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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Post-Titans thoughts

Stylistically, there won't be many points given out for the Steelers' 27-24 win over the Titans Monday night.

Then again, maybe there will be.

After all, Le'Veon Bell's 204-yard performance was just the fifth 200-yard game by a Steelers running back.

Willie Parker had two and Frenchy Fuqua and John Henry Johnson had one each. Period.

For a team that for a long time prided itself on being a hard-nosed run-oriented offense, that's hard to believe.

@ The Titans really worked hard to protect rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger from the numerous blitzes that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau sent at him.

But in the second half, even though the Steelers didn't get any sacks, they did get in the rookie's wheelhouse a couple of times to force bad throws.

Don't think for a second that Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt didn't pick defensive coordinator Ray Horton's brain about what LeBeau liked to run and when he liked to run it.

Both are former Steelers assistant coaches and know LeBeau well.

@ LeGarrette Blount reportedly left the field in the closing minutes of the game after being told Bell was going to finish things off.

Blount wasn't in the locker room following the game.

Though he saw some snaps, Blount didn't get any carries in the game as Bell carried the entire load, getting 33 of the team's 36 rushing attempts. Roethlisberger had the other three, two on kneel downs at the end of the game.

If Blount did, indeed, leave before the game was completed, that was not a good, or smart, move by him.

I'm sure head coach Mike Tomlin will have some kind of punishment for him, even if it's not made public.

@ The offensive line set a goal of getting Bell, who had just 21 carries in the previous two games, 150 yards rushing in this game.

@ It appears that Markus Wheaton has found a home as the team's kick returner.

@ The Steelers need to figure out why it's taking Roethlisberger three quarters to get going in road games this season.

Pittsburgh has scored one or fewer offensive touchdown in four of its six road games this season - though it had two in this game.

It also has failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first three quarters of four of its six road games, including Monday night's contest.

@ The Steelers ran 21 plays in the fourth quarter to just seven for the Titans.

@ The bye comes at a much-needed time for the Steelers. They were without six starters from their opening day lineup on defense.

They should get at least a four of those guys - Ike Taylor, Ryan Shazier, Troy Polamalu and Steve McLendon - back coming out of the bye.

Jarvis Jones also will start practicing soon. The other starter, cornerback Cortez Allen, was benched due to his play.


adamg said...

Dale, I'm pretty sure I saw Blount in and get a carry inside the RZ on the Steelers first drive. If Blount left during the final couple minutes when it was clear there were only a few plays left, yeah, dumb, but it's not like he up and walked out at halftime. I'll wait for you to get the true story instead of believing the overwrought hyperventilating of some of your media brethren.

Easley said...

If Bouchette's account is accurate, and I suspect it is as he's a careful reporter--hardly an overwrought hyperventilating one--then I'd cut Blount today for cause. Yes it would leave the team precariously thin in the backfield, but this team does not need any locker room headaches. It has enough problems on the field.

ibygeorge said...

I saw #27 involved in at least 1 play.
The offense also took all night adjusting to the blitzes. The team seems dazed playing on the road.
Bryant needs to fight more for the ball.
Were the injuried defensive starters playing that much better than what's on the field now? I forsee some rust when they come back.
A win on the road is a big win even if it's mostly ugly and pretty at the end with the heavey dose of Bell.

adamg said...

Just finished reading Tomlin's post-game presser, yet not one question from any reporter/blogger about Blount. You'd think such a serious incident would prompt at least one curious reporter to ask about it. Anonymous players were asked and commented, why not ask the coach?

Personally, I don't think it's a big deal. Blount is known as somewhat emotional and a hot head. Then again, so was Joe Green.

marc said...

I'm not a steve young fan (as a football commentator), but he said it best last night. to summarize his words - what were the steelers waiting for? you can't just go through the motions then all of a sudden turn it on when it looks like you might lose. they won't be able to do that against good teams.

there was some real good run blocking going on last night, but I also saw decastro get confused by the "cross blitz" up the middle twice. c'mon man.

#7 left 3 TD's out on the field last night. he totally missed a wide open WR on a wheel route up the right sideline (gruden pointed it out), put way too much air under the pass to wheaton in the endzone, and obviously blew the pass to brown in the endzone as well. got to get at least one of those.

dale says Timmons is the steelers best coverage LB. is he actually any good in coverage though?

the d-line was non-existant again for large portions of the game. sometimes flat out getting blown off the ball. ugghh.

regarding blount, it's too hard for any of us to tell what has actually been going on behind closed doors. for all we know, the coaches promised to get him more carries tonight then went back on it. who knows. I have faith the steelers management will handle it well, they typically do.

it's all in their hands now, but I think the schedule is tough. all five remaining games against teams realistically fighting for a playoff spot. 3-2 during that stretch would be fine any other time, but I'm not sure it's enough to make the playoffs this year.

adamg said...

marc, the offense did a lot of good things. The worst thing was what happened at the end of the 1st half. Instead of going in with a 16-10 or 20-10 lead, BR throws a bad pass to AB, who was open behind the DB, then the coverage breaks down and gives up an 80 yd TD. The final score could just as easily been 34-10 or 34-17 and better reflected the nature of the game.

On the first series, Bryant should have come back for the ball instead of waiting for it and allowing the DB time to get over and break up the play. AB, Miller, Moore, DHB all would have tracked the ball better and been aggressive in going to get it. Bryant is young so he should learn from his mistake.

The offense dominated the game when it needed to. Holding the ball for final 7 minutes is an impressive feat.

Also, you just can't discount the familiarity Whisenhunt and Horton have with how the Steelers play.

I don't think the schedule is that bad. They get NO and KC at home along with the 2 games with Cincy, who get Pgh twice and Den.

DD said...

Point was made that you cannot play that way against good teams and expect to win. NE, granted they are playing the best in the AFC now, wd have been up by 30 points before we knew it. That is too much to come back from. For all the accolades we give Ben (and deservingly so), he needs to be better or this team isn't making the playoffs. The defense is what it is. Average. Regardless of missing so many starters, they are a poor tackling Defense that once and a while capitalizes on a mistake. Which is why Ben has to be better. Bell and the run blocking won that game last night....barely. But I will say, it was a beautiful thing watching the line do it's thing and Bell pulling a page out of Lynch's playbook and smashing into AND running over dudes 5 yards out. Been a looooooong time since we have seen that. 7 minute drive into a victory formation was a sight for sore eyes!!

Greg W. said...

It was awesome watching the Steelers impose their will in the run game last night. Does anyone still regret passing on Eddie Lacy?

Here's hoping the Steelers can figure out how to get Ben playing well earlier in road games. Last night, it seemed like things really clicked when Ben started to kill the first play call and go to the second at the line of scrimmage. The blitz was neutralized and the O-line and Bell could not be stopped. I guess credit to Haley, Munchak, and Ben for finally figuring out how to beat the aggressive defensive play calling of Tennessee.

The Steelers no doubt have the components to be an 11-win team and make a deep playoff run. The offense just needs to get off to better starts and get TDs instead of FGs when they are inside the 10. Incredible insight, I know.

Some negatives: Can the Steelers really afford to keep conceding the field position they are giving opponents on kickoffs? Perhaps I should be happy that they aren't giving up TDs on kickoffs but special teams can be really painful to watch.

I realize he is a rookie prone to rookie mistakes, but Dri Archer has made little to nothing of the few touches he's received this season. While it's too bad Ben didn't see him running free deep, there's no guarantee he catches the ball, especially considering the problems he has making catches on screens.

Anonymous said...

Dale - why dont you media guys have the balls to call out Tomlin on horrible clock management?

He called timeout immediately following the second down play when it was 3rd and 10 at the 20 yard line with 56 seconds left till half time. That resulted in the Titans having enough time to score 7 pts

Then with under 2 minutes left and the Titans without any timeouts he runs the ball instead of kneeling

Anonymous said...

The only difference between Mike Mitchell and Will Allen? Allen gets paid the minimum salary

Anonymous said...

Dale, can you explain why they ran a play after the 2 minute warning? The game was over right there. It's almost like they don't have someone responsible for managing these things.

adamg said...

TN had 1 TO left and they called it after the 2 min warning. As soon as that TO was used, BR took a knee twice and that was that.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they ran the ball after TEN's last timeout. Play-by-play below

Two-Minute Warning
2-2-TEN 30 (2:00) 26-L.Bell right guard to TEN 25 for 5 yards (24-C.Sensabaugh).
Timeout #3 by TEN at 01:54.
1-10-TEN 25 (1:54) 26-L.Bell up the middle to TEN 26 for -1 yards (33-M.Griffin).
2-11-TEN 26 (1:11) 7-B.Roethlisberger kneels to TEN 27 for -1 yards.
3-12-TEN 27 (:33) 7-B.Roethlisberger kneels to TEN 28 for -1 yards.

kelly said...

Anonymous @ 10:21

What difference does the TO with 56 seconds left in the half matter?? The Titans still would have had enough time for their one play bomb to Washington. If Ben had of hit AB for the touchdown, would you still bitch about the TO?

qwikdoc said...

The biggest question for me is why did it take so long for Ben, Haley, Tomlin, etc... to recognize when the Titans were going to blitz? It took them almost two full quarters, 5 sacks and numerous pressures and QB hits to figure it out. Once they did, and adjusted by calling two plays in the huddle and having Ben choose the play at the line, they capitalized on the Titans' aggressiveness and Bell was the main recipient. Can't fault Ben for having to run for his life again the entire first half, but I do question why he didn't seem to figure Horton's game plan out earlier.

Anonymous said...

Dale---how can Tomlin punish Bell? Can he fine him under union rules?Also,what was with the squib kicks,who were they afraid of?
The Steelers don't sign many veteran free agents,and considering Mitchell,Thomas,and Blount they may go back to that policy. Moore isn't bad but Cotchery was better and had a good thing going with Ben in the red zone.They let Al Woods get away and replaced him with the useless Cam Thomas. They let Foote go and he's starting on a 9-1 Arizona team.
Colbert and Tomlin did not have a good offseason.

marc said...

it could have been 34-10, but it wasn't. just like the steelers could have lost 24-20 if not for the pick 6.

with the defense being so bad, the offense has little room for error. that's just the way it is right now.

and the matchups for the remaining teams is real tough. who is going to stop graham for the saints - anyone? what about green/sanu for the bengals (unless Dalton implodes again)? or how about Charles for the chiefs, who by the way have the leagues #1 pass defense? my point being, the steelers really don't have a single player on defense that can matchup with these teams' best offensive players. which is why the offense needs to be nearly perfect to win. in this game, against one of the worst offenses in the league, the steeler's offense lost 24-20.

Anonymous said...

Blount cut. Good!

Anonymous said...

Bye Bye Blount. It's been nice knowin ya.

GaBlackNGold said...

Is there someone on the practice squad that will get moved up? Or who is out there as a potential free agent?

Greg W. said...

Whoa. Didn't think they would release Blount. Hope Bell can stay healthy!

adamg said...

First the games vs NO and KC are at home. There's a big difference. Further, Cincy just clubbed NO at home and the Saints will be coming here on a short week after MNF vs Balt.

The Bengals are the Bengals.

Haley is intimately familiar with Jamaal Charles which should help the defense scheme for him.

I don't personally think the Steelers remaining schedule is any better or worse than the other AFCN teams.

Nicholas Clark said...

Bell is amazing. Not only does the move to cut Blount get rid of a bad egg and send a message to the team about values, but it shows Bell how much confidence the organization has in him. Great move.

marc said...

brown's cut tate today as well. should the steelers take a look?

adamg said...

They seemed to like Josh Harris a lot in preseason, so I'd guess he'll get the promotion.

And, who knows, maybe if he had to play Archer would surprise with his ability to run inside. I remember when Hank Stram coached KC and used to say how he loved little RBs like Mike Garrett because they got lost behind all the big linemen.

That said, didn't Tate run the one cut scheme in Houston?

marc said...

yes, he was a very capable backup to foster. he ran fine for the browns, then banged up his knee and lost starting job to younger RB's. he's healthy, but they cut him for two reasons. first, he was upset lost starting job to injury. second, the browns need to make room for josh Gordon next week.

adamg said...

Steelers website says they promoted Josh Harris from the PS.

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