Stillers 15, Falcons 9 ���. Sep. 12, 2010 ����Game # 1
Stillers-Falcons Postgame Analysis and Grades
The Roth-less Stillers hosted the Falcs to open the �10 season, and slopped about in a fairly dull affair, until late in the 4Q, when the game got quite interesting. Jeff Reed botched a fairly chip-shot FG near the end of regulation that would have won it, but Rashard Mendy dashed 50 yards for a walkoff TD in OT.
He cooled down after that, bogged down by a dull, Neanderthal offense and his own penchant for short-arming passes. This was lowlighted by the horrific INT thrown to Miller, but picked by Petersen, in which the softie pass was never elevated more than 5 feet off the ground. Soon later in the 2Q, Dix nearly threw another INT, hitting Abraham in the chest on a short slant.
Dix came alive in the 3Q, hitting Wally on a deep flag and then hitting Ward off a scramble. He foolishly failed to reach the ball at least slightly forward on a 3rd & 3 scramble, forcing a punt.
Dix nearly threw another awful pick on an out to Wally in the 4Q. He then fell to pieces late in regulation. With the ball on the PIT 44 with 2:05 left, he took sacks on successive plays, showing no more pocket presence than your typical 10th grader. This is where the Ben�s, the Marino�s, et al, really show their worth....their ability to scoot from �felt pressure�. In
Dix finished 18 of 26 for 236 and 1 INT. Not shabby, but he�ll need to play better against the likes of
RB: Mendy had a solid game during regulation, gaining 70 yards on 21 carries. He took the handoff on the 1st Stiller play in OT and ripped it off RT, taking it to the house for a TD. He was nearly tripped up by a lil� ankle-nip slap -- which would have enraged me, given Reed�s FG follies -- but Mendy kept his feet and sauntered to the EZ.
Redman had a few carries from the RB spot, including two early 3d & 1 and 2d & 1 plunges that he converted.
FB: Redman saw some work at FB. He ran 2 plunges from the FB spot, gaining 3 and then 6. Not shabby. Johnson also saw time at the FB spot. B+
WR: Ward led the way in the 2H and finished with 6 grabs for 108. He had a sterling tip-juggle-catch for 24 yards on a 3d & 8.
Wally had the big gainer for 52 and had 1 other grab. El, as expected, did little. He had 2 grabs for 8 yards. He enraged me in the 2Q on a 3d & 5, in which he ran all the way across the field on a crosser, never going more than 3 yards downfield. He caught the pass, and was tackled for a piss-ant 4 yard gain, thus forcing the punt. A-
TE: Miller had a nice game -- when he was permitted to run pass routes -- grabbing 4 for 40. He chipped in with some decent run blocking, and even threw a nice block some 16 yards downfield after a Hines grab in the 2Q. What enraged me -- and it�s not Miller�s fault -- was the excessive amount of time Miller spent pass blocking.
Johnson had some ok blocks, and executed a superb seal block they was the key to the game-winning TD run. Spaeth, as usual, did nothing, aside from a boneheaded false start on the 1st play of the 3rd drive. A-
OL: The line lost Starks in the 3Q when his leg was rolled up on. Prior to that, Starks fell for a lil� inside step by Abraham and then got abused for a sack. Scott replaced him after the injury and immediately got his QB harassed.
Pouncey continues to impress. He had a superb pull and scoop on Mendy�s 13-yard run in the 4Q. Reminds me of Dermontti more and more. Early in the game, the short-yardage blocking was solid, but it faltered in the 4Q on a 3d & 1.
DL: The line played decently. Aaron Smith had a nice string of a Turner run in the 1Q that gained 3. For all of his almighty greatness and prowess, he finished with 0 solos and 1 A, and zero harassment of the passer the entire day. Fat Casey pulled a hammy and did not dress or play in the 2H. Hood had a nice 3D harassment of the QB, and saw a goodly amount of PT. Hoke and Eason filled in for LardBoy Hampton.
Keisel drew my rage in the 2Q, on a dumpoff to
LB: Some good, some shabby.
Timmons led the way with a rugged effort, hauling down ballcarriers left n� right. He stuffed Turner on a 3d & 1 in the 1Q, then slashed in to drop Turner for a 2-yard loss in the 2Q and another 3-yard loss later in that qtr. Timmons nearly won the game with a strip of Ryan late in the game, but it was ruled inc. .
Taunto Farrior had a good wrap of Snelling on a plunge. He had a backfield whiff of run on the 2nd play of the 3Q, resulting in a 7-yard gain. He was too slow to read and react on a 3d & 1 slant to Peele that netted 9 yards. Taunto was entirely too timid in OT, on a 3d & 7 dumpoff to Snelling that gained 8 yards while Taunto stood back and treated Snelling as though he were Gale Fuking Sayers. Luckily, a flag negated this 1st down.
Woodley had a bullrush sack -- his only move -- in the 1Q. He spent most of the game getting sucked or sealed inside, enabling the Falcons to gain easy yards off RT. In the 3Q, he got sucked in and Turner scooted for 6. In the 4Q, a similar suck-in gave
Foote was on the field -- Lord knows why? -- on a Turner run off LT late in the 2Q. He was blown back from his LB zone a good 4 yards by TE Justin Peele, allowing Turner an easy 5-yard gain.
DB: McFadd provided solid coverage, and led the team with 12 solos and 2 A�s. He gave up some receptions, but many receptions were simply good throws and good catches.
Ike chipped in some, and had a good wrap of White on a bubble screen.
Gay picked up where he left off last season, allowing a slant to clang off his chest-plate on what should have been an easy INT.
Ryan Clark assumed his normal role, never once making a play on a passed ball the entire game, in a game that saw the Falcs throw 44 times.
Spec teams: Some good, some bad.
Timmons and Worilds decked the punt returner in the 1Q. Speulveda had a rare, booming punt late in the 4Q, good for 54 yards and a FC.
Lost amidst the euphoria of OT was the near disaster that occurred on the play prior to Mendy�s TD jaunt. On a short punt, Ryan Mundy, the idiot, allowed himself to be shoved into Randle El just as the ball arrived. By the grace of God, the ball didn�t hit El nor any other Stillers, and was downed by the Falcs at midfield. 99 times out of 100, this punt glances off El or Mundy and the Falcs recover in golden FP. I�ve long stated that this very event -- a short punt combined with a defender legally shoving a blocker into the returner -- is a tactic more team should intentionally attempt to try when desperate for a turnover.
Reed was decent on
The coverage team didn�t give up what last year seemed like a weekly return for a TD, but a lot of work needs done in the ST area as a whole. C.
OC: The first drive was a joy to behold....a clever mix of a bootleg, mis-directions, and quick hitting plays that had the Falcons clearly off balance, with
Heath Miller spent at least 10 plays in a pass blocking mode. WHY ?? Let�s see -- Miller netted 10 yards per catch, El got 4. WHY would you saddle the 3rd best receiver on your team in continual pass protection? Yes, the line sucks. Task David Johnson, or Redman, or a backup tackle, to serve as an extra chip-blocker. Taking your 3rd best receiving threat OUT of the game is helping the defense, and it�s assaholic stupidity at its worst.
Worse was the shackling of
Donovan McNabb, at the age of 33, is skittering around the field for the Skins, but Dennis Dixon is shackled to the pocket and gains less rushing yardage than Neil O�Donnell. Fuk Arians. D+
DC: Sure as the sun will shine, you�ll hear all kinds of praising and fawning over Dick. �He held the Falcons to 9 points.� Once again, Dick had a LEAD, in the 4th quarter, and once again, he pissed it away. He allowed a long, methodical, 12-play march that enabled the Falcs to tie the game with a chippie 23-yard FG with 3:28 remaining in the game. A stop on this drive, and the game never goes into OT. If Dick was the almighty guru that most everyone claims he is, he�d find a way to clamp down and stop a ONE-dimensional offense that is on the road and having to deal with crowd noise and the like. Alas, Dick was entirely let off the hook by Atlanta coach Mike Smith, who foolishly chose the Wannstedtian path and booted a FG when faced with a 4th & short-1 from the Stiller 5-yard line with 3:28 remaining. On the road, that close to paydirt, you�ve got to go for the gusto, and given how sagging Dick�s defense was on this drive, Smith looks like a nimrod for his ultra conservative decision.
Lastly, Woodley spent numerous snaps dropped back in coverage. WHY? This is stone stupidity at its worst. Woodley is a terrific rusher. As a coverage �backer, he is a hulking, bumbling clod who would have trouble covering Rocky Blier -- who is now in his 60�s. Ya don�t continually pull a guy off what he does BEST to do a task that he does WORST. The only flag on any of the back 7 defenders was on -- you guessed it -- Woodley for pass interference.
HC: Decent intensity and readiness. I wasn�t fond of the 55-yard FG attempt late in the 1H. The miss gave
The bigger concern is the assaholic schemes being run on both sides of the ball.
Synopsis: A nice win despite a raggedy, sloppy effort. Had they lost in OT -- after the horrific slice by Reed near the end of regulation -- it obviously would have been a real downer. Next week -- at
(Still Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the