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Monday, February 07, 2011

Post-Super Bowl thoughts

Not a whole lot to say about that game.

When you turn the ball over three times and don't force any, you're going to lose.

The only amazing thing was that the Steelers didn't lose by more than six points, particularly considering they gave up a defensive touchdown.

Aaron Rodgers played a good game but not a great one.

Rodgers threw for 304 yards on 24 of 39 completions, again, not a great completion percentage.

I really thought Jordy Nelson should have been the game's MVP after his nine-catch, 140-yard game. Yes, Rodgers was throwing the ball, but Nelson consistently got open and had some good catch-and-runs.

That said, Rodgers did outplay Ben Roethlisberger – slightly.

I know that will probably cause some people to scream bloody murder, but consider that Roethlisberger was 25 of 40, just about the same completion percentage. He also scrambled for 31 yards, so his yardage total was 294 yards accounted for compared to Rodgers, who didn't hurt the Steelers at all with scrambles.

The only difference was the bad interception Roethlisberger threw in the second quarter over the middle.

I give him a pass on the first pick since his arm was hit as he threw. Mike Wallace had a step on the corner and was accelerating by him. But because his arm was hit, Nick Collins was able to make an easy interception.

The second interception was a horrible read and Roethlisberger forced the ball into coverage.

© I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a big fan of any defensive package that takes Lawrence Timmons off the field to bring Anthony Madison on.

Nothing against Madison, who played OK, but Timmons is one of the team's top defensive playmakers.

© Anybody notice B.J. Raji in this game?

Me neither.

I guess all the hype about Doug Legursky not being up to the task was a little overblown.

The Steelers ran for 126 yards on just 23 carries. It's too bad Rashard Mendenhall fumbled because he otherwise played a very good game.

© Dumb, dumb penalty by Keyaron Fox on the final kick return of the game. That's the kind of penalty a veteran player who is the special teams captain cannot make.

Fox took an awful lot of penalties this season, again, not something you want out of your special teams captain.

© Time to head into the offseason.

There will be plenty to talk about.

I've got one more radio show on Tuesday to wrap up this season and then it's time to start thinking about the draft.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Dale. Appreciate the work you do.

Greg Mercer said...

thanks for the report Dale.

agree with your assessment on Rodgers and Ben. Trent Dilfer actually said Rodgers had the greatest game ever by a QB in the Superbowl. He must not have seen the third quarter when Rodgers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and was itching to throw an INT.

and as bad as Ben supposedly was, he was still in position to lead the greatest comeback in Superbowl history until Mendenhall fumbled. You can overcome turnovers in the first and second quarters, but not the fourth.

there are two things i hope you will investigate before you head into the offseason.

do you think Ben's knee injury prevented him from stepping into throws therefore causing him to throw high. even though he was off, he was consistently off... if that makes any sense.

also, i hope this will put an end to people calling for field turf in Heinz field. how many players slipped and how many others suffered injuries because of that ice rink they were playing on tonight?

lastly, that last drive seemed very disjointed. i know part of was the result of burning two timeouts earlier. but it seemed like receivers were consistently lining up on the wrong side of the formation. do you think this can be attributed to Sanders being out and El not getting enough practice in the hurry up?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your continued updates and insight, Dale. Looking forward to your thoughts in the off season.

-- dedicated lurker

Anonymous said...

I know many, as did I, thought that we would witness another amazing super bowl drive by Big Ben, but well you saw the game.

DEF: we needed a turnover desperately and it never came. Troy was MIA but Harrison and the rest of the linebackers played well. The ball would have to hit Gay in the back of his helmet for him to break up a pass.

OFF: Legursky did well. The line had a few costly false starts though. I thought the game was lost when Mendenhall fumbled, we had the momentum until then.

Draft needs:

I thought Suisham's kickoffs were great and it was too much to ask of him to nail a 52yarder. Also Ben and Wallace were not on the same page on a few TD potential throws.


Anonymous said...

"That said, Rodgers did outplay Ben Roethlisberger – slightly."

Slightly? Forget the stats trust your eyes; Ben was consistently off, Rodgers was consistently throwing laser sharp bullets.

Ben miss an easy TD to Wallace, Rodgers made two TD throws which had really small windows.

And the completion percentage had more to do with his receivers dropping balls. And Rodger had more pressure than Ben.

He was badly outperform and a big reason they lost. (Not the only reason).

I believe the biggest reason was Mendys fumble, it’s a shame he was having a great game. And it happened in the worst moment, when they had GB on the ropes and ready to take the lead.

Thanks for your insight during the season. Have a good off season.

Anonymous said...

Packers receivers don't drop four or five pinpoint passes and Rodgers stats look a whole lot better. Not that they looked bad. Rodgers was outstanding except for the third quarter when our defense was dominant. But he threw 39 passes and didn't turn the ball over and dictated to our defense most of the night, esp. on some key third downs. Stats, whatever.

BoJangles said...

Simply put, we didn't capitalize in the 3rd quarter when we should have. Blame it on Ben, blame it on Mendy but at the end of the day it was the same old story. Our offense stalled when it was time to strike. It shouldn't have been a 6 point game, but there are no moral victories when you're used to winning it all. I'm proud of our team though, they fought all season.

ibygeorge said...

Thanks for a great assessment, i agree. I think Ben's foot bothered him more than he thought. The GB defense made the big plays. Too bad the runnerup for Defensive player of the year had the biggest play.

Anonymous said...

Rogers played a nice game, but most of his passes were short drops and timing routes with little need to read the defense, just step and throw. There were also many plays where he completely stared down his receivers. FOX showed one completion where he locked on to the guy he was throwing to and still completed the pass on Ike Taylor, iirc. A db can't let that happen.
Troy said he guessed wrong on the TD to Jennings. Ryan Clark might have had a pick had he stayed on his feet and not launched himself into the receiver who was already being tackled.
So, the drops are evened out by the bad things that didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Throwing quick accurate passes doesn't count. The only throws that count are the defense plays perfectly, you are under alot of pressure, and forced to go to your fourth read. Otherwise anyone can do it.

adamg said...

Dale, thanks for forum to post our thoughts and also your insights on the game. Do you know if BR's arm was bothering him or just his foot and knee? His passes weren't as sharp as usual in the past few games. Do you know if the Steelers tried to target Woodson's replacement?
Why do you think the Steelers didn't go to the no huddle earlier in the game? During the post-game, BR said GB took away the long pass and the sidelines at the end of the game.
Any reason the offense didn't go over the middle. I know they only had one time out, but getting the ball with over 2 mins left passing over the middle was still an option. It's not like they needed to save the TO for a FG try.

Not only didn't I hear BJ Raji's name, but I didn't hear Clay Matthews name much either and the fumble he caused was more a matter of luck that his helmet was in the right place at the right time. He wasn't trying to strip the ball. I noticed him being blocked on run plays and Mendenhall running past him on others.

As for the OL, I don't see it as need area in the draft although I'd love to get Mike Pouncey. All the injuries were a struggle this year, but that just gave guys like J Scott, Essex, Foster, Legursky game experience they'd never have gotten. The OL will be deep coming into next year with the injured guys added back in to the group. I wouldn't mind seeing Adams come back either.

They probably could use another CB, but they do have Butler and Lewis and it takes defensive rookies a year or two to be broken in. The biggest thing they need to get is a NT to groom to replace Hampton and/or Hoke.

No complaints on the season, though. They went farther than anyone expected them to given all the distractions and injuries.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the Steelers walk out of the tunnel pre-game they looked a bit over confident, like been here done this. It also seemed they were sitting back a bit and waiting for the game to come to them instead of dictating the way the game was going to go.

Ben was Ben, inconsistant, makeing some plays here an there, also being reckless as ussual esspecially when we are pinned back inside the 10 yard line, can Ben execute here please??

The Defense looked abit basic at times, no movement, no intensity, back on their heels. I know Troy is injured, but he also looks like something greater is bothering him, like an internal team issue or something??

It was nice not to give up a punt or kick return though.

I do hope Packer/NFL fans realize the Steelers did not play anywhere near the game they needed to and still had a shot in the end. Back to my point at the top, we know the Steelers play to the level of competition and I believe they under estinmated Greenbay or were over confident.

Despite it being at the Steelers loss, I am glad to see Rodgers win a Superbowl, he really deserves it after all the Farve garbage.

Well until next year......or whenever they play again.

marc said...

not to repeat too much, but rodgers clearly outplayed #7. dropped passes cost the packers at least 1 if not 2 TD's and several 3rd down coversions.

rodgers didn't scramble for many yards because he didn't have to.

the steelers defense was poor, imo. the packers copied the patriots game plan to a tee. if it wasn't for dropped passes, the score would have been similar too. spread them out and attack the middle of the field. where were the adjustments? also, why ever take your best LB off the field? not to mention your best pass covering LB.

i expected the steelers to come out with some type of answer to the 4 receiver sets, but the didn't have one.

adamg said...

Dale, one more question. IIRC, this is the final year of BA's contract. I know he and BR love each other, but do you think his contract will be renewed? I got the impression Fitchner, the qb coach, is one of Tomlin's guys from MT's college coaching days.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure there is a schematic answer to the 4-receiver set if Rodgers, Brady, or Brees is the QB and Gay and McFadden and Madison are out there. Load up on extra d-backs (Who? Lewis?!) and just allow/dare them to run? What can be done other than have better corners and score more yourself on offense? McFadden or Gay get in people's faces, they get beat deep. They play off, they get beat short (and sometimes deep anyway). Personnel issue, mostly, I think.

marc said...

really, i saw the jets make brady look mortal when only rushing 2 or 3 down lineman and dropping 8 or 9 into coverage. then mixing in well timed blitzes from the same look.

the packer's strength is passing. so why not make them run the ball? why not at least try it and see what happens?

joe said...

shame on the nfl/jones for screwing fans in a sorry attempt to set a meaningless record.

it hurts more when you have a chance to win it, and blow it. pack made the plays when needed though, our players made mistakes, penalties and coaches mad bad decisions.
where was polo during the playoffs ??
rg, cb in the off season and we should be back.
overall, heck of a season. better to be in the big game and lose than sitting at home
thanks for taking the time with the blog this season dale.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Marc. It's frustrating. If we had played the Pats in the playoffs, I had been hoping LeBeau would try anything, no matter how crazy, to try & stop the Pats quick passing game, which the Packers did last night as well, and there was nothing we did different, at least that I could see on TV. Still, I keep coming back to our DB talent level.

adamg said...

I think B-Mac and Polamalu have been hurt a lot worse this season than anybody has admitted. I think Lewis, Butler, either or both will develop, but Lewis is only in his 2nd year and Butler a rookie. The Steelers obviously didn't think either of them were a better option than Gay and Madison this season at CB. I think the coaches took a premeditated gamble they could nurse McFadden and Polamalu game-to-game along with Gay and Madison. Except for the final game it worked.

I think we fans should all appreciate just how hard it is to go to three SBs in six years when all the forces in the NFL work against that kind of success.

keevin said...

Dale - any chance Arians gets fired? I know there are a lot of people who blindly defend him including yourself but that was a really poor job preparing the offense yesterday. No creativity at all, plays telegraphed. If you need proof, listen to some of the Packers post game interviews. They said they knew what plays were coming in key situations.

Other than Arians, we just need to improve our O-line and secondary. LOL at Gay and Madison being on the field

datruth4life said...


I think you hit it on the head -- 3 turnovers, 1 int. ret for a TD and you don't force any turnovers on your own then you lose. Point blank. The better team won. I have no problem with that. A big team weakness (corners that can't cover) came back to bite them on the biggest stage possible. No need to talk a lot about the game. It's history. Now, Kevin Colbert needs to try and plug some of these holes moving fwd.

The team has to come out of this draft with two CB's that can run, hit and cover. Ike needs to be resigned and here's hoping that Crezdon Butler can take a big step in his second year. BMac might be ready to be a 3rd CB because you can't depend on him as a starter, he's always injured. Gay and Madison should not be on the field on D, period. I'd still bring back Madison for special teams purposes with the hopes that maybe one of the younger guys can beat him out.
My latest 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

Darren said...

My quick assessment: Ben played just OK and I think his knee messed up his mechanics. Rodgers played better than OK.

You can't defend against the perfect pass folks and the Steelers defense had several of those passes covered as well as they could be covered but Rodgers put the ball in there perfectly.

Green Bay's defense caused turnovers vs. none for the Steelers. Troy is just a regular guy out there when he doesn't have his speed and he hasn't had his speed since the foot injury.

There goes the "can't run and can't stop the run means you can't win" saying.

I'm in the "do it until they stop it" class of thinking and I wish they would have run the ball in the first half more often which could have helped prevent maybe one of the interceptions.

Overall, good game, good teams. Steelers made too many mistakes, Green Bay created some of them and deserve the victory.

Anonymous said...

Much better season than expected by me. Fell a little short. See you in 2012.

Thanks for the blog, Dale.

Anonymous said...

HA, Ha, Ha – Yipee. The Steelers lost. So, let the excuses and whining begin. You Steelers fans are great at both of those things. You thought you had the hardware already in the plane back to Rusty City. All you are going to get is tin cans! IS TO LAUGH!!
If Hiney Ward would have concentrated on football instead of lap dances and throwing money at
the sluts in Dallas he might have had a better game. Can’t help but wonder how many 18 year old girls
had Ben excited so much that he could not see wide open receivers or Packer defensive players.
One thing for sure. Rodgers may not be as good as Ben is on most Sundays BUT, Aaron Rodgers is a better human on EVERYDAY of his life than Ben is on ANY given day.
Yesterday was the second best day of my life.

BTW: I you want Tyrell Prior back in Rusty City, we will be glad to sent this fanny back to you tonight.

Anonymous said...

^^ how pathetic do u have to be to troll a blog from the newspaper of another city?

jealous gayvens fan? lmao

Anonymous said...

A little OT I know but another local” star” did not do too well at the Super Bowl yesterday.
Christina Aguilera, looking like a tramp, also botched the words to the National Anthem.
If these people would just sing the song the way it is written there should be no problem.
So, Christina Aguilera, joins the growing list of people, including the infamous Big Ben,
that continues to embarrass our fair city. Pittsburgh is becoming the laughing stock of the
nation because of all the local yokels.

At some point, you folks that think Pittsburgh is the center of the Universe will have to wise up
to the fact that there are a lot of drunks and bumpkins here, and not much else.

Anonymous said...

retard from Ohio bashing Pittsburgh


Anonymous said...

Dale, thanks for the blog this season. I must disagree with your assessment of Ben. He was not what the team needed him to be. He never has great numbers but is usually clutch. He was not clutch. He was not accurate on a lot of his throws even w/ their best DB out. He reminded me of Neil O'Donnell.

Anonymous said...

Guess what team needs Corners.
I wish we had Darrelle Revis, lol sorry just dreaming

Anonymous said...

Man alive. “we” and “us” sure talked a good game didn’t they?
BUT, ol’ Ben choked. Probably thinking about all those young little
hotties in Dallas.
Go to the WEEI Boston web site to see a great photo of Ben. Probably
the best I’ve ever seen.

marc said...

first three rounds should be OL, DL, CB in any order based on best player available.

i don't know where the steelers will be salary cap wise and with regards to signing their current players, but slightly overpaying for a good CB in free agency is fine by me. tired of watching good teams/QB's eating up this secondary.

#1 against the run doesn't mean much when the other team doesn't try to run.

Anonymous said...

Ben's right foot (next best thing to a cast) was definitely influencing him. Just wondering how the scales would be balanced if Ben was healthy, or Rodgers had a similar leg injury. Hopefully the line gets healthy next season, which will help keep Ben healthier.

Anonymous said...

Ben will always be banged up regardless of o line because he will not and cannot execute hot reads. He cannot get rod of the ball quickly and will always take more hits than other elite qbs

adamg said...

Dale, Dulac thinks there's a decent chance BA won't be back as OC.
Are you also hearing the same rumblings? Thanks.

Dale Lolley said...

Lot of stuff here. I took Monday off - if you can count spending the day en route from Dallas to home as being off - so I didn't do anything with the blog. I'll answer a lot of these questions on my next post which will be forthcoming.