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fordfixer
08-28-2011, 09:14 PM
Falcons give Steelers defense plenty to work on

By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-steelers-busyd

PITTSBURGH (AP)—James Harrison(notes) expected the Pittsburgh Steelers defense to be tested by the high-powered Atlanta Falcons.

The All-Pro linebacker also expected to get off the field.

Turns out, he was half right.

Though the Steelers rode the big plays of wide receiver Antonio Brown(notes) to a 34-16 win on Saturday night, the league’s top defense a year ago had trouble keeping up with the Falcons, whose starters packed a full game’s worth of work into two busy quarters.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan(notes) threw a whopping 42 passes—completing 22 of them—for 220 yards with a touchdown and an interception without getting sacked, moving the ball with ease at times against Pittsburgh’s banged-up secondary.

The Falcons had 266 yards in the half, nearly matching the 276 yards the Steelers gave up in an entire game in 2010.

“I think they would have run a lot more than what they did, but if you have something that was working, and it was working for them, I don’t see what you need to change it for,” Harrison said.

Atlanta did most of its damage through the air, with Ryan expertly picking his way down the field by spreading the ball around. Roddy White(notes), rookie Julio Jones(notes), Harry Douglas(notes) and tight end Tony Gonzalez(notes) all finished with at least three receptions.

Jones, who caught five passes for 59 yards and narrowly missed a 49-yard touchdown, didn’t anticipate seeing so much action.

“It wasn’t (the game plan),” Jones said. “Just whatever was out there and was working, we stuck with it.”

And stuck with it and stuck with it, giving the Steelers a dose of reality after the defending AFC champions dominated Philadelphia a week ago, picking off Michael Vick(notes) three times in a half.

Though linebacker Lawrence Timmons(notes) celebrated his new six-year, $50 million contract by returning an interception 44 yards to set up a field goal, it marked one of the few successes for the starters on a night in which they struggled to keep up when the Falcons spread the field.

“They have a lot of weapons,” Timmons said. “I think we did okay today. I think we could have done better.”

So does coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers failed to rattle Ryan, who twice escaped a fast-closing Harrison to run for positive yardage. Given time to throw, Ryan helped the Falcons convert 7 of 12 third downs.

“I’d like to see us get off more consistently on third down defensively, put more consistent pressure on the quarterback and have tighter coverage in the secondary,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers played without starting cornerbacks Bryant McFadden(notes) (hamstring) and Ike Taylor(notes) (broken left thumb). The injuries thrust Keenan Lewis(notes) and William Gay(notes) into prominent roles and both had issues trying to contain Atlanta’s deep and talented group of receivers. The bigger issue for Tomlin wasn’t the completions as much as the sight of the Falcons running wide open down the field.

“We have to be closer and challenge more potential catches,” Tomlin said. “But that’s just looking at it from a knee-jerk reaction.”

The Steelers are hardly panicking. Defensive end Aaron Smith(notes) pointed out the game plan remained fairly bland, the blitz packages fairly benign. Still, Harrison was less than thrilled. With two weeks to go before the season starts in Baltimore, Harrison knows the nastiness needs to return.

“They were converting third downs as if it was the thing to do,” he said. “We didn’t play the way that we are capable of playing. And that’s why we were out there so long.”

When it mattered the Steelers were able to find a way to keep Atlanta out of the end zone. Three times the Falcons moved the ball deep into Pittsburgh territory only to come away with field goals.

It was enough to win on a night that served as the closest thing to the regular season that August can muster. And a late 95-yard interception return for a touchdown by Crezdon Butler(notes) helped the Steelers win their second straight and improve their turnover ratio to plus-eight in the preseason.

“It was not a consistent, dominant performance that we were looking for or winning by attrition,” Tomlin said. “But we were explosive offensively. We made key plays, game changing-like plays defensively. But we will have to learn from this.”

Djfan
08-28-2011, 09:55 PM
I am still watching the game right now. It's the first time I have seen it.
I have to say that with 2:40 left in the first half, Troy looks pedestrian. Is he OK? Is it just a case of him having to play the entire back field to back up the second stringers?

Ghost
08-29-2011, 09:10 AM
I know Ike and Mcfadden are out, although Mc is very average so not sure how much difference he'd have made, but Ryan tore up the secondary. Had a couple of balls not been dropped and he overthrew a few wide open guys, he would have gone for close to 300 yards in the first half.

The Steelers better be ready to put up a lot of points because the quality QB's are going to throw for tons of yardage.

steelz09
08-29-2011, 10:03 AM
Gay is a #3 CB at best

McFadden is servicable

Ike a legitimate #1 or #2. It crazy to think it but Ike would be a #3 on the Jets and a #4 on the Eagles.

Butler is a nickle guy imo

Jury is still out on Bronwn

Cortez Allen - Who knows. He has Ike size and athleticism but we haven't seen him play.

Warren - Still a lot of ? 's

Lewis - Still a lot of ?'s. I don't know if he is even better than Warren at the current moment.

The most frustrating thing about out CBs is we have a bunch of young guys that just can't seem to separate themselves from each other. Meanwhile, the opposing WR's have no time separating from our CB's :) :)

To add a tomlinism, I want some of those guys to be a "cut above" the rest.

Ghost
08-29-2011, 10:09 AM
Gay is a #3 CB at best

McFadden is servicable

Ike a legitimate #1 or #2. It crazy to think it but Ike would be a #3 on the Jets and a #4 on the Eagles.

Butler is a nickle guy imo

Jury is still out on Bronwn

Cortez Allen - Who knows. He has Ike size and athleticism but we haven't seen him play.

Warren - Still a lot of ? 's

Lewis - Still a lot of ?'s. I don't know if he is even better than Warren at the current moment.

The most frustrating thing about out CBs is we have a bunch of young guys that just can't seem to separate themselves from each other. Meanwhile, the opposing WR's have no time separating from our CB's :) :)

To add a tomlinism, I want some of those guys to be a "cut above" the rest.

Let me ask you - if it came down to a numbers thing - would you keep Warren and cut Gay? Would they Steelers really be losing anything? Gay's not getting better. At least there's a shot to up-coach warren. I'd do it but curious what others think.

Doogie36
08-29-2011, 10:18 AM
I agree about TROY! He looked less then 100% out there and at times it looked like he was LIMPING after the play was over.

I hope they SIT HIM down till the Ravens game.

I am so glad we didnt get BURRESS! I'm glad we also didnt get a Steve Smith as many wanted last year!!!!!!! Our WR corp is scary good now!!!

Oviedo
08-29-2011, 11:04 AM
Gay is a #3 CB at best

McFadden is servicable

Ike a legitimate #1 or #2. It crazy to think it but Ike would be a #3 on the Jets and a #4 on the Eagles.

Butler is a nickle guy imo

Jury is still out on Bronwn

Cortez Allen - Who knows. He has Ike size and athleticism but we haven't seen him play.

Warren - Still a lot of ? 's

Lewis - Still a lot of ?'s. I don't know if he is even better than Warren at the current moment.

The most frustrating thing about out CBs is we have a bunch of young guys that just can't seem to separate themselves from each other. Meanwhile, the opposing WR's have no time separating from our CB's :) :)

To add a tomlinism, I want some of those guys to be a "cut above" the rest.

Let me ask you - if it came down to a numbers thing - would you keep Warren and cut Gay? Would they Steelers really be losing anything? Gay's not getting better. At least there's a shot to up-coach warren. I'd do it but curious what others think.

They won't cut Gay since he has his degree in LeBeau defense which we know from guys like Ty Carter can buy you more years on the team than talent justifies.

IMO Warren is a pure zone cover guy. We don't need more of them. We need guys who can cover man to man.

hawaiiansteel
08-29-2011, 06:53 PM
Busy Half Chasing WRs Gives Pittsburgh Defense An Eyeful - Atlanta Falcons Make Plenty Of Catches Against Steelers

August 29, 2011
Associated Press


PITTSBURGH -- James Harrison expected the Pittsburgh Steelers defense to be tested by the high-powered Atlanta Falcons. The All-Pro linebacker also expected to get off the field.

Turns out, he was half right.

Though the Steelers rode the big plays of wide receiver Antonio Brown to a 34-16 win on Saturday night, the league’s top defense a year ago had trouble keeping up with the Falcons, whose starters packed a full game’s worth of work into two busy quarters.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw a whopping 42 passes -- completing 22 of them -- for 220 yards with a touchdown and an interception without getting sacked, moving the ball with ease at times against Pittsburgh’s banged-up secondary.

“I think they would have run a lot more than what they did, but if you have something that was working, and it was working for them, I don’t see what you need to change it for,” Harrison said.

Atlanta did most of its damage through the air, with Ryan expertly picking his way down the field by spreading the ball around. Roddy White, rookie Julio Jones, Harry Douglas and tight end Tony Gonzalez all finished with at least three receptions.

Though linebacker Lawrence Timmons celebrated his new six-year, $50 million contract by returning an interception 44 yards to set up a field goal, it marked one of the few successes for the starters on a night in which they struggled to keep up when the Falcons spread the field.

“They have a lot of weapons,” Timmons said. “I think we did OK today. I think we could have done better.”

So does coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers failed to rattle Ryan, who twice escaped a fast-closing Harrison to run for positive yardage. Given time to throw, Ryan helped the Falcons convert 7 of 12 third downs.

“I’d like to see us get off more consistently on third down defensively, put more consistent pressure on the quarterback and have tighter coverage in the secondary,” Tomlin said.

The Steelers played without starting cornerbacks Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and Ike Taylor (broken left thumb). The injuries thrust Keenan Lewis and William Gay into prominent roles and both had issues trying to contain Atlanta’s deep and talented group of receivers.

The bigger issue for Tomlin wasn’t the completions as much as the sight of the Falcons running wide open down the field.

“We have to be closer and challenge more potential catches,” Tomlin said. “But that’s just looking at it from a knee-jerk reaction.”

The Steelers are hardly panicking. Defensive end Aaron Smith pointed out the game plan remained fairly bland, the blitz packages fairly benign.

Still, Harrison was less than thrilled. With two weeks to go before the season starts in Baltimore, Harrison knows the nastiness needs to return.

“They were converting third downs as if it was the thing to do,” he said. “We didn’t play the way that we are capable of playing. And that’s why we were out there so long.”

When it mattered, the Steelers were able to find a way to keep Atlanta out of the end zone. Three times, the Falcons moved the ball deep into Pittsburgh territory only to come away with field goals.

“It was not a consistent, dominant performance that we were looking for, or winning by attrition,” Tomlin said. “But we were explosive offensively. We made key plays, game changing-like plays defensively. But we will have to learn from this.”

Read more: http://www.wtae.com/sports/2444888/deta ... z1WSAedEuM (http://www.wtae.com/sports/2444888/detail.html#ixzz1WSAedEuM)

NorthCoast
08-29-2011, 07:33 PM
I seen some articles praising Butler's play but my eyes told me a different story watching the ATL game. Aside for the great jump on the No. 2 QB for an int I thought Butler was pretty much abused all game long.
Ryan really had his way with the entire backfield for the most part (but then again, so did Ben against them.)

Slapstick
08-29-2011, 08:29 PM
Are you guys serious?

Ryan IS a quality QB...of course the Falcons put up some passing numbers...they threw the ball 40 freaking times in the first half!!!

With all those attempts, Ryan completed on 52% of his passes with a rating of 65...

Snatch98
08-29-2011, 09:16 PM
Are you guys serious?

Ryan IS a quality QB...of course the Falcons put up some passing numbers...they threw the ball 40 freaking times in the first half!!!

With all those attempts, Ryan completed on 52% of his passes with a rating of 65...

Thank you. Matt Ryan threw a entire games worth of balls in the first half and only mustered 1 TD.