Friday, February 5, 2010

Steelers Season Review: The Schedule

This will be a four-part series of the Steelers breakdown that I put together for an analysis of the Steelers 2009 season. The installments will be looking at the offense, the defense, special teams and finally we will take a look back at every game from this season with my thoughts and the links to the game recaps. Some parts, such as the offense and defense, will be a little bit longer, other parts, such as the special teams, will be shorter because lets face it, who really wants to talk about special teams. But that is neither here nor there. Here We Go.

The Steelers season in a little more than a few weeks over so I figured it was a better time than ever to give a little season recap and see where we go from here into the off season, draft, camp and the 2010-2011 season.

In case you have been in a cave for the past five months the Steelers finished the season 9-7 and missed out on the playoffs because of a poor conference record and tiebreakers not falling their way. The Steelers started out poorly, a 1-2 start, but bounced back and finished the first half of the season 6-2.

The second half of the season did not go as well as you might have thought. After going 6-2 with big victories over some good teams the Steelers lost five straight. It was not like they lost five straight to the best teams in the league, they lost five straight to Bengals, Chiefs, Ravens, Raiders and Browns. What a shot in the balls.

The Steelers finished up the season strong with three straight wins over Green Bay, Baltimore and Miami. Just think if the Steelers win one out of the three games against the Chiefs, Raiders or Browns then we still might be watching the Steelers now. That is neither here nor there. The middle part of the season was a disappointment to say the least. It hurts not to make the playoffs, but go check out the last ten years of Steelers football we have been pretty good.

After the jump is the fourth part of the segment of recaps which includes a look at the Steelers schedule and links to box scores and recaps and some snippets from my blog and other blogs.

Thursday September 10 vs. Tennessee Titans W 13-10 (OT)
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

Troy Polamalu is just a beast. I don't know how he does it, or what he does but holy shit what a player. What a great job he does in covering ground and getting to a ball carrier before they even know he is there. How about that pick? He is probably better with one hand than the rest of the NFL is with two. Best line of the night comes from some dude on twitter after the pick:

@sethmeyers21: if your baby fell out a window you'd want Polamalu on the street below
@sethmeyers21: The fear would be Polamalu returning your baby for a touchdown.

Sunday, September 20 at Chicago Bears L 17-14
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

How good was the first quarter? The Steelers had eight first downs and held the Bears to none and led in total yards 119-11. Pretty good quarter, I mean how do you do any better than that? You don't.

Just when things started going bad, the rain comes. When it rained in Chicago, it poured, in more than just precipitation. Ben could not get a grip on the ball and Tone couldn't catch a cold. What a terrible mess the second quarter was and then the Steelers just kind of slept walked through the rest of the game.

Sunday, September 27 at Cincinnati Bengals L 23-20
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The Steelers did something they have not done in the last eight times in Cincinnati, they lost. I am not going to sit here and beat around the bush, this one hurts. It hurts really bad. Cincinnati did not play a very good game but they got it done when they needed it done. 3-3 on fourth down conversions, late touchdown adds up to a win. The Steelers got away from what worked, they played very conservative down the stretch, and they lost. Not much more to say than that. The Steelers are now in third place in the AFC North and two games behind the Ravens.

Sunday, October 4 vs. San Diego Chargers W 38-28
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The first half was a clinic on how to play football. The Steelers took three of their four first hald possesions for touchdowns and three of those drives were for 10 plays or more. You want to know the best part of it? The only drive under 10 players was the first drive when they went 79 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Great half.

The Steelers held a 22:52-7:08 time of possestion advantage over the chargers and held San Diego to only 19 first half plays. The best stat I could find on the first half? San Diego's leading tackler, Stephen Cooper had nine first half tackles, the Steelers, as a team, had 11 total tackles. That just shows you how dominate of a first half it was.

Talk about dominating, Rashard Mendenhall was just a straight beast tonight. 80 yards in the first half and 165 in the game. On 29 carries Mendenhall averaged 5.7 yards per carry and for the most of the game he was gashing the Chargers defense for big yardage at a time and it was quite refreshing. The Chargers, for the game, had 16 yards on eight carries. Pretty pathedic.

Sunday, October 11 at Detroit Lions W 28-20
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

Now, to the defense. Lets not get anything twisted here, James Harrison is just a beast. He literally can not be stopped. You have to hold him in order for him not to get pressure, and he was held today, a lot. Harrison didn't seem to mind as he recorded three sacks, three tackles for losses, a forced fumble and a team high eight tackles. James now has six sacks in his last three games. Beastly. Lamarr Woodley also had a sack and a half to get his season started. Will Gay (1.5) and Lawrence Timmons (1) also got in on the sack parade for the Steelers. The best part of the game for the defense? Here it is:

Detroit ball, 1st and 10 from the Steelers 21 - Culpepper sacked for a six yard loss

Detroit ball, 2nd and 16 from the Steelers 27 - Culpepper sacked for a five yard loss

Detroit ball, 3rd and 21 from the Steelers 32 - Culpepper sacked for a 13 yard loss

That all happened a few plays after a sack. So counting that last Lions drive it was nine plays and four of them were sacks. Nice.

Sunday, October 18 vs. Cleveland Browns W 27-14
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

How good is Ben Roethlisberger? 417 yards through the air, which from what I can understand is an NHL high this year. I might be wrong on that. Drew Brees probably had like a 700 yard passing day somewhere in there. Ben was not as accurate today only hitting on 23 of his 35 attempts but he was still able to do pretty much whatever he wanted to do. He found six different receivers and found he big three (Ward-Holmes-Miller) a combined 18 times. He knows where those three are and he looks for them. They make the plays.

Sunday, October 25 vs. Minnesota Vikings W 27-17
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The Steelers get the ball back, go five and out with 3:21 remaining giving Farve a lot of time to come back and either tie or win the game. I am not going to lie, I was nervous.

I then got a text from my buddy at the game, all it said was "Renegade again"

All I said was "Uh oh. Game. Over." I then told the TV we needed a pick

The Vikings started at their own 26 and worked their way down to the Steelers 19 in only six plays and then it happened again.

Brett Farve tries to throw a screen pass to Chester Taylor and it goes through his hands and into Fox's hands and he goes 82 yards to the house for the second defensive touchdown of the day. Heinz Field was on fire.

Monday, November 9 at Denver Broncos W 28-10
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

What more can you say about Steeler fans? For real. Before the game when the Broncos came out onto the field you could hear the boo's from the stands. I was watching the pregame and all you could see was the stands and I thought the Steelers were coming onto the field, it was actually the Broncos. Everytime Heath caught a ball you heard HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEATH, and after Hines scored all you hear was "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go." We take over any stadium.

Remember when I told you to remember the halftime stats? Well listen to this. At the half the Steelers had 56 yards. What do they do? They have 319 second half yards. Three first half first downs? That's ok, 18 in the second half. The Steelers did whatever they wanted to in the second half and it was awesome to watch.

Sunday, November 15 vs. Cincinnati Bengals L 18-12
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

Fourth Quarter

Steelers get the first drive of the quarter and work it all the way down the field. The Steelers get an awful call on a third and short. They go for it and Ben picks it up

First and 10 from the 11 and an ill timed holding call sets the Steelers back again. WTF.

ANOTHER Jeff Reed FG nots the score at 12. What is going on with this game?

The Bengals move down the field and get a FG of their own. Are you seeing a trend in this game. Seven redzone trips between the teams and all field goals.

The Steelers go three and out to follow. What a frustrating offensive day for these guys.

Sunday, November 22 at Kansas City Chiefs L 27-24 (OT)
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]


Steelers get the ball first, take it right down the field. Ben scrambles on a second down play and gets hit in the head. Did not look good. Charlie comes in and hooks up with Tone for 17 but then falters later in the drive.

The Steelers had the ball at the KC 40 yard line and on third and two from the 37 they lose a yard on a toss play. Really sketchy play call. I mean as I said in the preview I am noone to bitch about play calls but getting the ball run up the middle or throwing a short slant or something would have been perfect. Reed could still try from 50.

KC gets the ball back. Cassel to Chambers down to the Steelers two. Game.

Sunday, November 29 at Baltimore Ravens L 20-17 (OT)
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The fourth quarter was out of this world. I have no idea where this recap is but the Steelers down four, it was like third down and Dennis Dixon goes play action and runs it in from like 30 yards out for the three point Pittsburgh lead.

I was screaming like nobody’s business. What a play, and what a gutsy play call. Moore made a great block and there was nobody else around to stop Dixon from going into the house.

Baltimore came back and worked the ball down the field and kicked a field goal to tie it up. Both teams got a chance to win it before the game was over but there was nothing going either way.


The Steelers and Ravens went to overtime. This was a perfect end to a great game. The Steelers won the toss and got the ball first. The Steelers had to punt and really pinned the Ravens back. The Steelers got the ball in a great spot but Double-D’s threw a pick. What an ill timed turnover for the Steelers. The Ravens kick a FG and win. What a tough loss.

Sunday, December 6 vs. Oakland Raiders L 27-24
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The Steelers open up the second and play some up and down defense. They give up some big plays, make some big plays. The biggest play was on a first down when there was a pitch to McFadden who threw it back to Gradkowski who was eaten up by Harrison and Woodley. Loss of 16.

After this I started getting sick to my stomach watching the game.

Basically it was a wild final quarter and the Steelers defense shit a brick.

No more talk necessary.

Thursday, December 10 at Cleveland Browns L 13-6
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The Steelers defense comes up with another three and out. The defense is starting to step it up and play like it is. Tone is now returning punts. He is the hottest player over the past few weeks and the Steelers know it.

The offense gets the ball on its own 40

The Steelers get the ball back with a little over four minutes to play and it is now or never. They pick up a few firsts downs and get into Cleveland territory. Ben gets sacked for a big loss and it really sets up the Steelers season down to a few plays under two minutes.

The Steelers can’t convert on a fourth and six and that ends the season for the Steelers.

Sunday, December 20 vs. Green Bay Packers W 37-36
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

My best recap of the season, this was it:

I was at the game.

Holy Shit.

Sunday, December 27 vs. Baltimore Ravens W 23-20
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

The Steelers come out and basically say they don't want to play the third quarter. They probably were just as well to stay in the locker room.

The Steelers ran four plays. Awesome.

You had to wonder going into the fourth quarter with the scored tied at 20. You figured the defense was going to collapse and it was going to be the same old story as the Steelers would get eliminated from playoff contention, but boy were you wrong.

LaMarr Woodley decided he was going to take over the game, and take over he did.

The Steelers grabbed the only points of the quarter, but the defense really came to play, in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens did a nice job of taking a shit ton of penalties and negating a couple of touchdowns and having Derek Mason drop a touchdown pass was pretty special too at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Sunday, January 3 vs. Miami Dolphins W 30-24
[Box Score] [Recap] [TRBB Recap]

Of all the things above there is one thing that stood out above everything else. I am telling you this might have been the play of the year for the Steelers. This is something that might be replayed on ESPN for the next six months.

Ready for it?

Ike Taylor intercepted a Tyler Thigpen pass. Ike Taylor CAUGHT the ball!

What a season huh?

I just wanted to thank everyone who came around for Steelers season. It was a blast to be able to meet new people and discuss the Steelers. Thanks for everyone that reads this blog (not just Steelers fans, but this is a Steelers wrap up) and came around for Steelers. I do much more than Steelers stuff so make sure you keep coming back around. I will be here all the time folks.

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