Monday, November 15, 2010

That Could've Went Better. Patriots 39, Steelers 26

If one game meant the entire season and you picked this game to evaluate the Steelers season then I guess you can say the Steelers are on the clock. If you are logical like you should be you might realize that this was a game where it just wasn’t meant to be against a team that typically owns the Steelers. Owning the Steelers was kind of putting it mildly.
The Steelers came out and just didn’t get it done. Half of the team is hurt, 60% of the offensive line is pretty much glorified practice squad players and Ben was seeing heat all night. Make no mistake about it though, the Steelers have no excuses. They had no business winning the football game. It happens.

Tom Brady obviously thought this was the AFC Championship game as he screamed like a little girl on the sidelines. What a joke. All we hear about now is how much of a great leader Tom is because he screamed. Sounds like some Pirates fans logic about the manager. Tom Brady is a great leader, but not because of that last night.

Lets get to the recap.

Jump it.

The Steelers opened up the game after the Patriots deferred. Not really much happening as it looked as if the Black and Gold were really just feeling things out. A run on first down for a few yards and then a quick pass on second that got batted down at the line and then a third down pass that was pretty well defended.

As far as the Steelers were concerned you couldn’t have asked for a worse start. Tom Brady just came in on their first possession and made it look like he was playing against a little league team. The play ended with a pretty nice pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski on a 3rd and nine.

Vomit city. People are going to bash Will Gay who got beat on the play but he had pretty good coverage, just a perfect throw by Tom Brady.

If you thought the first drive was highly unproductive then the second drive litereally made you want to throw up. The drive ended with a 4th and 36 and the Steelers had to punt. Ben actually converted a third and 10 but then the Steelers took a holding penalty and two sacks.

That is a real buzz kill.

Pats tack on a chip shot field goal that was aided by a 15-yard penalty to deny the pasts a first and goal from the five. The Steelers really dodged a bullet there, and being down 10-0 after all that has gone on is pretty good in my book.

The Steelers got a decent drive going at the start of the second quarter but got nothing out of it after three straight incomplete passes and the Patriots did the same.

Pittsburgh finally found a groove. They put together a 10-play, 76 yard drive together that really made the Heinz Field faithful good. This was highlighted by a sweet 34 yard run by Rashard Mendenhall. Mendy literally broke a DB’s ankle after he got to the outside. It was really comical. The Steelers actually should have had two touchdowns but two drops by the receivers really hurt. With the Steelers with a second and goal Ben threw an absolute dime to Mike Wallace who couldn’t hold onto the ball.

The next play was a fade to Randle El (wait, what?!?!?!?!?) that went for not, luckily a Pats defender literally almost lined up in our backfield for another chance. With the second chance El was in good position to make a TD catch but totally botched it.

The Steelers settle for three. Have to have a TD there. Can’t blame BA. You can blame the TWO dropped TD passes.

The rest of the half was a lot of jobbing around and punting. The Steelers defense stood their ground and the Steelers actually ran out of time in the half as they were around the 45 yard line as time expired. The Steelers went into the half down seven. With as bad as the Steelers played in the first half they were lucky.

The Patriots got the ball rolling in the second half and just continued the onslaught of the first half with 10-play, 78 yard drive that culminated with a Tom Brady touchdown pass. It really just looked too easy. The Patriots came out of the half and really just took it to the Steelers again. What was the worst part about the opening part of the quarter. Ben gets sacked and a three and out to respond.

The Steelers come up with a huge defensive stand on the next series and you had the feeling that the Steelers were going to make something happen. The Steelers get the ball back and start to get things going. Mendy make some runs and gets a few first downs and the Steelers are in business. Ben goes up top for Mike Wallace and he is interfered with to set up the Steelers with first and goal from the eight yard line. After a failed run and pass they had a pretty good chance to convert but Mike Wallace misreads a hot route and another attempted field goal.

Pretty much an extra point for Jeff Reed to make this a two possession game and what does he do? Misses the kick. Unacceptable.

The Patriots took the ball seven plays and 80 yards to score another touchdown. The worst part of the drive was that Tom Brady actually ran the ball in for the touchdown and spiked it right in the end zone.

I respect the hell out of Tom Brady but holy hell I wish someone would just smack him in the face. Shane Graham actually missed the extra points to really outdo Jeff Reed for kicking embarrassments so I guess that is a positive.

All was pretty much in the tank, but the Steelers made it close. Ben came onto the field and led the team on their first touchdown drive of the night. The Steelers were down three scored with a little over a quarter to go and they needed a score and they needed it quick and that is exactly what the doctor ordered. Seven plays and 71 yards in a little over three minutes to cut the score to only 13 points.

The Steelers get a huge defensive stand and things actually didn’t look too bad with about nine minutes left to go. Ben did a hell of a job getting a first pass off to Mike Wallace on first down. The ensuing play was not so encouraging. Ben throws a ball pretty well beind El and the two DB’s that are around the area figure it out and pick it. The pick was bad enough, taking it back for six points were even worse.

The Steelers took the ball right down the field as the Pats were just sitting back and keeping thing underneath them. Mike Wallace. Touchdown. 2-pt conversion was good so it is an 11 point game with almost seven minutes to go.

Surprise onsides kick was no go. Not a great call in my opinion. Didn’t matter as Keenan Lewis inadvertently touched the ball before it went 10 yards. The Pats took the ball and Will Gay got torched again.

Job job job, Mike Wallace meaningless TD

 job job job unsuccessful onsides kick, job job job.

Ball Game.


- I must say this before I go any farther, losses happen. If you for a second thought that the Steelers weren’t going to lose, or get worked one time this season then you really have no idea what is going on in life. The Patriots are a solid team and they aren’t just going to roll over just because the talking heads and joke bloggers say they should. If I told you before the season started that we could be 6-3 at this point how many of you would actually take that? I bet every single one of you would. This was the last game of the “tough stretch” against the Dolphins, Saints, Bengals and Patriots, with three straight prime timers, and I thought going in that if we went 2-2 we would be in really good shape going down the stretch run. We went 2-2. We will be ok.

- Like I said before this was just a typical Patriots/Steelers game at Heinz Field. From the first drive of the game you just got this uneasy feeling that things were not going to be as easy as we thought against their pedestrian receivers and terrible at best defense. The Patriots lost to the Browns, actually got embarrassed by the Browns, so we should have expected nothing less than their best, and that is what we got. The Pats almost flawless and picked apart the Steelers on offense and defense.

- I will not do this often but you have to give mad props to the Patriots. They came in after getting waxed by the Browns and had something to prove. They came in with a game plan and worked it to perfection. Going into the fourth quarter the Steelers actually made a little run. It could have been easy for the Patriots to run the ball three times and try to play defense. They didn’t. They put the pedal to the floor and kept coming at the Steelers and it paid off. You have to respect the hell out of that. I feel like I need to take a shower now. In bleach.

- The Steelers injury situation is getting really bad. Hines Ward and Lawrence Timmons were victims last night and with about six or seven other guys out this could become a big problem. Missing 60% of a line that is average to start with is even a bigger problem. The Patriots took advantage of that last night and got to Ben early and often and made him very uncomfortable. Hopefully the Steelers can get a little bit healthier each week but the offensive line is showing to be a big problem.

- A lot of people love to bash BA. The play calling is something that nobody is going to like no matter what the result is. I hear people actually complaining today that the Steelers open up the game with a run play right up the middle. Are you f’in kidding me? You are right, you know better about play calling because you watch the Steelers game every week on your couch. You joke. Listen, while there are some plays that you would like to see different tht is going to be the same with every OC. It is pretty convenient that when things go well it is the players but when things go bad it is the OC. I guess it was BA’s fault that he dialed up two plays where the goal was to drop touchdown passes. That is his fault, right? Get over yourself.

- After that little rant I will talk about one play in particular. I typically don’t talk about play calling because I truly believe that it comes down to execution, but I thought the first onsides kick that Steelers attempted was a little bit of a stretch. The Steelers just had made it a two possession game with about seven minutes to go. The Patriots were lined up with its hands team and pretty much knew something was coming. If it were me (which it was not and there is a reason I don’t coach the Steelers) I would have had Jeff Reed give a little pop up shot into the dead spot around the 35 or 40 yard line. Put Mike Wallace, Ike Taylor, Rashard Mendenhall, etc on the field, give it a short pop up and run like hell. Hindsight is 20-20, but it was just a thought.

- Speaking of Jeff Reed, he was bad. Again. I will not go as far to say that Skippy cost the Steelers the game, because he didn’t, but you can’t miss chip shot field goals. Futhermore please don’t try and make excuses after the game about the field and the fans and the media. Man up and say you sucked. It would go a long way. Skippy has missed seven field goals and is 0-for in field goals between 40-49 yards, usually automatic. Word is the Steelers are going to try out a few kickers on Tuesday. Bold statement by the Black and Gold.

- Tough games in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback. When you play the Patriots and you are facing Tom Brady you have to hit him in the mouth. The Steelers didn’t and that was the story of the game. He got to sit back and pick the secondary apart. NO secondary is going to stop Tom Brady if you give him that time so save your breath asking for a whole new secondary.

- Just because the Steelers lost to the Patriots doesn’t mean they are going to lose five straight. A lot of season left and I think this is a completely different team than last year. Some people really don’t think about how big of a meltdown that was last year. You don’t see things like that very often and for something to happen like that in back to back years is very unlikely.

Get your mind right people.

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