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Stillers-Ravens Postgame Analysis and Grades

September 30, 2008 by Still Mill

Stillers 23, Ravens 20 (OT)���
Stillers 23, Balt. 20 (OT) ���. Sep 29, 2008 ����Game #4��


Stillers-Ravens Postgame Analysis and Grades


The Stillers were en route to a colossal egg lay, getting badly outplayed and outsmarted in the 1H.Downtrodden, the Stillers went to the locker room down 13-3.Within a 15-second span in the 3Q, Tonio Holmes and LeMarr Woddley each scored huge TDs, and Jeff Reed�s 46-yard FG just inside the left upright won the game in OT.




QB:The classic tale of 2 halves.In the 1H, Roth wasn�t worth a tinker�s dam, making a plethora of clumsy boners.In that miserable half, Roth was everything ya don�t want in a QB -- timid, gimpy, oafish, and generally imbecilic.�� The INT was entirely foolish, with a gimpy double-clutch forcing the ball awkwardly, 5 yards downfield to Ngata, a DT.Just prior, Ben failed to read Hines as a hot receiver, leading to a sack.Late in the 2Q, he actually triple-clutched before being sacked.


��� Armed with a no-huddle (NH) offense, he came alive in the 3Q.He stepped up amidst a big rush and, off balance, hit Tonio for the big RAC TD.He made a superb scramble to keep the play alive in OT, and then hit Moore for a RAC-based 24-yard pickup.��� 1H - D���� 2H & OT - B+


RB:Mendy got the start and had 9 rushes for 30 yards and 1 grab for 6 yards.He ripped off a couple nice gainers.On the 1st play of the 3Q, he was blistered by RayRay on a plunge and left the game with a shoulder injury and is done for the year.Davis assumed the chores and had 8 rushes for 15 yards.He, too, got hurt, and Moore took over.Moore had 8 rushes for 13 yards, and more importantly, finally had his 1st catch of the season while finishing with 3 grabs for 37 yards.His 24-yard reception off lots of RAC, followed by the 7-yarder, enabled Reed�s winning FG.��� B


FB: Not much FB was used, due to loads of 2 and 3-TE sets.Sean McHugh had a great lead block from the FB spot in the 1Q, leading Mendy on a 12-yard gain.With all the injuries, McHugh, more of a TE, will likely see more time at FB.���� Inc


WR:Holmes led the way in a sparse passing attack with 3 grabs for 61 yards, including a superb catch n� run for the big TD in the 3Q.He did have a drop on a deflected, but catchable, pass late in the 4Q.He also enraged me in the 3Q when he stopped his crossing route, and then failed to squeeze a rifled pass.


�� Hines was mostly quiet in the passing game, but had the big 49-yard gainer while being wide open in the 4Q.He slipped on a cut late in that play; otherwise it could have been six.�� Nate had a good run on an end around, gaining 11 and igniting the 3Q rally.He also had a good pluck late in the 3Q on a slant, good for 11.


��� Ward had a pancake of Reed in the 1Q, and both he and Holmes had pancakes on Nate�s 11-yard run, which ignited the personal foul penalty by the Ravens.


��� As usual, the offense got nothing from the #4 WR.������� B


TE:Miller was thrown a pass on the 2nd off. play of the game, and also had a short grab and got severe punishment.�� He had a drop of a tough try in the 2Q, and then was never heard from again.�� Speath, as usual, had no grabs.�� The blocking was average.���� B-


OL:Better than last week�s fiasco, but still loads of room for improvement.KenDoll Simmons had a miserable nite before mercifully being carted off with an ankle injury.He had 2 false starts -- inexcusable for a guy lined up NEXT to the center -- and struggled like a bitch.Smith had some struggles against Suggs, failing to get good position and failing to extend his arms.�� Kemo was feeble on a Davis plunge in the 3Q and stepped on Ben�s foot in the 2Q, causing a sack.�� He was also tooled on the TD play to Tonio.Stapleton filled in okay at RG, and Colon played better than last week.Still, there are too many double teams on plays where other rushers are running right up the gut, totally untouched.�� C+


DL:Hampton and Keisel both sat due to injury.The depleted line fought bravely, although at times marginally effective.McClain, the backup RB, averaged 4 yards per rush.Smith had a foolish angle on Jacco�s 12.4 seconds scramble in the 3Q, which was rather shameful.�� Eason had a bat on 3D in the 3Q.�� B-


LB:Whatever it is about a nite game against Balt., Jamie Harrison apparently loves it.�� He had a dominating performance, wreaking havoc and terrorizing the Raven offense.He helped take the game over in the 3Q, forcing the fumble that Woodley returned for a TD and then forcing a hasty inc. on the next series.��


Woodley also had a strong game.His bulrush helped created the Harrison FF that Woodie scored upon, and later had a FF as well.He also bull-rushed Zo Neal in the 4Q and sacked the QB.The major downer was that he was beaten by McGahee on a slant in the 2Q, good for 15 yards.


Taunto Farrior, the great taunter, had a horrific game that he�d soon like to forget.He whiffed miserably, in pathetic fashion, on McClain�s long RAC late in the 2Q, which led to a big TD.To get juked badly by a backup RB as slow as McCain (the senator, not the RB) -- and then flail -- is embarrassing.�� Perhaps Colbert should extend Taunto for another 6 or 7 years, if not more.�� In the 4Q, Farrior was sealed badly, creating a huge hole for McClain to saunter for 11 yards.


Foote saw most of the time at the other ILB spot.On a 1st & G at the 9 in the 2Q, he was untouched on a run blitz and had a stop.On the next play, he rushed and was brutally pancaked.Worse, Foote enraged me on a 2d & 21 in the 1Q.�� The Ravens ran a play-fake -- which on 2d & 21 is entirely meaningless -- yet Foote jumped on it like a hound dawg after a t-bone steak.This forced the NFL�s slowest starting LB to be LATE in his pass drop, and instead of a bust-up, Jacco�s pass hit Mason on a deep curl for an 18-yard gain.���


Timmons saw some PT.He had a good bustup on a 3d & 8 pass in the 1Q.He was legally chopped down on a 3d & 3 screen that netted 5 in the 2Q.He was also trucked by the 265-pound McClain at the 1-yard line on the 4Q Raven TD.This was a classic case of a 234-lb. LB failing to get LOW; he tried high and was trucked by the much bigger RB.He redeemed himself in OT, showing a relentless rush off the right edge for a key drop of Jacco.�����


���� Harrison: A���� Woodley: B+���� Farrior:C-���� Foote: C����� Timmons:�� B


DB:Pola led the way with another strong effort.He flashed up a few times in run support.He was assigned much deeper chores than usual and had multiple bust-ups on deeper balls, although Jacco foolishly allowed a few balls to hang longer than the average punt.The downer was the 2Q TD pass to Wilcox, in which Troy bit up every bit as ravenously as Larry Foote on a 2d & 21 play-fake, which allowed Wilcox to slip out and snare the short TD.


McFadden had another strong outing, prompting more questions regarding how in tarnation this 3rd-year player was rotting the bench behind Townsend.He had a key bustup on a deep lob to Mason in OT, although a completion would�ve been negated by an illegal chop by Balt.He also had a good read and solo stop of a screen in the 2Q.His instincts are impressing me more as each week goes by.


Clark had struggles, and lots of �em.He was overly clumsy on a deep ball early in the 1Q, never once leaving his feet and standing flat-footed.Only by amazing fortune was this ball incomplete.Soon later, he was tooled badly for a TD by Mason on an out in the EZ -- we�ll never know why Clark was giving 8 yards of cushion that close to the EZ -- but Mason was ruled OOB and the Ravens refused to challenge the ruling.�� Clark teamed up with Farrior for the amazing but embarrassing double-whiff on McClain late in the 2Q, which netted 25 yards and set up the Raven TD.For a free safety to make this kind of horrific tackling blunder is unacceptable.


Ike continues to toil in anonymity.His coverage was okay, but hardly brilliant.He was soft, and then stiff-armed by Mason on a short out in the 2Q, giving up a key 1D.His run support was sporadic, at best.To me, this guy has shown too many stretches of disinterest thus far this season.


Town came off the bench as the nickel.He made a pitiful play late in the 4Q in coverage on Mason.On that 3rd & 12, he was soft in coverage, and then, when Mason caught the basic curl, Town did a cutsey shoulder bump on Mason, with no WRAPPING whatsoever.Mason simply bounced off Town and ran another 20 yards for a huge 35-yard gainer that set up the tying TD.�� Pitiful.


Pola, McFadd: A����� Clark: C-��� Ike:B-����� Town:C-


Spec teams:An okay nite.The KO coverage was mostly pretty strong.Timmons began the game with a big hit.Frazier, though, was pancaked on this play and carted off the field.Pat Bailey had a good stick in KO cover, making the stop at the 12.Madison had 2 solos in KO coverage.


The punt return blocking was total vomit.Bruce Davis had a boneheaded illegal block in the 1Q.On the rare occasion when Holmes was given room, on a 61-yard boot in the 3Q, he tiptoed.


Mitch Berger was badly outclassed by Koch.�� Reed booted 3 FGs, including the game-winner that just-barely squeaked inside the upright.


On 1 punt at 1:49 4Q, the Stillers were flagged for a DOG penalty because only 10 men were on the field.�� IN-EX-CUS-A-BLE.The ST coach should be fired right there, right now.Every 3rd down play should have, over on the sidelines, the ST coach assembling his punt crew and getting ready for a possible punt.����� C


OC:Arians learned very, very little from the Fiasco in Philly, trotting out the same shit offense in the 1H and getting the same shit results.Thankfully, Ben conned Tomlin into allowing Ben to run the NH Offense in the 3Q, which spared all of us more doses of the Arians Shit Offense while also picking up the tempo.


There were all sorts of shortcomings, as follows:


- 3rd & 2, twice in a row in the 1Q, and Arians insists on going with the SG, 1B formation.


- Miller grabbed 2 passes and was never heard from again.


- Ward was totally ignored in the 1H (although at least 1 play being Ben�s fault on a hot read) and had 0 catches in the 1H.


- 3rd & 1 early in the 3Q -- SG, 1B, jailhouse blitz, dumpoff to Davis, stopped short.�� Shit football at its worst.


- After Ward was flagged for an illegal formation penalty at 12:49 4Q, the offense did its standard lollygag and diddle-screw.The clock ran down to 0:04 and Ben had to waste a TO.��


- After playing 39 minutes and allowing Balt. to dictate flow and run pell mell to the ball, Arians FINALLY called for a misdirection, using Nate on an end around.Nate ran for 11 yards, while both Holmes and Ward threw punishing blocks to over-pursuing, unsuspecting defenders.The Ravens took umbrage and Johnson took a foolish personal foul penalty by shoving Ward well after the play was over.�� �Gee, duh-uh, what a concept!!�� Let�s take advantage, duh-uh, of a defense�s over-aggressiveness�.����


- The offense came alive with the NH offense in the 3Q, which, as we know, was Ben�s idea, not Arians�.�� Not only did it pick up the pace, but it also allowed Ben, not Arians, to call the plays.


- The absolute worst, on a horrific evening, was the goal-to-go sequence in the 4Q, with the Stillers poised to stick the dagger in the heart of Balt.�� Up by 4 with 11 minutes remaining in the game, the Stillers had a 1st & goal at the 4.On 1st down, Ben scrambled from pressure and threw the pill away.At this point, Mendenhall was gone for the season and Davis was also injured, meaning seldom-used Mewelde Moore, the FOURTH STRING RB, was in the game only because no one else was available.So here is the Stiller offense, facing a stout run defense from the 4-yard line.The offense has the following options of who to put the ball into their hands:��


����������� 1.Ben Roth, who could either pass or run for the TD

����������� 2.Heath Miller, the big, reliable TE

����������� 3.Hines Ward, who is always Mr. Clutch in the EZ

����������� 4.Tonio Holmes, who had the key TD grab earlier in the 3Q.

����������� 5.Matt Speath, the big, tall TE

����������� 6.Mewelde Moore, the 4th string RB whose best attribute is CATCHING, not running, the football.The only reason he was even signed as a FA was to be a 3rd down pass-catching back.


So, knowing all this, what does Arians, the stupidfuk that he is, call?�� Not one, but 2 line plunges by Moore into the teeth of the Balt. defense.Moore was, of course, stopped well short of the GL and the Stillers had to settle for a cheesy FG and a 7-point lead.�� Balt tied the game, and could have obviously won it in OT.With all these options at his disposal, including his $100M QB, Arians, as stupid as a retarded toddler, takes the ball out of his franchise QB�s hands and instead twice gives the ball to the 4th string RB against the very strength of the opposing defense.We can only hope after next week�s offensive struggles in Jax that Arians is finally fired.���� D-


DC:As usual, Dick got to face a rookie, greenhorned QB making his 1st ever road start.And as usual, Dick -- as over-rated as they come -- struggled against a woeful offense.Nearly all of the scrutiny is on the offense, but this defense -- having now faced 4 average offenses, including a Westbrook-less Philly offense -- got carved up and pushed around by 1 of the worst offenses in all of football, to include the NFL and NCAA.Tonite, not only did Dick have the luxury of facing a greenhorned QB, but the opponent�s best offensive player, Willis McGahee, was injured late in the 2Q.Yet despite all of this, Dick�s defense struggled and was getting their asses handed to them for the entire 1H and some of the 3Q and 4Q.


Perhaps the worst aspect of tonite�s game was Dullard Dick�s incredible inability to grasp that the ONLY receiver that needed to be covered was Derrick Mason -- a guy we�ve faced at least 17 times over the years -- yet Mason was the guy that was LEAST covered.�� Unbelievable.�� �Duh-uh�.my name is Dick LeBeau.I know the Ravens, duh-uh, have no other reliable WR and they have no interest in throwing downfield to any other guy, but I�ll be damned if I�m going to shade coverage on Mason����� Mason tooled and torched the Stiller defense to the tune of 8 grabs for 137 yards.The other WRS combined for 1 (one) catch for 6 yards.The TEs combined for 1 (one) catch for 4 yards.Yet Dullard Dick was too dense, too blind, and too dumfounded to blanket Mason and force Jacco to throw to ANYBODY except his security blanket, Derrick Mason.


There were numerous other shortcomings.The defense had the ball jammed down its throat on the FG drive in the 2Q, which began at midfield.7 plunges highlighted this march, along with 1 incomplete and 2 short completions of 5 & 6 yards.


- On the 3rd & 7 late in the 2Q, the team�s most athletic ILB, Timmons, was on the BENCH.�� Both Foote and Farrior were in the game.McClain caught the short dumpoff, then juked the flailing Farrior for a huge 25-yard gainer.


- After a timeout late in the 2Q and the ball on the Stiller 4, the Ravens lined up and NO ONE from the defense lined up opposite a Raven WR.Sure, the Ravens were flagged for an illegal formation, but that doesn�t absolve a veteran defense from failing to account for what could have been the easiest TD in NFL history.


- The defense was at its worst on the game-tying drive late in the 4Q.Protecting a 7-point lead against a greenhorn QB, Dick first called off the dogs and went vanilla.Then, he outright and staunchly refused to put an extra bump or shaded coverage on Mason.All Mason did on that drive was:


����������� 15 yard completion

����������� 10 yard completion

����������� 3rd & 12, 35 yard completion


I�m at the point where I don�t know who is more of an incompetent derelict -- Arians or LeBeau.������ D-


HC:We don�t know what was fully said in the locker room at halftime, but it must have been the greatest speech since Knute Rockne.�� The Stillers played a slovenly 1H, replete with foolish penalties, hideous boners, and sloppy play.�� They turned it up a notch in the 2H and stormed back for a huge divisional win.Tomlin was about thisclose to losing this team, but somehow kept things together

Tomlin isn�t out of the woods yet, however.He has 2 coordinators who are literally sabotaging this team, and if Tomlin doesn�t quickly take the bull by the horns and get these 2 simpletons straightened out, the Stillers are looking at far more losses than anyone could have envisioned.��� C-


Playing surface:Ward slipped while all alone, 1 on 1, on his long catch & run in the 4Q.With a better surface, he probably scores 6.Moore slipped at the snap in OT and lost 4 yards, which, at the time, pushed the ball out of FG range.This surface continues to be an absolute disgrace.�� D


Synopsis:A big comeback win over a division rival, just in time for the annual loss to the Jaguars.The team showed heart and moxie in the comeback, but then again, playing at home against a very average team, they shouldn�t have needed a comeback.After the inevitable loss to the Jags, the Stillers will be sitting at 3-2 going into a much-needed bye week.



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



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