12.10.2007

Big Plays, Big Talk Doom Steelers


It wasn't the usual demons that plagued the Steelers in their 34-13 blowout at the hands of the Patriots. Instead of the offensive line and special teams, which played adequately if unspectacularly, it was the heralded defense getting little to no pressure on Tom Brady in the second half and blowing coverage on deep pass plays.

A few days ago, I was forgiving of Anthony Smith's misguided guarantee. That forgiveness was predicated on his ability to not bite on every play action pass and get ridiculously out of position on the same play the Steelers pulled on the Bengals in the 2005 playoffs. The fact that it wasn't run cleanly - Moss bobbled the catch then threw a wobbly ball back to Brady - made Smith's inability to catch up with Jabar Gaffney all the more maddening.

Taking away a lot of the big plays, which were only, y'know, the difference in the game and all, the Steelers did a decent job in executing their gameplan on offense, moving the ball well on the ground with Willie Parker's 124 yards and long clock eating drives with precise passing.

Not that it can make a huge difference in a three touchdown game, but the officials weren't doing the Steelers any favors. Mike Vrabel jumped offsides at least two or three times on critical plays, including the last third down on the Steelers' opening drive, drawing nary a flag. Rodney Harrison practically got away with mugging Nate Washington on Pittsburgh's final drive into the red zone.

To take a more hopeful tack, the game resembled the Steelers first contest against the Colts in 2005, when Ike Taylor got burned by Marvin Harrison for a deep TD and Ben was still rusty coming back from injury. In this case, Polamalu was out and Santonio Holmes clearly wasn't 100 percent, missing large stretches of the game. If the Steelers get another chance at the Patriots, they can most assuredly put up a better fight.

Whether that rematch comes about is going to take some doing, including what will be at least one road playoff win. This was the first game this year the Steelers looked genuinely outclassed and lost by more than one score. Coming as it did in a game when the Steelers didn't commit a ton of turnovers or look entirely flat make be even harder to take. It wasn't their best shot they gave New England, but it was a good one, and it was nowhere near good enough.

16 comments:

Snerdly said...

OMG... Are you really gonna turn into a Baltimore Ratbird, and bytch and moan about non-calls by the Refs?

And here I thought you Steeler fans were about smashmouth football... and I now I find you bytching and moaning like the Colts.

Christmas Ape said...

Yes, the Steelers got hosed on a few non-calls. Like I said, it was a three-score game and they didn't prove to be all that meaningful. Just an observation.

Like you're a fucking gloating trolling douchenozzle. Again, observations.

snerdly said...

gloating trolling douchenozzle?

Ya... like if all the planets aligned, and the "Black and Gold" somehow managed to beat the Pats, you wouldn't be crowing like a rooster juiced up on expresso.

peytonloveskenny said...

I believe you missed the point. See, you made an obnoxious comment on a Steelers blog. If the Steelers won, he wouldn't be looking for Patriots blogs to post to.

Snerdly said...

Consider my postings on your blog as a compliment.

We may be on opposite sides of the polemic field, but at least I enjoy your jousting.

quiet strength said...

Well, it seemed Ape's keys to our loss were "the heralded defense getting little to no pressure on Tom Brady in the second half and blowing coverage on deep pass plays." One paragraph about officials qualifies as "bytching."

And with words such as "OMG" and "bytching" in addition to his standard Pat fan douchebaggery, I think something a bit stronger than "fucking gloating trolling douchenozzle" would be in order. I only wish the the word has been created...

In other news, that game really sucked.

TheStarterWife said...

Spend the day repeating, "Lose now, win in the playoffs" until you start to believe it.

Quiet Strength - The whole game didn't suck. The 3rd quarter was as painful as any game I can recall in recent memory, but the whole game did not suck.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

I am sure the lines for next Sunday's games are already up and posted ... just haven't seen them yet, but has anybody seen what the pointspreads are for JAX-PGH? ... and, for pure entertainment, Jets vs. New England?? (the Mangini-Bellichick rematch) ... and, can you imagine what the spread will be for Pats-Dolphins?

quiet strength said...

Very true - only the most effective play action from a team totaling 22 rushing yards sucked in the first half. I'll revise my statement to "...that second half really sucked."

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

I wasn't that upset when I found Troy wasn;t going to play. Carter had played well the past 2 games, and Smith was starting to come into his own. But Troy doesn;t bite on those play-action, big passes. Different ballgame if Troy plays.

With that being said, we lost, NE won. I won;t take anything away from them. I just think the Steelers vs. Colts in '05 comparison is fitting.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

We can only speculate about what impact Troy might have had. People are forgetting about Ryan Clark, too. He's a pretty savvy player who typically made good decisions.

Depth is an issue at wide receiver too. San Antonio clearly was hurting and not up to full speed. Nate Washington? Eh, not so good. Cedric Wilson? Bleah. Willie Reid? Why is even on the roster?

peytonloveskenny said...

Nate Washington is annoying. He can make the tough catches, but he has a tendency to miss some easy ones. So I guess I'm saying he's Plaxico.

And the line on the Miami-New England game will probably be something close to Avogadro's number.

Christmas Ape said...

Cedrick Wilson can't get open but will at least make the catch if you get it to him. I've completely given up on Nate.

Flexbull said...

It was pretty upsetting to watch the second half of that game. The Steelers knew they were going to pass play after play, and they could do NOTHING to stop it. Get well Troy!

Football Brainiac said...

Even though Smith got burned on those big plays, I don't think that's where this game was lost. That's just going to be what everyone remembers.

The fact is the defense did not have the proper game plan for this game. They did just about everything we thought they wouldn't: line up 8 yards off the ball, no bumping the receviers, no snazzy blitzing schemes, you name it.

Maybe Pittsburgh wasn't trying to show their hand in case they play New England again in the playoffs (insert sarcastic cursing here).

Sean said...

I agree with Joey Porter's Pit Bulls...I miss Ryan Clark.