Playcalling Tardery, Kick Coverage Breakdowns and Red Zone Blunders Key Bungle Sweep

Hey, remember earlier this week when I extended a half compliment to Bruce Arians for his improved playcalling? So, let's be clear that that is rescinded. If I may replace any such plaudits with a chainsaw lodged in his rectum, that would be just grand.

Obviously, not all of this maddening loss can be laid at the feet of that dopey fat shit. The O-line regressed horribly, especially Max Starks. Big Ben had an overall lousy game. The kick coverage remains a huge issue that continues to be exploited in close games. Hell, it proved to be the difference in this one. Cincy, to their credit, didn't commit the big mistake. The Bengals contained an underutilized Rashard Mendenhall and their linemen slapped down what seemed like 80 or 90 Roethlisberger passes.

But it must be noted that the league's signature overrated permachild, Chad Ochocinco, still did nothing.

Still - this game will be remembered by more textbook Arians idiocy (this being the constant and predictable run-pass-pass variety). With the talent the Steelers have on offense, they can still move the ball between the 20s with that kind of approach. But once they got in the red zone, the Bengals knew runs would be coming on first down, leaving them only have to defend two pass plays they expected to be coming. It certainly didn't help either that the Steelers were flagged for holding on two of their red zone trips. And Santonio had what would be a touchdown catch go through his hands.

I ridiculed the Bengals secondary going into this game, but they put forth a admirable performance. Naturally, it didn't help that Arians would consistently dial up late forming deep routes that couldn't get open before the pass rush rendered plays broken and that Ben felt it necessary to try a couple "fuggit, I'm going deep" throws into double coverage on several occasions during this game (even if one of these gambits yielded a stupid pass interference penalty by Cincy safety Chinedum Ndukwe that led to a Steelers field goal at the end of the first half).

And, as an extra swift kick in the junk, Troy Polamalu left the game in the first quarter after reaggravating his injured knee. At the moment, his long term prospects are unknown. His services probably aren't necessary next week against the Chiefs, but now that tiebreakers will be important against the Ravens, he will be integral in the game in Baltimore in two weeks.

If there's any upside to be found, it's that the defense gave up a total of 12 points on four field goals, one of which had be considered a big win given that the Bengals started their drive inside the Steelers 20 after a Roethlisberger tipped pass was intercepted. Still, the D also allowed Cincy to pick up a series of first downs mostly via the run late in the 4th, even with Cedric Benson having long since left the game.

Barring an epic Bengals collapse (never rule it out with Marvin Lewis leading the show, even if their remaining schedule looks to be mostly a cakewalk) the Steelers will be fighting for a Wild Card berth the remainder of the year. While it sucks to cede the division to a bunch of fairweather franchise protesting fans in Cincy, before the Steelers won it out of the no. 2 seed last year, the previous three Super Bowl champs came out of the Wild Card round. And, well, we all remembered what happened in the playoffs the last time Cincy won the North.


Anonymous said...

Why did they not go into the no huddle?

gamechump said...

Yeah, why the fuck any no huddle.

I think the most(?) painful part had to be the last drive with under 2 minutes. I guess I'm spoiled when this situation comes up. It does not worry me because Ben 2min Drills it like a badass, but that was horrible to watch. WHY DID THEY TAKE THAT SHOT DOWNFIELD?! Hope? Trying to catch another flag? Trying to catch them asleep? ON 2nd DOWN? I started screaming at the top of my lungs. It was like me playing Madden. Worst plays ever.

And man Ben looked like ass today. So many of his throws were either high, low, or too much for a receiver.

I am the saddest panda now. This week sucks already.

Christmas Ape said...

Why no no-huddle?

Because Arians would rather Mexican hat dance on your dick than do anything that works.

Dixie Normess said...

I started drinking at 10am, baked in the fuggin sun for hours only to see that abortion. It's certainly a low-point. We played like ass, but the bottom line: zero forced turnovers against the Bungles = zero wins. To Ape's point: Ravens games will decide our season. Chiefs, Browns, Raiders and a win against either Packers or Dolphins will get us to 10.

Ravens? Season on the line? What else is new.

I'm fucking going to Cleveland...tickets available on Ticketmaster for like $40...your fan base is a sham.

Buck said...

Mendenhall had 13 rushes? 13? WTF Arians. We should be running all over them but instead you decided we should lose the game.

Anonymous said...

Worst played game of the year.

And to think, if only the Steelers could figure out how to play the third part of a football game, special teams, they might only have 1 loss.

Buck said...

I hope Reed is getting his ass beat by the defense, everyday, for being such a pussy on the 2 runbacks he could have stopped. WTF. He is in his contract year and playing like this?

Buck said...

Seems Troy is walking without a limp, but we will be without him for a game or two.