Home > Steeler Articles > Week 15 Steelers-49ers Recap

Week 15 Steelers-49ers Recap

The Steelers embarrass themselves as they travel cross country and lose to the 49ers, 20-3.

Offensive thoughts 

– Ben was obviously effected by his ankle injury (and maybe some painkillers?) as he repeatedly made some bad decisions and held onto the ball WAY too long at times. Of course things weren’t helped by a bad O-line performance, long developing plays and a horrible and inept offensive coordinator. Ben did make some nice throws but he played brain dead at some of the most inopportune times.

– Rashard Softee Mendenhall had a few nice runs. He also ran like a complete pussy on the first couple drives of the game. He showed his usual tentativeness on a number of runs and was dropped like a sack of potatoes at the first sign of contact.

– Mewelde Moore got his usual ONE carry for the game which was the longest run of the night by any RB – 21 yards. Of course, he was never used again. Isaac Redman had an astonishing TWO carries all game.

– Cotchery, Miller, Wallace and Brown all contributed 5 grabs a piece. But Wallace continues to disappoint with a lack of effort on a number of plays including a couple deep plays where he seemed to be content with just jogging down the field. That’s a concern. Miller made some great plays after the catch but let one pass (albeit a very high pass) get by him for an interception. Brown continues to really impress with some great hands and athleticism. It’s also nice to see Cotchery continue to assimilate himself into the offense as a reliable WR to throw to.

– Moore and Mendenhall combined for 5 grabs for 30 yards but in a game where the 49ers pass defense was basically begging the Steelers to dump it off the totals for these guys probably should’ve been around 10 grabs. Totally underused.

– The O-line was abused more and more as the game progressed. It got to the point where the game started to look like the infamous Eagles game from a few years ago in terms of the constant pressure the 49ers were getting on Ben. Starks and Essex in particular were horrible in pass protection as their assignments continually abused them play after play. Embarrassing performance.

Bruce Arians – One of my complaints from last week reared it’s ugly head once again in tonight’s loss. Even Jon Gruden pointed it out – On Ben’s first INT of the game the Steeler receivers ran HORRIBLE routes which directly contributed to the game’s first turnover. On the play, DJ Johnson and whoever else was out there were running patterns literally just yards apart, which naturally drew about 3 or 4 49ers to the area for an easy interception. It amazes me that an NFL offense, especially one with this much talent, is STILL, this late into the season, having this issue. It baffles the mind really.

What exactly was the gameplan tonight to account for Ben’s injury? Of course there was none other than the usual and obvious handoffs on 1st down followed by a good dose of 5 wide sets. This, even though it was CLEAR that the Steelers O-line was having protection issues. Were WR’s running shorter routes at least to compensate for that? OF COURSE NOT. Talk about making your already injured best player a sitting duck in the pocket. Arians should be fired for gross neglect and conduct as a coach after tonight’s fiasco.

And what does the scoreboard say at the end of the night? 3 points. 3 fucking points all game. This offense continually underperforms, it has all year and it has for the majority of the time Bruce Arians has been OC for the Steelers. The Steelers offense now averages less points than the Tebow-led Broncos and the Alex Smith-led 49ers. Can anyone tell me how Arians makes this offense better than it should be instead of worse than it should be? Just fire this fucker NOW. No way are the Steelers going to the Super Bowl this year with the kind of performance we’ve seen tonight and in the majority of games this year. A lot of fans will simply blame Ben for tonight’s game. What is Arian’s job again? Oh that’s right, it’s to ride Ben’s coattails and apparently not much else.

Defensive Thoughts

– The defense only allowed four 3rd down conversions out of 13 but it sure seemed worse while watching the game. The defense, at least early on, was doing it’s best “bend but don’t break” imitation, holding the 9ers to just 6 points in the 1st half. But when the Steelers offense finally got on the board to make it 6-3, the Steelers defense allowed a horrible TD drive on the ensuing kickoff.

– Timmons finished with a lot of tackles but was out of position all game long. He took some bad angles on run plays and was tooled a number of times in the passing game.

– Lamar Woodley left the game with another hamstring injury. No one cared. The guy has turned into Mr. Invisible this year outside of a couple of games. Tonight’s game was no different.

– Farrior was burned badly on the 49ers first TD drive as he was mismatched up against TE Vernon Davis. Why he was covering him no one knows.

– I thought the CB’s had a solid game, most of the completions were of the short out variety or to Vernon Davis (who had 6 receptions to lead the 49ers). Gay was solid in run support on a couple plays. Rookie Cortez Allen made a bad high tackle vs. Vernon Davis that turned out to be a 1st down on a 3rd down play. A lower tackle brings him down short of the sticks in all likelihood.

– I thought  Ryan C lark had one of his better games this year. Some real nice open field tackles and he actually dislodged what would’ve been a pass completion with a great hit.

– Troy didn’t do anything spectacular but was solid all over the field

Dick Lebeau – Lebeau was completely outcoached on the 49ers huge TD drive after the Steelers offense had finally scored. First, having Farrior cover Vernon Davis is a mismatch every single time. Later, the defense was completely burned on a screen play and then later on a nifty misdirection pass play to Davis that set up the TD at the GL. Wasn’t a fan of the overall defensive scheme that Lebeau constructed against the 49ers conservative offense. Troy was often seen sitting deep in center field (why?) and the CB’s were often back 10-15 yards allowing for some easy completions for Alex Smith. The 49ers are not a deep passing team, but you never would’ve known that with Lebeau’s defense tonight.

Special Teams – The Steelers constantly lost the battle of field position with the Steelers average starting point around the 15 or so. Suisham somehow barely made a 51 yard FG but of course missed a 48 yard FG later in the game.

Mike Tomlin – Stupid penalties? Check. Sloppy execution and predictable gameplans? Check. Team sleepwalking? Check. Bad clock management at the end of the 1st half resulting in no points? Check. VERY questionable decision to kick a 51 yard FG? Check.  Tomlin continues to prove that he is not a very good head coach. The difference tonight is the Steelers lost despite all the coaching miscues as opposed to squeaking out another nail biter against an inferior opponent. With the Steelers in golden position to take the #1 seed in the AFC with a win tonight, it’s pretty disheartening to see the team simply not even show up to play. This team, aided by Tomlin’s ineptitude, may be one of the dumbest teams in the NFL. And if anyone was still wondering whether Tomlin is truly in charge of this team look no further than the ending of tonight’s game – Why in the hell was Ben still in the game??? Tomlin just gives the players free reign and refuses (or is simply unable) to truly take control of this team. That is a bad sign going forward.

Overall, another under performing showing for a team loaded with talent. It’s extremely hard to picture this team getting anywhere close to the Super Bowl this year. Totally unreliable kicker, bad coaching, some holes here and there, horrible turnover margin, and an offense that continues to underwhelm with miscues and lack of consistency. Add all that up and it’s hard to be overly optimistic about the Steelers chances in the post-season this year. They have the talent and experience so there is obviously a chance at returning to the Super Bowl but there are a lot of issues (like the ones listed above and all of which were in full display in tonight’s game) that remain unaddressed with just two weeks until postseason play. Objectively, it’s not looking good.

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