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Stillers-Bungals Postgame Analysis and Grades

October 19, 2008 by Still Mill

Stillers 38, Bungals 10 ���Game #6
Stillers 38, Cinci 10 ���. Oct 19, 2008 ����Game #6


Stillers-Bungals Postgame Analysis and Grades


The Stillers stormed out to an early 7-0 lead over the winless Bungals, and seemed poised for the blowout with a 1st & goal at the 3.They frittered it away and settled for a FG, and then stumbled the rest of the 1H.When Cinci mustered a late 2Q TD drive, the Stillers went to the locker room, clinging to a slim 10-7 lead.The lead wasn�t much larger at the end of the 3Q at 17-10.Midway thru the 4Q Ben hit Nate on a deep route for a key TD and the Stillers poured it on, 38-10.




QB:Ben finished with 17/28 for 216 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs.He was never sacked and harassed only slightly, which I�m sure pleased him to no end.He was on fire early on, hitting 5 different players for receptions on the opening TD march.He cooled off considerably the rest of the 1H with several scattershot passes.


Ben started the game off inauspiciously enough, fumbling the simple snap from center for a 3-yard loss.He rebounded with the strong TD march.He had a lollipop, underthrown lob on a deep ball to an open Holmes early in the 2Q, and a poor dumpoff to Miller on 3d & 14 midway thru the 2Q.He hit a clutch out pass to Holmes on 3d & 7 for 17 yards in the 4Q, with the team clinging to a thin 7-point lead.2 plays later, he hit Nate in stride on a deep ball for the TD that busted the game open.


Leftwich got in some PT in garbage time and went 3 for 3 with a TD pass to Ward.��� ��B


RB:Moore started for the hobbled Parker and had a sterling effort, rushing for 120 yards on 20 carries and scoring 3 TDs (1 by air, 2 by land).He had several big plays:


-          2-yd. TD catch, 1Q.

-          13-yd. TD run, 3Q

-          On 1st down from the Pit 9 after a Cinci Punt, Moore jumpstarted the drive with a 24-yard carry, giving the offense some breathing room amidst the thin 7-point lead.

-          Later in the 4Q, Moore had 2 consecutive 6-yard rushes, and then sealed the game with a strong 2d effort on a 2-yard TD plunge.


Russell played some in garbage time.Overall, a very, very strong, respectable effort by Moore. ����A+


FB: McHugh and even Speath saw some limited time at FB.��� Inc


WR:Holmes led the way with 5 grabs for 89 yards, including a 32-yarder on the opening TD drive.He had the clutch grab in the key 4Q drive, snaring an out amidst tight coverage and then adding some RAC for a 17-yard gain.


Ward helped set the tone early, converting a 3rd down on the opening drive with a great RAC effort, good for 29 yards.On the next play, he leveled rookie LB Keith Rivers with a perfectly legal pancake block, sending Rivers onto his ass and out of the game with a busted jaw.�� Ward will probably get fined again for �unnecessary roughness�.


Nate was the man of the hour in the 2H.He had a good block to help Moore on his 24-yard run, and then had a career-long 50-yard reception for the big TD.�� Sweed was finally allowed to play WR and snagged his 1st NFL pass, good for 11 yards, although he nearly fumbled the ball away.��� ����A


TE:Miller caught an obligatory pass on the opening drive and had 1 other grab.Spaeth also had a short grab.The blocking was fairly solid.��� A-��


OL: The O-line had perhaps their best performance of the season, albeit against a rather ordinary front 7. They enabled Moore to average 6 yards per carry, and Ben was not sacked at all and pressured only slightly. Staple continues to perform solidly, as did Hartwig. Starks had a good block on Moore�s 13-yard TD run. Kemo and Staple each committed a false start in the 1H, but otherwise the mistakes were few. A-


DL:The D-line had some struggles in the 2nd and 3d quarters, with Cinci getting some nice chunks on the ground. Kirschke was poor on a Benson 6-yard run on 1st down in the 2Q. Hoke showed good hustle on a dumpoff to Benson in the 3Q, but then flailed. Keisel returned to the lineup and did little. This crew did ok, but will need a much better effort next week vs. the NYG. B-


LB:Harrison and Woodley continued to wreak havoc, harassing Fitzhue and making stops in the ground defense as well.


Farrior began the game with a flail on the 1st play by Cinci. He had a rabid over pursuit on a off-guard run on 3d & 2 in the 3Q that was easily converted.He had good hustle and a solid stop on a bubble screen in the 4Q.


Timmons saw his most extensive PT of the season, leading most every Stiller fan to wonder if Foote was injured, ill, or being disciplined, what with Timmons marooned on the bench for most of the season thus far.Timmons responded with a sterling effort, good for a team-high (tied with Farrior) 6 solos plus 3 As.He showed good quickness on his pass rush and his coverage.He whipped Watson on a 4Q rush and dropped Fitzhue for a loss.


Foote played sparingly and finished with zero solos and 1 assist.�� With any kind of luck and sheer common sense, Timmons will start next week and Foote�s days as a starting LB in Pittsburgh will mercifully come to an end.�������� A


DB:lke led the way with a strong effort, making 3 bust-ups in the 1H, including 1 on a deep ball to Henry.He had decent coverage on a deep ball to Chad in the 4Q but was beaten at the end; luckily the ball was 1 inch too far for Chad to haul in.


McFadden, playing 12 yards off the ball -- even when the ball was on the Stiller 15-yard line -- started to get picked on as the game wore on.He was beaten by Chad for the lone TD.He also had a weak whiff on the 15-yard Benson run in the 4Q, a play in which both he and Pola were both injured (Pola had his helmet knocked off by Benson on a tackle attempt and appeared very woozy as he stumbled off the field).Gay saw a good bit of PT.He whiffed on TJ on a 3Q 3d & 4, good for 19 yards with mostly RAC.


Clark had a weak flailed on a QB scramble that netted 9 on 3d & 7 in the 3Q.


Overall, this crew did ok, but they�ll need to step it up next week, especially if Pola or B-Mac are out.������ B


Spec teams:The KO coverage was subpar, giving up a 35-yard return in the 1Q and a 43-yard return in the 3Q that set up a Cinci FG drive.Russell had a good stop in KO coverage after Nate�s TD.�� Berger launched a pooch punt 6 yards into the EZ in the 2Q.��


Holmes, like an idiot, chose to run with a punt rather than simply fair-catching it with the Stillers up by 14 with 7 minutes remaining.Worse, he ran backwards, and could have risked a fumble or the inevitable blocking in the back flag, when all that was needed here was a basic fair catch and the offense chewing the remaining clock.




OC:The opening drive was nice, but then Arians got cutesy with a host of strange playcalls.Here was the ground game chewing up the Bengals, and Arians is going with strange, piss-ant little 2-yard passes and whaleshit counters.I fear this clod will be badly exposed next week vs. the Giants.���� B-


DC:Dick, as he had most of this season and dozens of times throughout his career, was able to feast on a rookie greenhorn QB, this time a scrub out of Haw-vud.The softee defense they employed on the long, 14-play, 92 yard TD march at the end of the 1H was sickening and despicable.B-


HC:Tomlin seemed to have the team prepared after the bye layoff, and the team wasn�t flat.However, they collectively let off the gas pedal after the early lead, which wasn�t good at all.�� Clinging to a 7-point lead midway thru the 4Q against a winless, hapless team isn�t much to be proud of.On the other hand, the team responded well under the pressure of a tight road game in the 4Q and sealed the deal with strong play down the stretch on both sides of the ball. Tomlin must now shift his focus to beating the Giants in a huge game next Sunday.������ A-


Synopsis:A solid win after a lot of sputtering and frittering.�� Technically, a division game is far more important than an out-of-conference game like this NYG game next week. However, it�s not often that you host the defending Sup Bowl champs, and every team facing a defending champ uses that contest to see how they match up with the holder of the championship belt. This game offers the Stillers just that -- a chance to measure up to the champs. This should be a fired up Stiller crowd and a whale of a ballgame to watch for both Stiller and NFL fans all around the country.


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




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