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Monday, September 10, 2012

Post-Denver thoughts

Sunday's game was about missed opportunities for the Steelers.

The Steelers recovered a fumble in the first quarter at the Denver 47, made a first down and then punted from the Denver 45.

You have to turn that into some points.

If the Steelers at least get a field goal there, they go into the half up 13-7 and have the ball to open the third quarter.

That changes the entire complexion of the game.

@ Through three quarters, Ben Roethlisberger was 10 of 11 for 129 yards on third downs and the Steelers converted 10 of 16 third downs.

Roethlisberger converted his first third down in the fourth quarter - a 3-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace - but then missed Heath Miller on third-and-three on his next attempt, giving the ball back to the Broncos.

That allowed Peyton Manning and company to eat up a bunch of clock on a field goal drive.

When you're playing a future Hall of Fame quarterback on the road, you've got to be nearly perfect. Roethlisberger was just short of that on third downs.

@ I thought it was a curious decision that Casey Hampton got so much playing time over Steve McLendon.

Not that Hampton necessarily played poorly, but McLendon is more of a pass rusher than Hampton, who had barely played in the preseason.

Speaking of pass rush, where was it? Larry Foote had a sack and a couple of QB hits and Jason Worilds had a sack and hit, but that was it.

Nothing from anyone else.

Peyton Manning completed just one pass more than 20 yards down the field, so they were getting the ball out quickly. But how about knocking a ball or two down at the line of scrimmage?

@ The Steelers gambled with their offensive line, keeping just eight healthy guys and going into Sunday's game with just seven guys active.

Ramon Foster got poked in the eye and was unable to return, while Marcus Gilbert suffered a hyperextended knee.

They were one injury away from Heath Miller playing tackle.

@ I've been beating this drum for a while now, but Jonathan Dwyer has got to get the ball more than Isaac Redman.

@ I have no problem with Mike Tomlin challenging Eric Decker's 17-yard catch at the 1. The ball was fumbled through the end zone and the Broncos hurried to the line of scrimmage to run another play before Tomlin or any of his coaches upstairs could see a replay.

If Decker had fumbled out of the end zone, it would have been Pittsburgh ball with a 19-14 lead. It was a risk worth taking.


marc said...

i don't know dale, there's gonna be some missed opportunities every game. but the defense was like swiss cheese out there. i know it's peyton manning, but c'mon, they've got to be better than that.

ibygeorge said...

The only way the Steelers might have a chance in stopping and confusing Manning's no huddle play making is to disguise few more DB's to look like Polamalu.

Anonymous said...

Dwyer is slow and has hands of stone. I'd like to see Batch and Rainey get more time out there if we're going to be tossing so many balls to the backs.

TarHeelFlyer said...

Yep, Ben was 10 of 11 through 3 quarters of play, but that 1 Incomplete was pretty huge. Instead of opening the scoring with a TD, Ben under throws the ball to Heath on 3rd and goal....we settle for a FG. Talk about a missed opportunity. That would have been potentially 17-7 at half. BIG difference in how you play from there on out.

It doesn't help that the Broncs had the ball for 21 seconds in the 3rd quarter and still got as many TDs as we did. Our D really hurt us last night.

I agree that Hampton should have seen less time. I don't feel like our DC made very good in-game adjustments. Yes, it hurts that they didn't see the hurry up until the last possession of the half, but they should have been thinking about how to fix that.

The Oline situation is what it is at this point. If Foster can play this coming week, I still see the line being better than it was last year. The last possession where Denver just knew what we were running really hurt us.

I agree, Dwyer over Redman. He is just better. Yeah, I know that everyone loves Redzone, but talk about slow. Redman's longest run ever....27 yards. Dwyer 76 yards. So let's see who is it that is slow.

I had no problem with the challenge if only to give the D some time to get their wits about them. That just didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

So Arians signed Essex

is any move going to be made now? Adams, surprisingly, was a bright spot yesterday. But he showed in preseason that he's a very inconsistent rookie, which is not unexpected

Lance said...

I agree about Dwyer getting more reps too, they should have let him get into more of a rhythm. The D really let us down in this one, just not enough pressure on Manning, tough to beat him with no pressure. I also was surprised to see Hampton getting so much PT, once he was in, Manning just kept going hurry up so he had to stay in (since it takes him 4 minutes to run to the sidelines) I thought that was a big mistake, McLendon is just younger, in better shape, and a quicker pass rusher, no need for big snack to play if no one is trying to run the ball.

Big Ben played well until the pick six. One good thing is that the Steelers usually win rematches in the playoffs when the lose in the regular season. The linebackers really need to step up, where was Woodley?

alexrkirby said...

It thought i saw Woodley getting doubleteamed. It makes sense. Have a back or TE chip on Woodley because you know they weren't scared of Carter/Worlids.

Still you would have liked to see Woodley make a play. He wasn't chipped every play.

But Manning was getting the ball out on time. The secondary needs to hold up a few seconds so the rush can get here.

Dale Lolley said...

Manning attempted about two passes beyond 20 yards. Tough to get pressure on that. But you've got to get hands up in the passing lane or a quick push up the middle. Jam the receivers and break up the timing.

What did Rainey do Sunday that made you think he'd be a better running option. He had three touches for four yards. He'll never break a tackle, so unless he's running behind five blocks of granite, he's going to get stuffed more often than not.
He's a guy you need to get the ball to in space.

And Batch did nothing in the preseason to garner any kind of confidence. Like 2.9 per carry.

Fact is, the Steelers were one or two plays offensively or defensively from winning that game. That's what you expect in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Baron Batch caused the first sack on Ben by not looking back for the ball when Ben was trying to get it to him to avoid a sack.

Mewelde Moore will be missed.

Anonymous said...

It was a joke how little we used Chris Rainey.

marc said...

interesting to see the ravens running a lot of no huddle tonight.

bad move to gamble with essex. they tried to save some money and now he's gone. any thoughts on how they're gonna handle that dale?

remember, rainey is only a rookie and can't break a tackle. he will get roughly 3-5 touches a game until he proves he can make plays. nothing wrong with that. don't expect him on 3rd downs when he might need to pickup a blitz...he'll get crushed and so will #7.

kyle said...

You know, I'm not sure they gambled with Essex. Everyone assumed that once DeCastro was put on IR that they would bring Essex back but instead they brought in Van Dyke. They would have had to cut someone else to sign Essex. Maybe they planned on cutting Van Dyke this week and bringing back Essex after week 1 so his salary wouldn't be guaranteed but that is not a ton of money so I'm not sure. Maybe they looked at it like this, Essex and Beachum both looked bad in the preseason but they know Essex isn't getting any better. The old upside argument is hardly convincing but I'm leaning towards it.

Anonymous said...

I still want to see Rainey more involved.

Doug Legursky graded out the worst of any Offensive lineman in the NFL so far by Profootballfocus allowing the most pressures which include sacks, hits and hurries.

He looked like Chris Kemoeatu at the right guard spot, Pathetic.

kyle said...

They had him back there for kicks but in Denver he might as well have been on the sideline. That stupid horse mascot had a better chance of returning one. They obviously don't trust him on punts yet. I don't need him to get more touches but I would like his touches to come in space. He didn't get much of that last night.

I was worried when I noticed Legursky was in and he did nothing to assuage my fears. He's just too small to play guard and last night he was even making bad mistakes on top of it.

alexrkirby said...

The Ravens offensive line looks like a well oiled machine blocking for Ray Rice.

Our oline blocking is just a big mess of guys falling down. It's offensive, but not in the good way.

Anonymous said...

Dwyer looked good, I'd like to see him get more touches as well. Ben was looking good in the 3rd quarter, not sure what happened to him on the final drive. I think he gets frustrated with the dink and dunk, but all he needs to do is look at the elite QBs (Manning, Brady) to know that if the defense gives you that then you take it all day long. Had he stayed with it the Steelers would have won.

The Steelers need a "hurry-up" D and it should be McLendon not Big Snack. With the success the Broncos had the Steelers are going to keep seeing the hurry up until they can stop it. Troy was helping by moving around, they probably need another couple guys moving until the ball is snapped to really shut the hurry up down for good.

marc said...

they will definitely see more no huddle/hurry up. the ravens pulled it out last night very often against the bengals and smoked them.

Anonymous said...

IMO, no one should underestimate how much not having Ryan Clark at S hindered Troy's game.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Mundy played poorly and should be more dependable given how long he has been here.

The offensive line made the Bronco's D line look better than they are. Constant pressure on Ben from their defensive line. They have to improve before we play the Ravens and Bengals

Too many penalties on the O line. Just go with a quick snap and quit screwing around. Ben looked like he was doing the moon walk before each snap.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the second half again and was even more disgusted at how passively the Steelers played defense. The offense had done their job in keeping Manning off the field. They should not have been too winded. Yet, they played on their heels. It wasn't just Manning's quick passes. They were getting pushed around at the point of attack - Keisel and Hampton noticably. No penetration by the LBs except Timmons on one play. No blitzes. No in-your-face coverage. Foote, even though he had a good first half, was nowhere to be seen. Finally, they got a little aggressive with Polumalu moving around, and they managed to make a stand. What happened after the first half? I think Manning took advantage of the Steelers being passive more than anything else.

Zipposteelers said...

When harrison goes, Cowhers team is gone.
Just saying .Tomlin and staff have not drafted a mean aggressive player like Loyd, Porter, harrison.
Tomlin might have some book smarts and always have the right reply for the media.
HE doesn't inspire the team like Cowher did. And Tomlin's mantra ,The "standard" was not upheld by the back-ups. a meaningless mantra.
Last year they looked good against weaker teams and lost to all the contenders.
With all the points the ratbirds are putting up we might be in trouble with our weak Defensive front.

Anonymous said...

"When harrison goes, Cowhers team is gone."

Cowher never even started Harrison. So Ben, Troy, Ike, Keisel, Miller, etc. are now officially "Tomlin guys?"

"Tomlin might have some book smarts and always have the right reply for the media.
HE doesn't inspire the team like Cowher did."

Not quantifiable.

"Last year they looked good against weaker teams and lost to all the contenders."

They beat the Patriots.

alexrkirby said...

The Steelers had some lean drafts a few years ago that are really hurting us now. Lolley has talked about this and it's something we've all noticed but then forgot about.

Bad drafts go on Colbert more than Tomlin. We do seem to be drafting better lately though. I'm starting to worry about our Heyward/Hood picks. Did we reach for those guys out of need?