Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post-Cincinnati thoughts

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's a reason why they play the games.

And that's all I'm going to say about what happened in Seattle on Sunday.

© Tough day all around for Heath Miller. First he gets hammered a half-second after making a catch by Reggie Nelson; then he bobbles a ball that gets intercepted; and finally he draws an iffy pass interference penalty that negates a touchdown.

To me, the hit by Nelson, by the way, was on a defenseless receiver. The only thing was that Miller held onto the ball.

© The bye comes at a good time for the Steelers.

They'll get LaMarr Woodley and Emmanuel Sanders back in two weeks. And Ben Roethlisberger got pretty beaten up in this game. Cincinnati was credited with 13 QB hits and added five sacks.

© The Bengals are going to be a team to be reckoned with moving forward. They're building a nice nucleus, though the loss of top corner Leon Hall Sunday will hurt them moving forward this season.

© Mike Tomlin said the decision to keep Hines Ward on the bench was his and that Ward was OK to play. But if Tomlin admitted he was protecting Ward, who was coming back from 'concussion-like symptoms,' he might have gotten himself in trouble with the league for playing him in the first place.

With Arnaz Battle and Sanders out, the Steelers needed Ward active. But they didn't need to play him all that much and risk further injury.

And Jerricho Cotchery is getting more comfortable in the Pittsburgh offense.

This is going to be a scary wide receiver group moving forward.

© All the people who wanted to bench/cut William Gay coming out of last week's game can see why the Steelers didn't do so. Gay is having an outstanding season.

© The Steelers were 3-4 scoring touchdowns in red zone trips Sunday. But some people will still complain about the one trip inside the 20 in which they didn't score.

Of course, they actually did score a touchdown on that trip as well - only Miller was called for the penalty.

© With their two turnovers Sunday, the Steelers now have six for the season. That still puts them on pace for just under 10 for the season.

Makes you wonder how they're 7-3.

But they have forced three turnovers in the past two weeks, so maybe they're turning the corner there.

© The lack of turnovers, in my opinion, is because the only player in their secondary who can consistently play the ball in the air, Troy Polamalu, is spending so much time at the line of scrimmage because of the team's issues against the run.

And the corners, who don't play the ball well to begin with, are playing more man, which doesn't allow for a lot of picks either.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

© Can't wait to watch the Ravens and Bengals play next week.

37 comments:

Chris said...

You forgot to give yourself props for calling the score.

Steve-O said...

Dale,
What are your thoughts on Andy Dalton? I was impressed with his poise and think he's got more upside than Joe Flacco. Like you, I think the Bengals are going to be formidable in the coming years.

bruinmann77 said...

dale your correct about Gay he has played well this season and was wondering what you thought of Allen today. I thought Worlids got some pressure and Saubders made a nice play getting that first down.

Dale Lolley said...

I didn't notice Allen much, which is good for a corner.

Worilds played OK. They ran at him in that unbalanced line with some success.

Saunders is coming along.

adamg said...

Dale, Hampton looked slimmed down to me. Is that the case or did my eyes just deceive me?

IIRC, Colt McCoy looked like the real deal last season, so I'll wait and see with Dalton.

Anonymous said...

7-3 at the bye -- I'll take it.

If you would have told me Ben got hit 13 times and sacked five times I would have told you we would lose.

Dale came awfully close to exactly predicting the score for two consecutive weeks. One week is OK but if not for the last-second play last week...whew... Can I have some lotto numbers?

The Bengals have about seven starters on that D-line, it seems like. Speaking of which, Go Bengals next week!

The Ravens are now 0-2 coming off of regular season Super Bowl victories.

Is it me or did Polamalu just stand there and watch Green make that (great) catch?

John Kang said...

Great observation on Troy in the run game; I've noticed he's been lining up along the weak side and pursuing along the backside.

That may indeed be contributing to the lack of interceptions, but what about fumbles? It sure seems that other teams aren't even bobbling the ball much. Stars are aligned against us.

TarheelFlyer said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's a reason why they play the games.

And that's all I'm going to say about what happened in Seattle on Sunday.




Well, they apparently can't focus the way they need to on the road. They beat us, in a game they should have lost, and are only 2-3 on the road.




© Tough day all around for Heath Miller. First he gets hammered a half-second after making a catch by Reggie Nelson; then he bobbles a ball that gets intercepted; and finally he draws an iffy pass interference penalty that negates a touchdown.

To me, the hit by Nelson, by the way, was on a defenseless receiver. The only thing was that Miller held onto the ball.




The Interference call was probably right, but I think he thought Ben was running.




© This is going to be a scary wide receiver group moving forward.




I really look forward to getting Saunders back in there. Brown has really come into his own. Ben missed Wallace on that one throw, or this game wouldn't have needed the 2 INTs.





© All the people who wanted to bench/cut William Gay coming out of last week's game can see why the Steelers didn't do so. Gay is having an outstanding season.




Last week wasn't Gay's fault. Clark should have gotten over in coverage and didn't. The D as a whole had trouble getting off the field last week, but it happens.





© The Steelers were 3-4 scoring touchdowns in red zone trips Sunday. But some people will still complain about the one trip inside the 20 in which they didn't score.

Of course, they actually did score a touchdown on that trip as well - only Miller was called for the penalty.



BA struggles in 2 areas for me.

1. Consistently having a gameplan which works. If it doesn't work, it takes him a while to ditch it, if he does at all, and take what the D give him.

2. When we make a play and then it is reversed, we lose momentum. Post penalty, the play calling I thought was awful.





© With their two turnovers Sunday, the Steelers now have six for the season. That still puts them on pace for just under 10 for the season.

Makes you wonder how they're 7-3.

But they have forced three turnovers in the past two weeks, so maybe they're turning the corner there.



It tells you that this team is better than most of us thought we would be after game #1. There was a lot of, we suck talk, but the reality is, this coaching staff has done a damn good job of adjusting and getting back on track.




© Can't wait to watch the Ravens and Bengals play next week.



Go Bengals!! (did I just say that?)

Anonymous said...

last year when the secondary was slightly suspect, troy was limited because he was forced to constantly drop into coverage or play center field. now this year, when the run D is slightly suspect, troy is limited because he's forced to play on the line of scrimmage.

imagine a D where everything was taken care of with 10 people and Troy was allowed to be unleashed. Possibly unrealistic, but we've seen it before in years past. Here's hoping the bye week and some health allow for that to happen.

fineline said...

Three "moving forwards"? You're spending too much time listening to Mike Tomlin.
Speaking of forcing turnovers,they could have had another if Polamalu would try to make a play instead of watching AJ Green

marc said...

gay came through in a big moment. good for him. all i will say is that he was in a position to succeed. off the line in zone coverage reading the QB. he made a great play.

i too was wandering why troy didn't make a play on the ball in the endzone. it was strange.

i ddin't think the hit on miller should be a penalty. it appeared to be all shoulder to miller's chest, to me.

then game went as thought, steelers jump out early, bengals make a game of it. however, it was nice to see the defense make the plays when needed.

go bengals!!

rvaccare said...

Great call on the score Dale!!

erock said...

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Anonymous said...

^ a plug? naaaaa...
lol

TarheelFlyer said...

ERock - LOL at coming to a STEELERS web blog and pimping your Dish Network using the Bengals players...

Let's not also forget that in addition to the INT that Gay had, he also assisted on Timmons INT a little earlier in the game.

Eric T said...

I think Troy held up when he saw Clark trying to make a play. Also, AJ green worries me a ton more than Dalton does going forward. He looks like he could be a Calvin Johnson clone.

I thought Worlids rushed the passer well, but they ran at him and Hood pretty successfully. Part of that is the Cincy OL (A. Smith looked beastly run blocking), but he needs to get stronger at the point of attack.

All in all, big road win in the division. A couple of breaks going our way instead of against us (Miller catches the ball instead of tips it to Hall, the Off PI, etc...) and they do not get back into it.

adamg said...

I dunno, that would have been a great catch by Heath on the pick. The ball was way behind him and low. He had to reach back and I was surprised he even got his hands on it at all.

marc said...

great catch?! are you nuts? it was in his bread basket.

adamg said...

No it wasn't. Watch the replay if you can find it. The pass was low and behind Miller. He had to stop and then lean and reach back with his arms fully extended for the ball.

marc said...

i watched it on nfl network. he stopped, squared to the ball, it hit both his hands, then his chest, then his fingertips...

that ball should be caught 100% of the time. i'll bet miller would say so.

nevertheless, it would have been far from a great catch had he held on.

adamg said...

That's not "hitting him in the breadbasket" then, is it?

Would any receiver tell you they should have caught it? Yeah. Was it an easy catch? No.

Dale Lolley said...

The only reason I think the hit on Miller was a penalty is because the safety launched and hit a defenseless receiver. Wasn't helmet-to-helmet, but Miller hadn't taken a step and was hit

marc said...

i don't know what you're watching. that was an easy catch, flat out no doubt about it. i was shocked he dropped it.

marc said...

dale,
i don't know the technical rules, but just don't think a player should be penalized for a bang-bang play as long as they don't hit the head.

i'm not saying you are wrong, but rather the "defenseless" receiver rule seems to imply defenders must let the receiver catch the ball before they are allowed to hit them.

just doesn't make any sense to me.

Eric T said...

i don't know the technical rules

I feel like this is the problem among the players, coaches and refs. Clark gets fined $40k on a play the coaches use as an example of what to do. Miller gets hit in a defenseless position, but the ref does not call a penalty, while other reffing crews may have. The NFL needs to be clearer in explaining what constitutes a penalty and the refs need to be more consistent in calling it.

Regarding the Miller drop/INT. It wasn't a perfect pass, but clearly catch-able as it hit him square in the hands. Miller had a rough game. It happens. I feel confident he will play better next week because that's what he normally does after a bad play or game.

Easley said...

I share Marc's confusion on this matter. I don't consider a receiver who catches a ball 20 yards downfield a "defenseless receiver," I consider him a scoring threat. When you hit him and jar the ball loose, that's good football. Now, I understand the call when, say , the ball is clearly overthrown and the DB lays out the receiver anyway... that seems gratuitous and avoidable. But this is getting ridiculous.

Tim said...

I never considered the hit by Nelson would be called a penalty. You're allowed to time a hit well and hit hard, even if the receiver is defenseless. You're just not allowed to hit is head (and mostly, especially if you're Ryan Clark, you're not allowed to come close to his head. But that's not a rule, that's just something they do). It was a brutal whiplash, but legal as far as I understand. It might come to disallowance of all hits on receivers catching the ball, but I don't think we're quite there yet. Maybe next year.

The PI looked to me that Heath was blocking for Mendenhall, who was supposed to catch the quickout that Ben didn't throw. He made minimal contact, but he didn't block or grab or hold. He just touched the guy. Technically a foul, I suppose.

...Heath Miller is one of my favorite players in NFL history, but anyone saying they are amazed he even got his hands on it needs to have his or her head examined. The throw was fine. It didn't hit him in stride, but it DID hit him right between the numbers. He stopped for it, and it was right there. It was a mistake and terrible luck, but there's no need to make stuff up.

Dale Lolley said...

You're wrong about that Tim. I saw the film this summer at training camp when they described what they would call a defenseless receiver. Under the rules now in place, a defenseless receiver is one who has not turned and taken a step with the ball.
You are not permitted to hit or launch at the receiver in that situation because he is considered defenseless.
Do I agree with it? No. But that's what they said they were going to call.

As for the ball that was intercepted, Miller should have caught it. It was in his hands. He said after the game that was on him.

bruinmann77 said...

It nice to be getting healthy when other teams are grtting their Injuries.

bruinmann77 said...

it be nice to see the steelers to be healthy heading into the stretch/

bruinmann77 said...

Dale do you think Kemo will still be the starter in KC.
What are the chances that their might be a new kicker om KC

Pistol said...

Dale,

Should Woodley be good to go after the bye?? I think your being kind when you say Worilds was ok because he was manhandled by Smith on virtually every play.

Also i have to give it up to #22 i have been really critical of him and he's made plays almost all year.

marc said...

unless woodley is absolutely 100% healthy, i think they should rotate woodley and worilds against the chiefs. it will be good to continue to get worilds playing time and the steelers should have no problem with the chiefs, especially with cassel out of the game.

then, hopefully, woodley will be primed and ready to go the next week against cincy.

Pistol said...

Marc,

I would def err on the side of caution with him. He is a playmaker and is vital for any playoff push with this team.

Dale Lolley said...

Put it this way, Woodley ran into the tunnel after the Cincinnati game. He'll be fine.

Tim said...

I admit I haven't read any recent rule changes or seen any videos about the defenseless receiver stuff, but the way you are describing it, it sounds like every hit on a guy who is just catching the ball will now be a penalty. That used to be considered perfect timing. Are they now supposed to wait for him to catch it and take a step before tackling him gently?

I've seen plenty of well-timed hits this year on receivers catching the ball that were not called penalties. Are you saying that by the rules, all hard hits on receivers catching the ball should be 15 yard personal fouls, regardless of where contact was made?

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