler's coaches box instead of the network feed. any truth to that?

kyle said...

I'm not a homer. I endured the pain of the 80's Steelers. If you'd like some criticism: Bruce Arians calls the most obvious run plays from the most obvious sets in the world, this team should be throwing to Miller, Spaeth, or Ward at least once per set of downs in the red zone, the defense needs to cover the number three receiever as well as they cover the one and two.

The difference between me and Patrick is I'm not a chicken little. None of those problems are insurmountable. Worse teams than this one have won the Super Bowl.

Vaflyer said...

I think many of us are feeling frustrated after last week. Yes, we still had a chance to win the game as we did in Baltimore. Yes, we could just be as easily 7-0 as 5-2, but I see things which concern me. They must be corrected or else the next few weeks could be painful. That being said, I think you saw today that others have issues as well. Winning tomorrow night still puts us tied for the AFC Conference lead.

Now when it comes to concerns, I have a couple in each area.

Kicking - Reed doesn't seem very consistent this year, or at least my confidence in him has been rattled. He used to line up and I felt confident he was going to make it. This year...not so much.

Defense - I am concerned about not having A. Smith. I am concerned about our pass defense. I am concerned about our lack of pressure. The D may just be going through a lull, you can't be what they were the first 4 weeks the whole season, but it is also possible there is now a book about how to beat them.

Offense - I am concerned that we put up more points with Batch at QB than we have with Ben in any game. I am concerned that we have put up less and less each game Ben has played. I am concerned that we somehow forgot what the offense was like the first 4 weeks of the year. If we had taken that playbook model and just let Ben complete the passes, be a threat, we would no have lost since he came back.

Coaching - I am concerned mostly about Arians. He is back to the guy we saw last year. He is predictable in so many ways. I have never in my life seen a OC who was so determined that the only way to run the ball was right up the middle. No sweeps. No use of the screen to a RB. How about a shovel pass against the blitz. I fear he only knows one way to call a it up the middle so he can take his shots down the field. If you wanna see Pittsburgh football watch the last scoring drive of the Browns today. Hillis followed by Hillis followed by Hillis. They committed until the Pats would stop it. Arians runs the ball for 9 yards and then throws to long passes of over 20 yards. It doesn't make sense.

All that being said, most of my concerns can be corrected and I still think we have as good as shot as anyone for a SB ring.

Anonymous said...

For me it's not about being a perfect team, it's about the offense not looking completely, utterly clueless for 3 quarters and then hearing afterwards that that was because "the Saints were blitzing" and "it was really loud."

Also, whatever the details about the tv feed, the challenge screw-ups are inexcusable taken in the context of the poor challenge history Tomlin has.

Most importantly, Ben-Arians-Tomlin can't manage the clock at the end of a half. This has been going on for four years now.

Anonymous said...

People need to get a grip and re-evaluate the landscape of the NFL. The Steelers have homers who are openly optimistic and then there are the Steelers crazies who are overly analytic and pessimistic. I like to think I am some where in between but who knows. One thing that is not debatable is that the Steelers so far this year have shown they are one of the best teams in the league and can play with anyone. Ben is a proven winning QB with a 103.4 QB rating which, if he qualified, would put him second in the league. Steelers have some problems, so do the Saints, Jets, Patriots and this great Browns team people like to talk about despite the fact we beat them 28-10. How games or SBs do the Steelers need to win to get the Steelers crazies to shut up and enjoy watching NFL football? I am happy that we have these arm chair fledgling O and D coordinators on here. Maybe if the Steelers fire Arians they will come on Lolleys blog comments to find their next OC. That will happen at the same time these Steelers crazies admit that Arians knows more about football then they could ever hope to, which is never.

Anonymous said...

Arians being a better offensive coordinator than blog posters has nothing to do with anything.

Unless that also applies to "positive" posters. Who am I to compliment Ben on his great improvisational ability since I can't throw a football or shake off 300-lb defenders very well? What do I know?

marc said...

the fact fans criticize arians does not imply that they think they know more than him. i will be the first to say every single nfl coach knows more about football than i do, but that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes and it doesn't mean i can't notice those mistakes.

additionally, i would never assume i could do a better job than arians. instead, i do believe there are better fits as OC for the steelers than arians and i wish the steelers would explore them, if they already haven't. if he is the best they can get, then so be it, but i just don't believe that right now.

the bengals offense is a bad matchup for the steelers defense. we don't cover well and they have 2 top of the line WR's. i'll be interested to see how lebeau handles them.

on a side note, i saw the T.Ocho show for the first time this weekend and i must admit, they were kinda funny.

Darren said...

Meanwhile in Dallas...

Patrick said...

kyle I'll respond eventually to your questions, but I am way too busy today.

One thing though, I'm not asking for blowouts but would rather like to see this team get a comfortable lead in certain games and not blow it. They are perfectly capable of it but it almost seems like they refuse to. Every game is a nail biter, almost unnecessarily (see TN this year and the Cleveland game could of been over much earlier). I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

It's because there is another team out there with professionals. This isn't Madden 2011, this is the NFL.

Anonymous said...

As of week 8, the steelers had the greatest Yards Per Point Allowed. 2115 yards allowed for 102 points. 20.74 yppa. That's the best in the league. So I'm not sure what the concern about yards/points is. They are pretty darn good. Keep in mind that they are so good against the run that opponents have no choice but to pass more. Hence the steelers over-inflated passing yards allowed. YPPA information courtesy of cold hard football facts Bendability Index.

ibygeorge said...

The Steeler defense is stellar. My concern is the offense. They cannot score from the 6 inch line and the coaches that are suppose to watch the game on TV to advise Tomlin about challenges are watching other programs. The offense is a couple plays away from being the steel cowboys. I hope those TV coaches were fired! The offense needs all the points they can get.

Dale Lolley said...

Upon further review, they did score from the six-inch line.
But the coaches screwed that up by not having the network feed in their box. Period.
They should have asked for the network feed and I guarantee they will from now on. If not, take your own TV on the road with you and tune that in to the network feed.

As for playing close games, look around yesterday's NFL and see that in pretty much each and every game, each one came down to two or three plays.
Yes, there were some blowouts. But those came with teams using their backup QBs.
Outside of that - and Cleveland - the games were tight. That's the current state of the NFL.