Well that was a royal shit-storm. Watching that game was pure torture. Close enough to give hope of a miraculous undeserved victory, but one-sided enough to instill season-long doubt in ourselves. Fuck. Let’s get this postmortem over with.
So much for that 130 QB rating. Ben spent seemingly the entire game scrambling and avoiding Philly’s defense. Much of this was not his fault, but some was. 2 fumbles and a pick which could all be blamed on the pressure, but some was just poor decision making and not getting out when the heat was on. Why in the Samual L. Fuck did we not transition away from the run? Or audible when blitzers were CLEARLY coming over? We constantly hear from jackass announcers that the way to take advantage of an overly aggressive (and successfully penetrating) defense is utilize screens and quick outs – what the shit?
This isn’t an F is because we did manage to mount once successful drive in the 1st for a goddamn field goal. Marvel Smith whiffed on blocks in one on one schemes. Chris Kemoeatu and Willie Colon had 3 false starts and a holding each. Eagles defenders were coming up the middle, around the edge and off the blitz at ease. This line is clearly out of synch and not communicating. A lot has been made about how MNF will be Mendenhall’s chance to shine but he won’t be doing much of anything unless the line can produce more than a collective queef of protection. I will now drink a gallon of lighter fluid.
Running Backs: D+
1.5 per carry for FWP. Good God. Turns out he was hurt in the 1st. Why did we start so many series (7) with a run up the middle after we were already trailing and it was clear that their D-line was eating our lunch?
Wide Receivers: C
The least depressing area of our offensive break-down (barely), the WRs accounted for nearly all of our gains and first downs with 12 catches. However, Philly was in man coverage for nearly the entire game and it was clear that this was enough to keep Hines and Santonio in check. It was encouraging to see Nate Washington haul in 5, his first of the season. Maybe we'll go to a fourth WR package more often.
Tight Ends: C-
Heath Miller got beat around the end a number of times, resulting in two sacks. He remains a valuable receiver down field (4 for 63), but is being used more as a safety valve and less as a planned weapon out of the gate. Spaeth barely saw time, surprising considering we could have used some extra protection.
Stats here were pretty typical as we held their running game to a manageable level and basically were slowly killed by short passes and poor field position as a result of turnovers. Travis Kirshke played well with 6 solo tackles and one assist with half a sack. Smith was neutralized and seemed to be missing in favor of Eason and Roye for whatever reason. Casey Hampton got injured early and was spelled by Hoke who did ok. Just not near the pressure as they got on us with the pass rush.
Another quality game for these guys. 11 tackles and a sack and half among them, not to mention significant hurries on McNabb and a thorough job of keeping the dink n’ dunk largely in check. Woodley and Timmons continue to progress and Harrison, Farrior and Foote looked solit. Well done.
Defensive Backs: B
Ike Taylor had a couple balls complete on him but nothing too serious. Polomalu's diving pick was impressive and shows how he is one of only a few guys in the league that can play all out every down. McFadden looked good with a pick and an opportune fumble recovery. Adding Deshea back this week ought to round out an impressive bunch that kept everything in front of them and did well allowing a modest 214 yards passing to McNabb and Kolb.
Career long 53-yarder for Reed who is all that you can ask for in a kicker. Berger had 3 punts inside the 20 and an average of 41 yards which will do just fine.
Returning duties appear to have shifted to form Moore to Santonio for whatever reason…not sure I’m psyched on our #2 receiver filling that role, but whatever. Mendenhall won’t be doing dick here next week as he pinch hits for FWP. Aside from the 37 yard return, coverage was solid.
The above average play of our Defense could not overcome our piss poor O. Things moved reasonably well on the first drive, and Tomlin did a good job challenging and winning the fumble. But after that it was a complete mess with Ben getting sacked twice and fumbling and then sacked twice and throwing a pick on the 3rd drive. Again I am confused as to what Arians is thinking with his game plan. How do you not go into max protect, more shotgun sets or at least run some goddamn counters? The line deserves a lot of the blame for not communicating; like doubling up on the DT and allowing an obvious blitz RIGHT UP THE FUCKING MIDDLE (Kendall Simmons), but we HAVE to be more adaptive with the play calling. 45 passing plays to 15 runs? We weren’t trailing big – where is the Steeler football we know? Willie Parker’s speed was clearly not going to break one up the middle so we give him ZERO tosses outside? How many quick slants or square-ins did we call for Hines and Santonio in MAN COVERAGE, fucking 1? The only reason we went to Heath Miller was because Ben was so pressured he had to dump it to him…call plays for him earlier. Thank God for our defense otherwise this would have been a nationally televised blowout. Let’s hope there isn’t another one on tap...
OVERALL GRADE: D