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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Post-Baltimore thoughts III

The Ravens are going to be kicking themselves about this one for a very long time - particularly considering what they invested into this season.

Supposedly, the only thing that was keeping Baltimore's great defense from winning a Super Bowl was the team's lack of receivers.

So the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin and signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh when he was released by Seattle.

In the biggest game of the season, Boldin dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass at the goal line in the fourth quarter.

Houshmandzadeh followed that up with a fourth down drop on Baltimore's final offensive play of the season.

Neither had a whole lot of luck getting open in the Steelers' 31-24 victory and the trio of Boldin, Houshmandzadeh and Derrick Mason combined for four catches for 36 yards, with three of the receptions and 38 of the yards coming from Houshmandzadeh.

Boldin and Mason combined for one catch for minus-2 yards on eight passes thrown their way.

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed aren't getting any younger. The window of opportunity for this team is just about closed.

The defense is already starting to slip and Boldin, Houshmandzadeh and Mason - if he doesn't retire – are looking well past their prime.

© Ike Taylor had perhaps the best game of his NFL career Saturday.

Taylor was all over whatever receiver he was slated to cover and was a big factor in why the Ravens couldn't get the ball to Boldin and Mason.

© James Harrison owns Michael Oher, who is ridiculously overrated.

In fact, if not for the movie made about him, you would have a tough time telling Oher from Jonathan Scott.

© The Steelers didn't get a typical Troy Polamalu day, but James Harrison did a nice impersonation.

Working mostly against the aforementioned Oher, Harrison had seven tackles, three of which were for losses, three sacks, two QB hurries and two pass defenses.

He got a little dinged up chasing Joe Flacco out of bounds for a sack in the fourth quarter, but did not miss a play.

© Brett Keisel was elevated to the Pro Bowl in place of injured Dwight Freeney on Sunday.

Don't be surprised if Ziggy Hood makes it there next season.

Hood continued his strong late-season surge with five tackles and a sack Saturday.

© Shaun Suisham's poor kickoffs are going to force the Steelers to seriously look at other kickers this offseason.


Steve-O said...

I went to the Ravens homepage and watched their post game interviews. I have to say they handled themselves with class and admitted they were outplayed in the 2nd half. Even Suggs who hates Hines Ward gave him and Ben kudos. I took a lot of satisfaction from beating the Ravens but I can appreciate a team that takes their beating without whining.

As for your final observation Dale, I couldn't agree more. I've got a lot of love for Suisham. The guy made a special teams tackle today that might have saved the season and he's been very accurate (today's miss aside). But his weak leg is causing some significant field position problems. In the playoffs when every yard counts you simply cannot ignore that part of the game. For now we'll have to deal with it but come next season we'll have to take a look at what's out there.

BoJangles said...

Roethlisberger has another one for his resume. He wasn't flawless, but the kids growth is hard to ignore. He still has his gunslinger ways but you can tell he's in sync with this recieving group.

Ryan Clark was unbelievable. His departure to Miami would have been a serious blow to our secondary. The guy was lights out w/ a very well rounded effort including two splash plays.

I actually thought S.S's kick offs were decent. The squibs
were really bad though. We should definitely bring in a new prospect this offseason.

HACK said...

Are you sure the kicks were on Suisham and not by design?....he put the first kick 3 yards deep...then squibbed the next one.

Seemed like they told him to change something...maybe go for hangtime and loose the distance...

Either way I am all for a new kicker in 2011

Greg Mercer said...

agreed. we've got serious work to do on special teams. both the Jets and Pats have good return men. not to mention the stupid block in the back penalty by Lewis, Brown fielding punts inside the 10, and the illegal man down field that would've cost us 18 yards if not for the hold by the Ravens.

although Allen did a great job of selling that holding call on the punt return. he was definitely held, but the ref might not have thrown the flag if he hadn't turned and fallen to the ground.

another thing i noticed tonight... our holder (Kapinos?) places the ball really close to his body. it almost looks like Suisham could accidentally kick the guy's knee. i think this would make it difficult on the kicker.

Greg Mercer said...

Dale, no mention of Roethlisberger's perfect pass to Brown to seal the game? or the horrible three and out series that preceded the game winning drive?

Dale Lolley said...

That stuff is mentioned in my regular O-R coverage. This is for the extra stuff.

As for Suisham's kicks, yes, he had distance, but no hang time. When he gets hang time, he has no distance.

I don't fault Brown for fielding that punt inside the 10. He got driven back 20 yards and is watching the ball the whole time. You don't expect a 61-yard punt in those conditions.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about a new kicker

I love what suisham has done for us when we were in emergency mode with Reed and I hope he gets his first ring with us, but a kickers has to be found in the draft. One that can kick field goals and kickoffs

If only this team the space to keep two kickers on the roster....

Anonymous said...


How is James Harrison?

The PS needs him at 100%


adams said...

Mendenhall deserves some props, too. He ran really hard all game, including the TD where he mostly willed his way into the end zone.

Credit also to Sean Kugler. The OL has been mixed and matched all season, yet they gave BR enough time to throw when the chips were down.

Agree that the squib KOs were by design.

Old Hindi Songs said...

Ravens homepage has post game proves a much more clear statement from them about what happened...

rather nice one

ibygeorge said...

How can professionals trained by the whistle stand around with a live ball on the ground?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, from a tv perspective, I thought the whistle had blown because of everybody was standing around. I was amazed that they stopped without a whistle. Did any players comment on that...I guess they couldn't say much :)

Anonymous said...


I realize that the Steelers won and this might be irrelevant, but Suggs hit BR in the head with BOTH HANDS on the fumble for touchdown. The refs in this game were as bad as I've ever seen and Ben needs to start getting respect. I hope Tomlin starts talking about the double standard.

joe said...

what's with kemo plowing onto the pile so late twice ? lucky he didn't cost 15 the first time he didi it at the two.
polo looked like early half of the season polo...lost

adamg said...

Bill Hilgrove had the best line of the night saying Kiesel hid the ball (fumble recovery) in his beard. Kiesel's beard is getting as famous as Marge Simpson's hair...

Agree about Kemo's dumb post-TD dive into the pile although on replay, it looked like a bit of a cheezy call since he only grazed the Balt player and mostly just landed on top of teammates.

joe said...

i told friends yesterday it would be cool if kiesel won the super bowl pretty boy saying 'i'm going to disneyland' lol

hopefully brown's play convinces tomlin that rookies can contribute in a big way. redman should have been getting more touches this season.

we all groaned when we saw that it was tripletts crew...terrible officiating yesterday all around.
nfl review policy is terrible also. get rid of it, or do it like college

Thomas said...

I think in Bens post game interview he said the players thought there was a whistle on the fumble. Which is why they quit playing.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine they considered Suisham anything more than a partial season bandaid. I give him props for solidifying the FG game (although hopefully last night's miss was a one-time thing and not post-season yips), but his kickoffs have stunk from day one. I expect a draft pick this April though.

Dale Lolley said...

Only one guy saw the beanbag thrown, Cory Redding.
Ben said after the game that the linemen thought they he heard a whistle.

The officials seemed slow to blow the whistle in the game on any possible fumbles or players being down.

Anonymous said...

On the last kick off, why not kick it out of bounds?

Anonymous said...

Dale, it was going around yesterday that the Steelers were pissed at Bob Holtzman from ESPN for leaking that the offense had been working on a trick play involving Randel El. If that's true, I'm curious if they swapped out that El play on gameday for the Wallace end around, because it didn't look sharp at all.

adamg said...

IIRC, BR said one OL told him he thought he'd heard a whistle on the fumble TD, but he himself didn't say he heard one. That said, NFL referees have been very slow all season to whistle plays dead. I remember Tomlin saying something about that at a post-game presser earlier in the season - maybe IRT a Mendenhall fumble when the play was clearly over and Mendenhall had relaxed his grip on the ball and it was pulled out by a defender.

Bouchette reported the ESPN guy wasn't even at Steeler practice and that his info came from two different Steeler players. He sort of implied maybe it was disinformation being spread.

Dale Lolley said...

There are no rules for reporting something if a player tells you they're going to do something. That's reporting.
I heard nothing about the Steelers being ticked off about that. In fact, if they were ticked off about it, it should have been the players they were ticked at, not the reporter.

What you are not allowed to do is report on what you see at practice in a given game week about the current game plan.

That's why the people who got mad at me on this blog a couple of years ago were dead wrong. I didn't report anything they had worked on that week. The Steelers had worked on the Wildcat all season. They had run it in preseason games and throughout training camp. And when they did it, they did it with Willie Parker.
I said that they hadn't run it since, even though they had continued to work on it and that it might be used in the Super Bowl - with a different twist. I didn't say what that twist was - it was Mewelde Moore instead of Parker.
Big deal.
They just happened to run it once in the Super Bowl.

As for the final kickoff, I said the same thing. But that would have given Baltimore the ball at the Pittsburgh 45. They wanted the squib to go farther than it did.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you input on the kickoff. I don't
Think taking the chance on a squib kick is worth
It in that situation. Kick the dang ball OB and let
The D get on the field.

Vaflyer said...

Dale, can you update the following?

J. Scott

F. Adams

B. McFadden

W. Allen

adamg said...

Down goes New England!

Dale Lolley said...

Flozell is fine. He had the flu on Friday and he got dehydrated. He came out for Suisham's field goal attempt in the second half, but Tomlin ordered him off the field.
Scott also came back.

As for the other injuries, Allen's seems like the worst.

McFadden should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Nobody brought up or asked about you're perceived transgression. Frankly, I could care less. I asked if the Holtzman thing caused the Steelers to swap out trick plays at the last minute, because both end rounds by Wallace looked very unpolished.

Dale Lolley said...

Those were calls made by Ben and they've both been run before. Holtzman's report had nothing to do with it.

Dale Lolley said...

Also, Holzman's report did not come from a production meeting as Mike Florio guessed – which he does a lot. ESPN wasn't carrying the game. The only production meetings were with CBS employees.

So again, nothing was given away that wasn't handed to him by the Steelers.

Anonymous said...

someone get suisham the number of the baltimore kickers "mentor" maybe he can work some magic on suisham too.