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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Post-Cincinnati thoughts, Part II

That was how you're supposed to close out a game against a mediocre opponent.

The Steelers limited the Bengals to 190 total yards and even when they went to their prevent on the final drive, Troy Polamalu picked off Carson Palmer at the goal line, Palmer's third interception of the game.

Yes, the offense failed to punch the ball into the end zone, which is troubling. The offensive line is still the biggest obstacle facing this team and is killing it when the field gets short thanks to sacks and holding penalties.

But with the Chiefs losing Sunday, the Steelers moved a game closer to wrapping up the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

© LaMarr Woodley had a busy day.

Woodley had an interception return for a touchdown to go along with a pair of sacks - his third career multiple-sack game against the Bengals.

He was also largely responsible for Cincinnati's only touchdown. First, he jumped offside on third down on the Bengals' opening possession negating an incompletion.

Then, once the Bengals got down to the 1, Woodley allowed backup offensive lineman Andre Whitworth a quick release into the end zone.

But, we'll forgive him for that since he evened it up with a score of his own.

© Next up are the Jets, losers of two straight and a team that hasn't scored an offensive touchdown in nine quarters.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez also has 8 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and eight fumbles in the last eight games.

He's also completed more than 60 percent of his passes in just one game during that span.

The biggest difference between Sanchez early in the season to Sanchez now?


Sanchez was sacked seven times in New York's first five games. He's been sacked 19 times in the last eight games, including six Sunday by the Dolphins.

The Steelers, who have 39 sacks, have to feel very confident against the Jets.

© Heath Miller can't come back soon enough.


Anonymous said...

one of the most pathetic offensive performances ever. Cinci's D is god awful and we couldnt do crap

Fire Arians immediately after winning the SB imo

datruth4life said...


I know this OL right now is a problem and that there is nothing that the Steelers can do now to correct it. My question is do you think the Steelers would consider taking Pouncey's brother in the late first round to try and shore up that RG position or do you think they will be primarily looking at a tackle? The Patriots are looking like they are head and shoulders above everyone in the AFC. And lastly, do you think this team REALLY want to see the Patriots in the playoffs knowing what Tom Brady normally does to them when they hook up?

Ron in Michigan said...

I'm not ready to fire BA, even if we don't win the Superbowl. Each and every one of us could stand to improve on our station in life. And I feel that that is the case with Bruce, he's not a genius, I grant you that. But from where I sit, 9-3 in and a potential no. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture sure looks good.

On the topic of the post game "fight", could someone please fill me in on what transpired? The wife guilted me into going Xmas shopping today, in a virtual blizzard no less. Power went out while we were away, so the DVR on recorded the 1st half.

Ron in Michigan said...

only recorded the 1st half.

Kugler for coaching MVP

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, it was Arians who had all of the holding penalties and sacks. It was Arians who couldn't open a running lane and Arians who tip-toed through the hole when it was there.

I hate how you guys turn me into an Arians defender. I'm no fan of Arians, but Christ …

As for the "Fight" it was just a minor scrimmish after the game. A linebacker - Brandon Johnson, I believe - got what the Steelers felt was a hit on Mundy after the game had ended. No biggie.

Dale Lolley said...

As for Mike Pouncey, I have not even yet begun to study the draft. Still too much season left.

My gut feeling is that Mike Pouncey's season won't warrant first-round consideration, though his workouts could improve that. He's not as athletic as Maurkice, from what I've seen.

joe said...

our offense is very annoying to watch. penalties, then more penalties and can't get enough td's. so it is great to see the new kicker working out very well. can't believe i just said that about a kicker

at least two late hits on ben, head shot, and smacked around on the ground after sacked. no flags...bunch of garbage.

Steve-O said...

There was a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this game. Nevertheless, the Steelers are in the driver's seat in the AFC North and a first round bye is looking very promising.

A very special cheer for Troy P. who looked all world today even with a gimpy ankle. And yes, I know the lateral after his second interception was dumb but "Uncle LeBeau" gave him a hug and all is forgiven.

Ron in Michigan said...

Thanks for the post game "skirmish" update Dale.

adamg said...

No fan of BA, but he did call more quick starting and off-beat plays to defeat the blitz than I've seen probably ever, but most of them weren't executed very well.

The OL is what it is going forward, so plays have to be designed to take advantage of what the OL does best and minimize what it's not good at doing.

BR has always taken hits, but that's part of his style as a qb who can stay upright to make plays. I would like to see the refs be consistent on hits to the head, though. It can't just be a rule for Brady, Brees and the Mannings.

adamg said...

ARE might have slipped down the depth chart, but that leaping, one handed grab was one of the best catches I've ever seen. He looked pretty good running that option play, too.

Anonymous said...

But it is Arians who insists on his two and three TE formations.

THree wide base offense.

Problems solved.

Anonymous said...

If we had a mediocre offense like in 2009 (which it was, despite some pretty stats), I'd be very confident we'd beat the Jets handily this weekend. Since our offense might be the worst in the league (the Max Starks injury is a killer, I think it has a bit of a domino effect on an already talent-challenged line), I have no idea what to expect.

First team to two safeties wins, 4-3.

Vaflyer said...

As much as I dislike Arians, I thought the game was called just fine yesterday. In fact, I thought it was better than it has been in a long time. He seemed to do a better job calling plays which fit the conditions, much better than he did last year in Cleveland.

The problem with this offense seems threefold to me.

1. Ben just is not having a great year. He hasn't been "bad", but he just doesn't seem to be getting it done, especially in the redzone this year.

2. Penalties have killed a bunch of drives inside the zone. I am not sure the correct play was called for our personnel based on what the D had been doing, but still the penalties this team is overcoming the last 4-5 weeks is pretty incredible.

3. Execution...If you watch the last two attempts at a TD before half, we didn't execute, mostly Ben didn't execute.

Anonymous said...

I agree. As an Arians-hater, I do concede that some of the criticism Arians gets is due to Ben's style of play and playing, er, sometimes, we'll say...with his heart and talent alot more than with his brain. Which works out well alot of the time, what a player. But it can be frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I for one have never liked Arians, but I do think he has improved his play calling over the past two games. Also his play calling in the first 4 games was great.

My hypothesis is that Arians difficulty is accepting the limitations of his offense. Yet if he accepts the limitations, he is a decent and even creative play caller. He has a quaterback who, god love him, holds the ball too long, and an Oline, who God darn them, can't pass block for more than 3 seconds. Hence, calling any play that takes over 3 seconds to develop is a recipe for a sack. Arians seemed to finally figure that out around the time that Starks went down.

The offense, touchdown drought aside, is better for it. They have eaten a ton of clock recently and actually got enough points to beat the Bengals on their own "thank you very much Scott Swisscheesam".

Counterintuitively, Arians calls a better game when he is forced to reign in his (and Ben's) fervent desire to throw the ball deep every play on patterns that take 5-7 seconds to develop. If he calls three step drops with dump offs available to the QB, then if things break down, Ben will extend the play to 5-7 seconds anyway. As long as Arians starts off calling short plays, the team is fine. And getting the ball in the hands of Mike Wallace with blockers in front of him doesn't hurt either. As I am the world's biggest fan of "Redzone", I have to say, more dump offs to him will help our touchdown drought. The guy cannot be tackled by one defender.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

Anonymous said...

I've changed my mind on the importance of the next game. If we beat the Jets and Panthers and Baltimore loses another game, we can rest some banged up starters the last game @ Cleveland

Anonymous said...

Dale - why don't they call roughing the passer on Big Ben?

Shots to the head again and no call

The hit he hurt his ankle/foot on was very very late

datruth4life said...

The reason why this offense doesn't score touchdowns is that this OL can't get out of its own way. It's either giving up pressures or sacks on Ben or getting costly holding pentalties.

Chris K, J. Scott and Flozell all have problems with quickness and speed in pass-blocking. J. Scott at LT looks like a dead-on impression of the former Justin Hartwig at center (particularly of the swinging gate variety). I saw the statistic yesterday where he is the most 2nd penalized lineman in the league for holding calls. (That takes real talent since you are a backup lineman who has only started a handful of games this year).

Can't wait until this team has a good OL again. One thing I do credit Cowher with is that he made sure OL was a strength on his teams. Not much you can do when injuries happen, particularly this late in the season, but here's hoping this OL will finally be a strength again beginning next year. With Mendy, Redman, an improved Dwyer next year, and a possible returning M. Moore, the components are there in the backfield to have a top 5 rushing attack.

Anonymous said...

I believe it Whitworth was Clark's guy to account for. Woodley had contain on that play, not coverage.

Anonymous said...

Why don't some of you critics of Arians apply for the job? If you all are so good at knowing what he does wrong then the Steelers would just jump at the opportunity to have you replace him.
The truth is that most of you don't know crap from boot black about you are talking about. It's time for critics to man-up and head for the Steelers office, present your qualifications, and ask to replace
Arians. They will just be so happy to that you are finally leaving your job at Giant Eagle to save the team that they will up your salary by at least a buck!

Anonymous said...

Like I always say, the fact that Bruce Arians is a better offensive coordinator than a group of anonymous and semi-anonymous blog parasites is meaningless.

I also think Roethlisberger is a top 4 or 5 QB in the NFL. But since I have no NFL experience, I probably have no business having that opinion, right?

--Mitch Berger (Super Bowl-winning punter)

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on all the shots BR is taking after the play is over, &/or shots to the head with NO PENALTIES??? Is the league proving something with the Steelers? I think they need the mentality its US against the world now.

But it all really doesnt matter if we cant get our offense going. There is no way we beat the Pats in the playoffs playing like we did Sunday!!

ibygeorge said...

I agree that Arians called a decent game. I liked the gadgets and the short stuff, like the bubble screens and short slants. The last slant to Wallace should be used a lot more. There is no time for holding or anyone missing blocks on plays like that. I am not sure if running between the tackles for 3 yards is tiring anyone except the fans. The only answer to this less than stellar o line is have them do less with more slants and screens.I think Arians is evolving toward this.

Anonymous said...

We can have all the opinions we want about Arians and Ben but our opinions really have no credibility. That is unless all the people on here are former NFL player/coaches and front office ppl. Because, realistically, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what it takes to run/manage/coach/coordinate/play for an NFL franchise/team. I will always admit that my opinion has little credibility. With that said...Arians is bad playcaller and game planner and Ben holds the ball too long.

Dick said...

No Dale, it was not Bruce Ariens (BA) who was called for the penalties or any of yur other examples, it was his chronically disorganized, poorly prepared, and undisciplined coaching that resulted in those problems.

And to you, Mr. Anonymous who suggested I apply for BA's job before I fire him. Consider this, Mr. Anonymous. I can't coach a team, but I can tell good coaching from terrible coaching. Look at the Patriots or the Eagles with their very young, no-name teams who are at the top of the NFL.

When Mr. Anonymous flushes the toilet and it comes back up, he calls the plumber who fixes it for $200. Next Sunday, same thing happens. He calls the same plumber who fixes it for $200. Next Sunday, same thing, same plumber, $200. This goes on every Sunday for 4 years. Just like BA's terrible Offense, every Sunday for 4 years. Mr. Anonymous will not criticize his plumber, nor will he fire his plumber coz he would need to apply for his plumbing job first.