View Full Version : The Good and The Bad

10-17-2011, 05:15 PM
Steelers Impress in a Win over Jacksonville—Some of the Time

by Rebecca Rollett on Oct 17, 2011


The Good:

1. A Big, Fat "W."

The Steelers are now 4-2. Given that this means we're tied for 2nd place in the division with a surprisingly good Cincinnati team, it was a win we really needed. Did anybody see Cincinnati coming? Half the players awaiting their jail sentences, franchise QB retires rather than play another season with them, red-headed rookie QB? It's just part of the general craziness this season, I guess.

2. Born to Run.

Rashard Mendenhall looked like an elite back out there. He had a personal-best 68 yard run. His 146 yards on 23 runs gives him an average of 6.35 YPC. And for the "yes, but" people that like to remove the long run from the average, the YPC without that was still a respectable 3.55. Maybe Tomlin should "rest" him more often.

3. It Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking.

The O line wasn't perfect, but I for one am happy with "adequate." They made some holes for the running game. They had some unbelievable moments of pass protection, such as the snap when Ben apparently was looking for an open receiver in a different game. All this while losing yet another member of the starting lineup for the day.

4. Gutter Balls

The defense held The Bowling Ball to under 100 yards rushing and no TDs. That may not sound like that big a deal if you've been asleep since last season, but I'll take it. Troy stuffing him in the backfield for a loss in the 4th quarter was one of the prettier plays I've seen since, oh, Troy's insane jump of the snap count to almost sack Gabbert during the 2nd quarter..

5. The Return of the Scary Old Guys.

James Farrior had loads of tackles and a sack. Brett Keisel had loads of tackles and 2 sacks as well as a tipped pass.

6. I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay

Woodley had 2 more sacks and continued to be a force for good.

7. Next In Line

Did anybody notice that Chris Hoke left with a stinger partway through the 2nd quarter? Steve McLendon stepped up in his place without a noticeable dropoff.

8. No Give and Take

This entry will also appear under the "Bad" column. Ben had no interceptions and gave up one fumble. Fortunately the fumble was recovered by Trai Essex, so no harm, no foul, I suppose. Yes, Ben "almost" was picked off at least three times. But strangely enough, nobody keeps a stats list of "almost" picks. And there were at least three "almost" picks by our defense as well, so I suppose this indicates some sort of cosmic balance was being maintained. The main thing is that the Steelers managed to hold onto the ball.

9. Just Make It Stop

After giving up scores on the majority of the opening drives this season, the defense stopped Jacksonville on the 46-yard line, forcing a punt, the first of many for Jacksonville.

Although Jacksonville is a struggling team, they are an NFL team comprised of professional football players, some of them more professional than others. For whatever reason the Jags have had the Steelers' number, beating them in their last three visits to Heinz Field.

Although many of us wondered for a considerable portion of the final quarter whether they were about to make that 4-0, the Steelers stopped them. Rashean Mathis was essentially a non-factor. MJD scratched us a bit but didn't gash us. Paul Posluszny and Blaine Gabbert got to make their friends and parents at Heinz Field proud without actually putting an L in our Win-Loss column.

The Bad:

1. The Disappearing Offense

After a terrific first 17 minutes in which the Steelers put up two touchdowns, they seemed to lose interest. The only other score was less than 3 minutes later, when we couldn't punch it in on 3 attempts from the JAC 2 yard line, instead settling for a field goal.

2. Special Teams Were—Special

There were a couple of big special-teams game changers, and not in a good way.

The first was early in the 3rd quarter. The defense had stopped the opening 3rd quarter drive, with a little help from an inopportune Jacksonville penalty, right where they began, at their own 20. The ensuing punt should have given the Steelers great field position.

I say "should," because a failed attempt to block the punt by Ryan Mundy instead gave the ball back to Jacksonville and put the defense back on the field. 14 plays later Gabbert threw a TD as Larry Foote got there a second too late. This not only made it a one-score game but seemed to give Jacksonville new life.

To be fair to Mundy, had he succeeded in blocking the punt, we would all be talking about that play very differently. But if you're going to try it, you at least have to make sure you don't get the penalty, even if you miss the punt.

The second was a shanked Sepulveda punt halfway through the 3rd quarter, giving Jacksonville the ball essentially at midfield. The Jags managed to convert it to a field goal.

There was also a third fail by special teams that could have burned us badly. At just over 4 minutes to play in the 2nd quarter, Shaun Suisham missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. This gave Jacksonville the ball at their own 36 with plenty of time to do something with it. Fortunately the defense forced a three-and-out, ending with Farrior's sack.

A holding call on the return team during the punt return at 3:23 in the 2nd quarter that backed the Steelers up to their 12-yard line wasn't all that helpful, either.

3. Good Ben, Bad Ben

After starting the game looking like the guy that torched the Titans last week for 5 TDs, Ben seemed to suddenly become concerned about the self-esteem of the Jacksonville secondary, and started throwing a bunch of deep bombs that weren't finding their intended targets.

I haven't had time to go back and study those in detail, and in any case it's usually hard to say definitively which of those were on Ben and which were on the receivers. One can certainly say, though, that it is fair to correlate the decreased number of short/intermediate throws with the increased number of sacks. He was sacked three times, despite a 55/45 run/pass ratio.

And what was with the Delay of Game penalty, Ben?

4. Calling Lawrence Timmons!

Was Timmons actually on the field yesterday? I'm pretty sure he was, but I sure can't find him on the stat sheet.

5. Go Back to the House, Young Man!

Despite a lot of talk, Antonio Brown not only didn't take one to the house, he didn't take one much of anywhere, with a 2-yard average on punt returns. To be fair, his one kickoff return was 34 yards. But at this point I would suggest he put a cork in it until he actually does have a return for a TD. And then I would suggest that he act like he's been in the end zone before.

6. No Offense

After out-gaining Jacksonville 315 yards to 68 in the first half, the Steelers only managed another 55 yards in the rest of the game.

And finally,

7. No Give and Take

This entry also appeared under the "Good" column. Once again our defense came up short in the takeaway category, but they had at least three "almost" picks. In fact, Ike Taylor managed to defend a pick by Ryan Clark on the last play of the game, thus ensuring that Clark didn't show him up. On the other side of the ball, Ben was almost picked off three times, so I suppose this indicates some sort of cosmic balance was being maintained. Unfortunately, this cosmic balance still leaves us -10 in turnovers.

The game ball, in my opinion, goes to Keisel. Mendenhall had a great game, but Keisel was like a man possessed. Arguably the biggest play of the game was his sack with 1:01 left in the game that not only took 25 seconds off the clock but took the stuffing out of Gabbert.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... #storyjump (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/10/17/2495541/pittsburgh-steelers#storyjump)

10-17-2011, 09:55 PM
Suisham or how ever you spell our fieldgoal kickers name just isn't getting the job done in my opinion. I know 40 yarders and up are not automatics but, this guys seems to be missing fieldgoals at a faster rate. Eventually we are going to need some fieldgoals to win a game.
I hope he isn't on the team next season.