Loose Slag from The Still Mill
Some loose slag from the Stiller-Ravens game�.
- On the opening KO, Brown crushed the ball and landed it 5 yards deep for a touchback. Great way for a kicker to start out his day. Too bad it went downhill after that�
- It's water under the bridge, but I'm still amazed at the key 15-yard penalty assessed to Aaron Smith. I reviewed the play 5 times, and for the life of me, I can't see anything more than a 5-yard incidental facemask penalty. The ever-hustling Smith had tried vaulting over a blocker, and was in mid-air when the pass was released. Other than wearing a jetpack on his back and hovering in mid-air, there was absolutely nothing else Smith could do in that situation.
- Speaking of poor calls, only his superstar status allowed Ray Lewis to grab all over Bobby Shaw on the one pass play where the ball ended up glancing off of Shaw's back shoulder pad. Not more than maybe 2 other LBs in the NFL could have committed this rape and gotten away with it.
- Hines Wards' pancake block of ex-Stiller Rod Woodson was a classic. I think the Stillers should show this on the jumbo screen every home game, just to get the fans fired up for smashmouth football.
- For those in an uproar over the couple of dropped passes versus the Ravens, consider this: on consecutive plays in the 2nd qtr, Brookins and then Sharpe dropped passes right in their bread-basket.
- Speaking of dropped passes, Mark Breuner, the God of TEs, had a drop -- which probably went largely unnoticed -- 2 plays after the Ward pancake of Woodson in the 3rd qtr.
- I forgot to clarify this in my prior column about "Billy Ball". The imbecility at the end of the 2nd half's opening drive will surely got down in league annals as among the most pathetic. Facing a 1st down at the Raven 18, on a drive that had already consumed 11 plays, here's what Mularkey's offense did:
1st down - Bus run, wide right, easily strung out and stuffed for 2-yard gain.
2nd down - short 1-yard out to Stonefoot Witman, gain of 2 yards.
3rd and 6 -- this play takes the cake. Officially, it went down as a sack. But this wasn't a real pass play --- it was the beloved Gaypride Screen, deep in enemy territory, where screens run out of real estate and therefore lose effectiveness. The Ravens, fully expecting the gay screen play and possessing defensive speed unparalleled around the NFL, jumped all over Chris Fu as though he were toting around free copies of Penthouse magazine. Stewart was then forced to eat the ball for a 1-yard loss. Some folk are under the assumption that this was a "real" pass play, in which Stewart was perusing the field and then the protection suddenly broke down. Rest assured, it was not. It was the ever-predictable, rumphumping 3rd down screen pass.
On 4th down, Brown's FG was blocked.
All those who are defending this gutless, piece of shit sequence at the end of such a promising drive, please proudly step forward�
- Speaking of Jon Witman, the beloved FB, does anyone remember the Bettis 3rd-and-1 run that was initially ruled a fumble, but then over-turned on the coach's challenge? As you might recall, Bettis was actually tackled short of the marker, forcing a punt. The man responsible to throw a lead block on that play whiffed and blocked nothing but air. That man's name�? John Shitman�
- Speaking of Brown, this is obvious to me, but apparently not to the local media nor some fans. I'll state this again -- Kris Brown did not miss 4 FGs. He missed 3, and one was BLOCKED by a defender who easily rushed in from the wing.
- Speaking of Brown (again), unless he has a Scott Norwood mental collapse, Brownie will be back. Bet on it. It's very clear that Kris Brown has supreme confidence in his RANGE. Ergo, when he gets field goal opportunities that are WAY within his range, he does not drive thru the ball -- he gives it a half-kick, as his leg is strong enough to get the requisite distance. Not driving through, causes the ball to be "pushed", much the same as it does when driving a golf ball. The problem has nothing to do with "aiming further left", as some have said. It is simply a case of not driving thru ball with full leg extension.
- Speaking of the God of Blocking, Mark Breuner�below are pictures of Breuner's manly job of blocking on the blocked FG. As you may recall, Breuner had allowed Rod Woodson to fly in unmolested on the first FG, which luckily greased through and was good. But no such luck on this 3rd qtr. FG. As you can see in the pictures, Breuner is essentially doing a pudd-pull while the Raven defender dashes by and blocks the FG, and then mauls our kicker.
- I'm sure most folks saw Cowher visibly chastising and gesturing to Kris Brown after the FG miss midway thru the 4th qtr. What a dumbass. You can chew out positional players till the cows come home. Even punters, whose work is far from precise, can get verbally lambasted. But kickers are like a guy putting in golf�.you leave them alone. Period. Cowher should have kept his fat mouth shut and taken out his frustration elsewhere. Brown comes across as an intelligent man, and I'm sure Brown was perfectly aware that his kick went too far right, and he didn't need Cowher berating him. Again, I have no problem with a coach yelling and screaming, but not with a placekicker. You don't see a hockey coach storm out onto the ice every time a goaltender gives up a bad goal, and you rarely ever see a football coach communicate even politely with a kicker that late in a close game.
- Speaking of the God of TEs, Mark Breuner�.he caught a short pass early in the game, and because the Ravens respected him so little, they left him totally unguarded. Breuner rumbled for an 18-yard gain. But in the 3rd qtr, the Ravens threw a defender on Breuner, and the brittle-fingered TE dropped the pass. After this, Breuner, who causes an exorbitant hit on the salary cap, was never heard from again. Many teams actually get good productivity from their TE in the red zone. Obviously, the Stillers are not one of them�.
- Speaking of special teams blunders, which seem to be happening each and every week, I am wondering WHEN is soon enough to fire Jay Hayes, and hire a genuine special teams coach??? How many field goals need blocked, how many punts need blocked, how many long kickoff returns must be given up????