Blog Entry

A Surreal Ending

Posted on: October 27, 2008 10:26 am

Memo to Bruce Arians:  Play not to lose and you probably will.  When something is working, it’s usually a good idea to go with it until it stops working. 

Memo to Mike Tomlin:  Think it’s time to get the oline some more help?  Might want to look at emphasizing plays on special teams too, especially when it comes to the long snapper positon.

Memo to Dick LeBeau:  Keep doing what you’re doing.

Memo to Ben Roethlisberger:  What made you such a perfect fit for this team was that you weren’t a pure pocket passer, so why are you trying to be?

Memo to James Harrsion:  You may suck at long snapping, but you’re still one hell of a linebacker. 

Memo to my daughter:  Perhaps you may want to look into going into sports medicine, with the drop in my 401K, you may be needing to support me in my old age. 

Yesterdays Giants versus the Steelers game proved to be the defensive battle that Giants and Steelers fans expected it to be.  Did it live up to the hype?  Perhaps, depending on who you were rooting for.  Of course, if you were looking for a high scoring run away game, forget it, neither defense was going to allow it.  And, in the end, it was the defenses on both teams that would make the difference in this game.

Going into the game, there were three questions I had.  1)  How would the Giants oline do against a defense that ranked first in sacks?  2)  Would the Steelers defense be able to contain Brandon Jacobs?  3) How would the Steelers oline handle the pass rush of a Giants defense that ranked second in sacks? These questions were answered yesterday.  1) Great, 2) Most definitely, 3) Very poorly. 

No doubt after this game, there are questions on the Steelers offense.  At the beginning they came out looking strong and put themselves ahead.  However, the game and momentum would shift in the Giants favor, a lot due to the pressure the Giants defense was able to place on the oline and Ben Roethlisberger and would limit the Steelers to only 14 points for the entire game.  Of course it didn’t help that the play calling seemed to become rather conservative when it needed to be aggressive either. 

It wasn’t just the Steelers offense that struggled getting points.  Though the Giants did better in obtaining yards on the ground to get to the red zone, the Steelers defense for three quarters would limit the Giants offense to nine points in four trips to the red zone, all field goals.  Steelers defense made an impressive stand keeping Brandon Jacobs out of the end zone and ended up turning it over on downs.  In fact the Steelers defense against the rush, did spectacular in keep Jacobs under 40 yds rushing for the game. 

However, it is said that the team that wins that battle in turnovers will win the game.  Unfortunately for the Steelers, it would be the Giants that would win the turnover battle.  Roethlisberger would end up, at the end of the day, being credited with four interceptions.  So we can argue how good or bad those interceptions were, however, that is irrelevant.  Two of the interceptions placed the Giants with good field position and another took the Steelers out of the game.  It would be at the final quarter, when the Giants would have a field goal and come up with a safety that would tie the game, then a touchdown to put them ahead in the end.

Given the season, it is fitting that one would wonder though if a black cat had crossed the path of the Steelers.  Too many penalties straight in a row, that hurt their field position.  A pulled hamstring by the punter Mitch Berger, a torn ACL to the longsnapper Greg Warren, a hit by Ryan Clark on Brandon Jacobs (or vice versa) that left Clark with a dislocated shoulder.   Somehow it seemed just too surreal.  A bad snap that tied the game, and the inability to get anything going on offense at the end would leave Steelers fans muttering unreal, and grumbling again at the offensive coordinator.


Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2008 5:26 am

A Surreal Ending


Up until Sunday, the Steelers held the league in sacks.  Between the Giants oline and Eli, not one sack was registered by the Steelers.  In fact, there's only been what, 6 sacks against Eli going into the game? 

Did the oline did better, yeah they did better, however, some big plays were negated because of holding calls trying to stop a sack.

Ben's not a pure pocket passer.  He wants to keep plays alive so he can make something happen.  He is able to do this best when he uses his feet to get out of the pocket and extends plays.  When he stays in the pocket consistently and tries to wait to make plays then he sets his oline up for failure. 

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2008 5:17 am

A Surreal Ending


Well the next three games aren't as bad as it looks, at least on the pass rush defense.  Redskins have a great rushing defense but their 11 in the passing defense.  They've registered 10 sacks on the season and only 5 interceptions.  Colts have no running defense and San Diego, it's hard to tell.

As far as our running back...the rookie went down with a fractured shoulder in the Baltimore game.  Moore's been averaging over 100 yds up until Sunday and even then he registered 89 yds rushing against a defense that held it's opponents to 507 yds in 6 games.  Parker's due back this Sunday.

The 1/10 on 3d down has a lot to do with the play calling.  For reasons unknown, Bruce Arians decides to ditch what works (no huddle, screens to Miller, etc) for what doesn't work.  That's the onus on the OC.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2008 5:09 am

A Surreal Ending


Yeah, Sundays game put things a little closer then they were before in the AFC North. 

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2008 5:06 am

A Surreal Ending


Yeah, Holmes being out took alot of options away on offense (at least where Arians was concerned).  Of course, this goes back to Arians play calling.  After all, when Miller got the ball, there was nothing but positives there. 

On a bright note...the throws to Sweed shows a promising young talent there at WR. 

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2008 5:04 am

A Surreal Ending


Five sacks and ten knockdowns.  Yeah, alot of that is Ben's fault for holding the ball too long.  Not going to argue the oline got some great holes opened up for the running game to allow Moore 89 yards on a run stingy defense.  And yeah, there were times that the oline gave Ben all the time in the world.  Yeah, they did a heck of alot better then they did against the Eagles. 

However, if they're going to be an oline set up for pass protection, then they still have a long way to go.  Now I'm not going to argue that the Giants have a great pass rush and are hell on any oline but the Steelers oline needs an identity.  If Ben is going to stay in the pocket for as long as he does, then both the oline and Ben are going to need to deal with the pass rush better. (You did notice they taped Bens thumb Sunday, right?).

As far as the interceptions...yeah, really there were only two that were rather errant and hurt that were actually his fault.  The one with Washington was a great hit and the other, eh, if anything, it was probably better field position for the Steelers defense then punting the ball. 

Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: October 28, 2008 12:22 am

A Surreal Ending

momluvs -

As always, very well done. At the risk of turning this into another one of the thousands of Ben vs. Eli threads...

I haven't seen enough of the Pitt O-line throughout the season to give an educated analysis, but I can tell you this with certainty: The Giants have a mean-ass pass roush when it gets going - and I thought the O-line did a pretty good job for the most part. I think in a lot of cases he held the ball too long. And just some bad decisions - on that late 4th and 4 when they went for it, Ben had to dodge a someone who came flying in but once he side-stepped him he had a clear shot at his receiver and just threw it right to Webster. And on that long TD to Washington there was no one within 10 feet of Ben for about 5 seconds.

Again, not looking to kill Ben, and don't have the intimate knowledge you guys do about the team and play calling. Just wanted to give you my 2-cents on the o-line. It was quite a game. The injuries really suck - I hope Berger and Clark will be back soon for you, and that Warren will get through this ACL thing ok.

Thanks momluvs

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: October 27, 2008 6:10 pm

A Surreal Ending

      VG analysis, mum.  I think you might be letting your guys off
a bit lightly.  Converting 1 / 10 3rd down chances, in your own
house, means you are being dominated.  At least on that day.
      More worrisome, your schedule is murder from here.  If
you don't find a way of protecting Roethlisberger, he will not
survive the season in one piece.  The new RB has so far not
worked out as well as hoped -- he is a rookie.
      I had the Steelers yesterday, partly because the Giants have
played Nobody this season other than the opener v Washington.
I expected their defense to be sluggish.  Shows what I know.

      Re other things :  if you were joking about your worries
concerning what is going on, you might want to rethink.  We
are having Fundamental changes happening, And happening
too quickly.  I could go on about this, but, leave it that you
really should be worried.

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2008 4:43 pm

A Surreal Ending

 I'd love to get another chance to play the Giants. I bet the outcome would be a little different.

NE2WA, since playing the Giants again can only happen in the superbowl, I can see why you feel that way.

I hate to see the injuries.  At some point, it is bound to catch up with the Steelers.  It has been hounding the Browns all season long and Cincinnati without Carson Palmer isn't the same team. 

I have to admit my hopes for a AFC North divisional race are much higher with the Browns going from 0-3 to 3-4.  With Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh competing against playoff contenders virtually every week, anything can happen.  There is still a lot of football to be played.  It's way to early to be talking about it now, but wouldn't it be fun if that game on December 28 in Pittsburgh was for the AFC North division title. 

Mom, nice blog.  Hope your feeling better.

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: October 27, 2008 4:42 pm

A Surreal Ending

The Giants O-line is a wall of human meat, plain and simple.

No Santonio = a lot less 1st downs


Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: October 27, 2008 3:39 pm

A Surreal Ending


Excellent analysis as ususal. I agree with the vast majority here, especially the oddities of getting your punter and long snapper hurt.

But I'll disagree on two points, the OLine and Ben Roethlisberger.

I have been critical of the offensive line play for much of the season, but I saw this group opening some seams for Mewelde Moore. He had about 89 yards rushing and a TD, which isn't bad for your third down, third string RB. I also saw Big Ben getting some time in the pocket. You even pointed out how he stayed in the pocket. That's not a bad job by the OLine considering the quality of the Defense they were playing against. Or to put it another way, Ben had a lot more time than Tom Brady did in the Super Bowl.

As for Ben, he just had a bad game. He's been playing great all season and carrying the offense past some of its problem spots. This week, he just didn't have his A game. It looked to me like he wasn't seeing the field as well as he usually does because two of his picks went straight to the Giants defender. The third one wasn't Ben's fault, it was just a great hit on Nate Washington.

So I come away from this game a little bummed that they didn't win, but recognizing that they can get better. That means Pittsburgh can play with anybody in the league and has a shot at the whole enchilada. I'd love to get another chance to play the Giants. I bet the outcome would be a little different.

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