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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Post-SF thoughts

Starting Ben Roethlisberger Monday night was absolutely the right call for the Steelers.

Roethlisberger is the Steelers' franchise quarterback, a two-time Super Bowl winner.

He said he was healthy enough to play. If that happens, he plays.

© The fact that Baltimore lost Sunday night had nothing to do with Roethlisberger playing. That decision had already been made.

© Really, there's not a lot to say about this game.

The Steelers did the one big thing against the 49ers that they absolutely needed not to do - turn the ball over.

They didn't force any of their own - though that call against Keenan Lewis for interfering with the return man was a bad one and should have resulted in a fumble recovery for the Steelers.

You can't beat anyone at minus-4.

© Steelers fans should be rooting for the Bengals.

Given Baltimore's struggles on the road this season, there's no reason a motivated Cincinnati team can't beat the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium in Week 17.

© All the Rashard Mendenhall haters need to watch Monday night's game. He ran the ball well and hard against the league's top-rated rush defense in a game in which the Steelers needed a running game to protect their quarterback.

© The offensive line did an outstanding job keeping Roethlisberger clean until late in the game.

© The Steelers' rush defense was solid for the most part against a very good rushing attack. But where was the pressure?

The few times the Steelers did get pressure on Alex Smith, Smith threw the ball wildly.


KT said...

I agree that starting Ben Roethlisberger was the right move.

Before reading what I am about to say let me clarify that I have been and AM a Mike Tomlin supporter.

But the decision to keep Ben Roethlisberger in the game was probably the worst decision Mike Tomlin has made as Pittsburgh Steelers head coach.

Charlie Batch should have gone in the game as soon as San Fran went up 13-3.

datruth4life said...

KT, I agree. The decision to leave Ben in the game was beyond stupid. If he goes down, then that is your season. If he goes down with a career-threatening injury, then you'll have to spend another twenty years looking for your next franchise QB. A team that wants to win a Super Bowl does not go on the road and lay an egg like that with so much at stake. They take care of business.

marc said...

i also agree, starting him was fine. but it was obvious he needed to come out.

i disagree with the dale on the punt play. the replay showed the ball hit lewis on the left hand/arm before the returner even had a chance to catch it. lewis was not blocked into the play, he ran right into it himself.

all in all, bad timing for injuries to pile up. get healthy for the playoffs and make a run at it.

dale, what is woodley's status?

adamg said...

I guess the most puzzling part to me was why the Steelers did not play press/man coverage because, as you said, Smith looked like dear in the headlights when his primary receiver was covered. I think they could have gotten sacks with a 4 man rush.

Anonymous said...

Don't know what replay you saw Marc, but Keenan Lewis didn't touch that ball at all. If anything he pushed the Niners blocker into the ball and it bounced off of the guys right arm.. which I figured was what he got called on anyways. Bang-bang play, for sure though.

Agree on Tomlin leaving Ben in too long... but I also couldn't help but shiver at the thought of watching Charlie Batch get crunched by constant pressure that Niners d-line was dialing up.

Farrior looks two-three steps slow now in coverage.

If we would have waited to re-up Timmons contract until after this year, I think it justifiably be worth half as much. Very disappointing this season.

And finally, where the heck did the Niners find Aldon Smith? And where do we get one at?? Kid is an absolute force. Can't complain about Hood and Heyward though seeing them make consecutive plays on an early drive made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

adamg said...

Smith was the 7th pick in the draft. I guess the Steelers could "find" someone like that more often if they were willing to have a 2,3,4 win team every season.

Dale Lolley said...

I disagree with 13-3, but would have pulled him at 20-3. 13-3 is still within range.

Woodley is fine. Hamstring was starting to fatigue, so they pulled him.

As for the punt play, Mike Pereria tweeted it was a bad call.

marc said...

everyone i was watching with saw it hit lewis' arm on the replay. probably 10 of us, and we weren't too

Anonymous said...

Pull him at 13-3? They still had a shot at it. Maybe at 20-3 they could have taken him out, but really it wasn't that big of a deal to leave him in there...he wanted to go down with the ship, and that's admirable.

There were a few questionable calls in that game. I'm not going to say that was why the Steelers lost, because they shot themselves in the foot, but someone should really have a look at that officiating crew, they screwed up a few big calls.

marc said...

maybe i was more drunk than i thought. i finally found a replay of the punt play and it hit the 49ers arm, not lewis'.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree about Mendenhall, Dale

the runningame seems like it will be a good asset for once in the playoffs

13-3 (KT from above) said...

Lots of good comments here. The Steelers did get on the wrong side of calls, but with the way they were playing, if they get the calls the final score is maybe 16-6.

Dale makes that point that when the score went to 13-3 it was still within range.

That is precisely why I say Batch should have gone in. At that point Batch gave them the best chance to win.

Ben couldn't throw the deep ball, couldn't get to the line of scrimmage after long gains, and was inaccurate. I credit the man's courage, but his injuries had rendered him ineffective.

ibygeorge said...

I am not a Mendenhall hater, I thought he had a good game and he is an asset to the team but how many more games are they going to hand him the ball on first down for a one yard gain, when they have the leading NFL receiver with yards after the catch? Why especially against the top team defending the run? I know our offense is talented, but can't they make it a little bit easier on themselves with a little more deception.

Anonymous said...

So is Big Ben gonna sit against the Rams?? I really believe with our D, this game is very winnable with Charlie back there calling the shots.

I havent watched the replay at all, but the big thing I disagree with last nite was with some of the play calling. Example, on the first interception thrown, there was no check down guy to throw to. Shouldnt the concept be when you have a hurt QB to have quick check down outlets to keep Ben off the ground?? IMO

Glad to hear Harrison will be back, and that Woodley didnt re-injure himself!!

Henry said...

aside from a couple of early big plays from Heyward, Ziggy, and Mclendon on the goal line, I thought our Dline did not play very well.

Keisel, who IMO is having maybe his best season ever, simply had an off game. Couldn't afford that Deebo out. The lack of pressure was really killer.

Add to the fact that Timmons and Farrior really just aren't very good at blitzing up the middle this season for some reason.

Unlike seasons past where I think we've been more susceptible in our sub packages, this yr our base D is weaker. The 9ers kept us in our base D which sucks in coverage (think Farrior, Clark, Foote, Troy in deep coverage)

Solid game from Willie Gay and a good game in run support from Clark and Timmons.

Dale Lolley said...

You don't ever, and I mean ever, pull your franchise QB in a 13-3 game.

marc said...

He's not your franchise QB when he can't scramble and create plays, let alone barely move in the pocket at all. That is probably his best weapon and it is useless with the bum ankle.

Anonymous said...

He, Dale, always great stuff on your blog. Will Mendy be a go on Saturday with his sore ribs?

LA Steeler Fan

adamg said...

Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and maybe this game was one where that applied. I'm sure BR truly felt he was the best option, even with his limited mobility, but maybe he should have honestly weighed the pros and cons and perhaps he'd have come to a different conclusion.

I recall during game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, Crosby got a thigh injury. He came back and tried to skate, but couldn't go full out. It must have killed him to sit on the bench and watch his teammates have to hold off Det most of the final period without him, but he decided he was more of a liability than an asset and so he sat himself.

I'm not blaming BR for playing or Tomlin for using him, just saying there's another perspective.

Josh said...

The 49ers punter deserves special teams player of the week. Sheesh!

joe said...

dale...starting to hear some bad attitude stories about wallace. watching him the last few weeks, i'm starting to believe them. is he going to get over it, or get worse ?
everyone can see brown benefits from wallace double teams, maybe that isn't good enough for him though ?

also pouncey. is he going to be prone to these ankle injuries his entire career ? sure looks like it and that is a bummer, to say the least


Anonymous said...

I really didn't think Ben was throwing the ball all that poorly, he was just making bad decisions. Maybe it was the ankle, maybe Ben would have had the same game on a good ankle. Some of those throws to Miller looked really nice, and he had more zip on the ball than Batch could ever muster with 2 good ankles. Ben's had trouble with elite defenses this year, it's sad that once the Steelers are able to contain elite offenses we start having issues with elite defenses. If they can both get back to prime form then they have something incredible.

Anonymous said...

Joe - I wouldnt say Pouncey is prone to these injuries.

I have seen the plays he gets hurt on and its basivcally other linemen rolling up on his leg

marc said...

hard to quantify how much the ankle affected #7's game. imo, 2 of the int's were high throws from not being able to follow thru. i felt after the 3rd int he started making a stronger effort on keeping the ball down.

however, i feel #7 could have easily avoided the majority of the 49er's rush in the second half on a good ankle. most of those sacks were simply because he couldn't run away from the pressure. and that, i feel, was a huge disadvantage for the steelers.

adamg said...

I think the lockout is a factor in Pouncey's recurring ankle problem since he wasn't able to work out with at the team facilities or under the supervision of the team's medical and training staff (they know the athletes best) at all last off season.

KT said...

I respect your view point Dale, but agree with others who make the point that when your franchise quarterback is so injured that he can't play like your franchise quarterback and you have a quality back up, and home field advantage in the AFC is at stake, you make the change.

bruinmann77 said...

time this week for a few of the regulars to take this short week off.Pouncey should be given a week off and take Trpy and Woodley with him.