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Monday, December 03, 2012

Post-Ravens thoughts Part II

I have believed all season that the Steelers are one of the best three teams in the AFC, but I had to admit that confidence was shaken the past two weeks.

It was beginning to look like this team didn't have the chops to win without Ben Roethlisberger.

But the Steelers not only did that Sunday against the Ravens, they did so with an effort that was a throwback to four or five years ago.

There was Troy Polamalu looking like Troy Polamalu.

There was James Harrison looking like James Harrison.

Heck, even Charlie Batch looked like the Charlie Batch of five years ago.

It's a promising outcome for these Steelers, who have four very winnable games down the stretch once they get Roethlisberger back.

Losing Ike Taylor for what looks like at least a couple of weeks will hurt, but Taylor played just the first two snaps of this one before going out with what is being called a fibula injury.

And the Ravens threw for 177 yards.

It wasn't for lack of trying the deep throw. But with constant pressure in his face and the young Steelers corners plastering themselves to the receivers, it just didn't work.

@ While the Steelers ran for just 96 yards, they were an effective 96 yards. And Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman were running like they were carrying precious cargo.

It didn't stop them from running with passion and looking for contact, but they were definitely cognizant that they needed to hold onto the ball.

Looks like Mike Tomlin's tough love with his running backs worked.

@ The Steelers were giving Kelvin Beachum plenty of help early in the game. By the end, they were leaving him one-on-one to fend for himself.

He played that well.

Beachum had a tough start this preseason, but when you watch his athleticism, you see why the Steelers were so high on him after the coaching sessions and mini-camp.

@ The Steelers won the rematch with the Ravens, but it says here there will be a rubber match in Baltimore in January.

From what I saw Sunday and in the first meeting with the Ravens, the Steelers, with Roethlisberger, will win that game by two touchdowns.

@ Sunday marked Tomlin's 100th game with the Steelers. He's now 67-33.

I'm no math whiz, but I think that works out to Tomlin winning two out of every three games.

@ I'm still scratching my head as to why the Ravens ran the ball just 20 times and Ray Rice had just 12 of those carries.

@ The Pittsburgh pass rush was ferocious in this game. Sure, they had just three sacks and was credited with three hurries, but it seemed to me that they had guys in Joe Flacco's face all day.

Flacco completed just 10 of 27 pass attempts to his receivers and tight ends, badly missing on a lot of throws.

@ I wrote a couple of weeks ago how this season could take on the look of 2005. And then the Steelers went out and lost to Cleveland.

Now, it's possible for the Steelers to win their final five games heading into the playoffs - and they might need all five.

I don't think that will be the case, but given the way this team responded Sunday, it has the look of a very dangerous playoff team.


Steve-O said...

My what a difference a week makes. The defense was on fire and the young DBs are rounding into shape. If I have one concern it's with the receivers. They have an immense amount of talent but they seem to lack the mental toughness that Hines Ward had. Hopefully Wallace and Sanders get their confidence back after this win. With Ben back next week the pieces are falling into place at the right ime.

Viktor said...

Mr. Lolley,

I was only able to watch the first half, but from what I saw (including the rest of the season) Wallace does not merit top WR money. He dropped a pass late in the second quarter that went off his hands! Do you see him getting signed to a top 5 WR contract by any team let alone the Steelers?

I was impressed by Cortez Allen as well as the protection by the O-Line. With the defense playing as well as they are I like our chances with any team as well. Thanks for your insight!

adamg said...

I was watching the game and thinking the same thing, Dale, that Pgh might be a very dangerous team in the playoffs. And, honestly, everytime I watch Balt, their record looks like a mirage.

I wouldn't rush BR back next week. I think now that the rust is off, they can beat SD next week with Batch at qb.

Credit to Todd Haley for changing up the game plan in the second half to take advantage of Balt playing everyone up close to the line and beating Balt for the pass.

Oh, and it doesn't get any better than seeing the pouty face on both Harbaughs on the same day.

Easley said...

One of the great unwritten stories of this Steelers season is how money Shaun Suisham has been.

Lance said...

This is a very dangerous team indeed. All the parts are there, we will see what happens down the stretch. Suisham has indeed been money. To me the big story is the depth at every position the young players look promising on the o-line, db, lb, rb, and dl. I can not remember feeling that way in a very long time. The way some of the back ups have stepped in and played has been the difference, and when we get healthy, this team will be scary good.

Anonymous said...

+1 to Suisham

another unsung hero is Max Starks. dude tried to retire like 5 years ago. They keep begging him to come back and he plays at a high level

joe said...

all season there seems to be something just a tiny tad off with this team imo. not exactly sure what it is.
despite many blunders again last night, they pulled it off as a team. a few key individual plays of course, but overall that game was a team win. i think they really needed that

the 4th qtr looked like a team that believed in each other. after the fg, that looked like a team with a huge weight lifted off them.

ps...thank you ravens for two late hits on batch in the fourth.

Anonymous said...

as long as they take it one game at a time, they should be playoff bound, then it's anybody's race to win.

wallace continues to show he doesn't deserve the big bucks. sanders is also consistently inconsistent. how long until cotchery is back?

they need taylor back to make a run in the playoffs (if they make it). i hope his injury is minimal.

finally, thank you charlie for digging deep and playing your heart out. his block on the edge setup dwyer's game tying score.

RMcCarty said...

Dale, did you have a Part I to this post. Always love reading these, especially after we win! Game ball goes to Charlie Batch for hanging in there, Heath Miller for the only receiver catching footballs, and the defense. A+ to Shaun Suisham too! Great to have a happy Monday again!

Dale Lolley said...

Part I was two weeks ago. I'm guessing there will be a part three in about a month.

Starks didn't try to retire, they didn't want him back - about three times now. But he just keeps coming back and doing the job when all else fails.

Suisham has been outstanding in two of his three seasons with the Steelers. He had a tough season last year, but was 14-15 in 2010.

As for the Mike Wallace stuff, why does everyone feel it necessary to keep saying he's not worth big money? The Steelers didn't give him big money. They aren't going to give him big money. Let's let it go already. Let the season play out and enjoy the ride.

Dale Lolley said...

Oh, and Wallace had three big catches on the game-winning drive to move the chains.

Mark said...

I'm surprised they didn't go to Rice and Pierce more. For every run stuffed for no gain, there was another run for a big gain. The Steelers had the same situation, but stuck with it; Ravens didn't.

The CB play made the difference. In last year's game (and in Denver for the playoffs), the CB were playing for tight coverage, but weren't looking for the ball. Flacco and Tebow chucked the deep ball, expecting their receivers to go for the ball regardless of how tight the coverage was. In the game last night, the CBs played tight, but turned for the ball at the right time. Those early passes that were almost interceptions (except for good "defensive" play by the Raven's receivers) probably spooked Flacco, forced him to make more conservative passes.

adamg said...

According to Vinnie Cerrato, a Balt sports yakker, who was interviewed on 93.7, Cortez Allen was terrible and he didn't understand why Balt didn't target him more. I wondered if he actually watched the game... He also said Suggs has a torn bicep, but he can play with that. I'm sure ol' Terrell will be very effective playing with one good leg and one good arm.

Anonymous said...

Cerrato is not a football guy, but for whatever reason was Dan Snyder's GM and personal hand puppet for years. To this day his rectum is still shaped like a glove that fits only Danny's dainty little mit. How he kept a job in football for as long as he did is either one of the world's greatest wonders or a testament to Snyder's own lunacy. Go back and look at all the drafts and FA moves those wondertwins orchestrated and decide if theirs is an opinion worth consideration.