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Monday, January 24, 2011

Post-AFC Championship thoughts

As they came off the field following their 24-19 win over the New York Jets, the Steelers couldn't help themselves.

"Can't wait," they screamed, taking a shot at Jets linebacker Bart Scott's rant last week following the team's 28-21 upset of New England.

Mike Tomlin added a little more fuel, telling the players that the next time they play the Jets, "It will be personal."

That was an obvious shot at Jets coach Rex Ryan, who told his team prior to games against Indianapolis and New England in the playoffs, it was personal.

For their game against the Steelers, Ryan was abnormally quiet.

But you can bet that if the Steelers play the Jets in 2011 – assuming there's a season – Ryan won't be quiet.

© Despite losing to New York, 22-17 last month, the Steelers knew they could run the ball against the Jets, gaining 146 yards in that game.

That's why we saw such a run-heavy offense in this game from Pittsburgh. The Steelers had little respect for New York's run-stopping ability.

Kudos to the offensive line for continuing to grind away at New York despite losing center Maurkice Pouncey during the first series to a sprained ankle.

Pouncey said, by the way, that there's no way he's missing the Super Bowl.

© The NFL has to love a Pittsburgh-Green Bay Super Bowl.

The fan bases should be in a frenzy.

© It's not too early to start talking dynasty with these Steelers. Three Super Bowl appearances in six years - with two victories already in hand - qualifies in my eyes.

© It's too bad that Ike Taylor fell down and allowed Santonio Holmes to fly by him for a touchdown catch. Holmes did nothing else in this game.


Anonymous said...

It's going to be a great match up. The Packers clawed their way into the playoffs and are hungry. It will take all the talent we have to beat them. Hopefully we will have all of our horses ready. "Can't wait."

Anonymous said...

The Steelers and Packers are very similar and very evenly matched. I love that the Steelers are Vegas underdogs, that will fire them up.

Anonymous said...

Utter domination followed by a complete collapse.
I couldn't be happier about the win but that was ugly.

Anonymous said...

I hope Pouncey's ankle keeps his word. One of my favorite moments of the season was when he came back onto the field after getting hurt in the first Cincy game.

I'm probably spoiled, but the second half was not as enjoyable as it should have been for me because I kept thinking, "If we lose, this will be the most epic collapse ever."

Whoever -- Tomlin, Arians, Ben? -- decided to throw twice on that final series deserves major praise for not run-run-run punting. I think Sanchez (very impressive in the second half) would have moved them down the field and then who knows what would happen.

Ben is amazing.

ibygeorge said...

How did they shutdown our run game in the second half? It can not be all on Pouncey being out.

Anonymous said...

The Jets D was killing me at the end of the game when the Steelers were in victory formation and kneeing out the clock. Why were they busting through? Have you ever seen a team do that? It seemed really lame and childish.

marc said...

the jets are a bunch of punks just like their coach. it was classless at the end of the game. a perfect reflection of that whole team.

by the way, hampton was in mangold's kitchen all game long. i thought he played an incredible game and made mangold look weak.

adamg said...

Couldn't agree more about Hampton. He was owning Mangold and he got held by the back up center the play after Mangold got hurt and had to leave the game for a play or two.

The Jets took stupid penalites, too. The unneccessary roughness hitting Sanders late after the pass was incomplete and the roughing the kicker on Kapinos' punt.

I didn't see Ike fall down on the Holmes TD, but I did see Ike bite on the play fake and come up enough for Holmes to run past him.
That was the mistake, but otherwise Ike played him tough and should have had a pick in the endzone on one pass. He accounted for the winning TD, too, with the strip sack and fumble return by Gay.

Sanchez had a glitzy QB rating, but BR made the plays when the chips were down.

Agree about Antonio Brown, the KO return was huge and the 3rd down catch clinched the game.

joe said...

we need to earn how to keep our foot mashed on the pedal, not used to big leads like that i guess.
tomlin, show some faith in brown and use him on punt returns instead of el.
heck of a job by legursky filling in, even with the safety. lebeau-capers=cool
wow, what a nail biter second half
sanchez wiping a booger on brunell and mendy humping ben added some laughs !!

Anonymous said...

Wanted to give props to my boy, "Redzone"! Great running and pass blocking out there. You can't bring him down on the first hit unless you are bringing six guys. Mendy had a fantastic game too. I do agree with the passes at the very end of the game, but I cannot believe Arians had us throwing deep in the 3rd quater when our running game had gone off so well in the first half. That was an unneeded risk that led to that deep interception of Ben and we probably gave up 3 points that we could have used by having a turnover on that drive. Stupid play call in an otherwise brilliantly called game.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

marc said...

arians being arians, not understanding how important even a field goal would have been there.

and please, scrap the empty set formations for the super bowl.

my 9 year old son: "daddy, i think they are going to pass it."

me: "why?"

son: "there's no running back next to rothlisberger."

me: "you're right. very good."

Anonymous said...

"the jets are a bunch of punks just like their coach. it was classless at the end of the game. a perfect reflection of that whole team."

Totally. And to make it worse, one of those was jason taylor. I thought better of him

but it's over. Now yeah, steelers/packers superbowl should be one of the best ever. In terms of play and fans. Maybe we'll have a lil bit of competition in filling up dallas stadium. Nah!

Btw Dale, nice prediction! No one could have predicted the safety though, so it was perfect

Anonymous said...

I want to hear some of you Tomlin haters now. Is he still riding Cowher's team to the superbowl again???

Anonymous said...

Arians did not call the Ben Please Throw A Bad Hanging Late Deep Pass To Sanders Not Even Seeing Pool Was There play. That's on Ben.

Anonymous said...

Steeler fan in Jets country...Think I'm going to buy stock in Kleenex.

Vaflyer said...

I think there were 2 key possessions in this game which made it close.

The Jets last possession for a FG to end the half. It was a bubble buster. They got some points on the board which gave them a little momentum boost, but it also somewhat deflated the D who lost their shutout.

The Jets first possession of the 2nd half. If Ike doesn't slip, I doubt there is a TD there. He obviously changed his route when he realized that Ike slipped. It was too bad really for us as this gave them a HUGE boost of confidence.

If they miss that FG or don't get that immediate TD to start the half and make it a manageable 14 point deficit, the game would not have made my adrenaline kick in.

Lastly, I always find it amazing how we never win games, the opponent LOST it. It is like our mistakes didn't affect the game any. We didn't have a missed snap that led to a safety. We didn't throw 2 INTs. We didn't have a CB slip that led to a TD. Both teams made mistakes. The difference in this one was 1 thing....Ben making the play when needed. I don't know whose idea it was to throw the ball twice on the last possession, but in this case it worked out.

Anonymous said...

"We" and "Us" damn near chocked didn't you?

To the guy that called Nance a "douche", I guess you have never heard Mr. Dan Dierdork! Nance is MUCH better than that.

I just loved watching the Steelers win last evening because it will be all the more fun to watch the Packers kick their cocky butt's on Feb 6th.

Most of all I will enjoy hearing all excuses the Steeler fans will come up with. If there is anything you guys do right, that is it - excuses.

Here in Columbus we have that guy from Pennsylvania at QB for Ohio State. You can have him back if you would like, too!

Andy said...


Can you ask Dick Lebeau if he can teach his DB's how to switch receivers on the pick? We never seem to get the hang of that. Aren't these DB's the star guards of the offseason Hoops team? I'm sure with GB's receivers we'll see it again. Why do we run into each other every time? For once, run into the other receiver at the very least.

But we're moving on the Super Bowl. Go Steelers.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, is that a Browns or a Bengals fan rearing his head?? Wow, talking smack after this year is amazing. So, as Steeler fans were we making excuses for the three superbowl trips in six years? Or was it for the four AFC championship appearances this decade? How about the 6 division championships?

And here's a little something you Ohio football fans just can't seem to wrap your heads around - the fans of the Greatest football franchise since the merger use the terms 'us' and 'we' because we feel like a part of the team. A part of a team that WINS, something you guys wouldn't know much about. So go back to your hole and dream of the glory days of AFL championships...

Dale Lolley said...

Lots of corners struggle with a pick. That's why they are run.

I don't know that the Steelers took the foot off the gas in the second half. Ben just wasn't very good for a stretch in the third quarter. They were driving after NY scored to make it 24-10 and he threw the pick. The possessions after that, there wasn't a lot there due to incompletions or the safety.

I agree that Hampton had a big game against Mangold. The Steelers were pissed that the Jets ran on them the first time.

Greg Mercer said...

i thought we ran too much on first down in the second half. Jets were stacking the box and we played into their hands.

adamg said...

Tunch and Wolf had an interesting tidbit on their show today about the ST strategy. They said that Everest and Jones decided to squib kick because both Smith and Cromartie are tall and tall players don't bend down well to get balls on the ground. And sure enough, on one kick off, Smith bent down to pick up a squib kick, it went right through his wickets and he was downed around the 5 yd line.

Was at the game and it didn't look like BR's passes had a lot of zip on them. Maybe his elbow was hurting or maybe the gloves, but his long passes just didn't have it.

When Pouncey was hurt, the entire stadium started chanting his name. Pretty amazing tribute to an OL.

Vaflyer said...

You know Dale I sort of had the same feel watching the game, that Ben just didn't really have a good half, but I think there was more to this. I saw someone mention somewhere that we would win with Ben's legs. I broke this down this morning and I'm not sure it shows that Ben wasn't good in the half, although it does show that the Oline really struggled.

We only had 4 possessions (passes are pass play called, not actual passes made):

1. 3 Run, 4 Pass, 1?? Due to fumble, Ben went 1-3

Pass 1 - Ben Scrambles for yardage
Pass 2 - Incomplete
Pass 3 - Complete
Pass 4 - Interception

2. 5 Run, 4 Pass, Ben went 0 for 0

Pass 1 - Scramble for yardage
Pass 2 - Scramble for yardage
Pass 3 - Sack
Pass 4 - Sack

3. 1 Run Fumble for safety

4. 3 run, 2 Pass, 3 kneels, Ben went 2 for 2

Pass 1 - Complete to Heath for 1st down
Pass 2 - Complete to Brown for 1st down

If you look at those numbers, you see that Ben went 3-5 for 37 yards with 2 first downs and an the entire HALF. We had the ball for almost 1 whole quarter, just over 13 and half minutes.

Ben had as many sacks and scrambles as he did passing attempts if you include the one which was negated by a Defensive holding penalty.

4 yards rushing
5 yards rushing
5 yards, no play penalty
sack for -7
sack for -5

He also had 2 fumbles, although I am not sure they were both all on the QB. Not playing with his normal center may have impacted that.

marc said...

i would like to know how many times #7 had to scramble for yardage or was sacked when they were in the empty set.

the steelers were running ok in the second half (not great) but removed the threat of the run by going empty set. it was driving me crazy.

even if they have 1 RB back there, the threat exists and the RB also becomes a relief valve if necessary.

kelly said...

"i would like to know how many times #7 had to scramble for yardage or was sacked when they were in the empty set.

the steelers were running ok in the second half (not great) but removed the threat of the run by going empty set. it was driving me crazy.

even if they have 1 RB back there, the threat exists and the RB also becomes a relief valve if necessary."

Amen. That was making me nuts! Plus we rarely had a FB in the second half. It worked in the 1st, why change it?? I really think Arians over thinks things sometimes. He called a great half and then ????

Anonymous said...

Well, if the Steelers were pissed about the Jets running on them back in December, then I hope they have something to be pissed with Green Bay like that!! That first half was one of the best defense performances in NFL history against a quality opponent, let alone a championship game!

My hats off to Legursky and the whole O line, quality play by them all. Lets hope Pouncey can come back from that injury and be effective. Rashard was running hard, glad to see that, definitely MVP play...

Antonio Brown came up with 2 big plays on the last drive, good play by the rook!!

Dale, were there any other injuries of concern last nite??

Dale Lolley said...

Some of those scrambles were by design. The Jets were playing their tight man coverage with their backs turned to the line of scrimmage. In those situations it was part of the game plan for him to take off and get what he could.

Anonymous said...

Dale - please ellaborate on that "inverted wishbone" formation (both tigt ends in the backfield). I liked and it worked well, just haven't seen it all year.

Also, so many folks keep saying Troy is not playing well. It seems to me the last 2 games he is playing prevent - trying to prevent the big play. He is not being called upon to make the big play at the line of scrimmage and letting the others do their jobs. Your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

The second interception looked a lot like it was just a bad pass by Ben. Sanders was wide open to the far side of the end zone - if Ben takes a second to reset after spin-moving a Jet rusher out of his jock, he can make a throw to the outside and get an easy TD. Instead he threw inside straight to Poole.

Also - Wallace had a quiet game, but I'll note he absolutely burned Revis on the long pass in the second quarter. Ben underthrew the ball and Revis nearly picked it, but if Ben manages to get it over Wallace's head, it's a touchdown. And note that Revis started with a 10-yard cushion on Wallace.

marc said...

i don't believe revis had any picks this year. it seems his hamstring has held him back all year. moss was able to burn him deep and wallace clearly blew right past him.

also, is it possible cromartie could mug a receiver any worse? he's a total hack out there and woefully overrated.

Anonymous said...

Dale, What is the deal with Troy. I have only seen one question about this and I read many blogs (seen the question here). Are they keeping a injury quiet? He has not been himself and watching plays, he seems to be a bit slow. Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Moving forward I am a bit concered about the Packers rush off the end and Ben taking big losses by not throwing the ball away come superbowl time. Also it is clearly evident that something is troubling Troy physically. I did not see him anywhere near the line since the Baltimore game the 1 play he made against Flacco. He is not wrapping when he tackles anymore either. We will also need to take some shots down the field against the pack, I was dissapointed there was not even an attempt against the Jets jsut to loosen the defense and let Wallace or Brown make a play.

adamg said...

LeBeau said Troy is playing back more by design. He wants the offense to think twice about going deep or down the middle. But, I did see Troy up at the line and come at least once against the Jets on a blitz. Also, Troy sometimes lauches himself at a ball carrier instead of trying to wrap up. He's done that his whole career here.

The Steelers did take at least one shot downfield. Wallace had Revis beaten, but BR underthrew him.

Dale Lolley said...

I would hardly say they've been hiding an injury with Troy. Cripes, he hasn't practiced a full week in two months. Yes, he's got an Achilles' injury. To my knowledge, it's an inflammation. I've had that before. The only thing that really cures it is complete rest. I haven't noticed Troy looking any slower at all. Watch the Jets game. They threw a screen to the right side of the field. He read it from his spot in the deep middle, closed as quickly as ever and stopped it short of a first down.

He's playing deep middle by design. How many balls have you seen thrown over the deep middle lately? None. Everybody saw him jump that route against the Bengals to TO and nobody wants to test that.

As for the "inverted wishbone," they have lined up in it before, but usually send one of the guys in motion.