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Random Thoughts

– With the Steelers playing it extremely safe and looking to avoid in mistakes on offense in the 2nd half of yesterday’s win against the Titans, why did Arians and Tomlin have Batch throwing it on every third down play? Why not just run it again on 3rd down? In retrospect, it was a questionable and quite frankly, head-scratching approach and here are a few reasons why –

A.) The Titans defense were stacking 9 to 10 guys near the line on every 1st and 2nd down when the Steelers had the ball in the 2nd half. This resulted in a number of short runs, resulting in a number of 3rd and longs for the Steeler offense. If Tomlin and Arians were so concerned with playing it safe, not wanting to make any mistakes and run time off the clock, why then throw it on every third down and long? When the opposing defense knows virtually what you’re going to do on every down, that gives the defense a severe advantage and puts your offense at more risk of making a mistake (INT, sack, fumble).

B.) As I watched the game yesterday I was thinking “this reminds me of the last preseason game this season when Leftwich was injured and Tomlin was simply playing it safe with Batch in there, handing the ball off every down to end the game so Batch doesn’t get injured since the Steelers are down to only 2 QB’s.” Why then, in a real game with NO QB’s left on the roster, put Batch in a position where the defense has it’s ears pinned back gunning for Batch on every third down and long?

C.) It could easily be argued that it would’ve been safer and smarter to do some PAP’s to WR’s, RB’s and TE’s in the flat, ie, some short, safe passes on 1st and 2nd downs to pick up a first down here and there and take more time off the clock, and perhaps more importantly give the defense a much needed rest. The Steelers only picked up 2 first downs the entire 2nd half and the Steeler defense was clearly gassed in the 4th quarter. In essence, the Steelers defense was playing against the Titans offense AND the Steeler offense yesterday, considering the fact that the Steeler offense was borderline-counter productive in the 2nd half with so many almost intentional and planned 3 and outs.

– It was great hearing Tomlin say in his press conference yesterday that the team is pissed off after hearing through the media “about reports of their premature death.” It’s a little window into perhaps what it is going on internally with this team right. Whenever the Steelers are written off this team loves to prove people wrong. Whenver the Steelers are media favorites this team seems to take it a little too easy. Whether or not that’s a reflection of good coaching (or lack thereof), the bottom line is this year the Steelers are out to prove people wrong which could be bad for other teams in the AFC.

– It’s clear that this defense has put the entire team on their shoulders while Ben is out and is winning games almost single-handedly. Tomlin and Lebeau have done a great job in motivating and preparing these guys. The question is this – Will the defense continue to play at such a high level when Ben gets back? Or will the defense and Lebeau become a little more content and less aggressive, so to speak? These past two games this defense looks like it wants to hurt someone and playing like they’re in a playoff game, they need to keep up that intensity, regardless of who the QB is. It should be interesting to see what happens when Ben gets back.

– Who would’ve thought the Steelers would be 2-0 with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch at QB? And now there looks like there’s a good chance of going 3-1 and at least a decent chance of going 4-0 with Ben out. Feels great!

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