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Monday, October 06, 2014

Post Jaguars thoughts

The Steelers have basically played one complete game this season and yet are 3-2.

I'm sure fans won't be happy with Sunday's 17-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it was a win.

More importantly, it was a win in which the defense carried the team, something few thought possible, including me.

Yes, it was a rookie quarterback, who has a tendency to stare down one side of the field, but the Steelers slammed the run for the third consecutive game, giving up 56 yards rushing on 15 carries.

That's 161 yards rushing allowed in the last three games combined, or 30 yards less than the Steelers gave up to the Browns in the opener.

We'll see if the run defense is actually better or if it's just been a three-game mirage when the Steelers travel to Cleveland this week.

@ The Steelers ran six plays in first-and-goal-to-go situations against Jacksonville and Le'Veon Bell didn't touch the ball in any of them. LeGarrette Blount didn't either.

How in the world does that happen?

Sometimes coaches just out think themselves.

Perhaps the coaching staff took the Jaguars a little lightly. Bell got just 15 carries in this game, five of which came in the fourth quarter.

It was almost as if the Steelers wanted to give him a light load this week in a game in which they figured they'd put 30 points on the board with little trouble.

@ Jason Worilds was major force in this game, especially early on before Jacksonville finally started giving right tackle Austin Pasztor some help blocking him.

@ Lance Moore, I know you're frustrated by not playing more or getting more passes thrown your way when you do play, but spiking the ball at midfield?

That's not the way to get more playing time or passes.

@ The look on Mike Tomlin's face after the Steelers were offsides on back-to-back kickoffs was priceless.

What was even more priceless was watching him walk down to where Shaun Suisham was kicking off and watching very closely as the Steelers kicked off for a third time.

@ Cortez Allen has taken some heat for his play early on this season, but he's played very well the past two weeks.

And I'm not even talking about his interceptions - though those are nice.

Allen has been solid in coverage. Sometimes, the other team just wins.

Allen's interceptions in back-to-back games, by the way, make him the first Steelers defensive back since Troy Polamalu in 2010 to accomplish that feat. Polamalu did it twice that season.

@ Ben Roethlisberger seemed a little off in this one. I don't know if he was still feeling the effects of banging his wrist on Marcus Gilbert's helmet last week, but he missed some throws high in this game that he usually makes.

@ Yes, the Steelers ran a play at the end to allow Antonio Brown to keep his five-catch, 50-yard game streak going.

I don't have a problem with that. It was no different than the team throwing the ball in a situation a couple of years ago to make sure Hines Ward got his 1,000th catch.

Plus, Brown had a 17-yard catch in the third quarter negated by a penalty.

@ Brice McCain said following the game that he never saw Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles make the throw he did that McCain picked off and returned for a touchdown.

McCain, who played the Jaguars twice a year during his five seasons with Houston, said he recognized Jacksonville's audible and knew the Jaguars would be running a pick play. He went over top of the pick and when he turned, the ball was there.

Perhaps that's why McCain had such a good week of practice last week. He was very familiar with everything he was seeing in practice.

24 comments:

adamg said...

For those griping about the win, only 2 other teams won on the road yesterday and Clev had to make an historic comeback to get 1 of them.

Mark said...

Tampa Bay almost made it 3 against the Saints. (As unexpectedly bad as NO is playing, they are tough at home.)

adamg said...

The point is, it's not easy to win on the road. The Steelers did.

Anonymous said...

Hines Ward's 1000th catch was at Cleveland

marc said...

when a team is that bad, it doesn't matter if you play them at home or on the road. you should blow them out either way.

the defense did what they should have done. I don't see their performance as any kind of "aha" moment for them.

the offense was not impressive. a very bad jags defense that has surrendered, on average, 473 yards of offense and 38 points per game. yet the steelers come in at 384 yards and 10 offensive points.

steelers better be ready for their trip to the browns next week. the browns are leading the afc north in points per game and rushing yards per game.

adamg said...

The Steeler offense rang up all kinds of yards between the 20s and didn't score TDs as often as many thought either under Arians.
For most of that time they had a competent running game, good receivers and good OL. They have the same, or better, now. So what's the common denominator? Seems like the qb to me.

The offense scored enough points to win and, more importantly, they were able to keep the ball at the end of the game when it mattered most.

marc said...

adamg,

"The offense scored enough points to win..."

that's called rationalizing. 10 points against arguably the worst defense in the league is poor.

Anonymous said...

This was a terrible game by our offense no matter how you slice it. Style points do matter.

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville has the worst defense in the NFL. The Steelers have an elite QB,WR,RB, and a healthy offensive line with 3 high draft picks.They're in the third year of the same system.Factor in today's rulebook that favors offense,these guys should roll out of bed and score at least 3 TD's a game.They have put together just 2 good halves of football---vs Cleveland and Carolina.
Something is wrong somewhere.

DD said...

The play calling with 1st and goal from the 5 was honestly the worst I have ever seen. All passes when you have TWO backs who can get it done. If that is Haley, he shd be stripped of some of his authority as oc. If it is Ben, Haley needs to ride him that it's not all about him. Either way, Haley looks like a fool. Glad we got the win and kudos to a D I have ripped for sure, but man, this offense is sooooooo inconsistent it is maddening. It shan't be as hard as they are making it on themselves. And pls Tomlin, defer to the 2nd half. We get the ball first, and it is rare we score anything. Such an advantage to the other team and their 2nd half momentum.

Anonymous said...

After TB, I’ll take the win any way we can get it. After watching Blount’s TD run in Carolina, there is no way we should be passing the ball from the 5 yard line. Running it in sends a message of physical dominance which is demoralizing to the other team. Disagree with the assessment on AB’s 5th catch, sends a message that the individual is greater than the team. The win is first priority, the record is second, the record was nice but what if a turnover occurred on the play, Tomlin would look like an idiot.

Speaking of such, was watching Indy vs Balt yesterday. Indy, with two minutes left, at the ten, was running the ball and I was thinking, why not kneel down, you’re in field goal range? Sure enough, Bradshaw fumbles. I think what triggered my thinking was being in Indy reminded me of Bettis’s fumble in the playoffs. So every coach makes mistakes. I think there is a lot to be gleaned from watching other teams’ mistakes and then incorporating them into your own program of what not to do. At least you miss the pain of not making the mistake yourself yet learn from it. They could have a “strategy of the day” at the end of each practice and after a while the Steelers could become an intelligent football team. Let’s start with film of players showboating, spiking the ball at midfield etc., so we won’t have to look far for film.

kelly said...

The pass to AB was to keep the streak alive? Maybe. But it also got them a 1st down and sealed the game. Maybe if the offense had punched it in at the end instead of kneeling a few times, people would be happier?

qwikdoc said...

I'm glad we won. We won a game that we easily could have lost. Against a team with a veteran QB and receivers, we likely would have lost.
Lebeau's scheme is outdated and I don't think we will be more than a mediocre team going forward using that scheme. The ten yard cushion allowed to opposing receivers lets the other team move down the field at will and then we stiffen up in the red zone. That's a gamble that has not been paying off the last few years. It might work against a rookie QB but a veteran like Brady, Manning, Brees, Rivers, Flacco, etc.... will score TD's against us in the red zone. The interceptions are nice but came against a rookie QB in his first start. McCain's was the result of him knowing what they were going to run. That's not going to happen very often. I hear people say our corners aren't good enough to play at the line. How do they know that? We never see it happen. I see a fan base starting to make excuses for a team that is underperforming. That worries me. I was spoiled by a long Steelers tradition of hard nosed football and I'm not ready to be happy with mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

AB originally losing the streak due to a penalty is the best defense I've heard towards taking the risk to give him another chance instead of kneeling.

Anonymous said...

Dale,

Is it not true that Lance Moore and Martavis Bryant were brought in to be targets in the red zone? Yet, they are playing...

Maybe we will see them soon as they are both getting healthy. Justin Brown has not been just ok.

Anonymous said...

Just relax...

We are looking at the Browns this week, we are 3-2 and are still in it. Brown kept his streak and we got a "W", to me.. that's all that matters.

As bad as the Jags are, they wanted a win at home and they are a pro team. The 5 WR sets in the red zone has me shaking my head, that trend needs to go away. Keep a RB in the backfield regardless.

Bring on the stains!!

Zeke

Anonymous said...

Justin Brown and Cam Thomas have got to be benched

adamg said...

I don't expect Bryant to get a hat at all this year. He simply didn't show enough to merit that in preseason.

I'm not sure what Moore did, but I'd guess not at least trying to play through whatever injury he had is part of it. Taking a delay penalty after Tomlin had speficially talked about the ridiculous amount of post/pre snap penalities isn't going to help his cause much either.

As for scoring, I'll bet Jax is mad they only got 9 points off a Steeler defense that hasn't stopped much of anything all year.

Not sure why all the angst over the throw to AB. It was a safe play. The only mistake was AB going out of bounds and stopping the clock.

Anonymous said...

Ward's 1000th came with the full 4th quarter ahead of them and a close game. Not like it was the last pass #7 threw late in a game they had in hand. And it was a shovel pass iirc. Zero risk on those. Redman fumbled on the next play iirc. Then fumbled again on the next drive/touch.

I'm pretty indifferent with this team and the state of the game in general anymore. And I don't really care about this play either. But it was dumb. Coming out of the 2 minute warning the objective is to get the clock rolling. Not egregious. But still dumb football.

Steve-O said...

Dale,
I have to admit that I was enamored with Dri Archer when the Steelers drafted him and I was excited,about his potential but I'm beginning to think he's more like Chris Rainey than Darren Sproles. Are they struggling to find a role for him or is he still adjusting to the NFL game?

Anonymous Brian said...

Right. Ward's 1,000 catch situation is not really comparable. I think anything other than kneeling three times and getting out of there with the W is dumb.

Yeah, yeah - the chances of a Miracle in the Meadowlands are almost non-existent. But I hate that they're willing to take that risk, however small, to throw for a nonsense personal record, and then last week they hedge on whether or not to have Ben throw one pass five yards to win a game.

Am I crazy that this bothers me? Don't answer that, I'll rephrase - why does this bother hardly anybody else?

Another thing is that it's a silly baseball-style random stat. Next week, Heath Miller will be targeted early to ensure he keeps alive his four-game streak of three-catch games when playing in Ohio on sunny days preceded by two rainy days during the week. (Anyone remember the Lakers wheeling out famous virgin A.C. Green, with a bad ankle sprain, to stand there for 1.3 seconds during an end-of-quarter inbounds pass to extend his NBA equivalent of the Cal Ripken streak?)

Nice to see Worilds warming up and the DBs making some plays on the ball. It is Jacksonville, but it gives you a little hope.

Every Cleveland game this season has been a thriller. They're due for a Pit-Jax style snoozefest. My initial take is that if the Steelers win, they will have won three straight road games, which doesn't square with what I'm watching overall.







Anonymous said...

OMG, Dale needs to hand out Prozac to some of these people. I'm all for Brown getting his 5th catch of the game, AB works his butt off and it's a great accomplishment for him. Does it put the player before the team? I don't think it does, it sends a message to the others on that team that the Steelers can set records also. Yes the goal is to go to the dance, but along the way there are going to be milestones for players in which you reward those players.

If your not having fun and can't accomplish goals that you set in place then you look for other employment, every player has a different personality and different goals that drive them everyday. It's up to the coaching staff to figure out what drives each individual, it is a team game but also individual accomplishments.

I'm entertained when I watch AB, I'm humbled when I watch H. Miller. I watch the "game" to be entertained and because I love what the Steelers stand for..

It wasn't a perfect win, but we did get the "W" and I'm looking forward to Sunday.

Zeke

Dale Lolley said...

I think they're still trying to figure out ways to incorporate Archer into what they're doing. Do you want him in there taking snaps away from Bell or Blount? At this point, I'd say no.

I thought he'd have a bigger role and I thought Bell would be very impactful this season. But I didn't think Bell would be on pace for 1,900 to 2,000 total yards. Tough for Blount or Archer to get onto the field when he's doing that.

Tom said...

Dale, if Bell can stay healthy and hit 2000+ yards (1400+ rushing/600 receiving) and the Steelers win 10 games then he's an MVP candidate one would think.

Who is the last Steeler to win the NFL MVP, heck even AFC Offensive Player of the Year?