The Steelers play like losers for a good bit of the game only to come roaring back but ultimately come up short in the end as they lose a big road game to the hated Ravens, 22-20.
The Good - The offense finally started to click in the 2nd half and tallied 20.
- The O-line did not allow a sack once again. Really great to see.
- Bell had one of his best games of his career until he was knocked out of the game. Big run in the 3rd quarter and a number of catches including a big 1st down catch and run on a 2nd and 24 in the fourth quarter resulting in a 1st down.
- The defense played better in the 2nd half, some decent pressure was generated. Jason Worilds looked really good once again filling in for the injured Lamar Woodley. Time to see what team wants Woodley, maybe the Steelers can package Pouncey into the trade.
The Bad - As I alluded to last week and what I hoped wouldn’t happen but definitely expected, the Steelers gameplan was to pucker up as they always do against the Ravens and I guess hope to win a close nail biter in the end. This kind of approach is basically a self-fulfilling prophecy and it’s a gameplan of a team that is coached scared. The end result is what we saw in this game.
- The offensive gameplan in the first half. See above. The Steelers take the opening kickoff and proceed to run the ball 3 straight times and punt. Why not just kickoff instead? The Steelers followed that up with 2 more unsuccessful handoffs before finally giving Ben a chance to throw the ball. What is this shit? Come on. It basically set the tempo for the rest of the half and no points scored for 2 quarters of play.
- Speaking of Ben, he finished with decent numbers and on a few throws his WR’s let him down but overall a really scattershot performance with a number of throws short armed and some questionable decision making.
- Antonio Brown failing to locate a deep pass that would’ve resulted in a TD.
- The botched snap on a 50 yard FG attempt in the 1st half. Horrible execution obviously but worse, horrible decision to attempt it. Coaching scared, coaching not to lose. It was a 4th and 6 at the Ravens 32 with the team down 7. Just go for it. On a previous drive and already down 7, the Steelers faced a 4th and 6 at the Ravens 37 and the Steelers punted. Coaching scared, coaching not to lose was the theme of the game until the Steelers were basically forced to get aggressive in the 2nd half.
- What exactly was going on in the Steelers secondary in the 1st half? They looked completely clueless out there, like they hadn’t even gameplanned for this game. Safeties were no where to be seen on a number of deep throws, CB’s couldn’t locate balls. It was bad.
- The 2 point conversion. Why, why, why was Manny Sanders the intended target on what was basically the play of the game? Sanders had a bad game up to that point, why not target Brown or Cotchery who have been much more reliable this season? Dumb team.
The Embarrassing - Tomlin almost getting run over on a big Ravens kick return as he was basically standing in the field before realizing at the last second what was going on. He’s lucky he wasn’t penalized. Was Tomlin on drugs in this game? He sure looked like it. Just another notch to add to his legacy.
- Bell’s TD run in the 4th quarter being reviewed and reversed due to the NFL’s new helmet rule of calling the play dead as soon as a runners helmet comes off. Great job, NFL. This is the result of a league introducing more and more convoluted rules into the game year after year. Hopefully this play makes the competition committee realize how stupid this rule is considering the outcome of this play and adjusts accordingly. The ruling on this play is simply unacceptable and it did play a big role in the outcome of the game. Complete horseshit.
Summary - Once again Tomlin puts his mediocre stamp onto the team. Botched FG attempts, almost impeding a kickoff returner, dumb decisions and predictably stale gameplans. This game illustrates why this team is in the hole that it is in. Even after 3 straight wins THIS is why it’s hard to picture this team putting together the kind of run that will get them into the playoffs. Even if the Steelers win the next 2, they will have another one of these games in the 3rd game, rinse repeat.
Steelers slowly pull away from the Browns, 27-11, en route to a fairly easy victory on the road.
The Good - The story of the game was an opportunistic Steelers defense against what turned out to be a fairly inept Browns offense. The Steelers defense scored their first defensive TD of the year on a Willie Gay pick six in the 4th quarter. Earlier in the game, Gay blitzed and got a sack/forced fumble in which Will Allen picked up and returned all the way down to inside the Browns 5 yard line, resulting in a Ben TD pass to Manny Sanders, 20-3 Steelers, huge play. Troy played a very solid game, forcing 2 fumbles (recovering one) and almost snagging an interception. The talk of getting rid of Troy is simply crazy talk, the guy is still playing at a very high level.
- Suisham making a long and very tough FG on the opening drive of the game in windy conditions in the Mistake by the Lake.
- Ben’s 41 yard TD pass to Brown at the end of the 1st half. The ball was actually underthrown (a Ben staple on deep passes) and Brown actually gets the ball stripped by Browns CB Joe Haden but the loose ball luckily lands on Brown’s chest as he lay on his back good for the TD.
- Jason Worilds, playing for an injured Lamar Woodley, created consistent pressure for most of the game. One highlight in particular, a bullrush all the way to Browns QB Wheeden creating a hurried incompletion. This kind of consistent pressure in a game hasn’t been seen since James Harrison was on the team. Like with Pouncey being injured, this could be a blessing in disguise for the Steelers. Time to cut some overpaid dead weight perhaps.
- Cam Heyward continues to make his case for best D-lineman on the team with another solid game, including a big sack on 3rd and 2 as the Browns were driving in Steelers territory in the 2nd quarter. Heyward also recovered a strip sack from Polamalu in the 2nd half.
- Watching the O-line play another solid game, let’s keep it up.
The Bad - Steelers calling a run play on 3rd and 7 on the opening drive of the game, resulting in no yards and a long FG attempt. Really bad call. The Steelers offense, starting with this call, would stall until the end of the half when the playcalling opened up more in cold and windy Cleveland. Disappointing but not surprising, this would end with Ben’s 41 yard TD to Brown with about 2 minutes left in the half. This offense is only successful at scoring points with an aggressive gameplan, it’s been shown time and again. If the Steelers continue to turn it around this is imperative.
- Rookie Bell had a couple of drops, including a bad one on 3rd down inside the Browns redzone where the Steelers had to settle for a FG.
- LB Timmons looked real slow in pass coverage, allowing multiple 3rd down pickups in the 1st half with some spotty coverage.
Summary - With 3 straight wins now the Steelers are back in the hunt for the Wildcard spot or even the division title. On Thanksgiving the Steelers face off against the Ravens in what has suddenly become a huge game for both teams. Let’s hope Tomlin and the Steelers don’t pucker up in this one as it happens so often when the Steelers get on a roll, let’s come out guns blazing! Ravens suck! Especially this year, complete frauds.
Steelers win a crazy, topsy-turvy home game, 37-27, over the Megatron Lions.
The Good - Steelers get off to a big start with 2 big Antonio Brown catch and run TD receptions and lead in the 1st half at one point 17-3. Steelers offense comes out aggressive and surprise surprise it pays off. Brown had another great game, although he did bobble a TD pass in the 2nd half.
- Missing in action rookie Markus Wheaton showing a nice burst of speed on a short crosser and run reception in the 1st half. The kid finishes with 3 grabs.
- New punter old guy McBriar finally boots a nice punt in the 2nd half, pinning the Lions deep in their own territory.
- Veteran WR Cotchery after having a rough start, has a really nice 4th quarter, a TD grab and another nifty catch, spin and run down to the GL.
- Speaking of which, very smart and aggressive playcall and execution to seal the victory for the Steelers on a fake bubble screen, fade pass to Cotchery for his TD grab at the end of the 4th quarter.
- Watching Ben amass almost 400 yards passing, 4 TD passes and no INT’s.
- Rookie RB Bell continues to be a legit threat in the passing game, which included snagging a short pass and running upfield for 43 yards in the 1st half.
- Will Allen with a huge INT and return of about 30 yards or so at the end of the 4th quarter with the Steelers leading by 3.
- Jason Worilds showing some nice hustle and speed on a big sack on Stafford in the 3rd quarter, resulting in a punt and almost a safety. Steelers offense gets the ball back in Lions territory, resulting in….
- The patchwork O-line played well in pass protection. Decastro and Velasco are keepers.
The Bad - Steelers in the redzone today before the final TD (which was from the 20)- 1 TD, 3 FG’s. Not going to get the job done normally. Some spotty playcalling, but mostly poor execution.
- End of 1st half, with the Steelers lead shortened 20-17 and with 3 minutes left Haley calls for a bubble screen on 3rd and 10. Bullshit conservative loser ball call. Amazingly, the Lions would end up scoring 10 more points to close out the half with a 27-20 lead. Even more amazingly, it easily could’ve been 31-20.
- Watching Ike Taylor drop an easy INT where the ball literally hits him right in the freaking chest. The next play, Megatron 23 yard catch. Later, he would drop another, albeit tougher, pass. Taylor is a very good cover CB but the fact that his hands are so bad does indeed hurt him as a defensive player.
- Why was Ike Taylor left all alone covering Calvin Johnson for most of the game? There is no CB that can successfully do that in the NFL. Taylor gave it his all but it’s just crazy to hope for success all game with that approach. And constantly Ryan Clark would look for anyone else to cover instead of helping out over top against Megatron. Why is Clark even starting at this point?
- Why was Ike Taylor left all alone covering Calvin Johnson for most of the game? There is no CB that can successfully do that in the NFL. Taylor gave it his all but it’s just crazy to hope for success all game with that approach. And constantly Ryan Clark would look for anyone else to cover instead of helping out over top against Megatron. Why is Clark even starting at this point? It seemed like some adjustments were made at halftime, which was good to see.
- Some of Ben’s passes were really off early in the 2nd half, including one where Ben literally threw the ball right to a Lions LB on a slant play, luckily it was dropped.
- Ben overthrowing TE David Paulson who was completely uncovered in the endzone on 2nd and goal from the one. On 3rd and goal Bell falls down losing yards, resulting in a FG instead of tying TD. Barf. Horrible call on 3rd and goal, go all out.
The Bizarre - The Lions getting stopped on a fake FG in the 4th quarter leading 27-23. A FG would’ve given them a 7 point lead. Going for the kill I guess, bizarre call nonetheless.
Megatron had 0 receptions in the 2nd half. Lions 0 points. Coincidence?
Summary - Overall, a fun game to watch a nice win. The Steelers offense looked great at times, but consistency and execution could still be much better, especially in the redzone. Time clock management is also still an issue. Steelers defense played decently, pass rush and run defense need much improvement. Steelers playoff hopes remain alive, but chances remain slim. Next week a road trip to Cleveland who got hammered today by the Bengals, they will be pumped up for this game no doubt.
The Steelers stoop to a new low this season as they get annihilated by the Patriots 31-55. 55 is the most amount of points ever given up by a Steelers team in a game. Congratulations I believe are in order.
The Good - With the outcome as bad as it is it feels sort of wrong even listing any positives from this game but I’ll try.
- The Steelers stop the Pats on a 4th and GL stand after looking horrible throughout on the particular drive by the Pats offense. Big effort. Little did we know what was to come.
- Bell looked very good at times, nice to see a no-nonsense RB. He seems to be a jack of all trades, maybe a master of none, but that’s fine. He looked good as RB, in pass protection, he did drop a pass but also took a short screen pass and picked up 29 yards on a 3rd and 30 (LOL) in the first half. Continues to impress.
- Steelers not waiting until the 4th quarter to go no-huddle and seeing their first points of the game as a result in the 2nd quarter although disappointing finish as they settle for 3 instead of a much needed 7 down 14-0 at the time.
- Some nice playcalling in the 3rd quarter by Haley, including a nifty PA short dumpoff to a wide open Miller for an easy first down.
- Underutilized D-lineman Cameron Heyward was the lone bright spot for the defense as he snagged two sacks on Brady, both huge plays inside the Steelers redzone. On his second sack he actually broke through two blockers. Great effort.
- Ryan Clark finally did something positive this year as he knocks Gronk out of the game temporarily in the 3rd quarter.
- Really nice punt return by Antonio Brown in the 3rd quarter with the score 17-24 and the momentum seemingly going the Steelers way after a Pats three and out. Little did we know what awaited in the 4th quarter.
- After a rough 1st half, Troy makes a huge play on a strip and fumble recovery in Pats territory to start the 3rd quarter which results eventually in a TD for the Steelers.
- Ben’s TD passes – perfect.
- Jonathan Dwyer ripping off a big run at the end of the 2nd quarter setting the Steelers offense up deep in Patriot territory.
The Bad - Ben’s overthrow on 3rd and 5 inside the Pats redzone to Manny Sanders that would’ve been a TD. Ben finished with 400 yards passing and 4 TD’s but a lot of his passes were off the mark or overthrown.
- Ben fumbling on the opening drive of the game. Let’s just call him Butterfingers Ben from now on, he’s fumbled a good bit this season.
- Watching Ryan Clark try to “cover” Pats TE Gronkowski. Get this guy out of the game please.
- Watching Ben, after the Steelers defense amazingly stops the Pats on a 4th and GL stand in the 1st quarter, heave the ball on his back foot after feeling pressure up the middle resulting in a poorly thrown pass and INT, giving the ball right back to the Pats in Steelers territory. What a disaster. Very next play, Pats score their first TD on a Brady pass to a wide open WR. Only the Steelers could pull off such a string of highs and lows in such a short amount of time. (GL stand after looking horrible on D, Ben horrible pass for INT, next play TD pass for the Pats, unbelievable).
- Watching Troy get completely burned on the above TD pass. No reason for that. Troy’s performance in the 1st half was compromised of at least 3 penalties and plenty of blown coverage. Really bad. The unnecessary roughness penalty on Gronk’s TD catch was complete bullshit, though.
- Lebeau’s “gameplan” for Gronkowksi apparently was to let him run free to start the game. Later in the game apparently it was to put a rookie SS on him and hope for the best. Mission fail.
- All the blown coverages by the Steelers secondary.
- The O-line, with the usual injury count, played really poorly, particularly in the 1st half. A fatter, slower, who-gives-a-shit bunch of guys I have not seen in some time.
- Speaking of which, watching scrub tackle Beachum completely whiffing on a block and then falling down to the turf like an old man having have a heart attack leading to an easy sack for the Pats defense. This might’ve been the easiest sack ever for a defender that was supposedly being “blocked” in the history of the NFL.
- 3rd and 3 draw to Bell in the 1st half, or maybe it was the 3rd quarter. What a horseshit call even though they picked up the 1st down. Bad play, luckily Bell converted, running hard.
- Manny Sanders with a horrible drop in the 3rd quarter on a contested pass. Tough grab but when it hits you in the hands you gotta hold on. Sanders shows potential but still a long ways to go.
- Horrible chop block call on Bell, complete horseshit.
- Speaking of which, there were some real horseshit calls by refs in the 1st half, all huge penalties as well. The pass interference call on rookie safety Thomas on Gronk in the endzone was probably the worst and basically gave the Pats a TD instead of what would’ve likely had been a FG with hardly any time left in the 1st half. Not that it would’ve mattered in the end but this kind of BS just continues to kill enjoyment in the game.
- Steelers offense had 4 trips inside Pats territory in the 1st half – 10 points for the Steelers offense. Not getting the job down.
- Pats big punt return after a poor punt and with the score 27-24, Pats, eventually leading to another Pats TD making the score 34-24 in the 4th quarter. This game was littered with these kinds of game momentum killers that all lead to the eventual outcome and blowout. This team does this kind of shit on a weekly basis. Look what happened to the Raiders today, completely annihilated at home against a mediocre Eagles team. Just how bad are the Steelers?
- Tomlin telling Ben to “Let it go” after Ben throws an INT at the end of the game after yet another miscommunication in the offense. Who the hell says this after getting annihilated and embarrassed to their star QB? How about it’s time to let Tomlin go? This guy is not a head coach, he’s a complete fraud. I almost feel like the Steelers ownership and FO are testing the fans or something at this point. Is it all a charade? Where’s the punchline?
- The cherry on top – Watching Ryan Clark get completely burned on an 81 yard TD pass at the end of the 4th quarter with the Steelers still sort of in the game, down by 10 points.
The Weird - What’s the deal with the Steelers using a different returner on every kickoff return? Felix Jones, Manny Sanders, Jonathan Dwyer all returned kicks in the 1st half alone. Does this team actually have coaches?
The Stupidity - Other than the usual stuff, seeing Ben in the game with 2 minutes left and the Steelers down 24 and with a mediocre O-line. Why exactly? Is Tomlin playing FF on the side? At this point it honestly wouldn’t surprise me.
Summary - This was a very bizarre game to watch, as is the norm with the Steelers these days. The team made it a game at one point with Ben and the offense actually tying up the score 24-24 early on in the 2nd half. But did anyone actually feel like they were going to win this game? That’s the problem in a nutshell – this team lacks a killer instinct, they are poorly coached, they are too conservative, too predictable, too poorly prepared, lack discipline and consistency which makes coming back and taking a lead in a game pretty much impossible. And of course it didn’t happen in this game. I’ve said it for sometime. I mentioned it explicitly at the end of last year. Fans will be forced to open their eyes to the fact that this team is led by a poor head coach. Have you seen enough? I hope the Rooneys have. What we saw today is simply in inexcusable. In the end this is a team that is simply spinning out of control in every aspect and it’s only going to get worse unless there are huge changes made, starting at the very top.
Steelers go out to Oakland and lose 21-18.
The Good - Antonio Brown made some nice grabs and had a huge punt return. Unfortunately he also had a couple really bad and crucial drops including one that ended up being intercepted and another huge drop on a 3rd and 15 in the 4th quarter. Overall, not one of his better games.
- Bell and Dwyer ran hard at times behind a battered O-line. Bell also looked good as a receiver out of the backfield. Why he isn’t used more is one of many unanswered questions concerning this team.
- The Steelers found some success with the screen play with Bell as the receiver.
- The Steelers defense shut out the Raiders offense in the 2nd half and forced 3 turnovers.
- Troy, Timmons and Kiesel were making some nice plays.
The Bad - Overall, this game, regardless of the final score, was a nightmare to watch from the opening snap as the Steelers defense is totally oblivious to Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor as he scampers untouched for a 93 yard TD run. Embarrassing. Here is a QB who is actually the leading rusher on the team and the defense is totally oblivious to that on the 1st play of the game. Great job, definitely prepared for this one. This game was one of the worst I’ve seen from a coaching and player standpoint in years and that’s saying something.
- As bad as the defense played in the 1st half (21 points allowed) they still forced two turnovers and gave the offense good field position at midfield. The offense created 3 points off that. The offense was simply bad in the 1st half, hardly any yards or 1st downs, no 3rd down conversions. Ben was totally off on a number of early throws.
- After the Raiders get up to a 21-3 lead at the end of the 2nd half, the Steelers attempt a handoff with under 2 minutes left and down 18 resulting in a 1 yard loss. Yeah. Ben is then sacked on the 2nd down resulting in a 3rd and 20. on 3rd down Sanders is then called for holding. Unfuckingbelievable. Haley continued this conservative approach well into the 4th quarter of the game.
- Watching the Steelers offense take the opening kickoff of the 2nd half and proceed to take about 10 minutes off the clock ending in another short Suisham FG attempt. Haley and Tomlin – your team is DOWN by 18, not up by 18. Great job. The kind of play selection and approach on this drive (2 TE sets, running the ball) was obviously the gameplan going into this game, the problem as already mentioned is the team is down by 18 points, it’s time to adjust. Another coaching failure.
- Speaking of Suisham, he wasn’t done with his bad performance as he missed another short FG in the 2nd half. Great year for Suisham but not in this game.
- Woodley somehow managing to get to Pryor but then proceeding to slide off him like he was covered in vaseline, resulting an incompletion and not a much needed sack in the 1st half. Late in the 2nd quarter inside the Steelers redzone, Woodley takes an outside loop as the secondary had everyone covered allowing Pryor an easy lane for a big pickup. Woodley is the master of looking like he’s really hustling out there but in truth about 90% of the time he’s taking horrible angles and playing patty cakes with the opposing blocker. This game was definitely no different, really bizarre to watch.
- The O-line, playing with numerous guys off the bench, played like dog poo in pass protection throughout the game.
- ST’s punt deflection in the 1st quarter eventually resulting in the Raiders second TD of the game.
- Manny Sanders with a false start on a 3rd and 5, two more penalties on the ensuing 3rd and 10 resulting in declined penalties and punt. Good job, guys.
- The entire team looked flatter and more disinterested than usual. Maybe part of that was due to the team not getting into the west coast until the afternoon/night before? Could be? Maybe? Tomlin, not learning from his mistakes since 2007.
- Horrible usage of TO’s once again by Tomlin and the team. With the Steelers at around the Raiders 20 yard line and the clock ticking with only about 24 seconds left why waste another 7 precious seconds before finally calling a TO? DUMB. With now no TO’s left Ben then attempts a short slant to Felix Jones with now about 13 seconds left on the clock, the ball is poorly thrown and almost picked off, but even if it’s caught it’s questionable whether the Steelers would get the FG attempt off before the clock expires. Dumbest team in the NFL. And of course Suisham misses the FG on the next play. In the 4th quarter and down by 11 with under 2 minutes left, Ben stupidly takes a TO, eliminating any chance of the Steelers getting the ball back with a manageable amount of time left to kick a tying FG if the ensuing onside kick fails (which it did). If the Steelers had all 3 TO’s they actually could’ve just kicked off normally and gotten the ball back in good field position with about a minute left in the game. Very manageable situation to tie up the game. Ben is great at times but can also be dumber than a bag of bricks.
- Why Mesko is still the punter on this team is beyond comprehension to just about everyone except apparently the coaching staff. He was awful in this game. He had a 30 yard punt at the end of the 1st half which would’ve probably resulted in more points for the Raiders except for a bobbled reception and resulting INT by the Steelers.
- The Steelers running the no-huddle offense with about 4 minutes left in the game and down by 11. This drive eventually resulted in a TD. Why in the hell wasn’t this run earlier in the game? It’s not like the Steelers were ever leading or were down by one score for most of the game. To top it off even running the no-huddle this team still looks like it’s moving in molasses. That’s on the coaching staff. I’m officially on the “Fire Haley” bandwagon after this dismal performance. The guy, like Arians, just seems oblivious to anything outside his own narrow minded gameplan.
- Watching the Steelers run a bizarre trick play and seeing Manny Sanders score a 2 point conversion at the end of the game. Yeah, it’s great that he converted but WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? It’s just embarrassing in a way to see stuff like this as it just reinforces the fact (and yes it’s pretty much a fact at this point) that this team is one of the dumbest in the NFL. They are seriously one of the most bizarre, schizophrenic teams I’ve ever seen play.
The Bizarre - The refs ruling on a fumbled Raiders punt return that a Steelers player swiped or touched the ball before it touched the Raiders return man. How did they see this to begin with? Tomlin challenged it but the ruling was upheld even though video evidence did not show evidence that the Steelers player had indeed touched the ball. It was a case of not enough evidence to overturn the BS initial ruling on the field by the refs. This kind of situation should not happen in football, it’s bush league.
Embarrassing - The look on Tomlin’s face whenever the Steelers are losing. It amazingly sums up the teams problems to a tee – confused, embarrassed, clueless.
Summary - With this loss the Steelers can pretty much say goodbye to their playoff chances. I guess it’s up to each fan whether they still want to entertain thoughts of a Wildcard berth but honestly the way this team is coached and the way it plays the odds of reeling off consecutive wins to get into a position to even sniff a Wildcard spot seems extremely small at this point. Oh, and next week the Steelers travel up to New England.
The Steelers edge out the Ravens in another close game between the two rivals, 19-16, the victory brings the Steelers record up to 2-4 and keeps the slim playoff hopes alive for another week.
The Good - The playcalling was inventive (nice shovel pass to Miller for the easy TD) in the 1st half on a couple of drives but maybe the biggest gamechanger was the play of the O-line which consistently pushed back the Ravens defense on run plays. When that happens it makes a huge difference obviously and makes the playcalling all the better.
- Rookie RB LeVeon Bell had his best game in his short career thus far, rushing for almost 100 yards, showing some good patience and vision and actually running a variation of the wildcat offense on a number of plays with generally good results. He looks to be a solid, if not spectacular RB. Felix Jones chipped in some nice runs as well as the Steelers amassed the most rushing yards so far this year in a game.
- Ben played a solid game.
- Watching CB Cortez Allen show some great hustle in run support and looking very good in pass coverage for the most part. He also almost had a sack on Flacco but did force an incompletion on the play, although honestly it looked like it was a fumble. Probably one of the better games of his career.
- Watching Joe Flacco underthrow an open Jacoby Jones in the 2nd half as he beat Gay deep on a post pattern for what would’ve been a TD. Gay managed to recover and break up the underthrown ball. Very risky defense on the play given that Gay had absolutely no support deep, Steelers dodged a bullet on that one.
- Speaking of which, Willie Gay had another game of solid coverage including breaking up what would’ve been 2 Raven TD passes. The first was the already mentioned underthrown Flacco deep ball, the other was in the 4th quarter on a huge 3rd down play into the endzone.
- The secondary overall had a very solid game, Ike had another game of super tight coverage. Flacco did end up with decent numbers and a high completion percentage but part of that is because of the dink and dunk offense the Ravens employ. The other reason is the lack of pressure for most of the 2nd half on Flacco.
- The defense stuffing the Ravens on 3rd and 1, forcing a FG in the 1st quarter. Hood helping to make a key stop on a short run play? Say it ain’t so!
- Rookie WR Derek Moye with a very impressive somersault grab on 3rd down as he is hit and manages to hold on to the ball as he flies up to grab the ball and is flipped upside down by two Raven defenders.
- Lawrence Timmons was a tackling machine in this game helping to slow down the Ravens run game.
- Felix Jones with a fantastic 40 yard Kick off return after the Ravens FG in the 1st quarter.
- Good heads up play and recovery of the ball by youngster Vince Williams on a sneaky onsides kick early in the 4th quarter by the Ravens. The Ravens were penalized twice on the play but good play by Williams nonetheless. Very bizzare decision by Harbaugh to attempt it with the score 13-9 at that point. It’s not like the Steelers offense was lighting up the scoreboard.
- The defense played hard for most of the game which was good to see.
- Manny F’ing Sanders almost was the hero of the game as he returned the kickoff at the end of the game for a TD but just barely stepped out of bounds on the play.
The Bad - Once again the Steelers can’t seem to buck the trend of scoring and then allowing the opposing team to march down on the ensuing drive for a score as the Ravens match the Steelers first TD with a FG in the first half and then at the end of the 4th quarter with the Steelers leading 16-9 after a FG, the Ravens march down pretty much uncontested for the game tying TD. This defense ranks high year after year but the truth is when push comes to shove in big moments of games this defense has repeatedly let the team down more often than not.
- Watching the offense go into “Slo-Mo” mode with over 3 minutes left at the end of the 1st half ending eventually in disaster as Heath Miller has a ball popped out of his arms for a Ravens recovery around midfield. On the “drive” Bell is called for a facemask penalty which pinned the offense deep in their own territory, very, very ticky tack call by the refs. Haley called numerous draws which sucked away at the clock. Overall, this is a good example of the Steelers playing way too conservatively and scared. Go for the jugular. One of my biggest problems with this kind of playcalling and mindset and use of the clock is even if the Steelers managed to get some first downs or if Miller managed to hold onto the ball it would still be very unlikely the Steelers would’ve had enough time to score a TD, let alone a FG in decent range. Gotta keep the scores close! The Steelers motto for some time now. And this was the mindset for the offense for most of the 2nd half as well, settling for FG’s or settling for simply eating away some of the clock in a close game. It won the game today but it’s hard to picture this kind of approach working the rest of the season for a 2-4 team with no room for error. The Steelers simply let the Ravens hang around which is the MO for this team under Tomlin.
- Speaking of which, seeing the Steelers offense imploding in the 3rd quarter with the ball inside the 5 of the Ravens with a second and short and ending eventually in a FG. Penalties, poor O-line protection, questionable playcalling, in other words – business as usual. Where was the unpredictable playcalling that worked well in the 1st half? Why is there still an avoidance of using RB’s in the passing game?
- Seeing the O-line’s play revert back to mediocre throughout a good bit of the 2nd half in pass protection, especially at sealing outside rushers. Decent run blocking continued for the most part.
- Bad drop in the endzone by Moye in the 4th quarter. Perfectly thrown pass by Ben on the play.
The Bizarre – As mentioned, Seeing rookie RB LeVeon Bell run a variation of the Wildcat offense numerous times in the game and doing it with good results. What’s bizarre is the Steelers using a rookie player in such a role, especially a rookie that hasn’t even had that much game experience this season due to injury.
Summary - Overall, it’s another win which is now 2 in a row, let’s see how far the team can take this momentum because that’s what it’s going to take based on some of the issues on this team (defensive letdowns, questionable coaching, mistakes) that still continued even in this win. Next week is a very tricky west coast roadtrip out to Oakland. Another pivotal game.
It’s finally happened, the Steelers get their first win of the season with a relatively easy victory over the Jets, 19-6. Very nice.
The Good - As will probably always be the case going forward, Ben carried the offense and finished the game with nice numbers and a good performance.
- Antonio Brown continues a great season with another great performance minus the dropped TD pass in the first half.
- Manny Sanders had a nice 55 yard grab. Unfortunately he ended the play with another dumb somersault into the endzone, a Steelers staple under Tomlin.
- Heath Miller productive day, per usual.
- Kelvin Beachum, playing at LT after Mike Adam’s recent poor performance at the position, played a solid game.
- Troy Polamalu was a disruptive force all over the field, including a nasty hit on a Jets WR and a sneaky blitz up the middle causing a quick pass by Jets QB Geno Smith.
- Ryan Clark actually made a positive play this season, picking off a Smith pass. Stop the presses.
- The defense did a good job of containing Geno Smith and the Jets offense, only allowing 6 points all game. Good chance you’ll get a victory if your defense only allows 6.
- Cortez Allen had some great man coverage in the 2nd half.
- Willie Colon had his customary holding penalty in the 2nd half. But wait, he plays for the Jets now, yes!
- youngster LB Vince Williams sniffing out a screen play for a loss. The kid has potential, still a long ways to go, though.
- Another youngster and high draft pick, LB Jarvis Jones had some great pressure on Smith in the 4th quarter resulting in a bad pass and interception, this time snagged by LB Timmons. 2 turnovers by the defense, wow, thought it would never happen.
The Bad - After the Steelers got up to a ten point lead, the defense once again had another let down allowing the Jets offense to march down rather easily all the way down to the Steelers 23, fortunately the drive ended with Smith’s errant pass and interception to Ryan Clark.
- The defense continues to be soft against the run. The LB corps in particular has a long ways to go in terms of tackling and run support, way too inconsistent. Same goes for the D-line which was once a run stopping machine, not these days, though. It actually begs the question of why the Jets didn’t continue to run the ball more in this game as they averaged around 4 yards a carry.
- Still some braindead and bizarre playcalling by the Steelers and Todd Haley, along with some penalties at the wrong time. In particular a playcalling sequence involving 3 TE’s and a trick play inside the Jets redzone leading to a loss of yardage and a FG that started as a 1st and goal from around the 2 yardline.
The Funny - Watching Phil Simms and Bill Cowher argue over whether the Steelers should go for it on a potential 4th and inches at the Jets 2 yard line (it was ruled a first down). Cowher, according to “THE BOOK”, would definitely kick a FG, I have to say I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! I wouldn’t mind Cowher doing all Steeler games, he was pretty entertaining.
Summary - It’s overdue, but a win is a win and that’s good. The AFC North is looking pretty mediocre right now so the Steelers still have a shot, but considering the issues on this team it’ll take a minor miracle to get back into the playoff picture. Let’s see what happens next week with a huge game against the Ravens. Although with a 1-4 record every game is huge here on out. Time to pull out all the stops.