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Stillers-Giants Postgame Analysis and Grades

October 27, 2008 by Still Mill

Giants 21 , Stillers 14 ���Game #7
Giants 21, Stillers 14 ���. Oct 26, 2008 ����Game #7


Stillers-Giants Postgame Analysis and Grades


The 5-1 Stillers hosted the 5-1 and defending NFL Champ Giants.The 2 teams staged a ferocious battle, with the Giants coming back from a 14-9 4Q deficit to win, 21-14.�� 3 huge plays determined this game in its final 20 minutes, with the Stillers on the short end of each play:


-          Ben hits Nate for a 58-yard TD, but Colon is flagged for a hold.

-          On 4th & 6 from the Stiller 34, Manning hits Toomer for 30 yards, setting up a FG that makes the scored 14-12 Pit

-          After the ensuing 3 & out, James Harrison -- subbing as the long snapper for injured Greg Warren -- sails the snap over Berger for a safety that tied that game.




QB:Ben had a rock, shoddy outing.He wasn�t helped much at all by his dimbulbed offensive coordinator, but nonetheless he was shabby.He started from the very first play from scrimmage, triple pumping before dumping a short incompletion.He triple pumped at 3:26 2Q, and then was sacked.Starting the 2H, on 3d & 11, Ben double-pumped and then took the sack.This continued nearly the entire game, with plenty of time provided by the O-line but Benji playing the role of the meek, timid college freshman.��


����������� On paper, Ben threw 4 INTs, but only 1 was of consequence and directly his fault.�� That was the 1st one, in the 1Q, which Ben threw way behind Ward for a foolish, totally unforced INT.�� The 2nd INT was off a bobble by Nate after a big hit; the 3rd INTwas a forced pass on 4th & 5;there wasn�t anything there and the INT actually resulted in a 2-yard gain of field possession.�� The 4th INT was a 4th down desperation bomb with less than a minute remaining.�� On the other hand, 13 of 29 for 189 yards isn�t all too good.��

����������� Much worse were the poor underthrows on deep balls.He underthrew Nate in the 2Q, which should have been 6.The TD to Nate in the 3Q was actually underthrown.(The other TD to Nate was thrown right on the money, but the holding flag by Colon negated it.)The 90 MPH screen pass to Moore in the 3Q wasn�t too good, either.�� In the battle of Eli vs. Ben, Eli clearly won.����� C-


RB:Moore had a very strong game, rushing 19 times for 84 yards and a quality 32-yd. TD run in the 1Q.Moore ripped off several other nice gainers of 5, 9, and 10 yards.Moore did alligator-arm a wheel route in the 2Q and dropped it, but drew a 15-yard flag for un. roughness by NY.Moore had a terrific catch on a low pass to set up the 4th & 4 in the 4Q.


����������� Russell had a strong run on a draw play in the 2Q, good for 8 yards.��� Russell cost the team 15 yards after Kehl�s INT return, committing a horsecollar penalty by making the exact same type of tackle that Joey Porter did on Sean Alexander without penalty in Sup Bowl 40.(It�s amazing, by the way, the number of idiot yinzers who still actually cling to the belief that Porter should not have been flagged on that blatant, obvious horsecollar�.)�� This gave NY golden FP at the PIT 29, which they parlayed into a chippie FG.����� A��


FB: McHugh played sparingly at FB.��� Inc


WR:With Holmes out, this crew was marginally productive.�� Nate had a 65-yard TD catch and had another 53-yard TD, but it was nullified by a hold.Nate had no other receptions.He dropped a 3d & 2 crosser after a rugged hit, and the ball was INT�d by Kehl.


Ward was far too quiet, finishing with 3 grabs for 30 yards.He also committed a false start in the 1Q, and an entirely jackasses illegal formation penalty on a 3d & 1 in the 3Q in which Moore gained 7.Ward simply failed to line up on the LOS.To his credit, he made a strong catch in traffic on the ensuring play, good for 14 yards.He also had a drop on a late 4th & 4, although he was well short of the sticks.


Sweed grabbed 3 passes for 28 yards, although he fumbled (just like last week) on the 1st grab.(He recovered.)��� Baker did nothing, aside from committing a dumbassed offsides penalty in the 2Q on the same play that Russell was flagged for the horsecollar.����� B-


TE:Miller sparked the first drive with a RAC good for a 22-yard gain.He had 2 other grabs for an additional 30 yards, but was clearly underutilized.Clearly the 3rd best receiver available for today�s game, Miller spent much of the day staying in the pocket as an extra blocker.�� Miller had a nice pancake of Tuck on Moore�s TD run.He had some struggles in blocking, such as on the 2d & 5 plunge from the PIT 5 in the 2Q in which Miller whiffed on his block and got Moore plastered for zero yards.Spaeth, as usual, was never once involved in the passing game.���� B


OL: Some good, some bad.The line opened up enough fissures for Moore & Russell to gain well over 4 YPC against a stout front 7.And Ben was given plenty of time of numerous pass plays that finally broke down when Ben held the ball seemingly forever.There were some gaffes and leaks, of course.�� Starks had a weak outing.He barely got a finger on Kiwanuka on 3d & 14 in the 4Q, resulting in an immediate sack.Kemo wasn�t much better, getting shoved to the ground by a rusher on 2d down with 2:58 remaining in the game.He also committed a foolish roughing penalty in the 3Q, hitting a defender near the pile well after the play had ended.��


The turd o� the game award might very well go to Willie The Colon, who committed a stupidassed hold on a Nate�s TD bomb late in the 3Q.�� Not satisfied with that act of stupidity, The Colon, on the 1st play of the 4Q, committed a false start on 3rd & 8.The ensuing play netted 9 yards, and the Stillers, instead of possibly having earned a 1st down, had to go for it on 4th down.Thank you, Colon, you sorry turd.�������� Colon: D���� Rest of O-line:�� C


DL:The D-line had a stout effort, holding the vaunted NY ground attack to84 yards on 31 rushes.They also held off a 3 & G and 4 & G sequence in the 2Q.�� Keisel and Aaron Smith both had strong, stellar games.�� Keisel seemed to be all over the field, knifing in to drop Jacobs for a 1-yard loss in the 2Q; moving down the LOS on a sweep and stopping it for a 2-yard gain in the 3Q; and blasting Ward on a 1 & G in the 4Q for a 2-yard loss.�� Smith was 1 of the main stalwarts on the 4 & G stop, and showed great hustle on a 3Q screen pass, stopping it for 9 yards on 3d & 14.For a man who�d missed most of practice this week dealing with a personal issue, Smith had a very strong game.


The Big Snack, Fat Casey Hampton, finally returned to action after his long layoff.�� He was credited with 5 solos.�� The Big Waddler was actually blown off the ball on the 4 & goal plunge in the 2Q.�� Eason had a good stop in the 1Q, and Hoke chipped in some.���� The down note was the total lack of pass pressure and pocket push from this crew.�� A-


LB:Far too quiet a day from the LB corps, in a tight game where the team needed a big play from this crew but got none.��


Woodley had some solid stops in the ground game and had a few pressures, but that was about it.He had an asinine offsides flag on a 2 & G inc. pass in the 2Q, which gave the Giants an extra stab at the EZ.


Harrison was quiet all game long; he helped bottle a few runs, and had a couple half-decent bulrushes, but that was about it.His biggest contribution was on the 1st play of the long, methodical FG march that started early in the 4Q.Manning, under heavy pressure, threw the ball left-handed to a back in the flats, who was standing at the LOS with no hope of gaining any yardage.Harrison barged into the intended receiver with no purpose or sense whatsoever, giving the Giants a 1st & 10 instead of a 2nd & 10.


Larry Foote started and got most of the PT over Timmons, and did very, very little.�� Timmons saw some limited PT.�� Frazier got a rather inordinate amount of PT in the 2H, presumably due to an undisclosed injury.��


Leading the way in clumsiness and dereliction was the team captain, James �Taunto� Farrior, who had a wretched game by any standard.��


He had a horrific flail on a 3Q 3d & 14 screen, in which Ward easily hurdled over the flailing, ass-clumsy Farrior in a display so hilarious and jerkwater that you�d swear the Globetrotters had them practice this routine during pregame warm-ups.As can be seen in this photo, Farrior�s head is DOWN, which is a recipe for disaster when tackling at the NFL level.��


Then, on the key drive of the game -- the 14-play march in the 4Q -- Manning hit the TE, Boss, with a piss-ant little dumpoff on 3rd & 9 from the NY 46.Farrior was right nearby, and had the slow-footed Boss dead to rights for a 5-yard gain, at MOST.�� Instead, Farrior, with absurd technique befitting a 6th grader, flails and whiffs like a complete turd, and Boss gains 16 yards to sustain the march.


Two plays later, Ward trucked Farrior on a 4-yard gain.On the game-winning drive, on a 1st & goal at the 9, Farrior weakly pawed at Ward�s ankle and allowed an extra 3 yards on a 7-yard gainer.��


The next play, Farrior -- supposedly The Winged God of LB coverage -- was lost in No Man�s Land, doing nothing and covering NO ONE, and a wide-open Boss hauled in the winning TD.�� Quick -- perhaps Colbert can add another 3 years onto the rabid extension he gave Farrior just before the season began!!��


Farrior:D-����� Others:��� C


DB:A rocky outing for the secondary, despite the luxury of Plex Burress sitting the bench for much of the 1H due to some punishment by his coach.��


Clark spent much of the early going on his back, getting trucked by Jacobs late in the 1Q on a 9-yard run and 3 plays later on a 13-yard run.He did slip into the BF untouched on the 4 & G plunge and helped disrupt it.He was slow to help on the deep ball to Smith, but jarred it loose with a big hit.He was hurt on the play and did not return.�� His replacement, Ty Carter, was slow to help on the 4th & 6 deep ball to Toomer that netted 30 yards in the 4Q.


����������� Townsend had a rough outing.He was beaten by Smith on a deep flag in the 3Q, and blatantly grabbed Smith�s jersey.The pass was inc. and no flag was thrown.He was then beaten badly on the deep ball to Smith that Clark was injured on.He was tooled badly by Smith on the 3d & 7 play that gained 25 yards, which set up the winning TD a few plays later.


����������� Ike had a big lick on Plex after a short hitch, forcing a punt.�� He also busted up a curl in the 3Q.He got nicked up at 11:43 4Q.�� Gay replaced him, and was left on an island and burned on the 4th & 6 by Toomer, good for 30 yards.Gay later had a decent bustup on 3 & G, although, with the positioning and read he had on that play, you�d like to see him go for the INT, as he could have snuffed a FG try with a pick and perhaps the ball could very well have been returned for a TD.����


Troy Pola -- the stat sheet says it all.�� 1 solo, 2 assists, and very, very little else.�� He helped Keisel stop a 3d & 1 plunge in the 4Q, but that was about it.


Overall, like the LBs, this group failed to rise to the occasion and make the big play when it counted.���� C


Spec teams:Another colossal disaster.�� The coverage teams sucked donkey balls.�� After Moore�s 1Q TD, NY returned the KO 35 yards to their 35.�� They parlayed this golden FP into a FG drive.A 2Q punt was returned by NY 28 yards to the PIT 19, with Berger forced to make the tackle.Again, NY parlayed this golden FP into a FG.


Late in the 2Q, Berger tweaked a ham on a punt, and was in obvious pain.He remained in the game and punted ok.�� His best punt of the game resulted in a calamity of sorts; the 51-yard punt was returned 1-yard to the NY 10.�� But longsnapper Greg Warren was injured on the play and carried off the field, and did not return.Somehow, neither Hartwig nor Stapleton is capable of long snapping, so on the next punt attempt (7:21 4Q), Jamie Harrison, who has never long-snappedin a game, was sent in to snap.�� I have no idea if Harrison practiced at all on the sidelines while the Stiller offense was on the field; I�m sure we�ll know more by Monday or Tues.�� At any rate, Harrison�s snap sailed 4 feet over Berger�s head for a safety that tied the game at 14-all.�� The resultant free kick had sorry-assed coverage, and the 16-yard return gave NY the ball at their 47.


Neither the KO return nor the punt return game did anything of value.�� Reed�s KOs were good.��� D


OC:Bruce Arians showed the country, on national TV, exactly how inept he is as an OC.After scoring a TD in the 2nd minute of the game, his offense scored exactly 7 points thereafter.Sure, The Colon negated a TD with his hold, but the offense did very little after the initial opening march.�� As the game wore on, NY�s defense smothered the Stiller offense and seized control of the game.���


Reverses?None.End arounds?None?�� Screen passes?�� One.�� Adjustments to the New York 4Q SELLOUT to blitzing 6 & 7 men?�� NONE.��� The offense essentially had 3 drives in the 4Q, one starting at 8:18 the other at 3:07, and the last one at 1:24.�� Starting with the drive at 8:18, NY sold out with the jailhouse blitz -- the same one employed by Philly in their win over PIT last month -- and Arians, the dumbass, never adjusted to it.In those final 3 drives, the offense gained:


����������� 1.MINUS 12 yards


����������� 2.�� 6 yards (in 4 plays)��


����������� 3.�� 0 yards�� (in 4 plays)��


The first drive mentioned above culminated in the fateful snap by Harrison that gave 2 points and golden FP to NY.�� At this point, Arians HAD to know that Warren was out of the game and that the team desperately needed to move the chains.�� The next 2 drives, NY had the lead and was playing a softee, PREVENT defense, meaning they were content to give up 10 and 15 yards passes.Even with that, Arians, the complete buffoon that he is, was unable to muster more than SIX TOTAL YARDS in 8 plays.��


The 3rd down conversion rate says it all --1 for 10.�� Oh for 4 on 4th downs as well.��� Perhaps the most glaring stat as this:the stagnant, refuse-to-adjust Arians Offense produced exactly ZERO (0) first downs in the 4th quarter.


One major reason for the offensive struggles -- with Holmes out, Heath Miller was unequivocally THE THIRD BEST RECEIVER available for this game.�� He�s got far more experience, savvy, and grit-under-NFL-pressure than Baker and Sweed COMBINED.�� Miller has the best hands on the team besides Ward and was wide open every time he was thrown the ball.Yet he spent much of the game as a chip-blocker in the backfield on passing downs, rather than being DOWNFIELD on a pass pattern.�� Any number of players -- McHugh, Russell, or Speath -- could have stayed in the backfield and blocked.��� At this point of the season, who would you rather throw to --Heath Miller, Limas Sweed, or Dallas Baker ?��


I remain convinced that only a superhuman performance by the offense can win a championship with a total stupidass like Arians as the Off. Coord.������ D-


DC:After spending the entire season thus far feasting on greenhorns, backups, and stooges, Dick finally got a genuine NFL offense to test him, and he failed miserably.�� Dick�s defense faltered badly in the 4Q, where games at the championship level are won or lost.��


On the long, methodical, 13-play FG march in the 4Q, Dick�s defense gave up a 3rd & 9 and a 4th & 6.The 3rd & 9 was the blatant fault of Taunto Farrior, but remember this -- no one except Colbert is more in love with Farrior than is Dickie LeBeau.�� On the 4th & 6, Dick left his greenhorn, 2d-year QB on an ISLAND, all alone against Toomer, rather than rolling some coverage to help Gay out.�� On the game-winning TD drive, Dick�s defense barely gave up a fight, getting carved up as easily as a Halloween pumpkin in an easy, effortless 7-play march.��


Dick actually had the luxury of the opponent�s best WR being benched to start the game, as well as their best RB being benched for most of the entire 2H, yet he was unable to capitalize.����


The underneath crossing routes ate Dick alive today in the 1H.�� NY ran these at will and Dick was helpless to stop them.After the Stillers had taken the early 7-0 lead, the Stillers could have put a stranglehold on the Giants if they�d been able to get some quick stops on NY and create good FP.Instead, after an initial 3 & out that had netted 9 yards, NY�s offense was basically unstoppable in the 1st half, as follows:


-          10 plays, FG

-          12 plays, loss of downs inside PIT 1

-          3 plays, 2 yards, chippie FG(obviously the fault of the spec teams for allowing golden FP)

-          6 plays, 22 yards, chippie FG.���


The overt lack of pressure the entire game was just pitiful.�� Dick didn�t create many free shots and Manning very rarely was harassed and was never sacked.


I don�t want to hear any caterwauling about how McFadden�s injury affected this defense.Remember this -- McFadden�s ass was stapled firmly to the bench when the season began, and only Townsend�s injury allowed B-Mac any meaningful PT.�� Dick had exactly whom he wanted in the starting lineup today in DeShea Townsend.��


On paper, this will look like a solid defensive effort.However, football games against championship caliber opponents are won on the gridiron, not on paper.Giving up 10 points in the 4Q on 2 long, methodical, time-consuming marches is nothing impressive and Dick needs to be held accountable.��� C-


HC:Tomlin talks a lot about preparation, but when Warren got hurt, the team was so ill prepared that they best they could do was insert a LB as the longsnapper, and the resultant snap sailed 4 feet over the punter�s head for a safety.Very, very poor.�� I blame this on the coaching staff for not doing the preparation they so fondly demand.�� Tomlin also preached a lot about how the offense learned from the Philly disaster.Quite obviously, they did not, as NY went jailhouse midway thru the 4Q and the offense never countered.Tomlin seems unwilling, or afraid, to slap some sense into Arians.�� Every time we play a quality team, this offense lays a collective egg.�� 14 points??�� In today�s N FL, that won�t win you very many games.��


The punt snap fiasco injury begs further questioning & scrutiny.Remember, not only was Harrison a liability as the snapper, but Berger had clearly pulled a muscle and was hobbling around and wincing in pain.�� A snap to the left or right of Berger, or even a low snap, would have been fraught with danger due to Berger�s very limited mobility.�� You have to wonder if Tomlin had fully considered all other options, including considering it 4-down territory.Could not have Ben pooch punted the ball from a SG formation on 4th & 10 ?�� Sure, the Giants might have expected something and drifted back a safety, but they would have had to have respected Ben�s throwing ability.�� If not Roth, could not someone else, such as Ward, pooched the ball from a direct SG snap?�� To literally give away a 2-point lead that late in the game -- and all the momentum to boot (no pun intended) off a silly mistake by a �snapper� who has never, ever snapped a football in a live game, is just reprehensible.��


����������� The disastrous 3-play sequence late in the 3Q, in which the Stillers were penalized on 3 successive plays, shows poor focus, attention to detail, anddiscipline.Ward was flagged for an assaholic illegal formation on a 3rd & 1 run that netted 7.Kemo was flagged for a dead ball personal foul after Sweed had converted the 3rd & 6.Then The Colon was flagged for a hold that wiped out Nate�s long TD.3 plays later, the Stillers punted -- when they should have either been kicking off, or kicking a FG, or at worst, pooch punting to the Giants� 5-yard line -- and Warren was injured on the play.�� Tomlin has to find out the root cause of this rash of foolish penalties and rectify it rather quickly.���C


Playing Surface:�� So much for the bullshit babble by Stooge Rooney that �grass fields are safer�.Warren ripped his knee in punt coverage.�� Add this to a long list of players who have been injured on this shit field.��


Synopsis:A culmination to a shitty weekend of sports for yours truly.�� Pitt lost; Penn Bate won; the Penguins lost in a shootout after giving up the tying goal to the hated Strangers with 9 seconds left in the game; and now this exasperating, come-from-ahead defeat.To say I�m royally pissed off would be a huge understatement.Next up, a MNF road game against the 6-2 Skins in DC, on the nite before the elections.�� Yeah, sure, a really bright idea by the NFL to hold a MNF game in DC on the eve of the elections�..



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



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