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Monday, November 28, 2011

Post-Kansas City thoughts

Sloppy is the only way to describe the Steelers' 13-9 win at Kansas City Sunday night.

And not just sloppy play, but coaching as well.

Both the offensive and defensive units were penalized for having 12 men on the field. I can't remember the last time that was called on the Steelers once, let alone twice, in the same game.

Add to that Ben Roethlisberger's inexplicable brain cramp when he waived the punting team off the field on fourth down in the third quarter from the KC 39, only to take a timeout with time expiring and you get the idea that nobody's head was really in this game.

Kansas City outcoached and outplayed the Steelers for much of this game. The Steelers were fortunate that Tyler Palko was in the Christmas mood and kept on giving.

© Any game plan in which Mewelde Moore gets five first-half touches compared to none for Mike Wallace in the first two quarters of play is not a good one.

Nothing against Moore, who's made some big plays over the years, but Wallace is one of the premiere game changers in the league.

I also realize he was being doubled constantly and some of Moore's touches came on dumpoffs and such, but you've got to get the ball into Wallace's hands.

© The same theory is why Hines Ward isn't a big part of this offense any longer.

Who would you rather have the ball, Ward or Antonio Brown?

Yes, Ward came up with a big third-down catch, but his other three receptions went for seven yards.

Wallace, by the way, finished with two catches. Ward and Moore combined for seven for 30 yards.

© Hard to believe that LaMarr Woodley would have had a more impactful game than the one Jason Worilds played.

Subbing for Woodley, Worilds had six tackles, including one for a loss, four hurries and the Steelers' lone sack.

© The coaches were also raving about the catch Wes Saunders made in the back of the end zone for the game's lone TD as well.

Couple that with the fact that Saunders is a credible blocker and you have to feel a little better about the Steelers' overall depth.

© Oh, and did I mention that Ryan Mundy had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception?

© The Steelers played poorly and stole a game on the road. Baltimore has played poorly on the road a couple of times this season and lost.

It happens.

The biggest issue is that the offensive line just doesn't seem to handle crowd noise well, which could be an issue in the postseason.

There weren't a lot of Steelers fans in Kansas City Sunday night and pretty much every offensive lineman had a holding penalty – except Chris Kemoeatu. Go figure.


joe said...

penalties, penalties and more penalties. drives me crazy but tomlin does nothing about it year after year. o-line looked bad after playing well recently. wallace dropped a few. arians can't call a game to save his ass. ben...good grief. hard to argue with tomlins success, but it sure looks like he is content to just stand there and let things play out on gameday. no way should the talent on this offense be as inconsistent as it is.

Anonymous said...

to have all those turnovers and all those drives inside KC and only score 13 points is absolutely PATHETIC

joe said...

yes it was. we don't win that game without palko throwing it right to our guys and fumbling.
i gave up on polo making a form tackle a long time ago. he paid the price for his "tackle" last night.

Todd said...

A win is a win.

We found a way. Next up Cincinnati.

marc said...

well, it seems most agree it was truely pathetic the offense only scored 13 points last night. especially considering the talent they have and the field position handed to them.

i, like most (i think), believe that points is the best way to judge the quality of an offense. consider that of the current 12 playoff teams, 11 of them rank in the top 12 in points scored per game.

the one lone exception? - you guessed it - the steelers are currently 19th in the nfl and worst amongst playoff teams.

still waiting for that high octane offense, but would settle for a good run game any day.

kyle said...

Not sure what you mean by Tomlin standing by year after year with penalties. 2009 the Steelers were like 23rd in penalties. Last year they were tied with two other teams for 12th. So far this year, they're 21st. This isn't the raiders or chargers we're talking about. The Steelers are a fairly veteran and disciplined team. Like all teams they sometimes do stupid things and I think last night you could chalk up at least four of the penalties to crowd noise (not an excuse, just an explanation).

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not sure what form Polamalu should use to bring a 290-plus man down in the open field. That was about the only way he was bringing him down - and it forced the field goal.

As for Tomlin and doing something about penalties - what's he supposed to do. Yes, the 12 men on the field are one him. But how's Tomlin stopping a holding call?

adamg said...

Undoubtedly Ward's career is nearing its end, but I think he would have caught that pass Wallace dropped in the end zone and the one Brown dropped near the end of the game that would have been a first down. These are the situations where Ward excels and there's no reason not to use him there.

I think all OLs have trouble on the road hearing signals. I'm not sure the Steelers O-linemen are any better or worse than those of any visiting team.

adamg said...

This amazes me. Since 1992 (almost 20 years), the Steelers have played KC 11 times and 10 of them on the road. I'd reckon KC should be spending the next two decades playing in Pgh when the two teams are scheduled to meet.

Anonymous said...

Make up your mind Dale, you've been preaching "check down Ben" for a while now, and when he finally starts checking it down consistently you start asking where Wallace is. I personally don't care how they do it, I just want to see TDs instead of field goals.

Ward will make some incredible grabs down the stretch. He's far from done, when the team needs him the most he will deliver.

John Kang said...

Ward can still find holes in zone coverage, I wouldn't write him off too quick.

Steve-O said...

I don't want to speak for Dale but I think he's referring to the underneath stuff going to Wallace and Brown who have the potential to break it big. Why not call the underneath plays for Wallace more often? The Chiefs were giving him a cushion and whenver the Steelers took advantage of it they gained considerable 1st down yardage.

I have to agree with Dale on the 4th down time out/brain fart that Ben gave up. Why not take the delay of game? Its 4th down at your 39 if you're going to punt whats the harm in doing it from your 44?

I haven't checked the stats but it sure seems like the Steelers are slow starters out of the bye week.

marc said...

i saw today that the steelers call a pass play on 1st down over 68% of the time this year - 3rd most in the nfl.

also, to whoever was complaining about penalties, 20 teams have committed more penalties than the steelers this year.

Anonymous said...

Of course there's no reason Ben can't throw shorter on-time passes to Wallace and Brown or Miller -- this is more what we of the The Checkdown Ben Movement are talking about, as opposed to merely dumping the ball off to Mewelde Moore or whatever, although that is sometimes necessary as well. (At least I think that's what it means - am I right?)

Wallace should be an almost-automatic 8-yard out any time you need it.

Ben's brain cramp is completely unsurprising. It's just a more creative way than usual to waste second half timeouts.

I also think Ward in the red zone and third-down situations can still be a significant factor.

Kapinos did a good job punting last night. (We're fortunate no one traded up to draft him whatever year he came out :) )

Nice to see Worilds have a good game. It's hard to tell how good the defense played because they basically just did what they're supposed to do in that situation -- stand there and wait for the ball to be thrown directly at them -- for alot of the game. The two long drives in the 4th quarter are worrisome but part of a pattern...

Anonymous said...

I think the D gets worn down in the 4Q because LeBeau doesn't rotate players very much, plus they're on the field for a long time because the O goes into shutdown mode.

KT said...

Interesting and excellent points about the number of touches Moore and Ward got vs. Wallace.

...But maybe that also says something about Wallace?

Don't get me wrong. I like Wallace. And he's proven that he is more than just a "one trick pony" this year, catching a lot of stuff underneath.

But last year during the playoffs he had difficulty getting separation from the DB's, perhaps he's similarly having difficulty with the double teams?

That's just a hypothesis that I will not have time to "test" via game film review....

adamg said...

Last night the defensive front 7 was getting thin as the game wore on. They only dressed 5 DL. Woodley and Sylvester were inactive, then Carter and Foote (iirc) got hurt in the game leaving them shorthanded at LB.

Pistol said...


Do you think that Worilds is here to stay??Guy was unblockable. Maybe he's finally healthy as it takes forever to get over hamstring injuries???

Is it me or does it seem like Arians gets a gameplan in his head and wont change up regardless of how effective it is??? On tv looked like the slant and hitch were easy money last night. But i can only see so much from those angles.

Anonymous said...

good write up Dale.... if its not turnovers, its penalties... Now, with the amount of gifts we were given the score should have been 24-3 in the blink of an eye...

What is up with the red zone Dale?? Is it because we no longer have a running game???

bruinmann77 said...

The penalties were a big cause of a lot of frustration as well as the drops last nights. the To after the fake 4th down was equally as bad.But like Dale said the youngsters had a great game like Worlids and Mundy.
But also to know w/o Tyler mistakes the steelers dont't come away with the win.

Dale Lolley said...

You can't check down to Wallace? You can't throw some of those bubble screens to him? Right. Get the ball into the hands of your top playmaker.

I'm not writing Ward off. But there's no way he and Mewelde Moore should have more touches than Wallace. Crossing routes, bubble screens and such.

As for what happened last season, it's a different year. He's running much better patterns. But he's now doubled on every play.

I think the lack of a running mentality is the problem in the red zone.

marc said...

much easier for teams to defend the 4 and 5 WR sets when the field is shortened in the red zone. any chance BA realizes that by the end of the year?

i believe this is his last season as OC.

bruinmann77 said...

Dale is it the running mentality or is it the lack excution in the blocking Schemes or just the Running backs not hitting the holes.

Dale Lolley said...

Lack of a running mentality, in my opinion. It's a mindset.

Steve-O said...

Ever since Jerome Bettis left they haven't had a back who consistently punches the whole with authority. Even Redman who I like looked tentative at times. I realize that the NFL has become a passing league but that doesn't mean they can't play with a little bit of a running mentality and smack an opponent in the mouth every now and then. This team lacks toughness and a little bit of nasty. Without it they won't last in the playoffs.

Golden Mike Tomczak said...

Agreed, an ugly win, but a win. The Steelers have proven this season to be a team that rebounds after less than good performances. I expect Cinci to get beat handedly next week, and the Steelers need to prepare as such.

Anonymous said...

Wallace should get a few more touches, but the fact that he draws the double team is opening up the easy stuff underneath. I'd rather see the more of the underneath stuff go to Brown, because he is a play maker, but if a defense is going to give you 10 yard routes to Miller, Ward, and Moore all day then take it. It worked against the Patriots.

The Steelers need to get the run game going, the redzone percentage is suffering because of the lack of run game.

Anonymous said...

How do you get a running mentality if you don't emphasise running the ball?

Paul said...

Well, I was there, and Id say there was 30-40% Steeler fans there. And, some empty seats.

But, its always noisy in Arrowhead, at night, prime time, badly needing a win, a good D....the Chiefs were tough.

joe said...

i think we have way to many penalties under tomlin. it's something that should be focused on in practice. they are a huge pet peeve of mine when playing football. i don't know the exact stats, maybe i'm wrong about it, but cohwer was a stickler about penalties being kept to a minimum.

as for polo, dale, do you really think diving in head first was the best way to tackle ? he plays to reckless when it comes to tackling and has never been good at it. that concussion may cost him several games and might have him in more trouble long term because he keeps getting them.

bens play to side step the defender and make a great toss to the te was a thing of beauty. on the other hand he can't consistently keep it in his head to hit the short stuff and keep the chains moving.

mendy hasn't been used properly since we drafted him. he should be racking up huge yards catching the ball out of the backfield. as for the running game, i think they are so focused on pass protect, they just don't run block well

with the talent on o, i just expect more points (only thing that matters-i don't play fantasy)

i have saw so many complain about the defensive draft picks instead of getting o-linemen. yes the o-line isn't that great. (get two in the off season and they should be set though) but all the defensive picks look to be setting this defense up for the next seven-eight years though. plenty to get excited about with the young guys coming on this year on d

marc said...

looking at the penalties under cowher and tomlin:

2002 - 90
2003 - 111
2004 - 99
2005 - 99
2006 - 69

2007 - 80
2008 - 95
2009 - 85
2010 - 100
2011 - on pace for 95

i wouldn't say cowher was any better at minimizing penalties than tomlin. i would say he was better at closing out games though.

Terry Funk said...

U big dummy Wallace dropped a pass in the end zone. They he dropped a bomb that also coulda went for 6.