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Stillers-Chargers Postgame Analysis and Grades

November 17, 2008 by Still Mill

Stillers 11, Chargers 10 ���Game #10
Stillers 11, Chargers 10���. Nov 16, 2008 ����Game #10


Stillers-Chargers Postgame Analysis and Grades


The Stillers hosted the warm weather Chargers amidst snowy, chilly conditions, and slopped their way to a rather uninspiring 11-10 win.3 FGs by Jeff Reed and a safety by Jamie Harrison accounted for the lone Stiller points in a bizarre final score of 11-10.




QB:Ben came back after 2 shoddy games and was terrific, going 31-41 for 308 yards.He wasn�t flawless, of course.2 deep balls were underthrown, caused by hesitation and weak tosses.He took a foolish sack on 2 & G at the 4 in the 1Q.At the spot on the field, all a QB needs to do is fling the ball through the goal posts and live for another down, rather than taking a foolish 4-yard loss and risk a strip or fumble.He missed a wide open Holmes on a deep out on 3D in the 3Q, which forced a FG.


�� On the good side, he was crisp with most passes and threw no INTs.He hit Holmes with a good strike with seconds remaining in the 1H, which set up a FG.He threaded the needle while on the move to his left on the final drive, which netted 7 on a huge 3rd & 6.This probably was the offensive play of the game.��� A-


RB:Parker returned and looked healthy as a horse, gashing the SD defense for 115 yards on 25 carries.He was particularly effective on the final drive, rushing for 10, 4, 6, 5, 2, and 4 yards.He did miss a blitz pickup in the 1Q, which led to a sack.Russell came out of nowhere to give the team a huge boost on short yardage, twice converting 3rd & 1�s with 6 and then 4 yards.�� Moore was stuffed badly on the 4 & G plunge, although there was no room to run.That was his lone carry.He had 5 grabs for 33 yards, and would have had more but slipped continually on the shoddy, chewed-up field.�� A+


FB: Davis had a good lead block on a 1Q 3d & 1.��� Given the recent futility of the short-yardage running game, perhaps Arians will start using a FB more often.��� Inc.


WR:Ward led the way with a stupendous effort, snaring 11 passes for 124 yards.He had a great RAC off a short curl in the 1Q, good for 30 yards.His grab on the late 3d & 6 amidst SD defenders was a true gem.�� The downer was the 3 penalties he was assessed; 1 hold on a run in the 2Q; an illeg. block after a catch in the 3Q; and another hold on a run in the 4Q.


Holmes had 5 grabs but had a spotty game.On the deep stop near the end of the 1H, Holmes caught the ball at the 4, right near the sideline.The ball was snapped with 11 secs left, and the Stillers had ZERO timeouts.Rather than darting straight and DIRECTLY out of bounds, Holmes actually headed upfield just a bit, and was held up, IN BOUNDS.Ward had enough sense to help knock Holmes OOB to stop the clock, and Reed booted the FG as time expired at the half.This is a classic case of a football player not fully grasping the situation.Yardage here meant NOTHING; stopping the clock was everything, and Holmes nearly cost the Stillers a chippie FG.He was also flagged for a false start late in the 3Q.And, he had incredibly lazy, careless footwork on an out pass in the 3Q, in which he lazily allowed his one foot to come down OOB and the play was correctly ruled incomplete.By NFL standards, this was a routine play and it was a careless mistake by Holmes.��


Nate had 2 grabs for 14 yards.He had a good RAC on 3d & goal at the 8 and nearly scored in the 1Q.He was not thrown a deep ball.He dropped a short pass early in the 3Q, and dropped a low in later in the quarter.��


No other receivers factored into the game at all.����� Ward:A������ Holmes and Nate:C+


TE:Miller sat due to the injured ankle.Spaeth had a big game, grabbing 6 balls for 55 yards.Gee, maybe this guy might be allowed to continue to participate in the passing offense once Miller returns.He also had 2 good blocks on a WR screen in the 2Q. McHugh caught a pop pass -- an unknown play in the Stiller playbook -- and rumbled for a 15-yard gain.He committed a blatant hold that negated Parker�s late TD run.���� B+


OL: The line play was, overall, okay.Ben was sacked 4 times, but one was due to Parker�s missed block, and 2 were due to Ben�s foolish indecision and refusal to throw the ball away.The struggles on short-yardage continued, although not entirely the O-line�s fault when every short-yardage play in recent memory, until Russell�s conversion in the 3Q, has been run to the LEFT.On the ill-fated 4D plunge, Starks got stood up badly and blasted, and Kemo did little.I�ve realized over time this season that Kemo is actually -- as he showed tonite -- acceptable out in space and while on the move, but struggles like a lil� bitch in close quarters off the snap of the ball.�� The line gave Ben plenty of time in the 2H and opened up some nice seams for Parker and Russell.The line was flagged twice, once for Colon�s illegal formation and once for Stapleton�s false start in the 3Q.��� Marvel Smith once again sat because of his achy back.��� B


DL:The D-line held Tomlinson to a meager 57 yards on 18 carries. Much of that was due to the shitty field surface, but the line held tough.Smith was pretty solid all game long, stuffing LT for 1 yard in the 1Q and blowing up a wide LT run for a 3-yard loss helped by Woodley.Keisel and Hampton (solo blocked) did nothing on the LT TD plunge.Keisel was pretty active and had 6 solos.Eason was blown out on LT�s 9-yard run in the 4.Kirschke had a good stop of Sproles in the 4Q.��� Smith was flagged for a dumbassed offsides flag in the 1Q.�� B+


LB:Another game of the have and have nots.�� The have�s, Harrison and Woodley, were monsters.Harrison fought thru a block and stripped Rivers in the EZ for the 2-point safety that provided the winning margin.He then picked off a Rivers pass late in the 2Q, deep in Stiller territory, to stave off a SD scoring drive and set the Stillers up with good FP for a FG drive.Harrison fought through a double-team with a ferocious bullrush that flushed Rivers into Keisel for a sack.


Woodley�s return to the lineup was huge.He busted up a curl on 3rd & 17 in the 2Q.He stuffed LT for a 3-yard loss.Woodie hurdled LT and forced a TA in the 3Q.He had several other pressures that made Rivers jittery back in the pocket.He slipped in the 1Q in coverage, which allowed Manu to snare a short pass and gain 17 yards.


After giving up not 1, but 2 TD passes in last week�s loss, you�d have thought Farrior had sunk to an all time low.Maybe not.Farrior has an utterly wretched game.�� For a man who never once left the field, playing at ILB, he had a grand total of 2 (TWO) solo stops.He continually was getting buried, or walled off, as easy as pie.On the 2d series, he was BURIED, and LT had his longest run of the game for 12 yards.He got BURIED on LT�s TD run.He was BURIED on LT�s screen pass late in the 2Q, which went for 14 yards.To add salt into the wound, Taunto was also flagged for an illegal block on Pola�s INT return, ruining golden FP.�� Quick -- perhaps Colbert can sign Farrior to another extension�!��


Foote also had a typically weak game.He was easily walled off on a 6-yard run by LT at 12:18 4Q.He did have an untouched run blitz in the 3Q and dropped LT for -1.


Timmons played sparingly but had as many solos as the great, vaunted Taunto Farrior.��������


Harrison:A+���� Woodley:A����� Farrior & Foote:�� D����� Timmons:�� Inc


DB:lke led the way in the depleted CB corps with a strong effort, shadowing V. Jackson and shutting down his side of the field and busting up a couple passes.He had good coverage on a deep ball early in the 4Q on an inc pass.He also had a bust-up at the GL that helped force a FG in the 4Q.Ike was also issued a total-bullshit PI flag in the 1Q.He had perfect inside position and the ball was clearly uncatchable. Total bullshit.


Pola had a couple big plays.He a an incredible, unreal, 1-handed INT just above the turf in the 1Q; one of the greatest INTs I�ve ever witnessed.He also read and snuffed the lateral on the game�s final play, and scooped up the ball for a TD.The NFL, of course, totally botched the ruling on this play (ruling an illegal lateral when none were illegal), and they took Pola�s TD off the board.�� Pola also had a good drop of LT on a wide run in the 2Q.On the down side, he had a couple of whiffs, which, oddly enough, weren�t shown on the Nike commercial that he and Tomlinson made this summer.He whiffed poorly on LT�s 12-yard run in the 1Q.He whiffed on a WR screen, which should have been 1 yard but instead got 8.


Gay played ok.He sniffed out a 0-step hitch and crisply dropped the WR for 1 yard.Gay has solid tackling technique.Ryan Clark did little, but at least he wasn�t tooled deep.Newly acquired Fernando Bryant saw some PT.He was tooled badly on a deep out for 11 yards in the 4Q.He rebounded with solid coverage on a 3D pass in the EZ in the 4Q.���

������� A-


Spec teams:A wretched, miserable, pile o� shit game for the spec teams.Not sure where to begin, but let me attempt.


Paul Spermster punted like total vomit.He booted one punt in the 2Q for 30 yards.After a high snap, he had another poor punt late in the 2Q for 32 yards.He tried a pooch, coffin-corner type punt early in the 4Q, but the ball landed at least 17 yards OOB and was marked for a 20-yard punt.�� If Berger is healthy -- or perhaps even if he is not -- he should be called for a tryout.Hell, at this point, any soccer player within 300 miles should be invited to an open tryout.This is patently absurd.


The plethora of penalties on spec teams was almost comical.�� Timmons was flagged, albeit on a total bullshit penalty, for an illegal block on the freekick in the 2Q.Timmons clearly blocked the man from the SIDE, not the back.Tony Smith tackled a punt returner who�d signaled for a FC, good for a 15 yard flag.Fox was ineligibly DF on a punt.Spaeth held on a KO return.(Why the gangly, tall Spaeth is even on the KO return team is a question for future discussion.)���


Reed booted 3 FGs, although he baldy duckhooked a 51-yard FG.In fairness, given the snow, cold, and horrible footing on the field, it was clearly a bit too far of an attempt.�� Reed�s KOs were horribly short, however.The opening boot went to the 15, and a KO in the 3Q went to the 15.


Moore dropped the free kick and booted the ball around, which then led to the Timmons flag.Usually, on a free kick from the 20, a team is salivating at the thought of starting around midfield.SD boomed a 75-yard punt (they don�t have a shitbag punter like Spermster), and Moore�s bumbling and the bullshit flag on Timmons gave the Stillers the ball at their own 6.


Russell was one of the few bright spots.He dropped a 4Q KO, but rumbled through tackles and returned the ball 27 yards to the 32.The return was negated by Spaeth�s hold.He also had good 2nd effort on a KO return in the 1Q.Good thing this buy was buried behind Davenport all this time.�� Bailey had a good stop on the opening KO, and he and Davis had good hits on the final KO.���������� D



OC:The starting QB was a sterling 31-41 for 308 yards; the starting RB had 115 yards on 25 carries, the offense had the ball for 36:31 TOP, and there were no turnovers, yet all the Bruce Arians Offense could muster was 9 points off 3 FGs.The win will probably cause most yinzers to forget the embarrassing debacle known as Bruce Arians, but we here at will not.


This guy�s fascination with exclusively going LEFT on short-yardage plunges reached an epic high, with 2 more left-side plunges stuffed in the 1H.We�ll never know why Arians has such a fetish with the left side, what with Starks an average run blocker, at best, and Kemo having problems all season long in close-quarters brawling.In the 3Q, Arians finally pulled his head out of his ass on a 3rd & 1, and went RIGHT, which netted 6 yards.Hooray !!��� Arians finally converts in short-yardage!�� Hold a parade !��


Dating back to the Colts game, the offense, led by the brilliant leadership of Bruce Arians, has now scored 12 (twelve) points off 4 FGs in the last 6 quarters of play.The grab-bagism and failure to exploit & seize the initiative while keeping the defense off balance, all the while moving with a lumbering, plodding place more befitting a postal delivery operation, came to a full boil today with no end in sight.The Arians offense is what it is -- potent enough to create a few sparks, but never synchronized enough to present a persistent, consistent attack that can score points with confidence and authority.


At this rate, the Stillers are quickly emulating the 2000 Ravens, with barely an offensive punch to complement a solid defense.����� D


DC:Dick had the luxury of facing LT in cold weather with a field so shitty and sloppy that cutbacks and jukes were mostly out of the question.�� On top of that, the offense�s TOP was a whopping 36:31, while SD�s was a paltry 23:29.�� It�s rather easy to be a DC when the opposing offense rarely gets onto the field.This guy�s luck is utterly incredible.��


The 3D defense was soft and cheesy.�� Very disappointing.�� The epitome came on the 1st drive of the 3Q.On a 3rd & 9, Dick blindly rushes just about everybody, and NOBODY is accounting for LT, who just happens to be THE most dangerous man on the football field.�� Tomlinson caught a short screen, and then literally had an ACRE of open room for a 26-yard gain.HOW in the hell do you not account for LT on 3rd down, or any down, for that matter?


The 4Q 3D defense was frightening.3rd & 10 -- easy 11 yards.Then 3rd & 10, Dick calls for the Velcro Blitz, with blitzers elbow-to-elbow, and Rivers, with ALL DAY in the pocket, easily completes a deep out for 17 yards to the PIT 6.��


What will be forgotten in this win was that Stillers could have WON the game without the last-second FG, had the defense held on.Instead, Dick�s defense allowed a laborious, time-consuming, 17-play march for a FG that put SD ahead.Games are won and lost in the 4Q, and the past 2 games Dick�s defense has softly given up a 4Q lead with soft defense.




HC:Tomlin is scaring me more than any Jason Vorhees movie.�� Really.�� This win reminds me all too much of the weak, uninspired win against Clev and the weak, uninspired loss against the lowly Jets last season.The overt lack of focus and discipline, as evidenced by 14 penalties and a rash of mental boners, is reprehensible.


The decision to attempt a 51-yard FG in the 1Q on 4th & 5 was unbelievably stupid.�� There has NEVER been a FG converted from that distance in Heinz Field.Worse, the weather and shitty field conditions, with snow, wind, and cold, made any FG beyond 35 yards an iffy proposition, much less from 51.�� Here, a punt would have been acceptable, but better would have simply been to go for it.�� Going for a completely impossible 51-yardFG in these conditions was every bit as asinine, if not more so, than the Raiders� attempt from 75 yards earlier this season.Frankly, the 75-yarder, which occurred in balmy weather, had a much better chance of success.


We�ll never know, either, why Tomlin refused to challenge the spot on Nate�s 3rd & G reception that was ruled down inches from a TD.Nate looked awfully close to being in for the score.The challenge here does 2 things: it gives you a legit shot at a TD with a possibility of a replay reversal, plus it allows your offense to gather itself for a key 4th & goal plunge, which, if you may recall, hasn�t exactly beena strong suit for this offense lately.


Lastly, I was vastly disappointed in how this Stiller team, coming off a terrible loss, could allow the Chargers -- clearly a WARM weather team -- to travel all the way across country to play in Pittsburgh on a cold, snowy day, and the best we could do was slather our way to a weak-assed, flimsy 1-point win.�� Armed with the home field advantage and cold weather, this should have been an asswhipping, but instead we had to claw from behind and win on a last-second FG.�� I smell and feel the same 2nd half malaise as occurred last season, and nothing I�ve seen yet can convince me otherwise.�� C


Synopsis:We�ll take the �W�, which, along with the Raven�s loss, puts us in sole possession of 1st place.Still, it was nothing to be proud of, and this team is going to have to play much better, more focused, more disciplined football if it has any interest in a deep playoff foray.�� Next up, the Bungals this Thur. nite.



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




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