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Stillers-Ravens Postgame Analysis and Grades

December 28, 2009 by Still Mill

Stillers 23, Balt 20���Dec 27, 2009
Stillers 23, Balt. 20 ���. Dec. 27, 2009 ����Game #15


Stillers-Ravens Postgame Analysis and Grades


The Stillers, again supposedly desperate for their playoff lives, waddled and fiddled through yet another uninspiring performance, before eking out a 3-point win over the equally mediocre PoeBirds.The flimsy victory keeps alive the Stillers� faint playoff hopes, although it�s difficult to discern exactly who on this roster is all that interested in making the playoffs.



QB:A week after his Steeler record-setting 500+ yard passing effort, Benji had a rocky, laborious, shoddy afternoon, going 17 of 33 for 259 and 1 INT.�� There were a host of misfires, along with poor decision making.Even the bomb to Wally for 45 yards in the 2Q was woefully underthrown (again).�� Ben actually threw 2 INTs; 1 in the 3Q and 1 in the 4Q.�� Each was mentally stupid; the 2nd being even stupider and devoid of brain matter.�� Up by 3 with only 2:00 remaining, Ben scrambled from pressure, and then lofted an ill-advised floating pass that was picked and returned to the PIT 42.�� Only a cheesy, ticky-tack illegal contact penalty negated this play and enabled the Stillers to run out the clock and secure the W.��� Ben actually had 3 more throw-aways in this game, which is surely a career high for him.To me, the late INT really plummets this grade.��� C-


RB:Mendy also had a rocky day.�� He dropped a sure TD pass -- as softly thrown as a baby�s bottom and right in his belly -- in the 1Q.Soon thereafter, in blitz pickup, he was literally shoved aside like a toddler by Ngata and Ben was engulfed for a sack.�� Gee, wasn�t Tomlin just crowing recently about what a great blitz blocker Mendy had become??Mendy then added the final cherry to this whipped shit sundae, with a careless fumble/turnover in the 2Q.He did have a few good north-south power runs, including the TD run, but too many colossal boners.Parker ran twice for 17.Moore had 1 carry on an ass-awkward, QB-lunging draw play for -2.In typical Arians fashion, the 3 RBs combined for 1 catch for 4 yards.�� C-


FB:Rarely used.��� N/A


WR:Tonio had 5 for 86, but had a drop in the 4Q and also had a feeble fight-off on the Foxworth INT in the 3Q.His RAC work was stupendous.Ward had 4 for 37 while being hampered by the ham injury.Wally had 3 for 83, with 2 terrific catches.Tyler �John� Grisham actually got playing time and had 1 grab for 14 yards on a key 3rd & short in the 4Q, but a short while later, dropped an easy crosser on 3d & 11 that would have been short of the sticks.Newly signed Joey Galloway did not dress, presumably because Grisham is such a formidable wide receiver.��� A-


TE:Miller had 3 grabs.He had a few very solid blocks in the running game, although he had a couple weak ones as well.Spaeth played some and as usual did almost nothing.B+


OL: The line play was okay; not poor or strong.The run blocking was off and on; Mendy ripped off a few good runs, but there were a lot of no-gainers.Then again, the running game was chucked starting in the 3Q, so it�s hard to gauge if the ground game would have gotten untracked if given a chance.Foster had a good pull and block to spring Mendy on an 8-yard run in the 1Q.Starks had a pancake block on Ellerbe on Parker�s delayed run up LT that netted 13 yards in the 1Q.The pass pro was mostly okay.Hartwig got abused for a sack in the 3Q in pitiful fashion.Colon committed his usual false start.There were a couple sacks in the 2H where Ben held the ball a bit long after being given decent time in the pocket.How soon till Hloti Ngata retires? ��C+


DL:A poor afternoon.�� The Ratbirds ground game ran all over the D-line.Rice ran for 141 and McClain and McGahee chipped in a few more.�� Fat Casey Hampton did little, aside from getting a hands to the face flag that negated a sack.Keisel got injured midway thru the 3Q with a stinger.Eason had a good hustle play on a screen pass early in the 4Q to Rice.Making his biggest impact of the season was Ziggy Hood, who flashed some of the prowess that made him so highly regarded in the �09 draft.He pressured Jacco and forced a TA in the 4Q.He then had a sack later, on 3d & 9.He then was in the hunt and recovered the 4D fumble late in the game.Dick LeBeau enjoys rotting his rookies and turning their entire rookie season into a year-long apprenticeship; hopefully Hood is ready to emerge from the shadows.��� C+


LB:Another overall average game from the unit that is supposed to lead this defense in playmaking.�� The run stuffing of the Raven rushing attack was downright putrid.��


To his credit, LaMarr Woodley had a solid game, making 7 solos, forcing an INT and a fumble, and making Jacco�s life miserable in the pocket.Just to keep things in perspective, however, let�s keep in mind that Woodley was feasting on Oniel Cousins, a bush-league BACKUP who has started all of 2 games in 2 NFL seasons.To make matters even easier for Woodley, Cousins got injured in the 3Q and then came back into the game for more abuse.�� Woodley also had a boneheaded offsides flag on a critical 3d & 8 in the 3Q, which negated a sack by Ike.


Harrison had an up and down game.He whiffed on an easy blind-size sack attempt in the 1Q.He got caved in on Rice�s 10-yard run in the 2Q.He did force a fumble later in the 2Q.In the 2H, he did very, very little.�� It was obvious he was suffering from the bicep injury and probably should have had his PT reduced in favor of Fox.


Timmons had a whiff on Rice near the LOS in the 1Q, allowing a 16-yard gain.�� He did show tremendous athleticism to even be in a position to put a lick on Mason on a deep seamer in the 3Q, and then showed his hitting ability with a punishing hit on Mason that should have been ruled a fumble.�� At the very least, Timmy knocked Mason woozy and it took Mason several minutes before he could hobble off the field.This, my friends, is a play that Larry Foote could never, ever make, even if he had a corn cob jammed up his ass and lit with kerosene.����


Taunto Farrior had another decrepit day at the office.�� This guy is just plain BAD; and getting worse by the minute.�� Totally unblocked, he had a weak-assed wave and flail at Rice -- from the Steeler 16 -- for a 7-yard plunge in the 1Q.He was far too slow and clodhopping on the dumpoff to Rice in the 3Q, good for 14.On the McGahee TD run that was negated by a ticky-tack holding flag, Farrior first got chop blocked in gimpy fashion, and then was far too slow to cut off the RB at the pass.A short while later, deep in PIT territory, Farrior got trucked by Rice on a plunge, good for 6 yards (4 yards after contact).Don�t let his INT fool you, as it was a classic Dong interception off an erratic, high floater that was created when Woodley hit Jacco as the QB was releasing the pass.


Again, the run stuffing was very poor, and much of the damage was reaped against a totally inept backup RT.���� Woodley: B���� Harrison and Timmons: C��� Farrior:D+


DB:Just another wretched game.Another Keystone Cops routine.


Townsend started in place of Gaybo.He had good coverage on a deep ball to Williams in the 2Q.On the very next play, he made no adjustment or play on the ball (an attribute the entire secondary has shared all season), and Heap hauled in the long lob for a TD.Town was tooled badly by Mason for a sure TD on the 1st play of the 4Q, but the future Hall of Fame nominee simply dropped the ball.��


Ike, as usual, dropped an INT.He acted all mad and surprised after the drop, as though this hasn�t happened at least 43 times in his career.�� With Town getting tooled, Gay was inserted into the game, and then got easily out-jousted by Heap for the TD pass in the 3Q.


Ryan Clark, the big talker full of bravado and bullshit, got trucked badly by Rice on a 9-yard run in the 3Q.He was then far too slow to cut off McGahee at the pass on the 32-yard TD run that was called back due to the cheesy penalty.������C-


Spec teams:A fair amount of vomit, with a few sprinkles of acceptable play.


Shitpulveda, the most over-rated punter to ever come from the NCAA, had another barf-bag afternoon.�� In the 1Q, with the LOS being the BAL 38, he kicked a weak-assed pooch punt that was FC at the 13.�� Sorry -- not acceptable.�� Later, from the BAL 41, he rocketed a pooch into the EZ for a TB.Early in the 4Q, with the LOS on the PIT 41, he kicked a very mediocre punt all of 39 yards, which was yet another barf-laden punt.�� Hey, Mitch Berger can give us 39 yard punts and shitty pooch attempts.�� It�s high time Shitpulveda live up to his draft billing.


Hooker Reed almost sliced his first FG, which barely made it inside the right upright.The biggest suspense of the day was in the 2Q, when, thanks to a Raven penalty, Reed booted off from his 45 instead of the 30.�� Could Jeff Reed actually reach the opposing EZ with a kickoff?�� Could Reed garner his 2nd TB of the season??�� Perhaps aided by a stiff wind, Reed was able to reach the EZ and secure a TB.A miracle!!Equally miraculous was the rugged hit OOB that Reed laid on the returner (Parmele) in the 4Q after a 48-yard return.�� Instead of the usual love taps and pussyfied cop-outs that we�ve seen from Reed, the brawler of paper-towel dispensers acted as though Parmele were a roll of Bounty paper towels, and rudely blasted him OOB.��


Logan had some nice work in KO returns.He ripped off a 49-yarder, and also had a 29-yarder.Eason had a nice block well downfield on the 49-yarder.Ike was soft and lazy on the late, 48-yard KO return by Parmele.�� ����C+


OC:Today you saw the risk of the pass happy, running-be-damned offense.�� When your QB is on fire, 500 yards is about as easy as falling off a log.�� When your QB is scattershot and off target, 250 yards is a laborious chore, usually attained amidst an INT or two, along with perhaps a return for a TD.�� Sound familiar?�� That�s pretty much how today unfolded.��


Facing a defense devoid of Ed Reed (did not dress), the passing game sputtered most of the game.Of course, after a half-decent 1H that saw the Stillers slap about some defenders and create some holes in the run game, the ground game was literally chucked out the window despite a 20-10 halftime lead.�� The offense then went on to score 3 (three) points the entire 2H.��


The biggest joke of an offense was on the series late in the 2Q, starting at their own 6 with 2:00 remaining.On 1D, Arians calls for an incredibly risky WR screen, which was nearly INT�d by Suggs for a walk-in TD.�� Stupid, risky, and brainless.�� Then, on 2d & 10, Arians calls for this ass-awkward, gimpy-assed SG draw to Moore, in which Ben had to shuffle 3 yards to his left and then dive and reach the ball out to Moore, who was engulfed for a 2-yard loss.This play looked as though it had been drawn in the dirt just prior to the snap.��


The total abandonment of the run in the 2H is just utterly inane.�� Not surprising, but incredibly asinine.�� C


DC:Dick once again was helpless and feeble.�� The Ratbirds ran wild all over Dick�s vaunted run defense, and his pass defense once again sucked well water.


Perhaps no play showed Dick�s ineptitude more than in the 2Q.�� Coming out of a timeout, on 2d & 10, Dick goes totally VANILLA, with no pass rush whatsoever, and Jacco calmly lofts the TD pass to Heap. Was Dick expecting a line plunge? Or perhaps a FB dive? Or the old FB belly play??


On a rare positive side, Dick finally, for the 1st time all season, called the CB blitz !! Wouldn�t ya know, Ike Taylor, the biggest, faster CB on the team, came flashing in, UNTOUCHED, for the cake-easy sack !! Sham-wow!! The CB blitz !! Let�s give credit to LeBeau for �inventing� this and using it today. The man is truly a genius.


Brilliant D-scheme here�..Dick puts Gay, a CB with the physicality of a ballet dancer, up against Todd Heap, a huge, athletic TE.�� The Ravens lob it deep to Heap in the EZ, and Heap, as though taking candy from a baby, just humiliated Gay by nonchalantly snatching the ball.��� Great scheme, Dick !!��


Don�t fawn too much over Dick after this win. The 3Q saw total domination by the PoeBird offense over Dick�s vaunted defense.�� The Rats began the quarter with a 10-play, 64-yard TD march.They then embarked on a 6-play, lengthy march that got a FG.The Rats then reeled off an 8-play drive at the end of the 3Q.With the score tied late in the 3Q, Dick once again gagged away the lead, first giving up the 32-yard scoring jaunt by McGayboy that was negated by a total joke of a holding penalty, and then on the 1st play of the 4Q, on a 1st & 10, Mason was WIDE open for an easy 21-yard TD pass that he simply dropped.��� C+��


HC:I saw little fire, little motivation, and no innovation from a team that was supposedly desperate to make then playoffs.Instead, all�s I saw was the same old slop n� barf that I�ve seen rolled out onto the field the past 6 weeks.��


The worst from Tomlin involved his refusal to challenge the very apparent Mason fumble in the 3Q.�� Mason caught a deep seamer, then took THREE full steps, before being blasted by Timmons and coughing the ball up.�� Ryan Clark recovered the loose ball, but the play was ruled �incomplete�.�� While I�m never a fan of challenging some meaningless 2-yard reception on 1st & 10 midway thru the 1Q, this was a TURNOVER in the 3Q of a tight, must-win game.�� It fully appeared to be a fumble, yet Momlin never tossed the red flag.�� Exactly WHAT did he have to lose??After the game, in the post-game presser, Tomlin claimed that �the refs said the call would not be reversed.���� Oh, bullshit!!�� You make them review this play, you dumb bastard!!��� You�ll recall the �Ed Hochule ruling� in Denver last season, in which Hochule incorrectly stated this exact type of play could not be reviewed.He was wrong, and a day after the game, he got admonished for it by the league office.This play can be reviewed, and it�s highly probable the Stillers would have won the challenge.�� This is simply yet another example of Tomlin�s litany of struggles with game-day decision making.�� ���C��


Synopsis:A lackluster win over the hated PoeBirds.�� Sure, any win over RayRay and The Rats is something to be enjoyed.�� Still, it was a fairly uninspiring win, with the Stillers showing very little abandon, interest, gusto, or ferocity.�� A host of ticky-tack flags helped win this game.This group of underachievers at least lives for another day, with the team still in wild-card contention as they embark on the finale at Miami next week.


(Still Mill and -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close�.)


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