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Friday, October 12, 2012

Post-Tennessee thoughts

Mike Tomlin said following this latest road loss that you could blame him for the missed field goal attempt from 54 yards by Shaun Suisham.

No kidding.

You certainly can't blame Suisham there. Even with his make from 52 yards moments before Tomlin sent him on the field with the game on the line, Suisham is just 5 of 12 from 50-plus yards in his career.

And yet Tomlin sent him onto the field to attempt what would have been a career long kick.


I thought when Tomlin called timeout after initially sending Suisham onto the field, it was because he had second thoughts - rightfully - about what he was about to do.

Trying to convert the fourth-and-7 or punting in that situation would have made more sense. Tomlin elected to kick.

That gave the Titans the ball back at their own 45, pretty much needing one play to win it. They got that on third down when a Steelers blitz failed to get to Matt Hasselbeck and he found tight end Jared Cook on a crossing pattern with James Harrison - Pittsburgh's best pass rusher - trailing.


You can't make this stuff up.

I'm sorry, but if it's me and I'm facing a situation where I really, really need to get to the quarterback, I'm having James Harrison try to get there rather than dropping him into coverage.

I know that it's easy to second-guess decisions after the fact, but really, these are such no-brainers, you have to scratch your head and wonder.

@ Ike Taylor is playing with zero confidence right now, which is leading to all of the clutching and grabbing.

Grab, grab, grab. That's all he's doing out there.

Taylor's stat line of six tackles and two pass defenses really doesn't tell the story. Three defensive penalties - one of which was declined because the receiver made the catch anyway - there's your true stat line.

Taylor is better than that.

@ The Steelers actually found a way to make Chris Johnson look like something other than a Milli Vanilli castoff.

Johnson averaged 4.8 yards per carry against this once-vaunted defense, with a long run of 13 yards. That tells you exactly how effective Johnson was. He was consistently banging out five or so yards every carry.

@ I'm going to the stats again on this one. The stat sheet says Ben Roethlisberger threw for 363 yards, which would presumably mean he had a good game.

But a closer look shows that he completed just 10 of 20 passes to his wide receivers, with 14 receptions on 19 attempts to his backs and tight ends. That's Flacco-like.

Isaac Redman made some things happen after the catch, but realistically, who would you rather have with the ball in his hands in the open field, Redman or Antonio Brown.

Brown, by the way, had his worst game in a long, long time, finishing with four receptions for 20 yards despite being targeted 10 times.

The bottom line? Roethlisberger wasn't very sharp in this one.

@ Realistically, I blame this one on the special teams as much as anything.

Not only did the Steelers get a punt blocked to set up a 1-yard touchdown, but DeMarcus Van Dyke had a huge holding penalty on Tennessee's final kickoff to put the ball at the Pittsburgh 11 rather than the 22.

Think those extra 11 yards would have helped Suisham?


Anonymous said...

One person who continally gets a pass is Kevin Colbert. Poor drafting and poor coaching has this team quickly headed to Browns territory. I guarantee that the Steelers will lose to the Browns this year.

Also, until Tomlin is replaced as Coach and LeBeau is forced to retire, this team will continue it's downward spiral.

Give Dick a lead during crunch time, and you know it will be gone the next drive.

This is the most undisciplined team I have watched in a long time.

Anonynous Brian said...

Milli Vanilli! Thanks for a little laughter, Dale. (By the way, RIP, one of them.)

Am I the only one who knows that when Ben is changing the play at the line it's a run up the middle for one yard 90% of the time. "Alert! Alert! Alert!" (NFL Network must have microphones implanted in everyone's shoulder pads.) That's what it seems like on TV anyway.

In somewhat good news, Worilds looks like he can play.

alexrkirby said...

I couldn't believe Tomlin kicked the FG. When you can choose to trust Ben or Suisham to win you a game how on earth do you pick Suisham?

I would have gone for the first down on 4th and 7.

That said, this game was more about injuries than anything. Our guys just can't stay healthy and our depth is terrible. That is an indictment of Colbert. His picks just haven't been hitting. Hood, Heyward and Mendenhall aren't on the same level as 1st rounders in years past.

Slab said...

The team is 2-3. Every loss has been on the road and 2 of them on last second kicks. Not playing their best ball, but let's not start bailing on the team.... The D counts on safety play and a passrush. If they can get Harrison, Woodley , Polomalu and Clark on the field at the same time, the D will be fine. Knocking Colbert and Tomlin is just silly. Steelers have been 12-4 three out of the last 4 years with 2 SB appearance and one SB win. Who has been better?

alexrkirby said...

Tomlin is a good coach but that doesn't mean every move he makes is beyond question.

The Steelers have definitely enjoyed success under Colbert but that was on a generation of players that is retiring. The young players Colbert has drafted aren't stepping up.

And people aren't just upset that we lost, it's WHO we have lost to that is surprising.

James said...


Hood yes.

Heyward no, He doesn't get any opportunity and ahead of him is Keisel so he just has to wait.

I call complete BS on Mendenhall, If you put him on a team with a good O-line he is in contention for the rushing title every year, he can actually make people miss unlike Ray Rice.

adamg said...

FTR, since 1990, the Steelers have drafted in the top 10 once (8th in 2000(Buress)). They've drafted 11th twice (1992, 2004). Otherwise, they've been drafting in the late-teens and mid-20s on. The top tier talent doesn't usually last that long making it more difficult to rebuild quickly esp given the team isn't a big player in the free agent market.

I myself think this is sort of a transition year with the loss of so many vets who played at a high level for so long.

I do also think that LeBeau needs to change up the defense to use the talent he does have on defense to its best advantage, like Haley is doing on offense.

Robbie said...

On the October 5th post on this blog I wrote this:

"I think this year's Steelers team is fairly easy to read. They will win a grueling game against the Eagles only to turn around and walk out of Tennessee on Thursday with a "how did we lose that one?" type of loss."

Dale, you should let me make your picks! Hint: they will beat the Bengals next week.

DD said...

I think we should all realize that this team just is not that good. You cannot lose to 2 of the worst teams in the NFL and think you could actually hang with even above average opponents. This coaching staff is God awful. Tomlin will still be here 15 yrs from now due to Rooney loyalty so I guess we just have to get used to his terrible clock managment and worse crunch time decisions. Seriously the worst I have seen out of any coach out there. And don't get me started on Ike. He has been below avg for yrs yet annoints himself as one of the best corners in the league? Swaggin right Ike? Laughable. If his confidence is gone, he needs to be gone. Of course, we have no replacement for him or anyone else in the pitiful secondary so I guess we are screwed. Terrible loss yesterday that defines a soft team. And that is the bottom line. This team is soft.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! All other things aside, we should have at least won the game if they would have just not gotten conservative.

Ben is passing consistently on short routes and RB routes all day, and you're marching down the field in the 4th quarter on the last 2 drives...

Then when you get near a 50 yr FG you STOP doing what's been working and try to RUN with a line that's banged up?

Stupid decision by Tomlin or Colbert. I hate that "turtle" crap. Throw 2 more passes out there and gain 5, 10, 15 years for a reasonable FG.

I would love to see Brady w/ NE throwing for 350 yards and driving for the winning score and then they inexplicable STOP throwing it.

Its a ridiculous concept because you're afraid of an INT. The alternative is what we saw last night.

Terrible coaching.

Anonymous said...

I meant "Tomlin or Haley" above, not "Tomlin or Colbert".

joe said...

we will just have to settle in for what looks like a long frustrating season ahead.

long off week, some changes need to be made. i'm not expecting any. tomlin needs to chew some ... we were losing and the receivers are celebrating catches ???

did mendy have problems with the ankle or achilles ?

will decastro play by week 10, or is that just wishful thinking ?

bytor said...

The D line was getting pushed off the ball all night. Ziggy Hood can't hold his ground and he rarely gets to the qb on passing downs. Hasselback had all night to throw the ball.

Bottom line, without Big Ben this team is below average.

steelcan said...

Why is it when the Steelers lose, Tomlin "is a terrible coach that we are stuck with" & Colbert "cant draft to save his life". Yet when they win, neither seems to get any credit? You cant have it both ways people, which one is it? Honestly I wonder if other fan bases are as stupid as some Steeler fans.

Anonymous said...

steelcan stfu

steelcan said...

Nice comeback, tough guy.

Matt said...

Since we're going back on things we predicted I'd like to throw this comment of mine from the August 15th post of Dale's.

"Matt said...
Those of you saying Saunders will make the team just because the Steelers didn't release him following the suspension or to this date are just silly, if their plan is to release him then fine, they're obviously going to hold onto him despite the suspension in case of injury to someone like Miller. Nuff said

All of you Worilds haters out there need to find something better to do than rant about players you know nothing about. He is a damn good player and a starter on many other teams. The only thing holding him back (and injuries not being one of them) are Harrison and Woodley. There are plenty of stats to back this up as well as those things on your face you call eyes. (trying not to throw out Profootballfocus stats) Sean Lee would still have been a better pick.

7:44 PM"

So Saunders was Released Beacause no one suffered an injury and Worilds has shown he is plenty capable of filling in for us as opposed to Chris Carter.

A couple of other things I noticed in those comments were a few nice predictions by Dale Basically saying he see's more upside in Paulson and apparently the Steelers do to.

adamg said...

IMHO, Saunders' release was more related to Pope than Paulson. Pope's long history with Haley not withstanding, it's interesting to read the stuff about Pope being a vested vet. That kind of implies the Steelers might need cap space to sign more players and can't afford even the extra 400k (extra est cap hit) difference between the two TEs' salaries. I can see this move coming back to bite the Steelers ala Brent Jones, but time will tell.

For those who were going off the deep end over Mundy's hit vs Phil, he wasn't even fined - meaning no intentional hit to the head took place. As I said earlier, the ref did not pull the flag out of his pocket until
he saw the receiver not get up right away. He 9 penalized the result, not the play.

Anonymous said...

Well I wouldn't expect any contributions from our rookie 4th round NT this year.

Steve-O said...

Dang, if Ta'amu could wreak havoc like that on the football field we might not be 2-3!!!

adamg said...

Ta'amu is a perfect example of the Steelers having to project a draft choice. Although he's built like the prototype NT, he was a 4-3 DT. He may or may not become a good 3-4 NT.

Patrick said...

after Ta'amu's arrest he may never see the football field again. Unreal.

He'll be cut by tomorrow morning. Guaranteed.

marc said...

i was traveling and didn't get a chance to see the game until today.

i stand by my opinion that the young CB's on this team aren't that good. someone said before that they are good in press coverage. well, i saw them playing press at times and replays definitevly showed them getting their butts beat by an average receiving corp.

it seems an average veteran QB, an average receiving corp, and an average running back are enough to beat this defense when it matters.

all in all, the game sucked. players and coaches stunk it up. when the season started i had them at 10-6. after three games i lowered that to 8-8. i now put them at 7-9 for the season.