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hawaiiansteel
11-11-2011, 02:00 PM
Steelers' defense seems to snooze too early late in games

Friday, November 11, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


That late 92-yard winning drive Sunday by Baltimore surprised many members of the Steelers' No. 2-ranked defense, even though it has become more commonplace the past three seasons.

They and their fans should be used to it by now because it happens more often than they might like to admit. That includes a loss in Houston this season when an 85-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive gave the Texans a 17-10 victory. There also was the near embarrassment when the winless Indianapolis Colts scored a touchdown to tie the score with 2:09 left in the game.

The defense slipped a spot to No. 3 this week after Joe Flacco hung 300 yards passing on the Steelers with yet another interception-free game. The Steelers defense's two interceptions are tied for fewest in the league and its four takeaways are tied with Miami for the fewest, although the Dolphins have played only eight games. The record low for a 16-game season is 12 by the 1986 Redskins.

Couple the anemic takeaways with the defensive lapses late in the game, and it's a wonder the Steelers are 6-3 and only a half-game behind the two leaders in the AFC North Division.

Linebacker James Farrior, who captains that defense, did not play last Sunday because of a hamstring injury, but acknowledged it was no fun to watch the long winning drive by Baltimore.

"It was definitely sickening," Farrior said. "As a guy watching it from the sideline, I felt especially bad. We just have to get off the field. We had a lot of opportunities to get off the field, a lot of chances, and you just have to make that play. Somebody has to get that one play to get us off the field."

It's become an all-too familiar sight, including a near classic collapse the last time the Steelers played in Cincinnati, Nov. 8, 2010. The Steelers were cruising, 27-7, in the fourth quarter. Then the Bengals scored two touchdowns and quarterback Carson Palmer had them perched on the Steelers 12 with two downs and 44 seconds left to win it. He threw incomplete to Terrell Owens, and then James Harrison broke up a pass to Jordan Shipley.

"The same way Ben has engineered drives against other teams, it's tough against a good quarterback," safety Ryan Clark said. "And then sometimes on defense you do slack off, not saying your intensity but you make different calls than you would during the game to keep everything in front and you have a team that's patient enough to dink and dunk it down the field ..."

The Steelers defense ranked second last season, yet fourth-quarter failings plagued them.

Besides that Bengals game in 2010:

• Baltimore beat them with a four-play, 40-yard drive to score a TD with 32 seconds left, 17-14.

• Miami drove 52 yards to kick a field goal to take a 22-20 lead late before the offense pulled it out with a late field-goal drive.

• After the Steelers scored a TD to climb within three of New Orleans, the Saints drove 55 yards for a late fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game away, 20-10.

• New England scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 39-26 win.

• Buffalo moved 23 yards in 44 seconds to send the game into overtime with a field goal.

• The Jets moved 50 yards on 13 plays to kick the winning field goal in the fourth quarter.

• The Packers moved 70 yards on 10 plays to kick a field goal with 2:07 left and won, 31-23.

"I can't put my finger on why," said veteran defensive lineman Chris Hoke. "I don't think it's a lack of focus. I don't think it's a lack of conditioning. I just think that people are making plays and we're not.

"Even when we were the No. 1 defense in the NFL, we had collapses at the time."

That was 2008, when the defense in Super Bowl XLIII nearly suffered an epic collapse. Arizona, trailing, 20-7, took the lead on two fourth-quarter touchdowns after drives of 87 yards and 64 yards.

Many believe that was a prelude of what was to come in '09, when the Steelers collapsed monumentally during an infamous five-game losing streak, much of it because their defense allowed fourth-quarter leads to evaporate.

Hoke remembers those all too well, but he and no one is quite sure why the defense has failed late in games.

"I don't know if guys are playing more cautious because they don't want to give up the big play or what. We don't talk about it. Maybe as D-linemen we don't want to rush too hard up field because we don't want to give up the extra scramble or extra time in the pocket. But it's frustrating to give up those things, very frustrating."

At least they are not losing once they get a big lead. Like Bill Cowher's teams before his, Mike Tomlin's are money in the bank once they get a lead of more than 10 points. Cowher's teams were 105-1-1 in those situations. Tomlin's teams are 33-1.

Quick hits

• Despite reports that he would be fined for a hit on Ray Rice, linebacker James Harrison said he received no such fine from the NFL this week.

• Trouble looming? Troy Polamalu did not practice for a second day in a row because of a rib injury. Others who did not: LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), Arnaz Battle (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (knee). Everyone else practiced, although the Steelers listed Harrison as being limited because of a toe injury.

• Ben Roethlisberger has an ever-so-slight right shoulder injury from when he stretched the ball out to try to score. He said, however, it will cause him no problems Sunday.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11315/11 ... z1dPuVC4Zf (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11315/1189112-66-0.stm#ixzz1dPuVC4Zf)

Steelers>NFL
11-11-2011, 03:56 PM
No Bill Cowher... IMP.

He had an awesome record when he had the lead going into the 4th qtr. Just unheard of.
He was the master motivator. He was the leader of "60 Minute Men" football.

feltdizz
11-11-2011, 04:04 PM
No Bill Cowher... IMP.

He had an awesome record when he had the lead going into the 4th qtr. Just unheard of.
He was the master motivator. He was the leader of "60 Minute Men" football.

There was this guy named Bettis... I forget what his first name was? :stirpot

DkBlue
11-11-2011, 06:35 PM
No Bill Cowher... IMP.

He had an awesome record when he had the lead going into the 4th qtr. Just unheard of.
He was the master motivator. He was the leader of "60 Minute Men" football.

There was this guy named Bettis... I forget what his first name was? :stirpot

You got it. The four minute offense with Bettis was a joy to behold. Arans did not even try when we needed to wrap up Sunday. The pass to DJ on first down was a headscratcher.

skyhawk
11-11-2011, 08:19 PM
Bill Cowher had one of the best line's in football for most of his tenure. That's why he could grind it out and close out games.

The 4th Q defense has been a problem for the Steelers since 2005. Why are people upset now?

Oviedo
11-11-2011, 08:55 PM
When you have DBs who can't play man to man don't be surprised when they get picked apart late in games. Need to stop drafting zone cover guys and get players with legit man to man skills.

NorthCoast
11-12-2011, 09:25 AM
I agree with others. It's a passing league now and without the DBs the only sure way to keep a lead late is keeping the O on the field. And a short, controlled passing game is not the same as a power run game.

As one coach liked to say, 'on a passing play, three things can happen to the ball, and two of them are bad'.

fordfixer
11-12-2011, 11:37 AM
What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense? We can't get off the field :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger :HeadBanger Thanks for asking

Northern_Blitz
11-12-2011, 01:18 PM
No Bill Cowher... IMP.

He had an awesome record when he had the lead going into the 4th qtr. Just unheard of.
He was the master motivator. He was the leader of "60 Minute Men" football.

There was this guy named Bettis... I forget what his first name was? :stirpot

You got it. The four minute offense with Bettis was a joy to behold. Arans did not even try when we needed to wrap up Sunday. The pass to DJ on first down was a headscratcher.

You can't put that on the OC IMO. It worked perfectly, except for terrible execution by the FB. Would have been at least 5 yards and 40 seconds. You don't get more open than that in the NFL.

hawaiiansteel
11-12-2011, 09:34 PM
Three-quarters good

November 11, 2011
By Scott Kacsmar


The Cold, Hard Football Facts

Add it all up and some of the results are stunning.

Since 2007, the Steelers (8) are tied with the Bills for the most games allowing the winning points in the last 2:00 of the fourth quarter. Seven of the drives ended in the last 0:37.

Since 2009, the Steelers have allowed 4 game-winning touchdowns in the last 0:32 of the fourth quarter.

From 1990-2008, the Steelers had allowed 2 game-winning touchdowns in the last 1:00 of the fourth quarter (both vs. Bengals)

Postseason Facts:

The 2nd largest fourth quarter lead lost in a Super Bowl belongs to D!ck LeBeau’s 2008 Steelers (13 points vs. Cardinals)

2011

After getting a rare takeaway this season against the Colts, the Steelers promptly let Curtis Painter engineer an 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. Roethlisberger had to lead a game-winning field goal drive. After tying Houston, the Texans immediately went on an 85-yard game-winning touchdown drive.

Though they did their job well enough against the Jaguars and Patriots, the big blow came when Baltimore embarked on the greatest drive in Ravens’ history: 2:24 left and 92 yards to go. The Steelers had no answers, no pass rush, and played a baffling style of defense once Baltimore got close enough to take shots in the end zone. It was almost as if the Steelers weren’t aware the Ravens had no choice but to score a touchdown. It’s inexcusable for the defense not to have tighter coverage with safety help in that situation.

http://coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articl ... mpany.html (http://coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_4639_Three-quarters_good%3A_Steelers%2C_Pats_in_unique_compan y.html)

NWNewell
11-14-2011, 11:09 AM
Three-quarters good

November 11, 2011
By Scott Kacsmar


The Cold, Hard Football Facts

Add it all up and some of the results are stunning.

Since 2007, the Steelers (8) are tied with the Bills for the most games allowing the winning points in the last 2:00 of the fourth quarter. Seven of the drives ended in the last 0:37.

Since 2009, the Steelers have allowed 4 game-winning touchdowns in the last 0:32 of the fourth quarter.

From 1990-2008, the Steelers had allowed 2 game-winning touchdowns in the last 1:00 of the fourth quarter (both vs. Bengals)

Postseason Facts:

The 2nd largest fourth quarter lead lost in a Super Bowl belongs to D!ck LeBeau’s 2008 Steelers (13 points vs. Cardinals)

2011

After getting a rare takeaway this season against the Colts, the Steelers promptly let Curtis Painter engineer an 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. Roethlisberger had to lead a game-winning field goal drive. After tying Houston, the Texans immediately went on an 85-yard game-winning touchdown drive.

Though they did their job well enough against the Jaguars and Patriots, the big blow came when Baltimore embarked on the greatest drive in Ravens’ history: 2:24 left and 92 yards to go. The Steelers had no answers, no pass rush, and played a baffling style of defense once Baltimore got close enough to take shots in the end zone. It was almost as if the Steelers weren’t aware the Ravens had no choice but to score a touchdown. It’s inexcusable for the defense not to have tighter coverage with safety help in that situation.

http://coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articl ... mpany.html (http://coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_4639_Three-quarters_good%3A_Steelers%2C_Pats_in_unique_compan y.html)

Not sure who's fall this was... DL for call a defense that had the safety (Clark) out of position, or Clark's for not playing deep enough.

But that was ridiculous!

Starlifter
11-14-2011, 11:28 AM
45 minute men is NOT the way to win championships.

hawaiiansteel
11-14-2011, 02:51 PM
Kovacevic: This finish won't bug Steelers

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 14, 2011


CINCINNATI — Think of the Steelers as your shoe raised in the air, ready to squash one of those annoying stink bugs. You want to squash it. You know you can squash it. But the foot never comes down.

In the case of the insect, there's an obvious reason for that: Its demise will smell up the whole house.

In the case of the Steelers, it's safe to say their many shows of mercy this season have been just as malodorous but much harder to explain.

Remember running up 17 points on the first three drives against Jacksonville, only to hang on, 17-13?

Or allowing an equally awful Arizona team to pull within a field goal in the third quarter?

Or Tom Brady's touchdown pass with 2:35 left to get New England within six?

Or Joe Flacco finding guts even he didn't know he had to drive 92 yards?

At some stage of legitimate contention, a team has to slam the door. It has to show some semblance of a killer instinct.

And that's exactly what the Steelers showed Sunday in shutting down Cincinnati, 24-17, at Paul Brown Stadium: Some semblance of it. They whizzed toward unanswered touchdowns on the first two drives, allowed the Bengals to tie the game by the third quarter, then bent, bent, bent ... before ultimately getting it done.

Hey, any finish is a start with this group.

"It feels good," safety Troy Polamalu said. "Feels great, actually. It's nice to get over that hump, especially after last week."

That's when Flacco went the length of the field to lift Baltimore, 23-20. The Steelers had a chance to hold their lead on offense but bumbled their way to a punt. They had a chance on defense, too, but gave up Flacco's 26-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith over cornerback William Gay.

Sunday had a similar feel.

These were the two possessions right after the Steelers took that 14-0 lead: First, Polamalu and Ryan Clark inexplicably flanked Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green like the guards at Buckingham Palace, while Green leaped for a 36-yard touchdown catch. Then, Steelers tight end Heath Miller tipped a Ben Roethlisberger pass upward into the hands of Bengals cornerback Leon Hall.

And yet the Steelers later took a 24-17 lead and finally planted a flag in one of those things.

With the Bengals crossing midfield early in the fourth quarter, Gay swatted away an Andy Dalton pass into the hands of linebacker Lawrence Timmons for a ... um ... hang on, I have to look this up.

Oh, right. An INTERCEPTION.

Small wonder defensive end Brett Keisel danced off the field.

"It just felt good to get one, man," Keisel said, grinning through the beard. "It's been crazy how those just haven't come our way."

There would be another, doubling the team's season total to four. The Bengals bullied down to the Steelers' 25 with less than three minutes left, but Gay boldly darted in front of receiver Jerome Simpson for a sweetly timed interception that brought big-time redemption.

"Nothing special, just regular coverage," Gay said. "This was a total team effort."

Only if the offense would do its part this time, and it did: Big tight end Weslye Saunders caught an 11-yard pass for one first down, and Mike Wallace caught a 7-yarder for another.

"Victory formation," Saunders said with a broad smile. "It's always great not to put the defense back on the field. You've got to finish the game the right way."

"Man, that's what we've been looking for all year as a team," nose tackle Casey Hampton said. "We haven't been finishing anything. I mean, you can talk about it all you want, but we went out and did it."

The rest of the locker room seemed as delighted about that as the 7-3 record the Steelers carry into the bye week, right back to being tied for best in the AFC. But, as Roethlisberger and others rightly acknowledged, the Steelers didn't play a great game here. Nor did they face a great opponent. Yeah, I know the Bengals are 6-3, but this was just the beginning of the varsity portion of their schedule.

The Steelers were simply the better team, and they followed through on it.

It's what they should have been doing all season, but maybe all that's fumigated now.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1dhexwk3f (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_767153.html#ixzz1dhexwk3f)

Sugar
11-14-2011, 03:46 PM
When you don't get off the field early, you get gassed later on. Against the Ravens, they spent so much time on the field in the first quarter that it wasn't surprising that they struggled late.

Mister Pittsburgh
11-15-2011, 12:46 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

RuthlessBurgher
11-17-2011, 02:26 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis were 1st round picks (Bettis by the Rams, but still). Would you not want Franco and the Bus? Mendenhall may not be those guys, but he is certainly better than guys like Tim Worley, Walter Abercrombie, and Greg Hawthorne.

skyhawk
11-17-2011, 02:40 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis were 1st round picks (Bettis by the Rams, but still). Would you not want Franco and the Bus? Mendenhall may not be those guys, but he is certainly better than guys like Tim Worley, Walter Abercrombie, and Greg Hawthorne.

You forgot to add in Rich Erenberg and Earnest Jackson ;)

RuthlessBurgher
11-17-2011, 02:43 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis were 1st round picks (Bettis by the Rams, but still). Would you not want Franco and the Bus? Mendenhall may not be those guys, but he is certainly better than guys like Tim Worley, Walter Abercrombie, and Greg Hawthorne.

You forgot to add in Rich Erenberg and Earnest Jackson ;)

That's because they were drafted late (in rounds that no longer exist in the current draft format). I was referencing 1st round running backs.

skyhawk
11-17-2011, 02:51 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis were 1st round picks (Bettis by the Rams, but still). Would you not want Franco and the Bus? Mendenhall may not be those guys, but he is certainly better than guys like Tim Worley, Walter Abercrombie, and Greg Hawthorne.

You forgot to add in Rich Erenberg and Earnest Jackson ;)

That's because they were drafted late (in rounds that no longer exist in the current draft format). I was referencing 1st round running backs.

Yes, I know.

Damm, Hawthorne was drafted first?

RuthlessBurgher
11-17-2011, 04:27 PM
I agree with some people saying it is partially on the offense. The question is what is wrong with our offense? Once we get a small lead (which a 2TD in this league is a small lead) we go to a run first, throw deep offense.

The only games we have run the offense appropriate for our talents on offense were the first half and part of the second half vs. New England, and the second half vs. Baltimore.

Also, Mendenhall flat out sucks and was a poor first round pick in my opinion. I hope they aren't stupid enough to EVER draft a RB in the first round again.

Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis were 1st round picks (Bettis by the Rams, but still). Would you not want Franco and the Bus? Mendenhall may not be those guys, but he is certainly better than guys like Tim Worley, Walter Abercrombie, and Greg Hawthorne.

You forgot to add in Rich Erenberg and Earnest Jackson ;)

That's because they were drafted late (in rounds that no longer exist in the current draft format). I was referencing 1st round running backs.

Yes, I know.

Damm, Hawthorne was drafted first?

Yeah, 28th overall in 1979. We did better in the 6th round of that draft, getting Dwayne Woodruff and Matt Bahr. Our 5th round pick that year, Dwaine Board, also had a solid NFL career (albeit with the Niners).

Mister Pittsburgh
11-17-2011, 04:37 PM
I thiNk it is more about the value of the pick. Willie Parker looked great behind Hartings Faneca Starks etc. Just as the Bus did. More about who is blocking then the Rb.