Stillers 24, Deadskins 3 ��. Dec. 16, 2000 Game #15
Stillers-Deadskins Post Game Analysis & Grades:
In the final game ever at 3 Rivers Stadium, the Stillers sent the stadium off to pasture with a thorough whipping of the Deadskins, 24-3. The Skins were ahead 3-0 in the 2nd quarter, but sparked by Poteat's punt return for a TD, the Stillers scored 17 points before halftime, while the Deadskins basically packed it in and lollygaged in sorry fashion for the remainder of the game. The Buccos had blown their final game at 3RS, but the Stillers shut down the Skins in the 2nd half en route to an appropriate ending for the stadium that had housed so many great Stiller teams of the 70's.
1. Porter snuffs reverse by Skins on 2nd series, causing a 10-yard loss and forcing the Skins to settle for a FG 2 plays later.
2. Shaw snares 33-yard reception on 2nd & 9, igniting a Stiller offense that, up to that point, had gone 3-and-out on its first 2 possessions.
3. THE Big Play -- Hank Poteat returns a punt 53-yards, the longest PR ever at 3RS -- to boost the Stillers to a 10-3 lead that they would never relinquish.
4. After Josh dropped a decent punt snap to give the Skins the ball at the Stiller 19, Kimo and Battles strip Davis of the ball to snuff out any chance of Washington crawling back into the game.
5. On 3rd & 7, Shaw snares another 33-yard catch, plus Bruce Smith's roughing penalty adds another 15 yards.
6. Huntley rumbles 30 yards for a 4th qtr. TD.
7. Simmons chases down Stephen Alexander near the GL and pokes the ball out, and the Stillers are awarded the ball when it rolls thru the EZ.
QB: The Western Union Man had a spotty day, misfiring on many a pass and having a few batted back in his face. The rain did make it tough to pass the ball. His running was marginally effective. Give him credit for finding some new-found courage to hit Shaw not once, but twice, on deep crossers for 33-yard gains. The past 2 seasons, plus the early part of this season, Stewart would not have even thought of trying to complete that pass. The sour note is that Stewart once again nearly threw about three INTs, and took a sack on the 1st series when he waited way too long on a 3-step-drop play. B-.
RB: The Bus pretty much had his way with the arm-tackling Deadskins, plowing and bulling of gobs of extra yardage. He also had a 25-yard gain on a screen, though I was displeased when a man his size tiptoes out of bounds the way he did on that play. Huntley, who's barely been allowed to play all season, was finally allowed to play more than just on 3rd down, and responded with 56 yards on 7 carries, including a 30-yard TD run in which he dashed around end for some decent yardage, and then busted Chump Bailey's tackle and another tackle en route to paydirt. Hunt also had a couple good blocks. He was ruled o have fumbled, though it was a real borderline call, in that his knee may have been down prior to the cough-up. Even Amoz Zeroue, who has been rooted to the bench for nearly two years, was allowed to carry the ball a few times in mop-up. A.
FB: Dan Kreider threw several bone-jarring blocks to open up holes for Bettis. Kreider didn't just get in the way of a defender; he punished the defender with brute force at the point of attack. Rocky Blier must have been beaming with joy and pride while watching this similarly pugnacious underdog mash defenders time and time again. A.
WR: As is becoming rather usual, Shaw made the big receptions, catching two 33-yard receptions on deep crossers. Ward had 3 grabs, all on shorty curls or slants. Troy had one grab for 12. Shortny Hawkins had 2 grabs on piddly little curls, and dropped a pass. The blocking was quite helpful in springing the backs for good gainers. A-.
TE: Bruener, in a rare fit of athleticism and hands, went up and plucked a pass for a nice 21-yard reception. Tuman was flagged for holding on a Bettis 6-yard run in the 3rd qtr. B+.
OL: Facing a fairly capable Skin front-7, the line did a solid job of opening holes and giving Stewart time. There were no pre-snap or holding penalties by this gang, an occurrence which this season has been as rare as hen's teeth. Duffy did have a poor, high shotgun snap in the 2nd qtr. And Marvel Smith was totally whipped by Marco Coleman on a 3rd & 7 in the 2nd qtr, but Stewart saved his bacon by scrambling for 8 yards. A-.
DL: The DL did an adequate job of sealing up the running lanes for the Skins rushing attack, and they did get a lil' bit of pocket push. Kimo helped cause the Davis fumble deep in Stiller territory. Clancy, who previously has been rooted to the bench or deactivated, got to play some and responded with a couple good plays. Sullie, who has done so little this season, was flagged for encroachment on 4th & 1 on the Skins 2nd drive, which enabled the Skins to move ahead for a FG. B+.
LB: Kirk had an ok game, making 6 solos while fighting off a small injury that caused him to miss a few snaps. It certainly wasn't a breakout game for the portly Kirkland, but it was acceptable. Earl Holmes had another demonic effort, creating havoc, stuffing plays, and hustling all over the field to deliver hits. Holmes finished with 3 solos and 10 (TEN) assists, and a near INT, in another stellar effort. Holmes set the tone for the defense by stuffing Davis on 3rd & 1 on the first Skins drive. Unlike the bamboozlement at the hands of our vaunted reserve-Pro Bowl LB last week on a reverse that gained 28 yards, Joey Porter made a huge play by sniffing and snuffing a reverse for a 10-yard loss. Gildon had a nice chase-down of a middle screen, but otherwise stood around doing nothing the entire game, despite the luxury of facing a Wash. offense that oftentimes had only a RB or a TE assigned to block him. He padded his sack total with 1.5 Dong Sacks, one on a play in which the RT (Jon Jansen) never moved when the ball was snapped, and a half-sack when the QB slipped on the wet turf and fell on his ass, thus allowing Alex and Gildon to jog over and dive onto George for the easy combined Dong Sack. Big Jason did another squat-and-flail, weakly waving at Davis on a screen pass that gained 10 yards. Gildon also, for absolutely no reason at all, pulled Jeff George backward by the jersey after George had LONG since released the pass and been corralled by Porter on the ground, thus causing the injury that put George out of the game. Washington would be fools to not submit this tape to the league office for a fine. A.
DB: The DBs responded with a pretty strong game. DeWayne had a big INT when he blanketed Fryar on a stop-and-go, and then snared the INT. Chad gave away a few completions on softee coverage, but did add 3 breakups and an INT in which he literally stole the ball from Connell. Simmons made a great play to poke the ball from Alexander as he was approaching the GL, which saved a TD and got the ball back for Pgh. Battles battled well in place of the injured Flowers. Alex had tackles on the first 2 plays of the game, and chipped in with 5 solos. A-.
Spec Teams: Hank Poteat, who has either been marooned on the bench or forced to split punt-return chores with PeePee Hawkins, electrified the 3RS crowd with a sterling 53-yard TD jaunt on a punt return. Hunt was flagged for an illegal block on Hank's first PR, but atoned for it by making the key block on Hank's TD. Huntley also two solos on KO coverage and one on punt coverage. Amoz was flagged for being an illegal man downfield on one punt. Josh did all he could to try to give the game away to the Skins. He fielded one snap cleanly, but then dropped the ball as he was preparing to boot it, which caused a penalty in an illegal man being downfield (different from Amoz' flag). Josh allowed a decent snap to go right thru his buttery fingers, which gave the Skins golden field position on our 19. Kris actually booted a successful FG. B+.
Off Coord: In some small aspects, it's a lil' hard to make a judgment on the offense in this game. The rain, at times, had an effect on what was do-able. The offense didn't generate much --- 7 points came from Hank's PR and one TD drive was all of 38 yards. And, the Skins' defense basically packed it in the 2nd half. Give some credit to the dullard Gilbride for spreading the field near the goal line late in the 1st half, which allowed Huntley to jog in untouched for a 3-yard TD run. Typically, in this situation, Gaypride likes to pack in as many offensive players as he can into a 12-foot wide area, so that the defense can correspondingly bunch together a host of defenders and make the available running room about as wide as a soup can. I absolutely despised the 3rd & 2 play on the first drive of the 2nd half, in which we lined up with 5 wides and attempted a 2-yard pass in the middle that was batted back at the LOS. I can live with 5 wides on this play, if the pattern is a bit downfield so that Stewart -- who surely leads the NFL in passes deflected per attempt -- can avoid having another ball slapped back in his face. Or, if Stewart was put on the move in a rollout. Or -- and this is probably too radical for Gaypride -- perhaps a play-action pass off a fake plunge to Bettis. It's also humorous how Gilbride starts off the game in brilliant fashion, with the rain pouring down in buckets but allowing Bus to carry just once in the first two series that each ended in a 3-and-out. Bettis was also split wide as a WR 2 or 3 times, which is 2 or 3 times too often. I can happily live with Hunt or Amoz used in this fashion, but splitting out a 275-pound slopoke is sheer asininity. C+.
Def Coord: With all of Washington's fumbling, INTs, and general lethargy today, Lewis didn't have to do much. In a rare fit of devil-may-care gambling (sic), he did allow Battles to blitz in the first quarter, and Battles harassed George into an off-target incompletion. Once the Stillers took the 17-3 lead, and facing a team with pathetic WRs and a porous OL, Lewis had a job as enviable as serving as the beer taster at Oktoberfest . B.
Head Coach: Coach Cowhead claims that the team was treating this as "our first playoff game." Sorry, Bill, but in the REAL playoffs, you rarely get to play a sagging team that rolls over and plays dead (unless, fo course, it's the '96 Stillers that were thrashed up in New England.) The real game was last week against the Giants, a game in which Cowher's team was woefully unprepared and uninspired. It's humorous that players who have been relegated by COWHER to bench duty or rare PT, made the big plays to push the team to victory. Hank Poteat, who's been slapped in the face by being forced to share punt return chores with Lil' PeePee Hawkins, bursts upfield for the big PR TD. Bobby Shaw, who sits behind PeePee Hawkins and is only allowed to play on 3rd down or 5-WR sets, makes two big plays on 33-yard gainers. Huntley, who has rotted behind the asthmatic, often-hobbled-with-nicks-&-bruises Bettis, dashes for a 30-yard TD on a play in which slopoke Bettis would have never turned the corner. Where might this Stillers team be if Cowhead showed some guts and gave some youngsters some work instead of "playing it safe" and continually giving the nod to his old favorites?? C.
What a way to close out 3RS !! Administering a whipping to the once-haughty Washington Foreskins makes this occasion all the more memorable. Aside from this being the final game at 3RS, Stiller fans shouldn't get too giddy from the win, of course. The Deadskins lived up to their name with one of the most listless, uninspired efforts I've seen from an NFL team in a long time. The Stillers have a cupcake game at San Diego next week, but they may very well be officially eliminated from the playoffs before then (based on games on Dec. 17th).
The Still Mill