Stillers 16, Iggles 14 ……. Oct 7, 2012 …………Game # 4
Stillers-Iggles Postgame Analysis and Grades
The Stillers went in at halftime, up 10-0 and seemingly in command, unless you knew of their softee defense. Sure enough, the defense gave up a 3Q TD, and then allowed a long TD march to give the Iggles a 1-point lead. Ben astutely brought the Stillers back into chippie FG range, and as the clock expired Suisham nailed a 34-yard to win it.
Ben - Had an okay afternoon in wet, rainy weather, going 21 of 237 for 207 and no INTs. He allowed a decent snap to slither thru his hands on a 4th down play in the 2Q; very careless and foolish. He enraged me on a designed keeper in the 2Q, in which he went into the fetal position after a 5-yard game. Very pussyfied. Smart play a few plays later, scrambling and then faking a pitch to a RB before gaining a few extra yards for a 9-yard gainer. The clutch 3rd down passes to Brown and then Sanders to get to the team into FG range at the end of the game were superb. B
Socrates Mendenhall: Returned to the lineup for the 1st time since tearing his knee in late Dec. Had a strong overall game, running with rarely seen abandon, authority, and decisiveness. Good 17-yard run early in the 3Q, and then proceeded to just fumble the ball away without being hit. Luckily, the ball went OOB. Had a clutch RAC for 15 yards to set up the winning FG. Also turned the corner on the sideways flare pass for a TD in the 1H. Ended up with 81 yards on 14 carries, plus 2 grabs for 20. Not shabby.
Redman - spelled Mendy and chipped in with 41 yards on 13 carries, including some good work in short yardage. Superb spin on a 3d & 1 in the 2Q, eluding a defender in the backfield and gaining the 1 yard needed to move the sticks.
Dwyer - Did not play.
Rainey - Played sparingly, with 1 rush for 0, and 1 grab for 6 yards.
Baron Batch - dressed, but did not play on offense. A-
Johnson - No grade
Wally - Mister Holdout had a raggedy game. He dropped a pass late in the 1Q. He then wiped out a 24-yard run by Mendy, 2 plays later, with an illegal formation penalty. On the 4th & 10 pass play in the 2Q, Wally just stood there when the pass arrived, never eagerly going up and at ‘em for the pill, and it was easily busted up. Allowed a deep out to clang off his hands late in the game. Finished with 2 grabs for 17 yards. Quick -- someone sign this guy to a $65M contract...!
Brown - flinched and flagged for a false start, late 1Q. Allowed a 3rd down pass to slip thru his hands, early 2Q. He then dropped a 33-yard TD lob late in the 1H. He did have a good grab and RAC a couple plays later to set up shop in side the PHI 10. And, he had the mega clutch grab and run, for 20 yards, on 3rd & 12 at the PIT 18 to spark the game-winning TD march.
Sanders - Had 3 grabs for 22, none more critical than the 7 yarder on 3d & 4 at the PHI 38, which not only moved the chains, but put the team into makeable FG range.
Cotch - literally tripped over his own 2 feet after a short catch on the PHI 4-yard line late in the 1H, negating what most likely would have been a TD on the RAC. If he didn’t wear a 1-inch layer of tape on each shoe & ankle, he might not have tripped over his clown feet.....but he does, and he did. Very poor. Wally, Cotch: C- Brown, Sandy: B+
Miller - Had 4 grabs for 41, while spending a large chunk of the game helping as a pass blocker.
Paulson had his 1st grab of the season, on the game-winning FG drive no less.
Pope - zilch.
The overall blocking was solid, both in run blocking and pass pro. B+
Starks: recovered bad snap on his own 12 in the 1Q, staving off an early disaster. Held down the blind side quite well. Dollar for dollar, this man may be the best value on the team.
Gilbert - Solid blocking, and led the way on Mendy’s late flare pass.
Colon - Supposedly, according to the Stiller coaching staff (a staff who knows it all and can do no wrong), The Colon is “the best O-lineman on the team”. What a farce. And after today’s wretched fiasco, the only question of the dim-bulbed coaching staff should be, “How in the hell is this man still on an active NFL roster??” The Colon was flagged for a hold on a running play, 1Q, in which The Colon tackled the defender. Flagged a short while later for a hold on a passing play, which was declined. Flagged for a hold late in the 2Q, which was offset by a PHI flag. Flagged yet again, his 4th flag of the day, on a hold late in the game. Was beaten a few times on rushes up the gut.
Foster - Adequate game.
Pouncey - bad SG snap that nearly led to disaster. Had several other snaps that were a bit off as well. T his isn’t middle-school football, and this is a simple task that should be mastered, stone cold, by a starting center in his 4th year in the league. His blocking was solid.
Colon: F All others: B+
Keisel - Fairly quiet, with only 1 solo and no batted passes, which used to be a bit of a forte for him.
Hood - Much for active than he had been in ages. Someone may have lit a fire up his ass.
Hampton - The Waddler waddles to and fro. Didn’t do all that much, and was credited with zero solos or assists. Of course NT is more than collecting stops, but he wasn’t the great run stuffer that he is claimed to be.
Heyward - Finally saw some PT. Not much impact, however.
McLendon - After rotting and playing only 3 snaps last week, he was finally permitted to play a few snaps. He forced a fumble while nearly sacking Vick in the 3Q. PHI recovered, but it was a whale of an effort by the backup NT.
Foote - Fairly active, with 5 solos. Recovered 2 fumbles for 2 rare Steeler forced turnovers. Over-pursued on the McCoy TD, in which he had isolated coverage on McCoy and then was literally spun around like a top.
Timmons - Who was this guy?? The Larry Timmoms of 2008? What a monster game. Uuntouched on a blitz on the 1st drive, he went high at Vick and came up with air, whiffing on a cake-easy sack. Flew in to drop McCoy for a 2-yard loss, 1Q. Forced a fumble by Vick late in the 1Q. Blasted McCoy for a 2-yard loss in the 2Q, a play in which Timmons came across the field, then knifed thru, and ran a total of about 16 yards to make this play. THIS was the kind of play Timmons was projected to make every single game with his speed, athleticism, and ability to arrive at the ball with leverage and impact.
Woodley - Curled in behind Pola on a blitz and hit Vick just after the release, 1st drive. Got totally manhandled on the play in which Clark forced a fumble at the 1-foot line in the 1Q. Oafish and overly large, and carrying at least 15 pound of extra, unnecessary weight, Bit LaMarr pulled a hammy in the 1Q and did not return. He’ll probably miss 3-4 weeks, if not longer.
Worilds - Nabbed McCoy for a 2-yard loss on a screen pass, late 2Q. A couple plays, he flashed in and nabbed Vick for a Dong Sack on a 3d & 12. Actually fought off a b lock and made a tackle on a wide run. Played about 13 times better than he has, ever. Actually resembled an NFL backup LB rather than a fan recruited from the bleachers just before kickoff.
Harrison - Returned to action for the 1st time this season. Got sealed on McCoy 6-yard run, 1st drive. Applied lots of pressure on the QB as well as good, clean licks a millisecond after the ball was released, which surely made Vick jittery. Timmons: A All others: B
Pola - Played ok early on, only to tweak a calf muscle while walking back to the huddle. Missed the last 3 quarters. The China Doll will probably miss at least 5 or 6 games.
Ike - flagged for PI in the 1Q; weak call. Got away with a PI on a deep ball to Jackson in the 2Q. Meekly whiffed on a tackle in the 2H that enraged me.
Lewis - good 3rd down coverage, 1st drive. On a play that could have sealed the win, PeeBoy Lewis was UNTOUCHED in the backfield on the 4th & short plunge at the PHI 30. Timmons had blown the play up, and McCoy had nowhere to go. Lewis was there, in the backfield and well behind the LOS, and all’s he had to do was attack McCoy. Instead, Lewis meekly pawed at McCoy as though McCoy were a known AIDS and leprosy patient with open sores. McCoy was then able to squirm ahead for the needed yardage. A shit play by a shit football player.
Mundy - was his typical self -- stiff, rigid, clumsy, and showing all the football instincts of a 13year old Ethiopian soccer player. Of course, consider this with Mundy:
a.) which coach has coached, tutored, and mentored him during his previous 3 (THREE) years with the Stillers ?
b.) which coach has seen to it to keep him on the roster?
The answer to both questions is the senile old fool himself, Richard “Dick” LeBeau.
Mundy was also flagged for a helmet hit in the 3Q, although I have no problem with him on this kind of bang-bang play. The WR had run a short seamer and went up to pluck the ball (imagine, if you will, the opposite of Mike Wallace.) Mundy led with his shoulder, which did hit the WR’s shoulder, but his head also hit the WR's head. This all happened in a split second of time and space. It’s technically the correct call by the ref, but it’s also technically a good play by the DB on this play.
Cortez Allen - Did little. With all the praise at camp showered on this fellow, I’ve yet to see even 10% of it.
Clark - dropped INT in 1Q. Forced a fumble with a shoulder-pad hit at the 1-foot line, which Foote recovered. Took a thoroughly stupid 15-yard penalty when he decided to go helmet to helmet on a TE who was already corralled by Foote and Timmons in the 3Q. I’m all for cleaning up ballcarrier before they are down, but you go for the BALL, not the head, in hopes of a fumble and of course to avoid an obvious penalty flag. Still has yet to break up a pass this season, with his hands, to prevent a nice gainer. B-
Rainey - tiptoed from -6 in his EZ on the 2H KO, and was downed at own 8 on a 3Q KO. Very poor. To his credit, on the next KO, he busted a tackle and then gained 44 yards on the KO return.
Van Dyke was flagged for running OOB on punt coverage late in the 1Q. Sylvester was flagged for a hold on a Stiller punt.
Suisham booted the game-winning FG and was 3 of 3, and had good, deep KOs. Butler punted very acceptably. B
On a wet, rainy day, it was not conducive to a video-game offense. Haley rightfully toned down his offense to account for the wet, marshy conditions. I wonder if he went overboard today in answering his critics about the lack of a running game, but again, the wet conditions were not conducive to throwing 55 times. The ground game also kept the Eagles from pinning their ears back and going pell-mell at Ben, and remarkably, a defense that good was held without a sack.
Neat play design that started in the 1Q. Haley used two wingbacks (H backs, in today’s modern, but often meaningless, parlance), with Miller flaring out and then gaining 18 yards on a screen-like play. This double-WB formation gave Haley the luxury of using 1 or both of these WBs to help with pass pro, although the defense never knew which one might be blocking and which might venture out for a pass. With how porous this O-line can be, this was a nice, clever adjustment.
- 3d & G at the 3, and they run the slant to Wally. I’m at the point where I despise any EZ pass to Wally from close in, unless he’s the 3rd receiver or it’s a blown coverage. Wally has no sense of “posting up”, in a moving fashion, in the EZ in order to gain position on the ball, a la Hines Ward. He refuses to high point balls and is simply a poor option. Miller, Brown and Sanders should be the focal point, plus Wes Saunders when he returns to the mix.
- Mendy quite often lined up 8 and 8-1/2 yards behind the LOS. Why?! The deepest “tailback set up” in an I-formation you’ll ever see is 7 yards. And that (7 yards deep) is becoming as archaic as the VCR and the CD player. There’s too much “read and penetrate” with lightning fast LBs and SSs in today’s NFL to go with a set up this deep. Socrates had solid numbers today, but I see no reason to line this man up so far deep that he needs a walkie talkie just to hear the QB.
- The spike near end of 1H to stop the clock. Ben’s been doing this stupid shit for years, plus all season. I thought Haley had enough sense to stop the stupidity, but it has yet to happen. Coming out of a TIMEOUT, in which you are allowed to call 2 successive plays, Brown gained 18 yards, down to the PHI 9. When he was stopped, there were about 36 secs left in the half. It’s 1st & goal at the 9. Ben rushed the offense to the ball, only to then spike it at 0:24.
WHY?? It’s at the NINE yard line. At this point, downs are far more important than time, because you have EONS of time to score a TD from the 9-yard line. You can run anything here on 1st down, even if it’s a ONE receiver pattern, just to take a stab at a TD. If nothing is open, you throw the ball 14 feet over the WR’s head and stop the clock. In this situation, you have only 3 workable downs, because if you get to 4th down, it will likely be a FG try. By spiking the ball on 1st down, you’ve pissed away 33% of your active chances to get a TD and now have only 2 cracks at a TD. And that’s the issue -- the TD should be the goal here, not the 24-yard FG try. B
Dick had the comfy 1H that he often enjoys, although the Eagles helped him immensely with sloppy ball control that led to 2 fumbled turnovers in the 1H. The rain, wind, and marshy field conditions made defense a cakewalk on a day like this, so naturally the offensive production was going to be reduced. Of course, as is his nature, Dick had no answers in the 2nd half despite being handed a 10-poiint halftime lead. The Iggles had the ball 3 times in the 2H; they scored 2 TDs and punted once. Up by 6 points in the 4Q in his own house, with the ball at the PIT 21, Dick stood by helplessly and haplessly as PHI marched the entire length of the field, on a drive that seemed longer than Sherman’s march to Atlanta in the Civil War. 18 plays, 79 yards, and the go-ahead TD.
By the way, amid all the praise and glory heaped upon this defense for "shutting down the Eagles", keep these 2 factoids in mind:
- Over the last decade in the NFL, the chances of winning a game that you are trailing by 10 points at halftime have been only 18 percent. The chances of winning that same game if you also lose the turnover battle have been 9.6 percent. Yet Philly all but won this game, and would have, were it not for Ben's late game heroics.
- The Eagles are averaging only 16 points per game through five games, and only one team in NFL history ever made the playoffs with a lower average in a 16-game season - the 1978 Atlanta Falcons.
Only Ben’s late-game FG march saved Dick from more embarrassment, but the reality is quite clear. The guy is a fossil who needs to step down, and quickly. C-
HC: Momlin at least got his men fired up to play, with many players snapping out of long funks. Still, this was a razor thin win, at home, where his defense once again failed to protect a late, this-time 6 point lead. I have no idea what Tomlin was thinking on the final, additional, needless 3rd down plunge before the game-winning FG. On 2nd down, Redman ran from the PHI 18 and was nearly decapitated, and only by the grace of God did he not fumble. The Stillers called TO, and it’s 3rd down at the PHI 18. This is a chippie 35-yard FG, and the ball is exactly in the middle of the field. You want to kick on 3rd down, just in case a bad snap has to be swallowed. Instead, Tomlin, the dufus, calls for another plunge, which gains 2 yards. This did absolutely nothing to make the FG any easier (it already was a chippie), and it risked a botched handoff or a stripped ball by a swarming defense. Plus, it moved the FG try to 4th down, so a botched snap costs you the ballgame. Stupid, stupid, stupid. B-
Synopsis: A flimsy win at home, in a game the Stillers had a decided advantage in turnover margin (2 to 0) and TOP. You win those 2 categories, at home, and you should dominate a team, rather than having to come from behind and squeak by on a last second FG. It’s a short week, with the Stillers travelling to TENN on Thur nite. Playing at TENN has long been a house of horrors for the Stillers, and as flimsy as they have been playing, the Stillers cannot take this weak Titans team lightly.
(Still Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close….)
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