Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Post-Rams thoughts

Not a lot to say about this one. The Rams flat-out stink other than Steven Jackson.

As much as Maurice Jones-Drew is Jacksonville's entire offense, Jackson is the same for St. Louis.

It is somewhat troubling that, knowing that, the Steelers still permitted Jackson to rush for 100 yards and the Rams to go for 164 as a team.

The defense had been trending toward better showings against the run after some horrendous efforts early in the year.

It took a step back in that regard Saturday.

© Rashard Mendenhall takes a lot of flak from Steelers fans, who apparently prefer their runners to be 250-pound plodders.

But he made some outstanding runs in this one.

Yes, it was against St. Louis, which is awful against the run.

But coupled with Mendenhall's recent efforts - including a strong game last week at San Francisco – and you have a unit that has to at least keep opponents on edge heading into the playoffs.

Mendenhall's yards and carries are way down this season - 890 on 220 heading into Week 17 – but he's been kept fresh from having just one 20-plus carry game all season.

© Chris Kemoeatu played an entire game without a penalty

There's your early Christmas gift.

© Charlie Batch played OK in this one. Not great, but not bad.

But he didn't enough to show me that he would have led the Steelers to a win at San Francisco last week.

I'll stick with my original feeling that starting Roethlisberger in that game gave the Steelers the best chance to win. It didn't work out that way, but it's the truth.

© Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin send a message to rookie offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, benching him because he wasn't happy with his preparation.

I've got a feeling, however, that if Baltimore would have been the opponent, Gilbert would have been out there.

© Kudos to Antonio Brown for breaking the team record for all-purpose yards in a season.

© The Steelers-Cleveland game has been moved to 4:15 p.m. and will be played at the same time as Cincinnati-Baltimore.

© Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy your friends and family if you have the opportunity.


Steve-O said...

Merry Christmas Dale and thanks for a great year of Steeler commentary. Your insight and thoughts are always interesting even if I don't always agree (which is rare).

Anonymous said...

Timmons played a pretty good game today.

Anonymous said...

merry xmas dale!

James F. said...

Merry Christmas Steelers Nation. Dale keep up the great work.

marc said...

merry christmas.

go steelers.

go bengals.

adamg said...

Merry Christmas to all and thanks also Dale for this great blog. :)

I was at the game and Steven Jackson could play on my team any day. 7 straight 1000 yard seasons on some awful teams is truly a remarkable acheivement.
It would be easy to quit in circumstances like that, but he ran the ball hard every single time he touched it.

Batch played a great game and showed he's still pretty nimble, ducking the rush a couple times. The check down pass to Mendenhall on one of those times that went for a big gain was a play I'd bet BR would have ignored. The crowd broke into "Charlie" chants a few times during the game, too.

Dale Lolley said...

I didn't think Batch was great. Couple of escapes were good, but he threw some passes that may have been picked by a better defense.
You also see the difference between he and Ben on his outs. Charlie's take a long time to get there.
But it was a credible job altogether.

I think they have to start Ben in Cleveland.

pittpete said...

Timmons played a pretty good game today.

I think Timmons was pedestrian at best.On the Rams 1st drive on 3rd down he was totally out of position and Jackson ran 15 yds for a first.He seemed to be slow to the hole on a lot of other plays as well and has trouble shedding blockers.Looked pretty bad on a few tackles as well as one that would've been for a loss.Same last week against SF.His only sack came when he was unblocked.Not sure but on the pass to Jackson in the flat that went for a long gainer it looked like he had man because Worilds went with the reciever in man down the sideline. Don't let the stats full you, this guy has been lacking something this year.

Jim said...

Dale, here's a novel idea. I see the Bengals are literally giving away tickets to try to have a sellout. How about Steeler fans head out there to root for them against Baltimore? They need all the help they can get!

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adamg said...

Dale, I'd say Batch was more than competent. The offense scored 27 points and would have had another 4 had Wallace not dropped a TD pass inside the goal line on the first drive. He had 1 turnover that was a result of both him and Brown slipping on the turf. He made a great check down read and dump to Mendenhall for a big gain. He even had a productive run game without marginalizing the passing game. He managed the game exceedingly well. And, I'm not even a Batch fan. BR is obviously far more physically gifted, but he's not necessarily a better qb.

Steve-O said...

I just read a story about Jericho Cotchery in the Tribune Review and they quoted Hines Ward who was very complimentary. I've got to hand it to Hines, the guy is a class act, or at least it sure seems that way. You see him in the locker room, is there any animosity there or does he accept this role as part of the natural progression of things in the NFL?

Dale Lolley said...

No animosity with Ward and anyone else. They all respect what he does and, as he learned from Bettis, he realizes that at some point, you have to give way to the younger guys.

As for Wallace dropping a TD pass, I didn't see that at all. I saw a pass that Batch threw into coverage - slightly behind the receiver - and it was knocked away.

Roethlisberger puts up 40 points on that defense - with his eyes closed.

adamg said...

Dale, considering the Steelers have put up 40+ pts a grand total of 3 times from 2005-11, it's hardly a given BR would have led the offense to that many absent the no turnovers from the defense.

As for Wallace, I was at the game also and it sure looked to me like a catchable ball.
In fact, I'd bet if the receiver was named Miller, Ward or Cotchery, that would have been called a dropped pass. The fact is, if Wallace wants the big money, he has to catch those kind of balls.

Dale Lolley said...

This Rams team is the worst I've seen in quite some time. I have no doubt the Steelers put up 40 with BR at QB. Remember, Batch threw the pick - they both slipped - in the red zone and they kicked two FGs.

You can't honestly think Batch is a better QB than Roethlisberger? I know some of the bozos were chanting Charlie's name, but come on.

Roethlisberger is an elite QB. Batch is a career backup.

As for the pass to Wallace, it was definitely behind him, allowing the DB to make the play.

bruinmann77 said...

bloutDale do you feel that ward will be back with the steelers in 2012

Dale Lolley said...

It depends on how their playoffs go. I know he'd like to come back, but if they win a Super Bowl, he'll walk away like Bettis did.

As for the Steelers wanting him to come back, I don't think they'd necessarily be opposed, but they may want him to take a pay cut to do so.

datruth4life said...

Dale, what are your thoughts on the Bengals being sky high this weekend and play lights out to knock off the Ravens? I think the Steelers have to have an "all hands on deck mentality" because they could still possibly win the division. If Woodley, Ben and Pouncey can go, I think they should be in the lineup.

Any thoughts on who will be starting at ILB next year with Timmons? Farrior should retire, and Foote isn't the answer long-term. Has Sly Sylvester shown you anything to think he could some day handle the spot?

adamg said...

Dale, no I don't think Batch is a better overall qb than BR and clearly his best role now is back up qb. I just think you didn't give enough credit to Batch for playing a very nice game. He made good decisions and generally good throws and didn't get sacked.

While I wasn't one of the fans chanting Batch's name, the fans who did were merely showing their appreciation for a surprisingly good performance from a back up qb who rarely plays.

My point about Wallace is he has to do a better job in the end zone positioning himself and fighting for balls that come his way.

Anonymous said...


What types of injuries did Dwyer and Curtis Brown suffer that landed them on IR?

marc said...

i would rest pouncey and woodley. dress #7 but only play him if necessary.

this game with cleveland is going to be ugly, imo. since harrison knocked out mccoy all the city has been talking about is getting revenge. a few cleveland players have brushed it off, but others have simply said, "we play them again."

i think there will be cheap shots all over the place.

adamg said...

Dwyer had a foot injury, but he probably landed on IR because they needed a roster spot.

TarheelFlyer said...

The thing I like about Batch starting overall, not to say he is better than Ben cause he just isn't, is that when Batch starts BA runs a better called offense. He isn't so aggressive all the time. He takes the 8 yards on first down and is okay with it. It doesn't need to be a 15 yard pick up. I have no problem throwing the ball down the field, he tried at least twice one with the INT and other for a TD, but he used the run to his advantage. It wasn't just running behind the RG with the LG pulling every play.

Put Ben with that same offensive game plan, and I bet he scores on almost every possession.

Dale Lolley said...

Is it BA being aggressive or Ben being aggressive? They ran the deep routes against St. Louis. Charlie just didn't take as many shots.

How many times have we seen Ben opt not to throw to an open receiver underneath to take a shot downfield?

As for the injuries to Brown and Dwyer, they're not serious. But when you're talking about guys at the end of your roster being out for a few weeks and you need the roster spot, they go on IR rather than wait for them to heal.

I don't think Harrison is worried about any cheap shots from the Browns. They talked tough after he knocked out Massaquoi last season as well.