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Friday, October 02, 2015

Post-Baltimore thoughts

That one hurts, at least from the standpoint for the Steelers that they had the Ravens on the ropes - several times, in fact - and did not put them away.

A big part of the reason for that is because the coaching staff just didn't trust Mike Vick to make a lot of throws down the field.

And Vick didn't trust Antonio Brown enough.

Vick and Brown just weren't on the same page all the time in this one, missing by a few inches here or a few feet there.

None was as big as Vick's fourth-and-1 pass from the Baltimore 33 in overtime, when he overthew Brown by a lot on what should have been an easy completion for a first down.

"That one is going to haunt me for a long  time," Vick said.

Vick is now 3-13 in his past 16 starts. Quarterbacks always get too much credit for the wins and too much blame for the losses, and Vick hasn't been awful in those games, throwing 19 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

But he lost this one much in the same way Joe Flacco "won" it.

Neither was great.

@ Much of the blame for this loss will be placed at the feet of placekicker Josh Scobee, and while that is fair, it's not the only reason the Steelers lost.

They couldn't convert some first downs late in the game despite having good field position and the defense, which had been solid against the run in the first three weeks, allowed Justin Forsett to go for 150 yards on 27 carries. Forsett was averaging 3.2 yards per attempt and had 124 yards in three games coming into this one.

That won't do.

@ I thought the Steelers did a nice job in pass defense overall in this one and while Ross Cockrell came up with two big plays, making an interception and fumble recovery, the latter of which set up a Pittsburgh touchdown that made it 20-7 early in the third quarter, he also gave up a TD on the ensuing possession.

Forsett hit a 33-yard run and then Cockrell allowed a 17-yard TD catch by Kamar Aiken that made it 20-14.

"From all aspects of the game, we could have all done something," said Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons. "We gave up 191 yards rushing. I feel like we could have done something better there. We look at it all across the board. We all could have done something better. It was definitely a team loss."

@ Can the Steelers get it together and rebound from this? I think so. The defense is still showing flashes of being better. It sacked Joe Flacco five times and forced a pair of turnovers.

Vick, with a full week of practice before the Steelers play again - and actually a couple of extra practices since they don't play until Oct. 12 at San Diego - will get plenty of practice time with the receivers.

And there's a guy named Martavis Bryant that will be back for the next game. That should help as well.

@ Dri Archer and Brown both had big returns in overtime that should have helped the Steelers to a win. They didn't.

And punter Jordan Berry had an off game that should have cost the Steelers points, especially when he hit one that only went 40 yards standing on his own goal line. It was returned to the Pittsburgh 33.

But for some reason, John Harbaugh decided to attempt a fake field goal after the Ravens stalled. And Sean Spence sniffed it out.

It was one of three failed fourth-down attempts for the Ravens in the second half. And the Steelers didn't make them pay.

They let Harbaugh off the ropes for his stupidity.

@ The Steelers continue to have issues with tackling. But it's a problem around the league.

I get the fact that fans focus on what their team is doing. But the Ravens missed plenty of tackles in this game as well.

In fact, watch any game around the league and you'll see plenty of missed tackles.

But it doesn't change the fact the Steelers seem to be missing them at inopportune times. Yes, I'm talking about you, Arthur Moats.


SS said...

How in the World do you not mention how poorly this team was coached? Everyplace other than special teams. Play calling, are you kidding me? Tomlin and the FO are a complete joke publicly. You must know that.

They lost this game nearly 5 freaking different times because of play calling and coaching decision!!! That is unacceptable. Scobee is garbage to be sure, and I cannot believe they gave up a valuable pick for him when he will be gone in 2 weeks, but come on. Let's place some blame on people other than the players who, I know.....cliche...are the ones who play the game. Tackling is p!ss poor for sure and that is on players. Not sure how that is fixed. Pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

Jarvis Jones invisible again. When can we call him a bust?

adamg said...

Let's be honest here, Scobee makes the 2 FGs he missed and AB catches that TD pass, the Steelers are right at 30 pts and a fairly easy win. Tomlin critics should get used to the fact that he's the head coach and isn't going anywhere.

I thought the tackling was poor to start, but got better as the game progressed. Cockrell looks like he could turn into a nice player. IMHO, the defense isn't that far away from being real good.

It was obvious the offense was limited what with the short week and no practices. Vick did ok taking them in for 2 TDs and nearly a 3rd but for a dropped pass in the endzone.

Scobee is disappointing. He's not someone who's never kicked at Heinz Field what with Jax having been in the AFC Central for many years.

finnsteeler said...

After Vick started having tons of turnovers and his performance went downfall in Philly it was very clear he begun playing not to lose and would read route progressions every time the same way. It was first read deep along sideline and if that was not open he threw to flat every time. In Jets it was more of the same and now here. These are safe throws away from defender. He lost his confidence to throw in tight windows middle of the field and defenses know it stacking outside zones or outside shade on man defense. He threw maybe two slants and never even looks deep middle. I get that you don't want to have turnovers but if you are not attacking the whole field at some degree it is too easy for NFL defenses. Just watch receivers catch it outside and never have room to turn it upfield. It is also just not the coaching alone because it is now three teams with the same reads. Vick has to be forced to attack middle of the field next game few more times to keep defense honest! If not deep then at least short middle.

Anonymous Brian said...

I didn't have a problem with going for it on fourth down the two times or throwing on 3rd-and-5 before that (when Coates - well that part sucked, a rookie - was blanketed). The thing I hated was the cute Villanueava-lined-up-as-receiver designed Vick run. Partly related to the (to me) nonsensical 2-pt conversion stuff if Simms was right about it being part of the 2-pt package. (At least they didn't do that unnecessarily last night.) Bell didn't get the ball on any of those plays. Ugh.

Defense was simultaneously getting gouged and making huge plays in the clutch. Crazy game, given away. Ugh.

slab said...

Agree with all of this.

Think about it- 3rd QB, 3rd K, run blocking TE out, pro bowl C out, big play WR out. Getting this game to OT is a credit to Tomlin and Haley.

ibygeorge said...

The best man on the offense did not get enough touches. Hard to believe that play calling went into the 4th with him just having 4 receptions. It looked like Vick was just looking for Heyward-Bey. Is this going to be a reality check for Vick when he can't connect with the best NFL reciever?

Anonymous said...

The most encouraging sign of the night for me? Seeing Ben moving around on the sidelines without crutches. Maybe (fingers crossed) he'll be back closer to four weeks than six.

But Vick was hardly the biggest problem in this game, besides the fact that they're only running a fraction of their offense and he's not in synch with our best weapon. That all should be expected. Phil Simms did a nice job explaining why.

This is how all the games will go until Ben returns. They will all be a struggle. There's no margin for error in any aspect. Vick will be ok, but everyone else has to step it up. The defense has to tackle and not let journeymen like Justin Forcett look like Tony Dorsett. Receivers have to hold on to touchdown passes right in their hands. The punter has to kick it farther than 35 yards. And, of course, the kicker (whoever the hell that will be next week) has to make kicks.

Anonymous said...

I agree that tackling is a league wide problem Dale, but I read this piece during the week that said the steelers were missing the most tackles per defensive snaps. Gonna try to find that again

joe said...

obviously scobee missed two more, but i guess it's easier for many steeler fans to hate on him and blame him, than ab. they both cost 6 points. many other players and coaches didn't come through last night at critical moments either.

Scott said...

Will Allen misses a lot of tackles around the line of scrimmage. Why don't they play Mitchell in the box (i think that's the terminology) rather than Allen? Allen has better ball awareness and Mitchell is a better tackler.

Scott said...

Also, why don't they play McClendon more?

Steve-O said...

Paging Jarvis Jones, has anyone seen Jarvis Jones?!

marc said...

every time i see dupree making a play or wreaking havoc i wonder why jarvis jones is struggling to make an impact.

Anonymous said...

this loss is owned by tomlin and scooobeee... fire that kicker... and get a new one. We know we have a bad mellon. Why not try to see if we find a surprise anywhere else

Easley said...

Well I hope Scobee is renting in Pittsburgh. I don't usually turn to Snoop Dogg for wisdom, but I thought his Instagram video last night summed it up nicely.

So who will be next on our kicker carousel? The Steelers have had success with a Redskins castoff once before in Suisham, so maybe Kai Forbath will get the call. But like Suisham he doesn't produce many touchbacks on kickoffs. Guess we can't have it all at that position, unlike the Ravens.

Anonymous said...

If you're keeping score at home, that's two draft picks traded away this summer, one for a DB who can't get on the field, and the other for a kicker who might get cut today. Though we did get a pick back for Brad Wing, right?

Anonymous said...

"but i guess it's easier for many steeler fans to hate on him and blame him, than ab. they both cost 6 points."

I'd imagine that has something to do with the fact that Scobee has been having trouble kicking since we got him and AB has been one of our best and more reliable players since he was drafted. AB has earned some leeway, Scobee hasn't. So, yeah I can definitely see it being easier to blame Scobee than AB.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin only had one kind of bad call on the long field goal. I can't even fathom how anyone wants to put the blame on Tomlin when the Steelers gave up 191 yards rushing and their kicker missed one that should have been rather easy. Their QB made one of the worst easy throws I've seen in awhile. That should have been game right there. He didn't even get himself turned around and into a proper throwing motion or really get a look at where AB would be.

As far as Vick throwing to Bey and Brown not getting a lot of looks. I'm going to guess that has something to do with the second string guys playing together more and him having more of a feel for Bey's game then AB.

I get Tomlin shouldn't have sent him for the long field goal into the wind on the open end of the stadium(if my memory is right). That was a bad call by him. He should have punted but it didn't cost the game. The 191 yards of rushing the defense allowed is what cost the game. Even more so then missed FG's.

I generally don't like individual goals any more than what they do to help the team win but I really feel for AB because he probably just had a record breaking season taken away from him. I guess the same could be said about Ben. He looked like he was going to have his best season ever.

DD said...

The play calling was atrocious this game. That is 100% on the coaches. I cannot forgive the final drives when it was 3rd and short and they KNEW they were going for it on 4th and still were throwing on 3rd down. Just ridiculous. I don't care if Baltimore had 15 dudes in the box. As for the last horrid pass to AB, no guarantee even with that first scobee would have won the game. Probably still misses FG and ravens drive right down anyway. Kudos to D for making some clutch plays. That was nice to see. Cam Thomas however needs to be shown the freakin door. He blew last yr and blows even worse this yr. Almost as big of a waste as Jarvis. That dude is 100% a bust. No longer a debate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah they ran right at Cam Thomas all night and blew him off the ball.

Heyward and Tuitt are studs but the Thomas is the weak link. Thomas is seeing way too many snaps. I'd rather play some guy off the street.

emac2 said...

I would argue ab's drop in the end zone was as big or bigger then the OT overthrow. Missed connections are part of the normal game but end zone drops are big no matter how great you are all the time.

Not getting those points was also very big in the change of game flow and Vicks trust for AB.

The Steelers went into prevent offense way too early. Vick wasn't great but played well enough to win in a first game with so little practice. He should be introduced to Heath Miller when they all have time.

A game this close could have been won by any of 100 different decisions/changes so everyone can be blamed but the kicking was number one and the coaching was number two.

Wheaton hasn't been good this year. He has some good plays but catches half his targets. doesn't work.

Cockrell showed us why Boykins isn't starting. Or at least why Boykins isn't beating out Cockrell. I'm appreciating Blake more and more every week but I trade two turnovers for a red zone TD.

Birthday Boy said...

The defense and Bell were just about the only parts of the team NOT to blame for this sickening loss. As lame as Vick was, as bad as the punting was, and as many yards as the defense gave up, holding the ratbirds to 20 points in regulation was great. Brown was bad, dropping balls and stepping out of bounds. Vick was inaccurate and took unnecessary sacks. He ignored Heath. Tomlin and Haley were foolish and incompetent. Punter shanked all but one kick. And the kicker Scobee needs to go back to Saturday morning cartoons!

Dale Lolley said...

They don't play Mitchell as much in the box because A. He's the free safety and B. He runs much better than Allen and can thus cover more area on the back end.

A.B. not coming down with the catch in the end zone was a big play. That's one he typically makes but didn't in this case.

I agree that the Steelers miss a lot of tackles, but I haven't seen that as a driving force behind their two losses.

marc said...

fact is that when your starting QB goes out, everyone needs to step it up a bit, and that just didn't happen across the board. kicker choked, punter was bad, AB wasn't at his best, run defense was soft, coaches out coached themselves.

there's a lot to gripe about, but there's also some good things as well.

defense is forcing turnovers and getting sacks - thank goodness!! bell ran well. dupree looks good - he is fast off the edge. cockrell is a pleasant surprise. i like butler's approach on defense - he's aggressive and it shows.

also, baltimore is in for a long season. put a starting QB out there and that game is a blowout. doesn't need to be #7, just any QB who knows the offense and is semi-accurate. guys were wide open all over the field.

assuming #7 is out for the next 4 games, i would hope to see a run/pass ratio around 60/40. we have the backs and oline to do it and it will make vick that much more effective on the play action, remember #7's rookie year. i also expect they will go 3-1 during that stretch. i think this is going to round into a very good team.

Zeke R said...

Calling out Moats? Calling Vick? Calling out Haley and Mr. T?

Missed field goals is the issue, when most of these games are won by three points (see score board) it's unacceptable to miss those kicks and the one he made got tipped. Who knows if that one was good if that hadn't occurred..

Vick was is a bad position with a short week and was reported that there really wasn't a practice more than a walk through..

The kicker shoulders this one, on his own.. Unacceptable a kicker to miss all these kicks.

Dale Lolley said...

There's a lot of blame to go around, as I stated. Certainly the kicker is an obvious one.

And yes, they had just one glorified walk through last week as their full practice because Tomlin didn't want to beat them up on a short week.

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