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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Post-Falcons thoughts

Sunday's game had a familiar feel to it as the Steelers dominated the first quarter only to lead 6-0. They had already done that in losses at Cleveland and to New Orleans at home this season.

But William Gay had other plans.

Much-maligned over the years, Gay has quietly turned into a very good cornerback. I say quietly because Gay refuses to talk about himself.

Even after Sunday's game-changing interception return for a touchdown, Gay refused to talk about anything but what a great team win this was and how it was a much-needed victory.

In many cases, you appreciate a guy who puts the team before himself. But come one, Will, you can open up and talk about how you're the only corner in Steelers' history to have three pick-6s in one season.

@ That interception was huge. It was the game's lone turnover, and the fact the Steelers scored off of it was big.

The offense had put up a bunch of yards in the first quarter but had already stalled twice. Gay showed the way to the end zone.

@ Atlanta really sold out on stopping the run and doubling Antonio Brown.

And some of the other guys stepped up and made big contributions.

Ben Roethlisberger was 9 of 10 when targeting Markus Wheaton and Heath Miller for 138 yards.

It was a big step forward for Wheaton, in particular. All too many times this season, Wheaton has looked out of sync with Roethlisberger in road games.

That was not the case Sunday.

* The defense gave up some yards, but came up with some big stops, as well.

Holding Atlanta to a pair of short field goals in the third quarter was huge, as was a three-and-out in the fourth quarter.

Gay and Vince Williams deserve credit for hammering Harry Douglas to the ground on second and third down to keep him from getting the first down.

* Head coach Mike Tomlin said he basically made Marcus Gilbert a healthy scratch because Mike Adams was healthier than Gilbert.

He might want to re-think that strategy moving forward, though Gilbert will certainly be really healthy now.

Same goes for James Harrison.

* I've watched football a long time and covered the NFL for nearly half my life. If Jason Worilds did anything to warrant a penalty flag for his sack of Matt Ryan in the second quarter, I'm not aware of it.

In fact, it was a nearly textbook hit. He didn't lead with his helmet. He didn't hit Ryan high. He did put him to the ground in a not-so-nice way, but that's kind of the idea of football - at least it used to be.

* The Steelers won a game in which Le'Veon Bell was limited to 47 yards on 20 carries. That's significant.

Equally as significant was the fact that while the Steelers struggled running the ball overall, they were able to convert on third-and-short running it a number of times and score a pair of rushing touchdowns.

It wasn't a strong running game. But it was effective when it needed to be.

* If things play out the way they currently look, the Ravens will have played three rookie quarterbacks to close out their season.

They faced Blake Bortles Sunday, will get Tom Savage next week at Houston and Johnny Manziel in Week 17.

Baltimore doesn't have any healthy defensive backs but it won't matter.

The Steelers had better keep winning if they want a home playoff game.


Anonymous said...

savage got injured too. they say it could be Thad Lewis starting next week. but yeah, same thing..

adamg said...

Same roughing the passer call as on Worilds just happened to SF.

Anonymous said...

Jason Worilds deserves an apology from Goodell on that non-sack. Oh, wait, he won't get one because Goodell is not accountable to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Good team win. It was nice to see Wheaton and Miller get some catches and have an impact.

Anonymous said...

I nearly turned the game off on the Worlids flag. Crazy.

Tom said...

What exactly does the NFL expect Worilds to do on that play? If he goes low and blows out Ryan's knee it's a flag and labeled a dirty play. Even if he twists Ryan down it could still result in injury for the QB. We are about 5 years away from the QB's being downed by a 2-hand touch.

adamg said...

Lots of folks laughed and made snide remarks when AR2 emphasised to the coaches he wanted them to re-establish a running game a couple years ago. They were apopletic when he forced Arians out and Haley was hired. Both look like a pretty good moves these days. It's brought the kind of balance to the offense that's been missing since Bettis was in his heyday. Yesterday it culminated in nearly the entire Atl defense following Bell to left as BR rolled right and found a wide open Heath Miller to clinch the win.

BR is making better and quicker decisions with his passes, too, and has been sacked once in the last 2 games.

marc said...

good game for the steelers. I think the defense played as good as you could expect against the falcons. very fortunate Julio jones didn't play.

offense moved ball well, but wished they found the endzone more. oh well, they did what they needed to do to win.

that officiating crew was poor. obviously the worilds call was a joke, but there were many other bad calls or blatant missed calls. I truly believe the rules protecting the QB will evolve to where a player is not allowed to "hit" the QB, but you can grab him and pull him down to the ground. but, of course, if you use excessive force, that will result in a penalty.

the steelers are really gonna be tested next week against a strong run game from Charles/davis. I expect the chiefs will try to control the clock and keep the steelers offense off the field as long as possible.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing about Harrison. I know he missed a lot time but I'm starting to be concerned about Jarvis Jones. He doesn't do much. Would Harrison,at this point ,provide more pressure than Jones?

Anonymous said...

I think the hurt wrist will make this a lost season for Jarvis. How can you an OLB play well with their hand and arm all weak?

The only way I see Jarvis doing anything is if we make a deep run, then he might have time to get healthy again.

adamg said...

I don't know, I saw Jones get double-teamed on a rush on one play, but I agree the wrist injury will take at least the off-season to heal completely.

Not only is Will Gay the single season record holder for most pick-6s in a season, but I read his last 4 INTs have been pick-6s.
What are the odds of that?

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ibygeorge said...

Your long tenure in observing QBs getting hit in football games really don't count because protecting the QB has been a recent addition to football. A PG reporter wrote that Roethlisberger asked the ref what was wrong with the hit. He said it was a little high. With the fast pace and the protection rule I'm guessing that if it looks borderline the penalty will be called. The TV announcers and a guest ref all said that hit will be a penalty every time. It looks like refs will error in favor of the QB. As a Steeler fan I agree with you, it was a great sack.

BlackNGold said...

I don't see why they threw the flag on that sack but not on the play where Ryan got hit by a Steeler defender after he slid at the end of a scramble. Makes me wonder if that was non-call was a make-up. I know I expected a flag, especially since they called that roughing the passer.

Greg W. said...

Great road win, just taking care of business and not trying to do too much. It was awesome to see William Gay get his third pick-six. I was among the anti-Gay (that didn't come out right) crowd a few years ago. I'm happy to have been proved wrong about him. It's a great testament to what hard work and perseverance can get you. Maybe 22 can serve as a role model for some of the other struggling DBs?

Loved to see Ben's accuracy and good decision-making--not trying to force anything. Just being patient and not worried about forcing throws to the end zone when it wasn't there.

Loved that the Steelers could close out the game with the ball. I did not want to see Matt Ryan get the ball back. I think they had done that kind of play action twice before in short yardage situations with the same kind of success. Way to take advantage of Atlanta's obsession with stopping Bell.

Totally agree with marc about the Worilds (non)sack. If the concern was getting the call right, why not make those (and hits on WRs) reviewable? Those plays happen so fast, it's nearly impossible to tell whether hits are clean. But I think it's really about player safety or at least the PR aspect of it. The rules do say "When in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactic against the quarterback, the Referee should
always call roughing the passer."

Go Steelers!

mv7267 said...

"BlackNGold said...
I don't see why they threw the flag on that sack but not on the play where Ryan got hit by a Steeler defender after he slid at the end of a scramble. Makes me wonder if that was non-call was a make-up. I know I expected a flag, especially since they called that roughing the passer."

They actually got the slide no call right. Ryan and the Steeler, I think it was Vince Williams, both went down at the same time and the contact was leg to leg. The call no one is talking about is the facemask and taunting on AB. When the flags came in, everyone where I was watching were expecting a late hit. The game just kinda continued not much discussion from the booth or reaction from the Steelers.

The NFL has to go to hybrid NCAA system. If MLB & NHL can have eyes on every play & pitch of game so can the NFL.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a decent to substandard breakdown until I read the Marcus Gilbert Mike Adams thoughts...Wow hot garbage.

Dale Lolley said...

Actually, it was Timmons on the slide and he mostly missed Ryan. It looked worse than it was because his behind made contact up high on Ryan. But he kind of rolled over the top of him.

But I tweeted at the time that it was, indeed, far worse than what Worilds did.

marc said...

i think on ryan's slide Timmons had already committed but you could tell he was trying to let up and avoid hitting ryan solid. imo, it was a good subjective call by the referee. however, the game as a whole was poorly officiated.

when #7 and the ref were discussing worilds personal foul, I hope #7 told the ref, "then I expect you (the ref) to make the same call if they hit me like that."

dale, any news on the injury front. steelers will have another tough decision this week if Harrison is healthy to play.