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fordfixer
11-23-2009, 03:19 AM
Steelers forgot about Mendenhall late
Monday, November 23, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09327/1015677-66.stm

Remember when it was fashionable to trash Rashard Mendenhall, to snark on his fumbling, riff on his evident indecision, bewail his questionable status as a force for good on an offense laced with All-Pros and Super Bowl MVPs?

Well there's good news: RasharMendenhall's progression might have made him the best player on the field yesterday. Too bad the rest of the organization blew past him in the opposite direction.

Losing to the Kansas City Chiefs probably isn't the worst thing you can do in this league, but its degree of difficulty might suggest otherwise. Until yesterday, you should note, the Chiefs hadn't won twice in a row in more than two years.

"That is not us; it won't be us, but it was us today," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a postgame, fast-distilling a 27-24 overtime loss into an audio edition of US Magazine.

The head coach forcefully accepted full responsibility for the Steelers' second loss in eight days, but it was intriguing that some of the uniformed personnel seemed to indicate general support for that assessment.

"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."

The first thing Tomlin and his offensive staff have to ask themselves is whether they trust Mendenhall to win a game for them, because even though he nearly had done exactly that without authorization in 60 minutes of 600 Steelers mistakes, they still utilized him in the overtime like he was Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Mind you, there would have been no overtime without Mendenhall.

Without Mendenhall, the Steelers lose in regulation.

It was Mendenhall, lest anyone forget, who had the cardio and the will to gallop more than 100 yards to chase down Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker at the Steelers' 8 late in the third quarter. Studebaker, making his first career start, had taken off on a coast-to-coast flight with a misdirected Ben Roethlisberger pass he had collected 2 yards deep in his own end zone. Mendenhall turned a certain touchdown into a Chiefs field goal, keeping the score tied at that point, then beat the coverage on a quick post to pull in an 8-yard touchdown pass that put the Steelers back on top, 24-17, with 8:35 remaining.

The blown coverages in the Steelers' secondary, part of a systems-wide breakdown from one end of this Missouri lawn to the other, resulted in a tying touchdown less than four minutes later. But in a game when Mendenhall would account for 116 yards rushing and receiving, the Steelers ran exactly one play for him over two possessions in the final 4:54.

"I felt like we had a good balance between running and passing," Mendenhall said diplomatically.

The imbalanced balance yesterday was 42 passes, 29 runs. The Steelers haven't had a rushing touchdown since Oct. 19, but it looked suspiciously like they were capable of one in the overtime. Mendenhall got 7 yards on a first-and-10, 7 yards on the next first-and-10, then 8 on second-and-10 to the Kansas City 35.

But on third-and-2, or just one first down from a winning field goal, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians sent Mewelde Moore wide right on a toss play. A stampede of red shirts put Moore on the grass for a loss of 3, leaving Tomlin no choice but to punt.

"I guess if they go zero -- and all-out blitz, we might have been able to pop one outside on them," said Charlie Batch, suddenly in the game after Roethlisberger took a knee to the head from linebacker Derrick Johnson. "But they didn't."

"We tried to get a perimeter run there," Tomlin said. "We were at the outer edge of field-goal range."

"I guess we thought we could catch them in something," Ward said. "I cracked down on the end, but it didn't work. If you run something else and it doesn't work, maybe it's fourth-and-1 and you give us a chance. But when you lose 3 yards, you have no choice but to punt. The play call is what it is; we have to execute it."

Four plays later, Chiefs wideout Chris Chambers took a short Matt Cassel pass 61 yards through a fractured Steelers secondary to the spot of the winning field goal.

That the Steelers lost on the road for the third time this year (more than all of last year) is one thing, but that they lost to a team that is 90 percent talent-free speaks poorly of their pridefulness.

"We'll get it corrected, whatever it is," shrugged nose tackle Casey Hampton. "We can still win 12 games, so it don't matter. Twelve will get you in [to the playoffs]."

I don't know if playing 'em six at a time will be very productive, but being a little more trustful of No. 34 certainly ought to be.



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Mel Blount's G
11-23-2009, 12:29 PM
But on third-and-2, or just one first down from a winning field goal, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians sent Mewelde Moore wide right on a toss play. A stampede of red shirts put Moore on the grass for a loss of 3, leaving Tomlin no choice but to punt.

:evil: :x
'Haul had been getting us those two yards all f'ing day so they decide to have a slower, 3rd down versatility back take it on a sweep.

Put that down with a number of things that cost us the game. Topping my list then is...

- Not necessarily that play call but the fact that they chose to use our #3 rb instead of the guy who, by all appearances, had the best chance of gaining those 2 yards. imo. Head scratcher.
- Record setting special teams coverage failure. Thought I saw the commentators post some record about the most kick returns against since 1950 or something like that? And we thought out ST woes left will Cowher. Little did we know. Not sure how many starters were on that 1st kick off (Gaye for sure) but I witnessed Ike making the tackle on the 2nd kick off
- Ike's int drop. Us steeler fans are used to it. But it doesn't make it any easier to swallow when it could have given us a 'W' instead of the 'L' which soo resulted. Good thing he's a good cover corner and a great tackler otherwise his catching disability would have me feeling quite different about Ike.
- On their game-cinching to play, having Farrior trying the cover Chris Chambers streaking across the middle followed by our failure to bring him down in a timely fashion. I doubt this was a mistake we just didn't execute the bringdown as we normally do. Apparently we are not the only team in the NFL that has their WR's block downfield. I was at least glad that chambers seemed to be too lazy to try and will/jam/stuff/leap/juke/dive/torpedo/sneak his way into the EZ and end the game right then and there. At least he gave us hope for a botched FG attempt

JAR
11-23-2009, 12:31 PM
"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."

Hines calling out the coaching staff.... :lol:

Jooser
11-23-2009, 01:07 PM
:Bow

feltdizz
11-23-2009, 03:02 PM
"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."

Hines calling out the coaching staff.... :lol:

Good.. Tomlin talks the whole "details" bull all the time but ST's coach, LeBeau and Arians have been slacking when it comes to details..

KR coverage is terrible.. our DB's can't catch.. ANYTHING!
We get 7 or 8 yards with Mendenhall then get all pass happy? Why is Mend forgotten in one possession games when he is running hard? 3rd and 2 and we are in shotgun like the Iggles. The Iggles were more committed to the run last night than we were.

I don't need Tomlin to spit and growl but he needs to get some emotion or set an example when the team is making stupid mistakes.. bench someone.

Snatch98
11-23-2009, 04:48 PM
I agree with the article. Moore is certainly an asset and gets the tough yards a majority of the time. I still think he deserves the ball on certain situations. However Rashard if he takes care of the ball can do everything Moore can and then some. I absolutely HATED the run to the outside with Moore with the game on the line. Mendenhall finds the extra yards and was running well all game. He didn't break off anything huge but he didn't really get the carries either. The dude is a player. We should have won that game even with Ben going down.

Steelerphile
11-23-2009, 05:01 PM
Steelers forgot about Mendenhall late
Monday, November 23, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09327/1015677-66.stm


"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09327/10 ... z0XfH9TGHP (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09327/1015677-66.stm#ixzz0XfH9TGHP)

A cryptic remark from Hines that I am curious as to what he means exactly. Is he referring to the offense, special teams or something else. I doubt if he could be talking about defense.

I was certainly ticked that they didn't give it to Mendenhall on that third down play. If you're going to make a play with Moore, it should have been a quick pass not a sweep. But the Steelers I feel are still playing a little better than last year. Last year they played a lot of close games but by good fortune always seemed to get the big play or turnover to pull out the win.

The universe is leveling out the breaks this season. More are going against them, but they are still right there at the end. I feel that is encouraging. That they couldn't put away a so-called bad team earlier is disheartening; however I will always say there is not a huge talent difference between the so-called bad teams and the teams that make the playoffs.

The Chiefs looked like they are not a talent poor team, and they certainly looked very inspired to beat the Steelers. As some players say, the Steelers get everybody's best effort.

True Fan
11-23-2009, 05:14 PM
"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."

Hines calling out the coaching staff.... :lol:




hmmm, sounds like hines isn't a real fan

Starlifter
11-23-2009, 05:30 PM
"I guess we thought we could catch them in something," Ward said. "I cracked down on the end, but it didn't work. If you run something else and it doesn't work, maybe it's fourth-and-1 and you give us a chance. But when you lose 3 yards, you have no choice but to punt. The play call is what it is; we have to execute it."


i think the above is the quote where hines calls out the coaches. he sees it the same way the rest of us do. send mendy up the gut. if he comes up short at least it's 4th and 1 and you can talk about it. 4th and 6 blows. absolutely terrible call.

fezziwig
11-23-2009, 06:21 PM
Mendenhall is a beast and Arians is too in love with his passing to control the game.
Get the lead and run the ball to control the clock, keep the ball out of the opponents hands, ball security and pass to complemement the run game.

The cheese slid off of Arians cracker a long time ago and there is no turning back.

Play calling wasn't too bad at first but by the second half, Arians allowed/promoted the chances for turnovers with his pass happy offense.

Oh yeah, special teams suck too !

Flasteel
11-23-2009, 06:21 PM
"I guess we thought we could catch them in something," Ward said. "I cracked down on the end, but it didn't work. If you run something else and it doesn't work, maybe it's fourth-and-1 and you give us a chance. But when you lose 3 yards, you have no choice but to punt. The play call is what it is; we have to execute it."


i think the above is the quote where hines calls out the coaches. he sees it the same way the rest of us do. send mendy up the gut. if he comes up short at least it's 4th and 1 and you can talk about it. 4th and 6 blows. absolutely terrible call.

It's not that you consider going for it on 4th and 1 (at least, that's what I think you meant) as much as it is kicking the game-winning FG. 4th and 1 would be a 51 yarder and I think you pull the trigger on that with Reed. I'm not sure what the wind was like but regardless, I think beyond that distance you punt. Knowing that going into the play would almost dictate that you run Mendenhall between the tackles.

I really thought it was a well called game, with some obvious mistakes in execution up until the last few possessions. However, this is two weeks in a row where Arians has F-ed up the final drive with the game on the line. They have been absolutely horrible mistakes in play-calling. He has also eschewed a functional running attack for the pass. Granted we were a little more balanced this week, but 42 passes is a lot when you are leading in a ball game and having success running it.

If the mistakes by our players weren't so damning, then we wouldn't be in a position where bad play-calls can cost us a game. I just hope this illustrates the point I've been trying to make all along. Arians consistently makes poor play-calls and has gross tactical errors. Now it's cost us two games in a row.

Part of his job is to also get the players to perform well. The level of consistent mistakes we see in our players also falls somewhat on his shoulders...as it does with LeBeau and Tomlin. I'm not really doggin' either one of them too much because of their track records. This is 3 years of the same crap from Arians and I can only pray it's our last.

Shoe
11-23-2009, 06:49 PM
I agree with the article. Moore is certainly an asset and gets the tough yards a majority of the time. I still think he deserves the ball on certain situations. However Rashard if he takes care of the ball can do everything Moore can and then some. I absolutely HATED the run to the outside with Moore with the game on the line. Mendenhall finds the extra yards and was running well all game. He didn't break off anything huge but he didn't really get the carries either. The dude is a player. We should have won that game even with Ben going down.

:wft
"Mendenhall finds the extra yards"?

Like everyone else, I'm encouraged with his recent run of games. But, he hasn't proven anything to me, in terms of gaining tough yards in crucial situations. To me, Mewelde has time & time again (mainly in passing situations, or draws). I will agree that a toss sweep for Mewelde seems dubious.

BUt whatever... as I said, Mewelde's proven he's dependable in the clutch. Mendenhall hasn't shown that. And so if you have both options available to you, why not go with the proven commodity (in that situation).

I will say that I want to see them dump the ball the Mendenhall more in passing situations. I think that is a very untapped commodity for our offense--potentially enormous.

Snatch98
11-23-2009, 07:36 PM
Shoe are you not watching the same games? Mendenhall spins off tackles, makes GREAT jump cuts and more often than not makes something out of nothing. He has great field vision and his legs are ALWAYS going. If you can't see that in the time he's been on the field I don't know what else to say. The dude moves the football. Sh.it he's averaging over 5 yards per carry, or at least he was....

At least twice this week and the previous week he made a cut in the backfield to make one or sometimes two people miss and he ALMOST ALWAYS rolls off a tackle to grab a extra yard or two. Am I alone on this assessment?

feltdizz
11-23-2009, 10:17 PM
I was skeptical of Mend but the kid is the truth.

Shoe
11-24-2009, 01:58 AM
Shoe are you not watching the same games? Mendenhall spins off tackles, makes GREAT jump cuts and more often than not makes something out of nothing. He has great field vision and his legs are ALWAYS going. If you can't see that in the time he's been on the field I don't know what else to say. The dude moves the football. Sh.it he's averaging over 5 yards per carry, or at least he was....

At least twice this week and the previous week he made a cut in the backfield to make one or sometimes two people miss and he ALMOST ALWAYS rolls off a tackle to grab a extra yard or two. Am I alone on this assessment?

It's hard to say, man. (Yes, I do watch all the games. :wink: )
I see a lot of those things you mention: legs churning, spins, decisive moves with the rock. And in general, he runs hard.

I don't know... when I try to think about how to explain it, I'm at a bit of a loss. Because as you say, he is doing a good job. He is a chain mover.

I compare him quite a bit to Ced Benson, over in Cincy.

As a (chain moving) back, Benson does it. He runs hard, straightforward style, etc... much like Mendenhall. But does Ced Benson scare you? Does Benson strike you as a "playmaker", as in a clutch guy in big moments?

He's (Benson) good, that's apparent. But I surely need to see more, to say he's anything more than that. I feel the same way with Mendenhall.

NWNewell
11-24-2009, 10:27 AM
"The coaches have to put us in a better position," said Hines Ward, as tenured a Steelers player as you can find and a man who had just wasted a 10-catch, 128-yard performance. "All of us have to look in the mirror, but we're all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves as much was we do."

wow... even Ward makes a comment about the play calling. I think his comment was primarily directed at that 3rd down run. Most of the day the offense was putting up yards. And for the first 2-3 quarters, the defense was playing every well.

I said it in another post, but it's worth repeating here:

I was happy to see Moore in there as a 3rd down back when Willie was the starter because Willie is a terrible receiving back and Mendenhall was unproven. But given the success Mendenhall has had catching the ball out of the backfield... I'm hoping to see Mendenhall in there on third and 3 or less more often (even 3rd and 4).

And of course hindsight is 20-20 but I would have loved to seen them keep Mendenhall in their on that 3rd and 2. And do one of two things:

- Have Mendenhall fight it up the middle for two because he rarely seems to get tackled for a lose up the middle and tends to often make a yard or two out of nothing.

- But since we are deliberately leaving Mendenhall in their in 3rd and short when Moore is typically our 3rd down back we are telegraphing a run. And we were very inconsistent and they had success stopping the run at times. I would have seen play action and had Batch roll out on a naked bootleg. I think the fact that Mendenhall just gouged them for 8 yards two plays earlier and we were leaving him in on 3rd and short would have sold it. And for good measure, I would have had Ward motion in next to the line to help sell it. I would have had Miller drag across the field for a check down 3-4 yards deep and then Mendenhall might be able to fight free and trail Miller for kind of a delayed check down. Have Holmes run deep to take the top off to the side of the roll out and have Ward run an out route 10-15 yards deep. If everyone was covered, Batch may have even been able to sprint for the two yards.

The sweep was a bit of a gamble. I don't hate it because it probably wasn't the first thing the defense was looking for. But I wasn't crazy about it either. The call I disliked more than the play, was to put Moore in there. I would have "danced with what brung ya"... Mendenhall. For reasons stated above, I think he gives you the best opportunity.

feltdizz
11-24-2009, 12:15 PM
Shoe... Did Bettis scare you? I know, I know... He was scary to tackle but he was a chain mover... It wasn't like Bettis was going to bust a 75 yard run.

I think if we gave Mend the ball on 2nd and 2 in OT and kept giving him the ball he would scare you. We have yet to see Mend close out a close game because we have Ben...What's crazy was Ben was out and we still dropped back with Batch on 2nd and 2.

A chain mover is scary to a DC... Mend also has 4 to 5 runs over 40 yards... We just have to feed him more often....