PDA

View Full Version : Steelers are not happy with inability to close out games



fordfixer
10-13-2009, 01:47 AM
Steelers are not happy with inability to close out games
By ALAN ROBINSON
Published: October 13, 2009 12:02 am
http://www.tribune-democrat.com/sports/ ... 00839.html (http://www.tribune-democrat.com/sports/local_story_286000839.html)

PITTSBURGH — Every fourth quarter is an adventure for the Pittsburgh Steelers, every game is a struggle.

They’re losing games that good teams usually win, and barely winning games that good teams typically dominate. They were forced into overtime in the opener to beat the Tennessee Titans, a team that has yet to win a game. They labored to close out the Detroit Lions, winners of one of 21 games the last two seasons.

Five games into an uneven season, the Steelers are 3-2, yet they haven’t resembled the team that won the Super Bowl last season – and they know it. They can only imagine what their record would be if they were played the same schedule as the Patriots (3-2), who have faced an unbeaten team every week.

“Maybe some games last year you knew you were going to win,” safety Ryan Clark said. “You kind of relax and just go out there and go through the flow. This year we’re not like that. We’re not the same team. We’re not the team that won the Super Bowl last year. We’re the ’09 Pittsburgh Steelers and we have trouble in the fourth quarter.”

A team that prided itself on winning games late last season has been outscored 55-13 in the fourth quarter, the NFL’s worst such differential. These fourth-quarter failures cost the Steelers losses to the Bengals and the Bears, and even the Lions were in position to tie them Sunday before losing 28-20 in a game Detroit trailed by 15 points.

“Teams are coming at us,” Clark said. “Teams believe they can win in the fourth quarter.”

What might seem surprising is that, despite these self-acknowledged failings, there are numerous positive signs for the Steelers, who return home to play the Browns (1-4) and Vikings (5-0) in their next two games.

Their pass rush, missing most of the season, returned with seven sacks in Detroit, including three by James Harrison and 1 1/2 by LaMarr Woodley, who came into the game without any this season. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 242 yards and three touchdowns the last two games. Ben Roethlisberger is completing 73.8 percent of his passes, and isn’t getting as sacked as much as he did the last three seasons. He has been dropped 13 times, or five sacks fewer than at this point last season.

There’s more: Hines Ward is on pace to catch more than 100 passes for only the second time in his career. Heath Miller is averaging nearly six catches per game and is being used more than any Steelers tight end in years. All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu, who injured a knee in the Sept. 10 opener and hasn’t played since, should return Sunday.

And the Steelers, two games down to Baltimore only two weeks ago, have caught the Ravens (3-2) and are only a game out of the AFC North lead with a home game left against the Bengals (4-1).

Still, the Steelers are largely disappointed with a season in which three games have been decided by 3 points and only one game has had a 10-point margin. On Sunday alone, there were scores of 44-7, 45-10, 41-0, 31-9 and 33-14 in the NFL.

As Roethlisberger said after the Steelers couldn’t put Detroit away in the last quarter, “I’ll have to be better, the standard is higher for us on offense.”

“We’ll get it right,” Ward said. “Would we like to close teams out? Yes, of course. But when teams are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, we’re the defending champions, and they’re going to give us their best.”

Even if the NFL hasn’t exactly done that to the Steelers. Because three AFC division champions from last season aren’t playing well (Titans, Dolphins and Chargers), the Steelers’ schedule would appear to be one of its easiest in seasons. It’s substantially weaker than last season’s, when they played what might have been the roughest schedule any Super Bowl winner took on.

This season, they still have two games left against the Browns, plus one each against the Chiefs (0-5), Raiders (1-4), Packers (2-2) and Dolphins. Unless their fourth-quarter problems intensify, the Steelers conceivably could match last season’s 12-4 record merely by playing at their current uneven level.

“We’re still searching for the Steelers,” linebacker James Farrior said.

JTP53609
10-13-2009, 08:20 AM
the fans are not happy with the inablility either, but let me say that the lions are not the worst team in the league nor the worst on our scedule, they will win 5 games this year, and i hope they win more than that, that city needs a good football team

Jooser
10-13-2009, 08:49 AM
and let me say for he record that although I'm not happy with the play of the defense, I'm not ready to go buy another team's jersey! :D

Uncle Rico
10-13-2009, 08:57 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

SteelBucks
10-13-2009, 09:25 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

MaxAMillion
10-13-2009, 09:39 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

That is correct, and I think part of the problem is that they have not found answers for the loss of of Troy or McFadden. I was hoping one of the rookie corners would be playing by now. I am not a fan of Ratliff.

I think the Steelers have a pretty high ceiling. Sometimes teams need to figure things out as they go along. I expect Tomlin and Labeau to continue to tinker with the personnel on defense throughout the season until they get what they want.

I wouldn't panic just yet.

RKSteel
10-13-2009, 09:53 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

That is correct, and I think part of the problem is that they have not found answers for the loss of of Troy or McFadden. I was hoping one of the rookie corners would be playing by now. I am not a fan of Ratliff.

I think the Steelers have a pretty high ceiling. Sometimes teams need to figure things out as they go along. I expect Tomlin and Labeau to continue to tinker with the personnel on defense throughout the season until they get what they want.

I wouldn't panic just yet.I'm not trying to use not having Troy as an excuse for the bad pass defense. It will get better when he returns, no doubt, but teams have been attacking the Steelers differently than last year. Alot more short, quick passes.

As for the Lions game, remember Culpepper is an experienced QB, so he should of had some sucess. If it was Stafford, this game is not even close. Another point, don't underestimate Foote's experience. I'm sure he was in the offensive meetings all week explaining the defensive alignments that the Steelers use.

JTP53609
10-13-2009, 10:13 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

That is correct, and I think part of the problem is that they have not found answers for the loss of of Troy or McFadden. I was hoping one of the rookie corners would be playing by now. I am not a fan of Ratliff.

I think the Steelers have a pretty high ceiling. Sometimes teams need to figure things out as they go along. I expect Tomlin and Labeau to continue to tinker with the personnel on defense throughout the season until they get what they want.

I wouldn't panic just yet.I'm not trying to use not having Troy as an excuse for the bad pass defense. It will get better when he returns, no doubt, but teams have been attacking the Steelers differently than last year. Alot more short, quick passes.

As for the Lions game, remember Culpepper is an experienced QB, so he should of had some sucess. If it was Stafford, this game is not even close. Another point, don't underestimate Foote's experience. I'm sure he was in the offensive meetings all week explaining the defensive alignments that the Steelers use.


i think they see what arz did in the super bowl and are now exploiting us, ripping up the middle of our soft zone.....

NW Steeler
10-13-2009, 10:34 AM
I am hoping that they begin to put it together as the season goes along and are hitting on all cylinders as the season ends. You see that quite a bit, actually. I'd rather that they struggle a little now and work hard to get better more than see them get complacent too early.

ikestops85
10-13-2009, 10:40 AM
I am hoping that they begin to put it together as the season goes along and are hitting on all cylinders as the season ends. You see that quite a bit, actually. I'd rather that they struggle a little now and work hard to get better more than see them get complacent too early.

+1

steelblood
10-13-2009, 10:40 AM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

That is correct, and I think part of the problem is that they have not found answers for the loss of of Troy or McFadden. I was hoping one of the rookie corners would be playing by now. I am not a fan of Ratliff.

I think the Steelers have a pretty high ceiling. Sometimes teams need to figure things out as they go along. I expect Tomlin and Labeau to continue to tinker with the personnel on defense throughout the season until they get what they want.

I wouldn't panic just yet.

Yeah, but the only guys I see getting continually victimized are Ratliff and Carter. Getting Troy back will have a trickle down effect. It won't solve our problems, but it will be a huge improvement.

NW Steeler
10-13-2009, 10:59 AM
Then there is the Woodley factor...Or Woodley non-factor I should say. I can't believe how ineffective he is this year. He overpowered guys last year consistently. Seems like that would be a constant. What gives? Did he spend the offseason eating and reading the press while every other offensive lineman in the league got stronger? I don't get it.

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 01:44 PM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

Total defense: 4th
Pass defense: 14th
Rush defense: 2nd

Total offense: 7th
Pass offense: 4th
Rush offense: 21st

http://www.nfl.com/stats/team

Steeler Mafia
10-14-2009, 04:41 PM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

Total defense: 4th
Pass defense: 14th
Rush defense: 2nd

Total offense: 7th
Pass offense: 4th
Rush offense: 21st

http://www.nfl.com/stats/team


Problem areas coach?

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 08:51 PM
I was looking over league stats yesterday and to my surprise the Steelers defense is currently ranked #5 overall and 3rd against the run so maybe statistics do lie sometimes.

Their ranked #17 against the pass. It's been a long time since I've seen them so low....teams are having a field day against the secondary.

Total defense: 4th
Pass defense: 14th
Rush defense: 2nd

Total offense: 7th
Pass offense: 4th
Rush offense: 21st

http://www.nfl.com/stats/team


Problem areas coach?

I don't think so, necessarily. The offensive rushing game has consistently improved as the season has progressed. If all of our games were like the last two, then that ranking would be much better. And the defensive passing game, while hurt by the loss of Troy, is low primarily because we tend to get up on teams early (we have the best point differential in the league in the first quarter), so teams have to pass a whole bunch in an effort to get back in the game (and the fact that we have a stout run D makes that decision to pass more often all the easier).

Wolfhound45
10-14-2009, 10:49 PM
On a positive note, sd steeler is NOT concerned about the Steelers inability to close out games. He prefers the "sleeper hold" method of 4th quarter offense/defense. Makes it more interesting for the fan.

Just kidding sd, just kidding. :P

sd steel
10-14-2009, 11:39 PM
On a positive note, sd steeler is NOT concerned about the Steelers inability to close out games. He prefers the "sleeper hold" method of 4th quarter offense/defense. Makes it more interesting for the fan.

Just kidding sd, just kidding. :P

I didn't say I prefer it, but I understand why it's happening. It's a different dynamic than last year, this year we are beating opponents early, last year we were chasing opponents. And as far as "the Steelers not being happy", when every reporter is asking and every fan board is complaining, they aren't going to be happy with all the second guessing. It's real easy to say they should have done something different after the fact.