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Monday, December 16, 2013

Post Cincinnati thoughts, Part II

The Bengals, as it turns out, aren't quite ready for prime time.

The fans might not have showed up for this game, just over 45,000, but the Steelers sure did.

Say what you want about getting the young guys in the game or tanking to get a better draft position, but, at least to this coaching staff and these players, these games still matter, regardless of the team's slim playoff hopes.

It matters to Ben Roethlisberger that he's never had a losing season in any sport.

It matters to the Steelers that they're unbeaten at home in division games and have a chance to finish this season with the best divisional record in the AFC North.

It matters to the veterans on this team that they show the young guys that you don't quit, you don't give up on a season, regardless of the odds.

That's why these guys are still playing hard. They might not always win, but the effort is going to be there.

@ Terence Garvin. Enough said.

@ OK, a little more about Garvin, whose hit on Bengals punter Kevin Huber was the last big block needed on Antonio Brown's punt return for a touchdown.

Garvin went undrafted. Then, when everybody went out and signed rookies following the draft, nobody called the former safety turned linebacker out of WVU.

But the Steelers had a rookie tryout just before their first mini-camp, mostly for local players and invited Garvin.

He impressed the team enough with his speed and coverage ability that they kept him around. Then, he beat the odds and beat out a number of more proven players to earn a spot on the team as a special teams guy.

The Steelers have used him at times when they've played a nickel defense, as they did Sunday night against the Bengals.

You think there's going to be any quit in that guy?

@ The Steelers passed on Eddie Lacy to take Le'veon Bell as their potential feature back.

Seems like a bad miss at this point, right?

Not so fast. Bell now has 1,034 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 11 games. Lacy has 1,264 yards and eight scores in 13 games.

That's 94 yards per game for Bell and 97.2 for Lacy.

Is Lacy the better pure runner? Sure. But Bell's contributions in the passing game, both receiving and blocking, can't be overlooked.

It's not the knockout in favor of Lacy that some might think.

@ I continue to see Tweets and hear questions about Todd Haley's offense.

The Steelers have now scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive games. That's the first time that has happened since they opened the 2007 season scoring 20 or more in nine straight games.

Roethlisberger likes this offense, which is giving him more control than ever, ala. Peyton Manning. It's what he's always wanted.

And Bell fits what they do perfectly, though I'd still like to see him do a better job closing things out late in games. But the Steelers were able to use Jonathan Dwyer to do that on their final drive Sunday night.

Kelvin Beachum looks like he could be the answer at left tackle. And the Steelers can decide whether they want to continue with Marcus Gilbert or Mike Adams at right tackle.

A big receiver, and there are a lot of good ones in this year's draft, would really be the icing on the cake, helping with the red zone issues.

@ The Bengals, for some reason, decided to just rush two on Roethlisberger's only touchdown pass of this game.

Why in the world would you give the world's best playground football player five-plus seconds to run around and look for somebody to get open?

@ The Steelers are still alive in the playoff hunt.

Basically, what needs to happen is for the final wildcard spot to come down to a group of 8-8 teams and the Jets be one of those clubs.

It's a longshot, to be sure, but it's still a shot.


adamg said...

When Adams went in for Beachum, he did fine. Marcus Gilbert did, too. There's no reason Beachum shouldn't become the next Ramon Foster, a jack-of-all- trades. That move makes the OL stronger. And Cody Wallace is making an excellent case to return as the back up C/G. In fact the OL should be a major strength next year.

I haven't been a BR fan for years, but he's playing smart, disciplined football. I don't think he should get another contract, but if he does, he'll owe Haley for making him a better qb.

Al Woods did a nice job at NT. Timmons was a beast as he has been for most of the season.
Jarvis Jones had his best game as a pro. The Steelers are going to have a tough decision to make on Woodley. When he's healthy, he's fine, but another leg muscle injury and the team has to wonder about his durability going forward.

As for Cincy... still the Bungles.

John Kang said...

I dunno about Garvin's hit on the punter. My friends were comparing it to Hines' block on Keith Rivers, but after some discussion, we decided there was a big difference between a WR taking out an LB and an LB taking out a punter.

Easley said...

I like Bell's versatility, but I am no fan of that tentative, tippy-toe running style. Of course, Franco Harris used to drive me crazy with the same style and that turned out ok.

Love to see Jarvis splash more as a pass rusher, hoping that will come more next year. But I think his blocked pass on the 2-pt conversion was one of the biggest plays of the game.

Collinsworth made a great point when he said typically this time of year Ben is so beat up his play suffers. But he looks fresh and sharp, and I can't believe there are still those who don't appreciate that Haley has mostly achieved what he was brought in to do.

Garvin totally de-cleated the punter, but it was clean and integral part of the play. Dude was in the way.

Anonymous said...

According to the PG, Miami's ST coach came onto the field and during Troy's missed FG return and actually interfered with play by bumping an official. He wasn't penalized. He got a 10k fine. This despite the action having real game consequences - like the 15 yd penalty putting the ball at Mia's 26 and giving the Steelers a chance to try a FG before the end of the half.

Will Miami be losing a draft choice since the coach's action affected the outcome of the game and also the Steelers chances at a playoff berth?

Easley said...

PFT claims Garvin will likely be fined because punters are always considered "defenseless players." That's utterly ridiculous. If that's the case, they should run off the field as soon as they punt. It they're in position to disrupt a play, they're fair game.

phil said...

Garvin should have been ejected and should be suspended. That hit was completely unnecessary and extremely dangerous and he seriously hurt Huber.

Anonymous said...

I just loved that cheap shot the Steelers put on the Bengals punter.

marc said...

nice pep talk dale.

as for the offense, I agree it is working well and #7 is executing it well. however, where has the play action gone? the bengals were ripe for a play action pass in the 4th quarter that would have sealed the deal. that is the only thing I wish they used more often.

I agree that bell is too tentative at times, but think he will grow out of that. I do like his style and don't want him to stop it completely, but there are times where you just need to blast the hole.

since he never gets much notice, how about suisham's 45 yarder. I thought that was a very difficult kick and he nailed it.

rvaccare said...

So now special teams blockers are supposed to check uniform numbers and names on the back of jerseys to make sure they are not hitting a punter? Make them wear pink outfits then. Looks like a few Bungles losers have found this blog. Whaaaaaa... one and done for the Bungles yet again.

phil said...

garvin knew who he was blocking. you dont need to check the jersey number or the name on the back to single out the dude who weighs 170 lbs. he could have just as easily pushed him out of the way with his hands. like it or not, this is the new nfl

Anonymous said...

After the way the Steelers have played this season how can anybody call other teams losers, Bungels, and etc?
Not only do the Steeler stink as a team, they are also as dirty as a pro football team can get.
Garvin is just another thug that had a chance to hurt some one and, of course, he just could not resist.

Mark said...

Huber was running towards Brown, looking to make a tackle. If he just stood where he punted the ball, then I could understand the argument for "defenseless".

As for playing the younger players, would Woods and Fangupo have seen significant time if McClendon could have played and the Steelers didn't have the early lead? It does seem like the team will normally chose to play injured vets over developing young players.

Anonymous said...

When is Tomlin ever going to stop saying "I take responsibility" and never actually doing it.
I can't stand this second rate coach. Hey Mike, why don't you stop yacking and start actually earning your keep?
Coaching a team with dirty players does not make you a good coach. It does make you as much as a scum bag as Garvin!
Billy Boy

marc said...

cry me a river, phil. when you step on the field to play you are at risk of getting hit. grow a pair...

Frank Beans said...

Terence Garvin, male prostitute

Dan said...

"since he never gets much notice, how about suisham's 45 yarder. I thought that was a very difficult kick and he nailed it."

Yeah, too bad that he missed two closer ones in the Oakland game which amount to the difference.

Suisham is overrated by Steelers fans, IMO. He has choke in him. The Oakland game is only one example. Remember his horrible miss in Super Bowl XLV? I'll never trust a guy who shanks a field goal 15 yards to the left when it really counts.

I'd take Jeff Reed in his prime over Suisham any day.

phil said...

whoa there internet tough guy. i'm just expressing an opinion on what I thought to be an unnecessary hit, the type of hit that the NFL is cracking down on and trying to eliminate. Garvin could have just used his hands.

Anonymous said...

when compairing Bell VS Lacy, Your talking about yards and T.D.'s but nothing about touches.. I think Lacy is the better back as of right now..
I love his running style!!

kyle said...

Can anyone honestly say that if Garvin had just tried to shove Huber and Huber had made the tackle that they wouldn't be ripping Garvin right now? Other than Bengals fans, of course. There was nothing illegal or dirty about that hit. It wasn't blindside as they were facing each other, Huber just wasn't paying attention. Garvin had his hands up, it's just that two people running face first into each other is going to usually result in one of them being hurt.

None of that is to say that Garvin won't be fined. The NFL does not care if something was illegal, they care how it looks. It looked bad so they'll probably fine him.

Aside to Frank, I don't know who else gets the reference but it made me laugh.

Dale Lolley said...

Beachum has earned the right at left tackle. I don't care where the other two guys were drafted.

John, you really think, with Antonio Brown breaking through the middle of the defense, Garvin had time to figure out if that was a punter or a linebacker? He said he saw white and hit it. If he doesn't make that block, Brown might not score.

That "defenseless punter" was getting ready to make a tackle attempt.

As for the question about the touches comparison between Lacy and Bell, they are both averaging 20 plus per game.

Easley said...

Sadly, I too am old enough to get the "male prostitute" reference.

Kyle is right on the money about the hit. If Garvin had targeted Huber 30 yards away from the play, that would be one thing. But Huber was moving in to try to make a tackle and got blown up, cleanly. It's unfortunate that he got hurt, but that's football. Or at least it used to be.

DD said...

I don't have a problem with the hit, tho it was nasty and resulted in a bad injury. The question is how much will the fine be...and there will be one. Rules state that you cannot hit a player in the head, right? Well, a broken jaw would indicate he was hit in the head so I imagine there isn't much argument there.

John Kang said...

No, I just don't think it was celebration-worthy like Hines' hit on Rivers.

Anonymous said...

It was a block, not a tackle. He can't go any lower than the chest.

Reminds me why I wasn't allowed to play football.

Team looked great.

Starting to think the Dolphins might be good. If they are the Steelers have really played well with the exception of the first four games.

If Heath was healthy to start the year...

Zac in Tempe

kyle said...

We agree on that, John. I wasn't hooting and hollering watching the hit. My reaction was pretty much "oof." But just because it was a big hit doesn't mean Garvin did anything wrong.

Anonymous said...

Very cheap shot by Garvin, who proceeded with celebratory high steps after the hit. I guess he learned that at WVU, where football punks matriculate yearly. Enjoy the win over Cincinnati because your season is over in two weeks Steelers. The Bengals, on the other hand, will be gaining more post season experience yet again as they go into the playoffs. I guess Garvin will be sitting at home as he watches them play, slurping the Chunky Soup his mother made him.

marc said...

anon 3:13 - I get your frustration. with the bengals being 0-4 in the playoffs over the last ten years, that must suck. and everytime the bengals have a golden chance they face the steelers who ruin it - you know, like in '05 (poor palmer), or when santonio took it to the house in OT (that had to hurt) or even last night when the #2 seed was on a platter and the bengals sphincter puckered up (again).

it must be tough, especially to a team that is 10-4 in the playoffs over the past 10 years including 3 superbowl trips and 2 titles.

but the steelers are getting old, right? well, you keep telling yourself that while garvin is home eating chunky soup and your punter is sipping his steak through a straw.

Mike said...

Hey Anonymous at 3:13PM


Dale Lolley said...

I see the Bengals fans are trolling the site.

I have nothing but respect for Marvin Lewis. He's made the Bengals respectable.

But that team has fatal flaws, namely the quarterback. They haven't won a playoff game since the first Bush presidency. Looking like another season of futility.

Anonymous said...

Marc, keep making yourself feel better by living in the past, and by that I mean in the seasons where the Steelers were not abject losers like this season. We split with them and have exceeded their play the last few seasons of AFC play. As for Palmer, his squad will be in the playoffs too! You see Marc, no one is frustrated here but you, because your team is a loser. And, I can see that you celebrate the punk culture propagated by your team because you appear to relish in injury caused by punkedom. By the way, a punter is, as defined by NFL rule, defenseless up and down the field, no one is arguing that. Garvin will be fined. Maybe you and him can get together after regular season play and cry in your mothers' Chunky Soup together...losers. Lol.

Anonymous said...

Does this troll have an endorsement deal?

Anonymous said...

Dale Lolley,

What do you do, sell cars for living? Judging by your photo you look like either a used car salesman and an insurance salesman. You also look like the type that obsesses over your Steelers know the type, a real homer. And talk about a season of futility, where have the Steelers been? Look in the mirror....or, then again, if you did you probably wouldn't post that mug shot.

marc said...

this is awesome. a fan talking trash when the teams split and his team hasn't won a playoff game since 1990. yes, that's correct, it's been 23 years (almost 24). like I said, I get the frustration and find it hilarious.

defenseless punter, so what, hit him anyway. I look forward to them making the punters/kickers wear special shirts so the nfl can make an even bigger mockery of itself.

if I ever meet garvin I promise you if we are crying it will be in sheer enjoyment of watching the punter get decleated and brown racing into the endzone. then we will have our chunky soup.

and finally, I am anything but frustrated about the steelers. you see, my happiness is not dependent on their success/failure. I don't refer to them as "we" because I don't play for them. and while I wish they played better this season, I don't feel the need to search out and disparage opposing teams and their fans on their blogs.

with that said, thank you so much for your comments. I have learned quite a bit about the fans of the bengals and genuinely look forward to their next meeting next year. who knows, maybe the punter will be back with a pink shirt to keep him safe.

Dale Lolley said...

I do love when the trolls come to MY blog, with their feeble attempts to insult me. Oh, how will I go on with some anonymous bozo calling me names?

Anonymous said...

The defenseless punter rule is ridiculous. Either he is a football player, and plays by the same rules as everyone else, or he should get off the field.

If that punter had any guts he would make a statement saying Garvin shouldn't be fined.

Dale Lolley said...

He would, but he can't talk right now

Steve-O said...

Now THAT is funny!

Dale Lolley said...

Humor is how I sell all of those used cars

Pistol said...

I dont know Dale personally but he is a dude that reports information to fans of STEELERS free of charge when 99% of the others charge for it. Enuf said.
So if you dont like the HIS STEELERS site then go to your own teams site and read about that impending train wreck.

Frank Beans said...

Bengals fans? I knew it smelled funky in here.

Anonymous said...

It's always boggled my mind that teams like the Bengals HAVE FANS. What are you rooting for exactly? They haven't had a seriously good team in decades.

I guess you could say Bengals fans are loyal but I think delusional is a more apt description.

Easley said...

Of course, the only downside to beating the Bengals is we've now opened the door wide for the Ravens. If they get by the Pats this weekend, does anyone really think they'll lose to the Bengals in the final week, I mean beside the Bengal troll?

Anonymous said...

Dale is an optimist, which what was needed in this gray season, notice I didn't say black and I do appreciate his optimism.

On another subject, since you broached upon it as well, does Dave Calucci still sell cars? I remember he used to have an awesome submarine ball that I could not hit.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with Green Bay this Sunday you bygone year blue collar homers. The Steelers success is as pastime as steel in the steel city. The fact is you homeboys be suckin this year, not even at .500. LOSERS!!! What you be playing for Sunday.. winner gets can of Chunky Soup? 'Cause I know you won't be playing for no playoffs....losers!!!!!!!!!! YOUR OLD.