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Thread: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

  1. #1
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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

  2. #2
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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.

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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelers>NFL
    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?

  4. #4

    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Quote Originally Posted by Steelers>NFL
    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?
    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.

  5. #5
    Pro Bowler skyhawk's Avatar
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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?

  6. #6
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  7. #7
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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'.

  8. #8
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense? We can't get off the field Thanks for asking

    Molon labe

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  9. #9

    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by DkBlue
    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz
    Quote Originally Posted by Steelers>NFL
    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?
    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: What's wrong with our 4th quarter defense?

    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 ( 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

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