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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be careful who you blame

Like Neil O'Donnell before him, Ben Roethlisberger is taking a lot of heat for his play in the Super Bowl.

But, like O'Donnell, there were some key plays during the game when the Steelers' young receivers did not run their routes as expected, resulting in some incompletions.

For example, on the Steelers' first offensive series, Roethlisberger made a throw to Antonio Brown's back shoulder that the receiver didn't read correctly, continuing his route down the field. The back shoulder throw was open had Brown adjusted, but the ball sailed out of bounds, looking like a horrible throw by Roethlisberger.

And on the deep route to Mike Wallace late in the game, Roethlisberger made the throw to the spot where the ball was supposed to go - to the pylon. But Wallace cut his route off more shallow than he should have, resulting in a pass in which it looked like Roethlisberger overthrew him badly.

We also saw Wallace struggling in the two-minute offense late in the game, not knowing what the play was.

These are the kind of things that happen with young receivers - even talented ones. Sometimes they make mistakes and the quarterback takes the blame.

That's why there is a belief that receivers don't hit their stride until their third year, which shows the arrow pointing up for the Steelers' passing game.


Anonymous said...

i don't know... did Ben throw it to the pylon? i recall it moving toward the hash mark or even further toward the middle of the field and Wallace having to spin around for it. that was certainly a key play.

i agree that the defense had a big part in the loss, but if you had to rank what hurt most, or what underperformed the most, i think you have to give the nod to Ben and the offense. at the end of the day the defense allowed 24 points and the offense scored 25.

the defense's effort would have been enough were it not for the pick six, and giving up 24 to one of the league's best offense's isn't bad. it's not great, but before the game if you told me "GB's offense will score 24 points," i'd feel good about our chances.

obviously on the pick-6 Kemo gave up the pressure, but Ben still decided to throw it in the face of the pressure. that's at least partially on him. also on the second pick, Miller was wide open and Ben didn't see it. he might've scored a TD. he seemed to be missing Miller open a lot, and even his completions were often in difficult areas to catch.

Phil Simms, Mike Lombardi, Stan Savran and Tunch & Wolf all commented on the possibility of the lack of Ben's gloves affecting his accuracy. that was the biggest variable for me - Ben's play was below average & more his own fault than GB's doing; if they replayed the game i think he plays better. though he has been missing open throws most of the season; his accuracy is nearly 5% below what it was last year which is a big difference.

in addition wallace had an up and down game. his level of fight on the second pick was really weak, as it was on the final play as well. i believe Ward makes both of those catches. similarly as already commented he was confused on two of the playcalls on the last drive. not sure if it was nerves but otherwise i don't know how 19 games into the season you don't know what's going on. and if he did misrun that deep route that's another mark against him.

Vaflyer said...

Dale, what are your thoughts on Sweed? Will he get another shot with the Steelers?

Anonymous said...

They win and lose as a need to point fingers at one player or two. Its a team game.

I agree with Dale. This offense is only going to get better and more dangerous and experience.

Imo there is no need to point to one guy and say it is all his fault.

marc said...

i don't buy it on the deep route. wallace was wide open and #7's throw was more towards the hash than the pylon.

the back shoulder throw was obviously someone's screw up, but we didn't know who at the time.

as just stated, miller was wide open several times. a few of us were talking before the game and we figured if miller had 6 or 7 catches the steelers would probably win.

#7 made some poor throws and missed open receivers. he didn't play well.

however, i will still contend the defense is the reason they lost. let's look at this defense against teams that spread out the steelers going back to the last super bowl.

Warner 31-43-377yds-3td-1int
Rivers 21-36-254yds-3td-0int
Rodgers 26-48-383yds-3td-0int
Brees 34-44-305yds-2td-1int
Brady 30-43-350yds-3td-0int
Rodgers 24-39-304yds-3td-0int

at some point don't you have to try something different when you face these types of offenses?

Anonymous said...

Lots of blame to go around, but there was one steeler who had the most control and therefore the greatest opportunity to change the game and that was Ben. He did not have a good game and he did not have a good post season. At least he was consistent.
When you are paid $100 million and you are an experienced super bowl winning qb and you are outperformed by your green bay counterpart . . . you will lose nine out of ten times. Ben should be blamed and he should and did take the blame. You expect the inexperienced wrs to make mistakes not your franchise qb.

Greg Mercer said...

I agree with Dale on the Wallace overthrow. Immediately after the play, you could see Ben motioning to Wallace that he expected him to keep it vertical. Yet Wallace was almost running perpendicular to the sideline.

you also forgot to mention Miller and Wallace's drops on third down plays that could have extended drives. both passes were high, but still catchable IMO. like Dale said, nobody played a great game (except for Hines Ward... and maybe Timmons)

before the SB, i was thinking to myself that I couldn't remember the last game Ben played without gloves. But as Dale previously noted, you really can't wear gloves inside a dome due to the humidity. I think his left knee was bothering him (thanks field turf) and prevented him from stepping into his throws.

Greg Mercer said...

did Wallace run the wrong route on third down in the last drive? that ball wasn't even close.

also, i know it's Ben's responsibility to make sure everyone is set before the ball is snapped. Isn't he also responsible for making sure everyone gets the play call? it looked like Ben and Moore were yelling it out to Wallace, but i guess the crowd noise was too loud for him to hear it.

marc said...

i guess the wallace throw can be debated forever unless either #7 or wallace come out say they blew it.

regarding #7's knee, he was being a drama queen, imo. he was high with his throws before he "twisted" it.

actually, after seeing his first few throws of the game we were all talking about how we thought he was trying to throw too hard, or basically overthrowing the ball. baseball pitchers do it all the time and it causes the arm to drag which raises the release point and the ball sails high.

Greg Mercer said...

are you sure Marc? how many throws did he have before he twisted it?

the back shoulder throw to Brown in the first drive, the pick six. couldn't have been that many more.

marc said...

miller over the middle.

ibygeorge said...

I agree Ben played an above average game. We needed one more CB. McFadden and Polamalu both coming off injury were not in our best interest. One more shutdown CB and we have the best defense the NFL has ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I'm putting most of blame on Tomlin. After the steelers first TD Sheshum ALMOST missed the extra point wide left. One or two drives later Tomlin sends him out to try a 52 yd FG & he missed way left.
In that case they would have had a better chance of downing a punt inside the 5 or 10 yard line & that would keep GB a little more conservative in there play calling. Instead they give them the ball on the 43yd & GB marches down for another TD.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the FG decision was a poor one. And Tomlin owned up to that postgame. But even if you count that as a turnover (and I do), it was the only turnover that didn't lead to points. Defense held, Steelers got the ball back. And when the Steelers drive stalled, Kapinos got off that 50+ yard bouncer, plus a dumb Packer penalty that luckily pinned the Packers deep in their RZ. Likely the same diff as punting instead of that FG. In hindsight, where it hurt them was in clock bleed. It's like the two subsequent drives post-FGA didn't happen. Except for the clock, which drained off about the last 4 minutes of Q3.

Still, of all the Steelers many miscues, that was probably the least contributing factor toward the loss.

marc said...

that knee also looked fine on a couple of those nice scrambles he had.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Ben had an above average 2010 postseason needs to look at the stats.

He had the 10th worst post season QB rating out of 12 QBs in the 2010post season.

He threw the most picks of any 2010post season QB even if you subtract the super bowl pick where his shoulder got clipped. Rogers threw 2 picks postseason while Ben threw 4 even though Rogers had 41 more attempts than Ben.

He was not above average, he was at best -wearing your homer tinted glasses- average and that might cut it if you are Matt Cassel or Jay Cutler but not when you are a $100 million super bowl champion QB.

Anonymous said...

There was one play where Ben was drilled to the ground by a Green Bay defender and he got up shaking his head, as if to clear it, and I'm wondering, could he have gotten a concussion? Is that why his play seemed to be so off? The announcer said, "Ben is shaking his head as if to clear out the cobwebs".

Anonymous said...

Forget the post-mortems. The Steelers lost, so what?
You guys are stuck on Steelers – something like being stuck on stupid.
Time to move on and get a life.
All the darn speculating and crying won’t change a thing. Stop whining
I hope there is no football in the NFL next year! I can just hear the moaning
now. No worry for Steeler fans– just blame the commish, Big Bum..oops, Big Ben, or Hines Ward, or
even Vince Lombardi. All Pittsburgh fans ever do is play the blame game every time their
team losses. It’s always necessary for them to find a “goat” rather than to just accept the fact that
the Steelers got their cocky butts beat.
The only team I dislike more than the cocky Steelers is the all talk, no action Ravens. The player I most
dislike is Hines Ward, the dirtiest player in the NFL. The second most disliked by me is that felon

datruth4life said...


Ben had a subpar game by the standards that we've all come to expect him, but did anybody notice that we got CB's that can't cover? To me, that's the bottom line with this game. The Steelers knew it was coming and we still couldn't disrupt their passing game. The Steelers compounded the problem by turning over the ball 3 more times, with one being a pick 6.

Until Kevin Colbert, get some more CB's on this roster that can cover and make plays in coverage, then this team won't be winning any more Super Bowls anytime soon. The NFL is now a passing league. When you are no. 1 in sacks and no. 1 against the run, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know where the primary problem lies. Ike is a keeper (just with bad hands), but McFadden, Gay and A. Madison are not good enough if you're depending on their coverage to win a championship. K. Colbert has to draft at least 2 corners, hope 2 find a diamond free agent CB (either after the draft or through free agency) and hope that Crezdon Bulter and Keenan Lewis develop. I think a healthy and focused B. McFadden can still help this team, but it might be best as a 3rd CB than a starter. Thoughts?

marc said...

that's what i have been saying all along. any team with a good QB is going to target macfadden/gay and take it to them.

actually, i think it really shows how few good QB's there are in the league.

look at their opponents for next season. at home will be jags, titans, rams, seahawks, patriots. only brady really scares you and maybe bradford depending on the offense they run.

on the road will will be texans, chiefs, cardinals, 49ers, colts. schaub and manning are the only headliners there.

then within the division is only flacco, though i think he is only average.

out of sixteen games, that's 3 to 4 QB's that can actually attack the defense?

problem is, once you get to the playoffs, you see the top QB's all over again. i think the steelers were lucky to bypass the pats this year.

Anonymous said...

ohio is gay

Dale Lolley said...

Bradford doesn't throw the ball down the field at all and has below average receivers to work with - as we speak. That offense isn't going to beat the Steelers.

As for the information on the receivers not being on the same page, it comes from people who would know. Got it from two different sources.

For those trashing Roethlisberger's playoffs by looking at his QB rating, don't you have to factor in the defenses he faced – Ravens, Jets, Packers? And on the same point, the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, so that's the biggest QB factor I can think of.

Finally, for the anonymous poster complaining about people complaining bout the Steelers, why come on this blog if you hate the NFL?

marc said...

i wasn't sure to include bradford or not. i think he has a chance to be good and it all depends on the offense they run.

besides, you don't need to throw the ball down the field against the steelers. spread them out and hit the short to intermediate openings.

TVsCHACHI said...

Dale, love the good work. Kudos.

I think it's safe to say that the people trashing Ben for his performance in Superbowl XLV are fair weather fringe freaks. Typical reactionary blowhards who don't really understand the game but instead thrash around like blind lemmings looking for a ledge to jump off.

We lost XLV because we lacked quality depth at cornerback. McFadden was hurt and the drop off from him to Anthony Madison was VAST (groan). Thankfully this draft appears to have options, we could potentially pick up quality corners in the 1st and 3rd round (this is of course speculation as in 'these kids look good on paper...'). Enough of that.

I'm not excusing Roethlisberger, he played a bad game, but it happens. He missed a few reads that could have kept the last drive going. It stings to know that Moore was open on a wheel route on that 3rd down and if only Ben would have gone through the progressions...

I'm going off topic and getting tangential but it's what I do, and I've said this many times since last Sunday and will continue to repeat it as long as it needs said: Even in loss we are a Dynasty.

Even in loss we are king of the mountain.

This loss showed us one flaw in the machine, one small correctable flaw. We will be back and we will get it done. The tools are in the toolbox, and it's only 6 more months until football!

datruth4life said...

Mock Draft:

1. NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
2. CB Ras I-Dowling, UVa.
3. LT/RT James Carpenter, Alabama
4. G/RT Clint Boling, Georgia
5. CB Curtis Marsh, Utah
6. DE Lawrence Marsh, FLa. , UCLA
7. K Kai Forbath, UCLA

BoJangles said...

It's simply time for the Steelers to draft TALENT in the secondary & not mid-late round system fits. You're only as good as your 3rd corner in today's NFL.

Anonymous said...

Considering Rogers game versus the #1 defense in the NFL against Ben's game against the #2 defense in the league minus woodson all together and an injured shields, it seems fair to say that Rogers outperformed Ben significantly.
I believe the way Rogers was throwing the ball that night, Steelers defense giving up 24 points is a very good performance.
Had Ben turned in an equally "very good" performance, Steelers win.
Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Why do most of you misspell Mr. Rodgers name? If you all know so much about the NFL one would think you could as least spell his name correctly.
No wonder you all call Mr.Roethlisberger, Ben – you can’t spell it. It is very easy to spell his name correctly. Just spell it S—head, or numbskull. Perhaps his PR folks have some phony ass name for him so you will forget about what happened on Georgia last summer. or perhaps Lake Tahoe!

Dale Lolley said...

Nice to see the idiots are out in full force following the Super Bowl loss.

Again, why bother to come troll this blog? What purpose does it serve?

Anonymous said...

Rodgers didn't miss receivers, and Ben did. Thats the whole story of why the Steelers lost.
Regardless of what happened on the field, it starts off the field and Rodgers and his receivers put in work. Instead of drinking and carrying on, Rodgers and the Packers were taking notes, watching film, staying in-doors and humbling themselves. You have an entire off-season to party after the Super Bowl, no?
The Steelers are a tough team, no doubt, but they did not "prepare" themselves to succeed like Rodgers and the Packers did.

Greg Mercer said...

so watching more film would've prevented Mendenhall from fumbling?

Anonymous said...

I spell Roethlisberger, J-E-R-K

Dale Lolley said...

Suggesting that the Steelers weren't prepared because they had time off during the week speaks of pure ignorance.

Steve-O said...

At the start of the season we Steeler fans had very little hope to make the post season, let alone get to the Superbowl. Of course its painful to lose another Superbowl but we were treated to one hell of a season by our beloved Stillers:

1. We beat our heated rivals, the Ravens twice and bumped them out of the playoffs.

2. We bumped that loud mouthed Rex Ryan out of the playoffs and reduced him to tears.

3. We won 3 games without Ben Roethlisberger and proved our team should never be taken lightly.

4. We had an outstanding draft with several rookie standouts including, Maurkice Pouncey, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders.

5. We won the AFC Championship

There is much to celebrate, and yes there is much to be done before the next season but I can tell you there are quite a few fans who wish they had as many blessings as we do.

joe said...

i agree steve-o, nice re-cap.

Anonymous said...

i just don't understand the logic of saying the secondary lost the game. it's simple math - the defense allowed 24 points and the offense scored 25. 24 points to one of the best offenses in the league, with one touchdown coming on a short field, isn't bad. 3 turnovers is bad. i'm not saying Ben sucks or anything; he's very good and i'm glad he's our QB. but he had a crappy game and so did the receivers.

Darren said...

I don't think any sane fans are too bent out of shape about this loss. Sure it sucks but Green Bay is a very good team and the Steelers turned the ball over 3 times and STILL had a chance to win at the end. In the end they didn't deserve to win.

In a one score game it's easy to point to one play or player here or there as "THE" cause of the loss.

If they had driven down the field at the end and pulled out a 1 point victory there would be a lot of the same complainers complaining because they didn't score a TD on every drive and shut the Packers out.

marc said...

if the steelers had scored and won at the end the two huge talking points would have been the injuries to the packer's secondary and the dropped passes by the packer's receivers.

which gets back to my point, the steeler's defense didn't really hold the packer's to 24 points. the packer's did it to themselves with the dropped passes. the secondary was poor most of the game.

Anonymous said...


We all know that Neil O got very rich betting against the Steelers in 1995. :-) I thought Ben played a very good game unlike my feeling about Neil. I did not agree with the call to throw a bomb in their own endzone. Mendy ran well and so did my boy "Redzone". Had they not given GB a free 7 in the first half, they could have closed the clamp on them with the run in the second half.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

Anonymous said...

"Suggesting that the Steelers weren't prepared because they had time off during the week speaks of pure ignorance."

Pure ignorance? Coming from a person that likes to kill defenseless animals is pure ignorance personified. I'd sure like to see the look on his face when somebody decides that his head ought to be hung on the opening of some bear's cave! If only bear and deer could shoot back.

Anonymous said...

i disagree with the "packers could've had 50 points if it weren't for the drops" argument. for one thing their receivers, especially James Jones, had dropped balls all year. to an extent it's a part of their identity as players so it's not fair to count it as an aberration.
secondly, on most, not all of the drops, the steelers had tight coverage or someone coming with a head of steam for the tackle, both of which make catching the ball more difficult.
even on most of their completed big passing plays the coverage was pretty good, rodgers just made great throws into really small windows. a perfect throw usually beats perfect coverage.

Dale Lolley said...

I always arm my prey before I shoot them dead. That way, it's a fair fight.