Monday, December 17, 2012

Post-Cowboys thoughts

A lot is going to be made of a statement Ben Roethlisberger made following this 27-24 overtime loss.

After saying that he blamed himself for this loss, Roethlisberger said when asked why tight end Heath Miller wasn't a bigger part of the game plan in the second half, "I don't think we called the right plays to get him the ball."

Notice that Roethlisberger said WE. He didn't say the coaches. He didn't say the offensive coordinator. He said WE.

That is because Roethlisberger was probably as responsible for the playcalling in the second half as offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Let's take a look at the second half.

The Steelers' first series was two Jonathan Dwyer runs and an incompletion to Dwyer in the flat on which Roethlisberger bounced the ball to Dwyer for what would have been at least a 10-yard gain.

On their second possession, they again ran three plays, but this time one of those plays was a 60-yard gain to Mike Wallace. No chance to throw to Miller there.

Their next series again ended with a touchdown, so did it matter that they threw no passes to Miller?

After that, it was pretty much Roethlisberger calling plays until the overtime period, when his first pass went to Miller.

So was Roethlisberger blaming Haley, himself or both?

Look for Roethlisberger to clarify that statement on Wednesday.

@ I thought there was a lot to like about this game for the Steelers. They went into Dallas - which owns one of the top passing attacks in the NFL to go along with a solid pass rush - and while the Cowboys had some success throwing the ball and rushing Roethlisberger, neither of those things was the deciding factor in this game.

@ While Roethlisberger blamed himself for this loss, so, too, did Antonio Brown.

Brown made three critical errors in this game.

The fumbled punt was the biggest one, as it completely changed the momentum.

But he also failed to field a punt with less than two minutes remaining that cost the Steelers at least 15 yards in field position, then ran out of bounds on third-and-26, rather than staying in bounds and forcing Dallas to use another timeout.

Neither of those last two miscues cost the Steelers this game, but both could have easily been the difference.

@ Will the people calling for Mike Tomlin's head just chill out? He's not going to be fired, nor should he be fired.

This team has dealt with a number of crippling injuries, such as the aforementioned ones heading into this game.

And yet if they win their final two games, they will be in the playoffs. In fact, there's a good chance that if they win their final two games, they could win the division.

Here's how: If the Steelers finish in a three-way tie with Baltimore and Cincinnati at 9-7, they win the AFC North based on a better head-to-head record, 3-1, against those teams.

Sure, the Steelers have struggled of late, but it's nothing getting some players back healthy wouldn't fix.

Mike Adams should be back to play right tackle this week, and the running game could certainly use his presence.

There's also a chance that Ike Taylor could be back as well - though I'd put that at around 50-50 right now.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some years are magical. Wasn't it the SB year where we had an extremely tough schedule? I remember playing Dallas in Pitt, the Steelers called a timeout so, as James Harrison said, Deshea Townsend could intercept Romo. This year doesn't have any of that mojo and in fact, the Steelers are finding ways to lose games. I think the Bengals are the better team right now, particularly without Ike to cover Green. Even if we do win, we've got the tough Browns to play down to after that. Then even if we do make the playoffs, anyone feeling confident? I think the Steeler nation is angry right now and rightfully so. Injuries have played a part, but there's something missing this year, the Steelers don't feel like a team.

adamg said...

Thanks for the clarification on the play-calling. I was wondering why the BA offense re-appeared. Those sacks after having a 1st down at their own 45 with a chance to kick a game-winning FG were especially bad.

My thoughts exactly on Antonio Brown. The ST coach deserves some blame also for not telling Brown to fair catch the punt.

Anonymous said...

Brown is a veteran who should know better. Those stupid mistakes on his part can't go on the coaches. It's not like they put a rookie back there.

Count me among those who think Tomlin deserves criticism, but there shouldn't even be a discussion about firing him. The man has never even had a sub .500 season.

I'm still waiting for Hood and Heyward to show why we used 1st round picks on them. They both look like disappointments so far in their careers.

ibygeorge said...

Agree with everything except being angry, how about disappointed. We need some quick healing to make any noise in the playoffs, and some lucky turnovers to get there.

ibygeorge said...

Nice recap Dale, I was saying almost every play, throw it to Heath. Where is that 3 TE set we heard of when Haley came on board? In this economy tight money works better than new money, new money doesn't have that stable proven buying power.
Sure was an exciting

Anonymous said...

AB, you made Peter King's column...... as goat of the week! King also mentioned surprise/concern about the number of Steeler fans wanting Tomlin's head. I agree with that assessment as well. Tomlin's done a good job since coming here, we're just having a crappy season and the coach should share some of the blame. BTW, a crappy season is 7-7, some teams would be happy with that. Steeler fans have been fortunate or a better word might be spoiled at how well the team has played in it's past and have high expectations. If the Steelers don't make the playoffs, I think it will drive Tomlin to work harder to bring them back to "the standard". The dude is serious.

joe said...

ab should be the goat of the week. how's celebrating a first down look now ??

this team has, and will have enough talent next season to do better. players and coaches will have plenty of time to reflect on that this off season and all need to step it up.

i am wondering how it is that brent is on the sideline yesterday ? is he suspended ? he killed someone. doesn't matter that it was his friend. how is he allowed to be on the sideline and suspended steelers (and others) aren't allowed access to team facilities ??

Anonymous said...

Anger, disappointment, disillusionment, call it whatever you want, bottom line is that the fans expect the Steelers to win. And when they don't, they're looking for someone to blame. Remember Bruce Arians? A lot of fans wanted him out and they got their wish. Now he's going to be coach of the year, not coordinator, but COACH of the year, with a rookie quarterback and a team whose personnel aren't better than the Steelers. Why didn't he succeed with the Steelers, at least to Steeler standards, but excel in Indianapolis? My guess is that he rallied the troops around the theme of winning one for the coach who had leukemia. The Steelers season seems to be focused on the Wallace holdout, the Polamalu injury, the Mendenhall suspension. The Steelers focus is scattered on the wrong things.

Anonymous said...

did coach Tomlin bench Anotnio Brown yet?

if he doesnt, he is a hypocrit

Anonymous said...

The 800-pound gorilla in the room is that Troy is playing badly right now. This defense was much more effect with Will Allen in the line-up.

Dale Lolley said...

You think that not having Ike Taylor out there might have something to do with the defense not playing great since Troy came back?
He's playing fine. He spent a lot of time helping the young corners yesterday. Same with Clark. They both played deep.

I don't know about the Bengals being a better team right now. I think they're pretty similar - except the Steelers are better in one key area- QB.

Anonymous said...

That's what you said about Dallas, and Romo out played Ben

Bengals are a hot team and we are not, that to me is the difference, yes we have the better QB, but as proven in the last 5 games is not that key with all the mental mistakes!!

Anonymous said...

Brown hasn't been the same since he came back from the injury and was sick last week.

The thing I don't understand is why the Steelers are so patient with Victorian and quick to pull Curtis Brown. I'm not saying that Brown has nothing to prove but he is much quicker, a much better tackler, and can certainly allow less of a cushion without getting beat deep.

Bytor said...

I'm 50 yrs old and I could have completed most of the passes Romo did yesterday. The cushion given their receivers is inexcusable and it's maddening to watch over and over our db's give a 10-12 yard cushion on 3rd and 6. Sure we tighten up in the red zone but they still score at least a field goal. Troy looks slow. Rusty at best.

Anonymous said...

It is completely insane the cushions the opposing WR's get in LeBeau's Defense. It is time to move on from this nonsense.

Dale Lolley said...

The bottom line is that the defense had allowed 17 points until Brown's fumble gave the Cowboys the ball at the Pittsburgh 44. The defense gave up yards, but few big plays.

And let me get this straight, you want 5-8 Josh Victorian playing making his first NFL start to come up and press coverage? That's a sure way to get beat. I'll admit, he was playing way too far off early in the game, but he got better as the game went on.

As for Curtis Brown, who knows what is going on there? He did miss a healthy portion of time last season with injuries. And obviously, the coaches didn't see something in him in his response to how he played last week.

Dale Lolley said...

As for Romo outplaying Ben, I didn't see that at all.
Late in the game, the Steelers were without their top three corners. Romo had two three and outs in the two possessions after Keenan Lewis left the game.

ibygeorge said...

We surendered that game when we kneeled to the cowboys to end regulation. The Cowboys gave a 61 yard fieldgoal some thought. Apparently the Steelers and the Cowboys knew that Pgh. would never entertain such an idea. There was at least 4 plays left on the field in those 30+ minutes. Suisham had already put the ball between the uprights on a kickoff. The cowboys had the Steelers so rattled with them thinking about trying the long FG, that the Steelers had to use 1 of their 2 timeouts to regroup.

Dale Lolley said...

The Cowboys thought about the long FG until Garrett saw how long it was going to be and that he would be giving the Steelers the ball at midfield if it missed.
They didn't lose because they didn't try to get 40-plus yards in 20 seconds.
Also, the Steelers were going into the end zone where the wind was coming from. All of the deep kicks went that way. That's why Dallas chose to defend the other end in overtime. They knew that the wind in the stadium - however slight - was flowing from that side.

Patrick said...

Can Dale or someone clarify this for me. Before the first cowboys FG they threw a pass to Dez Bryant who looked like he clearly stepped out of bounds and then was the first to touch the ball. I swear I've seen this before and that those plays can actually be challenged . If so that penalty would have prob forced a punt.

Does anyone know if that is the rule?

Steve-O said...

Cry all you want about Tomlin, Brown and Big Ben, the debacle that is the New York Jets makes me grateful that I am a Steeler fan!

Anonymous said...

Well said Steve-O!!!

Anonymous said...

This is very good if anyone is in the mood for a smile.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/pittsburgh-steelers/0ap2000000111386/Batch-s-incredible-journey

Anonymous said...

How does the special teams coach allow Brown to be so far back, he should be screaming at him to move up.

marc said...

i've been critical of the steeler's DB's in the past for their inability to play press coverage. however, they have clearly improved in that area for the better part of this year. i think the cushions we see out there have more to do with less talented players being forced to play because of injuries.

with as frustrating as this season has been, i'm actually excited to see these young players continue to develop into next season. if the the d-line can produce a pro-bowler (via development, draft, FA) and the o-line just stay healthy, the team is really setup for success.

Anonymous said...

Something everyone forgets is that most newly installed offences take at least a year to become effective. You have a lot of moving parts and a little bit of drama. On the defense side of the ball we have ageing stars and no pass rush. Our defensive draft picks has not panned out. How can hood be so strong and look like he is playing on roller-skates and Heyward doesn’t play. The Steelers secondary doesn’t have to be great just good with our defensive design. The Steelers need to get lucky and find a good pass rusher. With the proliferation of 3 4 defensive fronts the possibility of finding that stand out linebacker project in later rounds has diminished greatly.
I wear Steeler colored glasses. So I always look to other teams to compare my beloved Steelers. As much as it pains me we are the cowboys.

Anonymous said...

Something everyone forgets is that most newly installed offences take at least a year to become effective. You have a lot of moving parts and a little bit of drama. On the defense side of the ball we have ageing stars and no pass rush. Our defensive draft picks has not panned out. How can hood be so strong and look like he is playing on roller-skates and Heyward doesn’t play. The Steelers secondary doesn’t have to be great just good with our defensive design. The Steelers need to get lucky and find a good pass rusher. With the proliferation of 3 4 defensive fronts the possibility of finding that stand out linebacker project in later rounds has diminished greatly.
I wear Steeler colored glasses. So I always look to other teams to compare my beloved Steelers. As much as it pains me we are the cowboys.

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