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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Post-Baltimore thoughts

Boy, I didn't see that one coming.

The Baltimore Ravens clearly treated Sunday's game against the Steelers as their season. And they probably should have.

While it may be a little short-sighted considering it's a 16-game season, the Ravens treated Sunday's game as their Super Bowl.

They knew if they lost, they'd be chasing the Steelers all season and would need to win in Pittsburgh to even things out - much like what happened to Pittsburgh in 2010.

Baltimore outplayed the Steelers in every facet because their stars showed up.

Yes, Baltimore has 20 new players. But they still have their stars.

Ray Rice was a one-man wrecking crew for the offense, gaining over 150 total yards.

Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs all made plays on defense.

Pittsburgh's stars were invisible.

Football is still a team game, but stars still rule the day.

© If you needed any clue to how important this game was to Baltimore, you only had to see coach John Harbaugh running around on the sidelines like a maniac throughout the game.

Harbaugh knew his team hadn't beaten the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger at QB in seven tries.

To be considered a championship contender, they had to show they could beat Roethlisberger.

© It was a humbled locker room after that game. The Steelers were beaten physically and mentally by the Ravens.

But, it is still just one game. It will be interesting to see how this team bounces back next week at home against Seattle, a team they should trounce.

More importantly, it will be interesting to see how this team works this week in preparation.

Mike Tomlin took it easy on the team throughout training camp and it showed Sunday.

I don't expect Tomlin to suddenly start brow-beating or physically beating up a veteran squad, but it was obvious the team wasn't ready to play from the start - beginning with Rice's long run on the first play of the game.

© The Steelers first two turnovers, a pair of fumbles, were caused by miscommunications on the offensive line.

On the first, they allowed Suggs to come up the middle untouched and hit Roethlisberger, forcing a fumble. On the second, it was Ngata being passed off untouched.

Even if it wasn't my job to block either of those two guys, I'd have my eye on where they are. They are both too good and too important to what Baltimore does up front to just ignore.

It appeared that Doug Legursky and Maurkice Pouncey were at fault both times. Those two didn't get a lot of snaps together in the preseason.

© Antonio Brown was targeted nine times, which resulted in two completions. He and Roethlisberger seemed to be off throughout the game.

© For many teams, having more turnovers than Super Bowl wins wouldn't be a big deal. For the Steelers, that's saying something.


Anonymous said...

Horrible game. The Steelers got embarrassed. I hope this humbles them and makes them realize they can't come into a game with the mentality they have it in the bag.

DD said...

This squad was manhandled in every aspect of the game. Zero pressure all day. It was actuAlly sad to have to admit they are old, slow and weak. Arians continues to call awful plays at critical times (please retire bruce). Lebeau gets no pass here either. This league is no longer set up to play 15 yds off wrs. Ike was actually good today. Linebackers and our old ass d line were the worst i have seen in 10 yrs. Got beat by a better team and stud rb today. Regroup and reload. Cant be worse next wk

Anonymous said...

The scariest part for me is the defensive line / front seven in general. They were totally pushed around at the line of scrimmage all day. If James Harrison is not the James Harrison of 2007-10, that's a huge problem, not just one game.

We already knew the Steelers only have one starting-caliber NFL cornerback.

It looks like our backup center/goal line fullback should be just that, and that we have to pray that our left tackle plays like a backup (which he eventually was able to do last year) rather than a practice-squadder like yesterday.

That was a typical offensive performance in Baltimore, only with a freakish amount of turnovers. Let's say it was a normal offensive game in Baltimore, with only 2 turnovers or so and Ben is able to miraculously avoid five or six sacks. All of this happens and we put up our usual 13 points or so. Which is why I'm actually not worried about the offense. We'll be typical middle-of-the-road and extremely inconsistent on offense, almost totally reliant on Ben improvising for any "explosiveness" we show, rather than any kind of like, you know, offensive game plan. Which admittedly is impossible without at least a semblance of blocking ability.

adamg said...

Like Dale said, Balt was psyched out of their minds yesterday. I see this as a lot like the game vs NE at Heinz Field when the Steelers were so intent on proving they could beat Brady/NE after the Pats kept knocking them out of the playoffs.

I personally think Balt might be setting themselves up to lose games they should probably win because they won't be able to recreate that same emotion.

I believe the Steelers will bounce back okay.

Not sure what they'll do with the OL although I won't be surprised if Marcus Gilbert isn't the starting LT by mid-season or Essex at RG. Still can't understand what the Steelers see in Colon, but Ben loves him so Ben can suffer with all the mistakes he makes.

Anonymous said...

anyone watch Kemo looking completely lost and not blocking anyone the whole game?

it baffles me how he is still on this team

Anonymous said...

"I personally think Balt might be setting themselves up to lose games they should probably win because they won't be able to recreate that same emotion."

What an intruiging theory


Anonymous said...

When a team puts all its eggs in a one game basket, a letdown is inevitable whether you want to believe it or not.

joe said...

i don't care if the ravens looked at that game as huge or not. that was a pathetic effort by the players and coaching staff.
it's over though. thankfully
so all that remains is to see how the steelers remove their tail from between their legs and respond next week.

Steve-O said...

If there's anything positive in that mess yesterday, I would say its the defense. They held 7 turnovers to only 35 points which given the situation wasn't too bad. They also held on that 4th and 1 stand when Harbaugh stupidly decided to go for it rather than kick a field goal. I had hoped that might become a rallying cry but the offense just didn't have a rally in them.

marc said...

i figured the steelers would lose at baltimore anyway. i'm glad it happened this way. i'm glad they got embarrassed and realize they can't just show up to the game, but actually have to put forth an effort to win.

obviously, many things to iron out. most troublesome for me is the fact that baltimore's passing attack is not too threatening, yet we had trouble covering them when it mattered (1st half). Ike played well, for the most part, but our remaining corners still suck. no surprise there.

by the way, does this mean flacco is an elite QB? some seem to think only an elite QB can pass well against our defense.

two get well games (seahawks and colts basically without a real QB) then a nice showdown with the texans. let's see how our pass defense does against them.

adamg said...

You can complain about the pass defense all you want, but the fact is, in the Steeler defense, the front 4-7 have to put pressure on the QB in front of the zone. Otherwise the zone will get picked apart. That's design, not players.

BTW, hope you watched Dal-NYJ last night. It was a revelation to see the reason Revis is so good is that he's got his hands all over the receiver down the field.

marc said...

i find it ridiculous to assume the secondary can ONLY cover if the QB is pressured or sacked. actually, i'm willing to bet the steeler's coaches would say the same thing.

if all the other team has to do is max protect, send out 2 WR's and a RB out of the backfield to pick the zone apart, then the steelers are in trouble.

adamg said...

Who said the DBs couldn't cover? They play a zone blitz defense and if the blitz part doesn't do its job, the zone part doesn't work very well.
You cannot blame the players because the scheme is beaten.

Anonymous said...

Steve-O - "If there's anything positive in that mess yesterday, I would say its the defense."

Literally the dumbest thing I have ever read on the internet. The Defense was pushed around at the line of scrimmage like I have never seen before. You sir are an idiot.

marc said...

are you on drugs? they don't blitz every down and the secondary still needs to cover the receivers who are in their zone.

macfadden was playing catch-up the whole game and #43 was a step behind as well.

how about rice's nifty TD reception? it was timmon's zone, rice was the only reciever around and timmons looked like a dear in headlights. oh wait - they need to hurry or sack the QB to be able to defend the pass.

or how about the instances they get flat out beat down the sidelines on a go route? are they excused from that as well?

imo, their greatness weakness from last season will be the same again this year. teams will either spread them out or max protect to alleviate the pressure on the QB. if the secondary cannot adjust and provide better coverage, it will be a long season.

adamg said...

The Steelers send at least 4 and usually 5 guys every down.

Exactly who flew down the sidelines past the CBs? Evans? He didn't even have a catch. Boldin? Once on the TD that was well covered and took a perfect pass and catch to beat.
13 of the 17 Balt completions were short passes to TEs and RBs.

No one is saying Timmons or Polamalu had great games on defense.

Of course teams are going to try and spread the field and take short drops and quick passes to beat the blitz and take advantage of the zone coverage. That's the way to beat the Steelers' defensive scheme. It's up to the coaches to re-adjust.

marc said...

i wasn't just referencing this game in regards to getting beat deep.

i love it though. the coaches must physically put the defender between the pass and the receiver to expect them to cover anyone. that's great.

marc said...

out of curiousity, how were guys reacting after the game?


Anonymous said...

The Steelers should take a note from the Ravens and let their young DBs get some game experience. McFadden and Gay are not cutting it anymore. Time to let Keenan, Cortez and Curtis show what they can do on the big stage otherwise we'll just keep spending 2-4th round picks on CBs every year without ever getting real game tape on any of them.

Disappointing loss but it is only week 1.

Dale Lolley said...

They were humbled and embarrassed Marc.

Patrick said...

As a fan a day after, I'm trying to treat this as we lost to Baltimore in week 1, its not like we never lost to them before.

I hope the players are treating it with as much animosity, embarrassment and are generally as pissed as most commentors and fans.

They got blown out. There were a few opportunities to get back in the game and they blew them. The worst part to me was the physical manhandling they received, getting pushed around at the line and watching the replay of Hines getting knocked silly was terrible. It was pathetic, but I'm not sinking the season until it happens twice. And I doubt it will.

The one thing that HAS to change is the offensive play calling. How many times did they run on first and then throw on second and third? Its too predictable.

Anonymous said...

What was the deal with Larry Foote being on the field so much? Did Farrior get hurt?

Anonymous said...


I saw a report stating that Willie Colon suffered a "serious" triceps injury and may miss significant time.

Have you heard anything?

Thanks as always for the good info, even after a rough game.

adamg said...

Just heard the same thing about Colon. If it's true, that's too bad for Willie, but I'll be happy if Flozell Adams is re-signed and returns to start at RT.

Dale Lolley said...

Have been able to confirm nothing on Colon at this point. It's coming from one source.
I talked to him after the game and he didn't even have a wrap on his arm.

Tomlin said Foote had played well enough in the preseason to warrant PT in the regular season. We'll see if that doesn't change after what happened Sunday. Foote was in there for a large portion of the first half, not so much in the second when the defense played marginally better.

marc said...

my problem with the farrior/foote situation is that it wouldn't even be a consideration unless farrior's level of play was declining significantly.

is that what you are seeing dale, or did tomlin simply make a mistake.

Dale Lolley said...

I spoke with Farrior about it after the game and he played it off as nothing new, that they did it last year, which was BS.

I didn't see enough of Farrior Sunday to lead me to believe one thing or another. Whatever they did for whatever reason, it didn't work.

I do know they had some communications issues with the linebackers picking up guys out of the backfield.

adamg said...

Bouchette just tweeted about 10 minutes ago that Colon has a torn triceps and is done for the year.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin keeps sayign that the steelers got beat in 3 aspects of the game. Well he's missing the most important one - COACHING. Tomlin didn;t have the Steelers properly prepared to open the season. He blew it and it showed in the other three aspedcts of the game. Tomlin should remmebr that when you point your index finger at someone else there are 3 fingers pointing back at you. Tomlin & his coaching staff got a report card "F" only because there wasn;t a worse score to give him.

Patrick said...

oh we are just starting to criticize Tomlin this year?

I guess he can only be criticized during a huge blowout to the Ravens and not during any other loses. I have criticized him too many times before and been flamed for it.