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Thread: Steelers take step backward

  1. #1
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    Steelers take step backward

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Back to headlines

    Steelers take step backward
    By Scott Brown
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Thursday, August 14, 2008
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... rss&feed=9


    TORONTO -- The Steelers' trip north of the border came up south of coach Mike Tomlin's expectations.

    Same goes for Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison.

    The starters were mistake-prone on offense, and the defense came out flat, letting the opponent put together an extended scoring drive on its first possession for the second time in as many games. As for the tackling, well, it's safe to say the Steelers put on anything but a clinic in that department in their 24-21 loss to the Bills in Toronto.

    "Yeah, I'm concerned," Harrison said. "We got the ball drove down our throats three of the four times we were in there, so hell yeah I'm concerned"

    The Steelers may wrap up training camp at the beginning of next week, but as Thursday night showed, there is still plenty of work to be done.

    "We fell short essentially in all three phases," Tomlin said of the Steelers' second exhibition game.

    A unit that led the NFL in total defense last season allowed second-year quarterback Trent Edwards to have his way with it.

    Edwards completed 9-of-11 passes for 104 yards in marching the Bills for touchdowns on the only two possessions he played. Edwards, who will never be confused with Vince Young, kept the Bills' second drive alive by scrambling for 22 yards on third down after the Steelers had pinned Buffalo deep in its territory.

    Fortunately for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger proved to be just as sharp, though he probably spent too much time for Tomlin's liking dodging Buffalo's pass rush.

    Roethlisberger completed 9-of-11 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown as well as an interception.

    He played three series before giving way to Byron Leftwich, who was signed earlier this week to back up Roethlisberger.

    Santonio Holmes continued to look like an emerging star as he caught two passes for 53 yards, including a 40-yarder that got the Steelers on the scoreboard after they had fallen behind by two touchdowns. Hines Ward, meanwhile, hauled in three passes for 48 yards.

    The starting offensive line's struggles included those with penalties. The line and tight end Heath Miller were flagged four times on the Steelers' first three possessions.

    "We killed ourselves with penalties, and we can't let that happen," Roethlisberger said. "If you look at this game, we started really bad."

    Edwards led drives of 67 and 90 yards, both of which ended with touchdown passes to tight end Robert Royal, as Buffalo took a 14-0 lead.

    With the Steelers unable to establish the running game -- Willie Parker managed just 14 yards on five carries in another abbreviated outing for the Pro Bowler -- Roethlisberger took to the air.

    He completed passes of 24 and 14 yards to Ward and running back Mewelde Moore, respectively, and then went up top to Holmes for the long touchdown.

    The Steelers had a chance to cut further into Buffalo's lead before halftime, but Jeff Reed missed a 42-yard field goal.

    The Steelers cut a 17-7 lead -- the Bills had kicked a field goal early in the third quarter -- to three points after a fumble recovery by rookie Donovan Woods set up a 6-yard touchdown run by first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall.

    The Steelers, however, wasted little time in giving those points back as Buffalo rookie Leodis McKelvin returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

    It was that kind of night for the Steelers -- on offense, defense and special teams.

    "We weren't the more physical team and normally that doesn't happen," linebacker Larry Foote said. "We just have to check ourselves."

    Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Bullsheet.

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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    they let up a td on a kickoff? that concearns me more than anything else i think

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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Quote Originally Posted by frankthetank1
    they let up a td on a kickoff? that concearns me more than anything else i think
    Not only that, but pass blocking (well blocking in general) was crap and pass coverage was shotty (Trent Edwards of all people shredded us!).

    All three of those issues were fairly prevalent last year, which hopefully since its a preseason game doesn't beg the question: What the hell did they improve?

    Like I said, its preseason so i won't get too worked up, but you hate to see the same ugly things come up again this year...
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Shiek
    Quote Originally Posted by frankthetank1
    they let up a td on a kickoff? that concearns me more than anything else i think
    Not only that, but pass blocking (well blocking in general) was crap and pass coverage was shotty (Trent Edwards of all people shredded us!).

    All three of those issues were fairly prevalent last year, which hopefully since its a preseason game doesn't beg the question: What the hell did they improve?

    Like I said, its preseason so i won't get too worked up, but you hate to see the same ugly things come up again this year...
    i agree, it is preseason but you never want to see the steelers play like that. so did edwards have too much time when he was dropping back? man this sucks, i hate missing preseason games. the o-line is very troubling. against the eagles they looked good but they didnt play a whole lot. who looked better out of mahan and hartwig and starks and colon?

  6. #6
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    How can anybody say a step backward?
    Because we did not play a preseason game like we were supposed to go out and show everything to whoever? I think not. We should have concerns, we should have concerns, that Woodley and Timmons dont get arrested for murder in the first against opposing QB's.
    That our receiving corps this year is too much. And if thier not that much, we'll we can run.
    It was a good pratice against what I and a lot of us said the "up and comming Bills."

  7. #7
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Shiek
    Not only that, but pass blocking (well blocking in general) was crap and pass coverage was shotty (Trent Edwards of all people shredded us!).

    All three of those issues were fairly prevalent last year, which hopefully since its a preseason game doesn't beg the question: What the hell did they improve?

    Like I said, its preseason so i won't get too worked up, but you hate to see the same ugly things come up again this year...
    I don't want to be the one running around like Chicken Little and saying the sky is falling but I do think I got hit in the head with a few pieces last night. I didn't worry too much when the iggles were able to run and pass against our 1st string defense but when the bills are also able to do it then I'm concerned. I've only watched the first half so these comments basically apply to the starters.

    The pass defense was horrible as well as the run defense. Did anyone else notice how Woodley got stood up by the Bills running back on their first TD pass? I mean all we keep hearing is how he is unstoppable yet in a game situation one on one with a RB he does nothing. Now that has nothing to do with playing a vanilla pre-season defense. Don't even get me started on the tackling ... how many tackles did we miss? and the DBs ... if they wanted to talk to the receivers they would have had to dial the area code first.

    All the progress I thought the offensive line made based on last week's game just went right out the window. They had a hard time opening any holes for the running game and it seemed like, at a minimum, one person had a problem on every pass play although it wasn't always the same person. At least Ben, Santonio and Hines looked good.

    Okay ... I've got to take some deep breaths and slowly back away from the ledge. Thanks for listening.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    I think people need to take a step back and realize that perhaps the Bill's were better than expected?

    Just because they move on us doesn't mean the Steelers have taken a step backwards. I think it's more the Bills have taken tremendous steps forward in recent years.

    This is a team that has a stud RB, an effective game managing QB, talented wideouts, and one of the best pass blocking lines in the league (They were also playing without Pro-Bowl Left Tackle Jason Peters, one of the reasons Edwards was sacked by Harrison on his 5 yard line).

    The Bills are going to make the playoffs this year. They are in a weak division (aside from the Pats*), and statistically their schedule is the 4th easiest in the league next year. They are poised to break out and end the 9 year playoff drought they've had.

    I've spent the last 2 years of my life up in Erie, Pa at college. I've seen the evolution of the Bills first hand (it was in their broadcast market, I had to go to bars to see the Steeler games).

  9. #9
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Some observations on the game, now that I saw the replay on XS Sports (and the check is in the mail!)

    *The Bills are a playoff caliber team. Not that that means much right now, but they do have some talent. If anyone wants to know who will be the second wildcard in the AFC (the runner-up in the South will be the first), the game at Orchard Park between the Bills and the Clowns may well give you your answer.

    *The starting OL is not an issue as long as Hartwig emerges as the starter at C. He is better in the shotgun and holds his own on the run and pass coverage. Kemo has been a revelation. I really like how this guy is taking ownership of the LG position. And if Smith stays healthy, he will be $$$ at LT. The glasses might be rose-colored at this point, but I feel better about the L side of the line than I did before the draft.
    I can live with Simmons and Colon on the R. Most teams have it worse than the Steelers on that front. Besides, Colon works his @$$ off. You can't ask any more than that.

    *Even though he is facing second stringers at best right now, I am encouraged by the development of Tony Hills. The Steelers have basically relegated him to the LT position, but this may not be a bad thing. The more he is exposed to that one key, the better he'll be able to help this line as a dedicated LT in the short term. The coaching will help him with depth and knowledge down the road and as he gains experience, he will develop the foot work. I know most are down on Tony Hills. I am NOT one of those people.

    *I am sure that ALL of this year's draft picks will make the team. At the very least, one or two will be on the PS. Mundy and Humpal have struggled with injuries. But I am comfortable with either one being on the active roster for the Texans game. Humpal plays his @$$ off and Mundy looked good the day I saw him at camp. I am sure one of them will be on the PS, but both deserve a long-term look.

    *I also love Travis Williams and Roy Lewis. I feel that both of them will at least be on the PS and one of them may well make the final roster. Williams can play his position. But he is a ST find and may well emerge as a KR for the Steelers. Roy Lewis probably needs more development, but he could well be the Dallas Baker of this camp, only on the other side of the equation.

    *I found it funny the Steelers took Dennis Dixon. Not any more. I know Leftwich has only been with the team for a few days. But he needs to make some major strides to learn the offense before the start of the regular season. In the interim, Dixon is showing nothing to indicate that he will be anything less than a competent backup. He is learning fast and that will affect Leftwich before it will affect Batch. If Batch comes back healthy, he will supplant Leftwich if he doesn't stand out before Batch regains health.

    *Bruce Davis will be, if nothing else, a stalwart on ST. I like this guy and I think he will develop to be much more before all is said and done. The top two draft picks speak for themselves. They will make their mark in due time. The Steelers are lucky to have both.

    * is wrong with this waste of time Max Sucks? He is horrible. The Steelers were lucky that they didn't lose the ball on their own 20 before the end of the first half. This guy is a cancer. The best thing to do with a cancer is cut it out of the system before it affects the rest of the body. Needless to say, I am the biggest of Max Sucks on the face of the Earth. Thanks Gator Nation for sending this chump to the Steelers. He's a !!!

    *The D needs to do a better job wrapping up on tackles. It is something they should have learned in Freshman (High School) Football. It's about time they learned now!

    *Overall, the team looked down on Thursday night. Not to worry. The bulk of the performances were good, but they can't afford to become complacent. The Steelers have a good chance to go really far this season. But they can't do it with the kind of play they had on Thursday night.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Steelers take step backward

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy
    Some observations on the game, now that I saw the replay on XS Sports (and the check is in the mail!)

    *The Bills are a playoff caliber team. Not that that means much right now, but they do have some talent. If anyone wants to know who will be the second wildcard in the AFC (the runner-up in the South will be the first), the game at Orchard Park between the Bills and the Clowns may well give you your answer.

    *The starting OL is not an issue as long as Hartwig emerges as the starter at C. He is better in the shotgun and holds his own on the run and pass coverage. Kemo has been a revelation. I really like how this guy is taking ownership of the LG position. And if Smith stays healthy, he will be $$$ at LT. The glasses might be rose-colored at this point, but I feel better about the L side of the line than I did before the draft.
    I can live with Simmons and Colon on the R. Most teams have it worse than the Steelers on that front. Besides, Colon works his @$$ off. You can't ask any more than that.

    *Even though he is facing second stringers at best right now, I am encouraged by the development of Tony Hills. The Steelers have basically relegated him to the LT position, but this may not be a bad thing. The more he is exposed to that one key, the better he'll be able to help this line as a dedicated LT in the short term. The coaching will help him with depth and knowledge down the road and as he gains experience, he will develop the foot work. I know most are down on Tony Hills. I am NOT one of those people.

    *I am sure that ALL of this year's draft picks will make the team. At the very least, one or two will be on the PS. Mundy and Humpal have struggled with injuries. But I am comfortable with either one being on the active roster for the Texans game. Humpal plays his @$$ off and Mundy looked good the day I saw him at camp. I am sure one of them will be on the PS, but both deserve a long-term look.

    *I also love Travis Williams and Roy Lewis. I feel that both of them will at least be on the PS and one of them may well make the final roster. Williams can play his position. But he is a ST find and may well emerge as a KR for the Steelers. Roy Lewis probably needs more development, but he could well be the Dallas Baker of this camp, only on the other side of the equation.

    *I found it funny the Steelers took Dennis Dixon. Not any more. I know Leftwich has only been with the team for a few days. But he needs to make some major strides to learn the offense before the start of the regular season. In the interim, Dixon is showing nothing to indicate that he will be anything less than a competent backup. He is learning fast and that will affect Leftwich before it will affect Batch. If Batch comes back healthy, he will supplant Leftwich if he doesn't stand out before Batch regains health.

    *Bruce Davis will be, if nothing else, a stalwart on ST. I like this guy and I think he will develop to be much more before all is said and done. The top two draft picks speak for themselves. They will make their mark in due time. The Steelers are lucky to have both.

    * is wrong with this waste of time Max Sucks? He is horrible. The Steelers were lucky that they didn't lose the ball on their own 20 before the end of the first half. This guy is a cancer. The best thing to do with a cancer is cut it out of the system before it affects the rest of the body. Needless to say, I am the biggest of Max Sucks on the face of the Earth. Thanks Gator Nation for sending this chump to the Steelers. He's a !!!

    *The D needs to do a better job wrapping up on tackles. It is something they should have learned in Freshman (High School) Football. It's about time they learned now!

    *Overall, the team looked down on Thursday night. Not to worry. The bulk of the performances were good, but they can't afford to become complacent. The Steelers have a good chance to go really far this season. But they can't do it with the kind of play they had on Thursday night.
    Great analysis. This team has some kinks to work out, but I'm not too worried (at this point). As far as Hartwig, I didn't see his run-blocking, but his pass-blocking didn't look to bad at all.

    As strange as this sounds, I'm starting to worry about the D-line more than the O-line. Not because our O-line will perform better, but because the O-line might be improved while our D-line might get worse. Casey is as fat and out of shape as ever, and Keisel is still Keisel. If those three guys can't hold up, then our pass rush and run defense will suffer.

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