Monday, December 06, 2010

Post-Baltimore thoughts II

Just some quick thoughts here before I get off to bed following a bumpy flight back into Pittsburgh:

I loved Bruce Arians' adjustment to a pony offense in an effort to take some of the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger's injured right foot. In fact, I wouldn't be at all against the Steelers continuing to use that look moving forward, even after the foot is healed.

And obviously, I didn't give anything away to the Ravens by mentioning that the Steelers might have something up their sleeve.

© Sunday night's game is the biggest example of why there is so much confusion surrounding the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and hits on the quarterback.

It's shameful that those calls were missed.

© Great call by Dick LeBeau to send Troy Polamalu on a blitz.

The Steelers had gotten burned blitzing Polamalu earlier in the game when Ray Rice did a nice job of picking him up, leaving Ryan Clark one-on-one with Anquan Boldin, a play that turned into a 61-yard gain for Boldin.

Nobody picked up Polamalu this time around and it changed the Steelers' fate.

© Joe Flacco just doesn't handle pressure well and it's the one thing that is keeping him from being considered among the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

When he's pressured, he panics.

Ben Roethlisberger is just the opposite. He thrives in those situations.

46 comments:

keevin said...

anyone know where to find a nice picture of the Polamalu flying karate chop on Failco? thanks!

nomoresnow.com said...

Good to see Redman and Johnson part of the game.
Recovering Ben's fumble was big.
How did #9 tear his ACL?

marc said...

great, hard fought win. the defense was excellent in the second half. macfadden blew some coverages, but he also tackled well on some of those quick outs and tied up boldin on the last play. it was nice to see the steeler DB's playing tighter coverage as well.

i'm disappointed in tomlin's remarks (or lack thereof) regarding the officiating after the game. maybe the rooney's have told him not to speak out, but i wish he would anyway.

i hope flozell isn't out too long.

Anonymous said...

http://thestartingfive.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/snuka.jpg

Check this pic out, it's not against Failco, but it's a glimpse just before the karate chop

joe said...

how is heath doing today ?
that hit was a clear head shot, can't believe he got up and walked off the field.
re-watch ben getting his nose broke. that sure looks like he tried to get his hand in above the facemask on purpose.
i'm not much for the conspiracy theories, but if those two hits don't get large fines, especially the forearm to the head on heath, the nfl is run no better than pro-wrestling.

Anonymous said...

I also thought the Ngata hit on Ben was shady. The way he threw his hand around just isn't how a guy moves who is going to make a tackle. It really looked like he was trying hit Ben in the face.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I had mentioned to you all week long about how important I thought having the speed of A. Brown and E. Sanders available in our offense would impact this game. Turns out both had more receptions than Hines Ward, who is clearly on the decline. We clearly would have seen more of Brown if Cundiff wouldn't have kept kicking the ball in the endzone on kickoffs, but rookie WR just give this offense another dimension. They wouldn't have won this game without them tonight. This also means that the Steelers have to find another no. 1 WR in the draft to pair with Wallace going fwd since Hines and El have fallen off so fast.

As far as the officiating, how can the lack of calls on the fist to the face by Gnata to break Ben's nose and the headhunting on Heath Miller by the Ravens LB not be called? If a Steelers player had done either, they would have been thrown from the game. Sickening.

I know this wasn't BMac's best game by far, but at least he competed. I also noticed where LeBeau had his corners play tighter coverage instead of giving up the automatic 8 to 10 yard outs.

Dale, do you think Tony Hills will be starting the next few games at LT with Jonathon Scott switching to right tackle and Trai Essex remaining the swing tackle? I think Hills would be more comfortable at LT and J. Scott at right tackle. I don't want Essex starting at either tackle spot right now. These injuries have just been ridiculous. And big ups to having Keisel the Diesel back in the starting lineup.

That win is what you call a gut-check and could be a season defining win. Didn't think Redman and David Johnson had it in them to make the big plays that they made during the game. I love the fact that this game wasn't too big for our young players. Bodes well for the future. Now, if we can get Keenan Lewis on the bench and give his hat to C. Butler, then we'd be moving in the right direction.

keevin said...

Dale - why do they dress both Randel El and Arnez Battle? seems like they are wasting a spot there. Just deactivate Randel El, he sucks. Why doesnt Battle ever get a chance on offense???

keevin said...

btw, next week is a must win. We can afford to lose to the Jets so long as we beat the Bengals and Browns

division is in our hands

marc said...

keevin,
i completely agree. we must win out our division games. that will almost guarantee the division, unless ravens win out.

no matter, one game at a time and the bengals would love to stick it to the steelers.

Anonymous said...

hmm, experimenting tony hills at LT against the weak pass rush of the bengals wouldn't be a bad idea. I just don't like JScott there

marc said...

btw, i loved harrison's comment after the game that he would have been flagged 9 times out of 10 for that hit on miller.

datruth4life said...

Quote of the game from T. Suggs:

"When you see Polamalu at the line, in the four-minute offense, he's coming," Suggs said. "It was like 'Man, I hope we've got a plan,' because it didn't feel good when I saw that hair at the line of scrimmage."

Anonymous said...

"hmm, experimenting tony hills at LT against the weak pass rush of the bengals wouldn't be a bad idea. I just don't like JScott there"

agreed. and i thought Hills looked much improved in the preseason.

marc said...

i would be ticked off if i were a raven fan. polamalu lined up in that exact same spot earlier in the game and made a great play on a run play. how they let him go untouched is incredible.

oher said after the game that he knew polamalu was there, but he had to choose between harrison or polamalu so he blocked down on harrison.

imo, blame for that play rests with both flacco and the coaches. flacco knew what was coming. obviously, the ravens could see from the sideline what was coming. someone should have called a time out and get a different play in there against that defense.

Patrick said...

don't forget either that in the first game against the Ravens, on the game winning TD by Flacco to Housh, Troy blitzed and Heap slid over nicely giving Flacco a chance to step up and find Housh man on man.

Its not like they never saw this in previous games and succesfully beat it. I wouldn't be a happy Ravens fan either, they had control in that game (and the refs to an extent)

Anonymous said...

Tomlin speaking about the officiating would serve no purpose other than to solicit a fine, and would be complete foolishness. Fortunately he's smarter than that. The Steelers are handling this the appropriate way, not surprising. PS - while they are still the Bungles and prone to Bungle moments (hello, Pat Sims), the Bengals have not laid down and will not be some easy out next weekend. Hopefully those that matter aren't considering the game an opportunity for experimentation.

marc said...

all tomlin has to say when asked about the officiating is:

"we are disappointed in the lack of consistency by the refs with regards to the application of the rules set forth by the nfl as to hits to quarterbacks and defenseless receivers. While it is obviously out of our control, it is frustrating and we look forward to a more consistent application of the rules in the future."

if that draws a fine, then the nfl is officially a smoke and mirrors league.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if Harbaugh had spent more time coaching his own players last week instead of commenting on the business affairs of ours he would have had them ready for that play. Someone should tell him to shut his yap about our players business, maybe Suggs could be the one since he disagrees with his assessment on both fronts?

Dale Lolley said...

Sepulveda got blocked on the long punt return by Webb trying to make the tackle.

Heath was OK after the game. You could tell he was foggy, though. I've had concussions and it's the next couple of days that will be most telling with him.

It serves no purpose for Tomlin to get himself fined over that officiating. He'll let the league sort that out.

I don't think they'll use Hills unless they have to. He was so bad in that Tennessee game when he had to play, that they'll go with the proven guy in Essex. If he's good enough to dress over Hills on game day, he's the player they consider better.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I don't remember specific plays from Hills in the Titans game, but he must have been awful to not take playing time away from Essex. Hills looked much improved in the preseason and the other few times I've seen him play this season. J. scott's play at LT has been below the line since Starks went out. I guess practice this week will sort a lot of this out.

I'm hoping this game ends the "two dogs, one bone" thing Tomlin has with the young WR's. This offense needs both of them in there to make up for the falloff of Hines and El. Still, the biggest surprise of the game had to be David Johnson catching passes like he was a weapon in the first half. Here's hoping that he and Redman will continue their upward arrow as far as development.

Lastly, any ideas or word on who you think will be the Steelers punter going fwd?

marc said...

dale,
let the league sort it out? that course of action has obviously not resulted in any improvement in these non-calls. time to take a different approach.

Dale Lolley said...

What purpose does it serve for Tomlin to get fined as well? Everybody saw the plays. Fines will be forthcoming.
Now, if those plays aren't fined, then you'll have a complaint.
But Tomlin complaining about the lack of calls there isn't going to make them go back and assess penalty yardage after the fact.

Hills was awful against the Titans. Horrid.

I haven't begun checking into punters just yet and neither had the Steelers when we landed in Pittsburgh last night at 2 a.m.

Dale Lolley said...

The best available veteran punter is probably Dirk Johnson.
Outside of him, you're looking at Mitch Berger or Chris Hanson, neither of whom are all that exciting.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Kapinos.

Dale Lolley said...

I looked at him as well. I think Johnson's better. But Kapinos would be a possibility as well.

Johnson has a bit of a history with the Steelers.

marc said...

whether those players are fined or not does not change the fact the calls are not being made. the only way the refs are gonna start making the calls is if they get continued bad publicity over the very poor officiating that is ultimately affecting the product they put on the field.

just letting it get swept under the rug doesn't work. speak out, get fined, make it a top story every day on the sports channels and local news casts.

hines ward was right, a big game is gonna be decided by these horrible calls and non-calls. there were 45 yards in "obvious" personal fouls not called on the ravens in that game. easily could have been the difference in that game. if that is not enough for a coach to speak out, then what is?

they need to pressure the nfl and make them come down on these refs. that's the only way the calls will start to go our way.

marc said...

btw, i don't think andy reid was fined for saying that vick isn't being protected the way other QB's are.

adamg said...

I would think Kapinos, too, as a good possibility to be the new punter.

On the strip/sack, Harrison was asked about that after the game by NBC's sideline reporter. He said the blitz was designed that way, to make the OL choose either him or Troy. If he blocks Troy, Harrison is unblocked. It worked.

Skinley said...

Brent Bowden is a possibility...a draft pick for the Bucs this past year and also spent a couple weeks on their practice squad. He came from V Tech...

Dale Lolley said...

I highly doubt those plays will be swept under the rug. Wait and see how this plays out.

Besides, could there have been any more attention raised to the issue than last week? I doubt it.

Vaflyer said...

What I see on the blitz of Troy/Harrison is exactly what many coaches will see. If that play was run the opposite direction it was a completion assuming he could get the pass through. Bolden was covered by Gay who was about 8 yards off the LOS. He ran a simple 1-2 yard out. If I see that as a coach I think run a simple hot throw right away and that is a first. He was the only guy not in press coverage mostly because they needed a safety back. Clark had the TE who ran a 2 yard out the opposite direction. That blitz can be beaten, and when it does get beat it will probably be a big gainer as 7 of our guys were in the box with 4 guys running patterns. That leaves single coverage and a miss-match somewhere on the field. The Ravens just weren't able to exploit it.

Also, I noticed if you moved the RB to the other side, Timmons had a straight shot at the QB. They may have blocked Troy, but Timmons would have gotten there.

Greg Mercer said...

would Berger have to forfeit his Social Security check if he signs with the Steelers?

kelly said...

Apparently they are looking at Ricky Schmitt.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/1108742-100.stm

Anonymous said...

Dale or anyone,
Trying to keep up to date with standings and playoffs. Do the STeelers need jets to win tonight or patriots?

marc said...

well, i would say jets since steelers have inside track to be afc north division winner. that would mean pats would end up as wild car and steelers still have chance to beat jets and get head-to-head tie breaker.

wow, that would end up meaning #1 seed. right?

Anonymous said...

Steelers currently control their own destiny for the #2 seed; if the Jets win tonight they would control the destiny for the #1 seed. It is a nose-pincher either way, but I suppose "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" (gag)

Anonymous said...

Actually they wouldn't control their own destiny for #1, they'd still need the Jets to win that division.

marc said...

jets win tonight.

steelers beat the jets.

both teams win all other games.

then they would have the same record and the steelers would win the tie breaker.

therefore, #1 seed.

Alistair said...

The Trib is reporting we are working out Kapinos
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_712510.html
on Tuesday.

Just a thought - we'll need a new holder. Why not use Randle El there? He's got good hands, isn't vital in the passing game, took long snaps as a QB and gives us options on fakes?

Anonymous said...

As Miller as laying there almost lifeless, couldnt the refs had thrown a flag, and then conferred? If it was helmet to helmet, they just pick it up, is that all that difficult, and they do it all the time on non injury calls.....

Thomas said...

$40K-Jameel McClain's hit on Heath Miller & $15K-Haloti Ngata's punch to the face of Ben.

Dale Lolley said...

The refs were too busy listening to all of the classless Baltimore fans chanting "No means No" at Ben while Miller was lying on the ground unconscious. I kid you not on that one.
They did the same thing moments later when Flozell Adams was down.

adamg said...

According to the P-G, ARE is supposed to be the new PK holder. He was the back up holder already.

marc said...

"any ref that doesn't throw a flag on that miller hit should be fired."

that's coming from a cleveland brown fan in my office.

Anonymous said...

The 3rd down bomb to Boldin should have been called back. Rice didnt pick up Troy on the blitz, he mauled him by having a fist full of his facemask. Blantant missed call and if I recall correctly it was in the endzone too. Need to go back and look but I am pretty sure it was. My 11yr old who loves Troy spotted it and we hit rewind after the play.