4th Down and 10 Facts: Pittsburgh/Tennessee Post game Report
You know, I�ve read Still Mill�s post-game. And I must say it was right on the money on more than a few points. There is one that whole heartily disagree with. I�ll get to that later. No doubt, I�ll here from the grand Mill in the future.
To the game that passed. Well, I had originally picked our beloved Black and Gold to win. As I walked to the bar with my roommate, Jaime, I started to get those "doubts." Sometimes good teams have bad days. Sometimes those bad days are against the wrong opponent. Well, the writing was on the wall. From Tennessee�s first play of scrimmage, I knew we we�re going to have a "bad" day. Tennessee was the "wrong" opponent, but as fate (or perhaps destiny) proved, the Steeler Offense would not allow this game to be lost.
Fact 1#: Tennessee�s opening play will be copied by other teams. Perhaps not the "exact" routes, but teams are going to test Chad Scott and our blitzing defense deep. Scott has proved that he is aggressive and takes risks. In most cases this is the mark of a great cornerback, but as with all players, Scott is mortal and he got burned badly. When I first watched, I thought Brent Alexander had blown the coverage, but for some reason we bit awfully on play action. Scott before he could remember if the play started was watching Dyson blow by him like Haley�s Comet. Point. Game. Set.
Fact #2: Depth gives us an edge over 90% of the teams in the NFL. First Oliver Ross comes in for Tylski, then he moves over to take Marvel Smith�s spot at tackle and Keydrick Vincent, who has dressed exactly one more NFL game than I have takes over at guard. Once again, the Titan�s gambled to stop Bettis. This time he ran for 73 yards, Kordell ran for over 50 and we one the trenches battle. Hopefully Smith and Tylski will return soon, as is prognosis, but at least we don�t have to worry about their backups.
Fact #3: 155. The number of pass attempted without Interception. Interceptions and Kordell Stewart once was as common as bread and butter, rice in China and boiled peanuts in the South. I don�t think this will last. I know it won�t last. I just hope after he throws an INT, it�ll be another 100 or so attempts before the next.
Fact #4: Our defense looked tired and confused. That�s what happens when you�re chasing Frank Wycheck all day. The opening play set the tone for the rest of the game. The defense looked afraid to give up the big play and layed off the receivers, allowing for the dink-n-dump scheme. Here�s a replay of much the game while the Steeler�s were on defense: stuff, dink, dink (first down), stuff, dink, dink (first down), stuff, dink, BAM (25 yard gain to Wycheck/firstdown), BAM (Eddie George through a whole), stuff, dink�
Get�s confusing huh? Well, imagine what the D thought.
Fact #5: We have playmakers. Zerorue, Ward, Burress, Bettis, Kordell, not the names you hear in media, but I�ll tell you what, these guys are getting real exciting to watch. Hey add up their salaries and do know what you get? Randy Moss..
Fact #6: The Bus looked strong. He looked faster than against Jacksonville. When so many teams stack up tackle him, the Steelers really need to change the pace with some quick draws, and misdirection plays. When they have, he�s gotten big gains, when they haven�t he�s had his problems getting 1 or 2 yards. If he can get a head of steam after gaining 3 yards, he�s gonna be tough to bring down especially in the 2nd half. But, don�t look for teams to stop stacking up like there�s no tomorrow. If you had a choice, would you put the game in Bettis� hands or Kordell�s?
Fact #7: Let�s not absolve the Special Teams just yet. Yes, they did allow a partially blocked punt and yes, the punt returns we�re again non-exitent. OK, they did some good things on returns, but remember this, Tennessee is just as clueless about special teams as we are..
Fact #8: Porter was manhandled all day. Is anyone else surprised or is it just me? I mean a backup against the all-mighty Porter? Did that backup have chance? Didn�t he know he should�ve stepped aside and let Joey take care of business? Obviously not. Thank god Kendrell Bell showed up. Mr. Porter should be ashamed.
Fact #9: Lee Flowers can�t cover. Maybe it�s just me but Wycheck�s burned him twice, Tony Gonzalez had his day with him. I mean they guys got guts and emotion, but he needs to start staying with his coverage man. On that same note, Earl Holmes can�t cover either.
Fact #10: The rest of the league is (still) quivering. Repeat from last week. For the Bus to be held in check and Pittsburgh to still put up 34 points is a great sign for this team and a statement of warning to the rest of the league. This ability for the Steelers to win by the pass, or by the run, or by field goals shows just how mature and confident this team is.
Thoughts around the League and on the Game.
- Don�t look now, but if the season ended today, the Bears would have home field advantage.
- You know what? Those 49er�s are damn good and if you don�t have complete respect for Garrison Hearst and his comeback then it�s about time you started getting some.
- Time to put Jim Mora out to pasture. I mean picking on Payton Manning like that. I don�t think it was the tone of his post-game explosion, but perhaps because it sounded like it was written by a 13-year-old girl.
- I still think the Giants will make the playoffs, but if Kerry Collins fumbles one more time he better start drinking again.
- Once again the Ravens pull off a game they should�ve lost. Super Bowl teams win games they should�ve lost a few times a season, but not at the rate the Ravens are pulling.
- Okay, so I mentioned I disagreed with Mill. And for all of you folks out there in chat land, you can disagree with Mill, but no ever said he had to like it. Now, back to the play in question. Mill said: Late in the 2Q, Amoz ran the ball on first down from the Titan 15-yard line, for 2 yards. Amoz was stopped at 2:23, and unbelievably, the entire offense stood around playing grabass and allowed the clock to run down to the 2-min. warning. The offense, which had already wasted one TO trying to draw Tenn. offsides on a 4th down, ended up punching the ball in for a score, but this is precisely the kind of slovenly clock usage that has plagued this offense all season.
- Dr. Z (CNN), Pete Prisco (CBS), Tom Jackson (ESPN) and Chris Mortensen (ESPN) all have us as NO. 1 in their power polls. I don�t like that. Something inside me doesn�t like that at all.
- One game after looking like they might have the beginnings of a running game, Baltimore loses Jason Brookins. Hey Brian Billick, how far do you think you�ll get without a running game? Do you think he could�ve been any smugger in his post-game press conference.
- Troy Edwards looked pretty good. He�s starting to find a nice niche in this offense. Remember when he first came he was the savior. Then we got Plax and Edwards was no longer the savior but the has-been. I think he sorta lost his identity with this team. Hines is the go-to, clutch Pro Bowl caliber receiver, Plax is the young horse ready to take over a game himself, Bobby Shaw is the receiver you forget about, so where was Edwards supposed to go? What was he supposed to call himself? Watch for him to quietly assume the third receiver role in quality fashion.
- Word on the street is that Jake Plummer may be a cap casuality in Arizona. Bledsoe looks as good as gone in New England and Trent Dilfer probably won�t be on Seattle�s roster next spring. Look for Miami and Chicago to shore up their QB position with one of these guys. Miami especially if Fiedler can�t lead past the first round of the playoffs.
Now, I disagree completely. I knew right away what Cowher was thinking. First off, Pittsburgh�s at the 15-yard line. We're going to get a field goal attempt for sure, plus we still hand timeouts to play with. Why rush and force something when we could take our time. It wasn�t like we we�re at our OWN 15 or anything. In retrospect we calmly took our time, scored a touchdown and almost killed the half. However, remember this, if we don�t let the clock wind down, Tennessee doesn�t run out of time on the ensuing kickoff and would have gotten a chance or two at the end zone and/or a field goal attempt. Mill, I�ll disagree with Cowher on many things (such as the 3rd down at the 10 with 10 seconds left and we kick a fricken� field goal), but this was good clock management for once.
Check out my pre-game for next week coming to Stillers.com in a few days. I will have the MPO count and more things to think about while going to the fridge for a beer.
It�s almost December and the only thing I want for Christmas is the possibility of a Steelers/Raiders AFC Championship. I don�t care where it�s played, cause it would be absolutely amazing.
JB in the Big Steel Apple