Sunday, September 23, 2012

Steelers Lose To Raiders: 34-31 As Defense Is AWOL

Steelers Lose To Raiders 34-31 As Defense Is AWOL

What can one write when Ben Roethlisberger---exhibiting a wasted All Pro Day---throws for four touchdowns to 10 different receivers for 384 yards and the Steelers still lose? In addition, time-of-possession for the Steelers exceeded Oakland's time of possession by a full 13 minutes. WTF?

Well it does not take a genius to figure it out. Steelers defense was AWOL. It was a classic defensive breakdown for a team long known for having a history of great defenses. In fact, the Raiders offense was able to slice through the Steelers defense like a knife through warm butter.

How easy was Carson Palmer moving his offense? He simply guided his team to five straight scoring drives.

Adding to the misery were the penalties. Antonio Brown had a 73 yard touchdown run called back for two penalties---an illegal block and one for holding. It also didn't help that Brett Kiesel was caught in the neutral zone thereby giving the Raiders a 1st and Goal on the 3-yard line culminating in a touchdown to Darrius Bey. Steelers committed 10 penalties.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Steelers vs. Raiders: Pre-Game Notes; Odds & Ends

"Football is not a contact sport. It's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport." Lombardi

Steelers vs. Raiders: Pre-Game Notes
  • Sunday. 4:25. CBS
  • Line: Steelers 3 1/2
  • Harrison and Polamalu will not be playing against Oakland.
  • RB Mendenall and LB Sylvester also ruled out for the game.
  • TE Heath Miller ruled probable (Miller has two TD for seven catches).
  • Rookie Mike Adams questionable (back spasms).
  • Steelers rank 30th in running game (Oakland 31st)
  • Steeler's offensive line remains depleted with the loss of DeCastro.
  • Roethlisberger can take aim at Oakland's depleted secondary with WR's Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown
  • This game would be a good opportunity for the Steelers to open up their running game.  Dwyer is currently averaging 3.4-yard average while Redman is averaging an anemic 2.0 average.
  • Expect LaMarr Woodley and Ryan Clark should be able to take charge of the defense against the Raiders. Steelers defense is still looking for its first interception.
  • Palmer has averaged 342.8 passing yards with a 93.6 passer rating in five home starts for the Raiders.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Steelers Roll Over Jets 27-10

Steelers Roll Over Jets 27-10

Steelers offense and defense were in total control over their convincing win over the NY Jets yesterday.

The story can be told all in the numbers.

Roethlisberger's dominant performance was one example. He went 24-for-31 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The balanced attack resulted in the Steelers holding on to the ball for 36:36. Roethlisberger was so confident, he spread the ball to 10 receivers distressing the Jets secondary throughout the entire game. In addition, when plays broke down, Roethlisberger was typical Roethlisberger shaking off attacking defenders with relative ease. On one play, he escaped a rush throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. Wallace's beautiful catch put the Steelers ahead 20-10 at that point in the game.

The Todd Haley effect was in full gear as described by former Steelers great, Jerome Bettis. "You saw a lot of quicker passes designed to get the ball out of his hand quicker...And you still saw some vintage Ben."

Helping Roethlisberger were Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, both making key catches in key situations. And then there was reliable Health Miller putting together two good games in a row.

While Antonio Brown also proved effective finishing with seven catches for 79 yards. He also ran the ball once for 9 yards.

Amazingly, the Steelers barely had a running game. RB Redman had only 25 yards on 12 carries. RB Jonathan Dwyer gained only 28 yards on 12 carries. Both backs averaged just over 2 yards per carry.

And while the Steelers offense did much to help the defense, the defense, without Polamalu and Harrison, came to play as well. Cornerback Ike Taylor took it to his former teammate Santonio Holmes all afternoon.

End Notes:
  • The Steelers have won 10 straight home openers, the longest winning streak in the league.
  • Roethlisberger is within 900 yards of surpassing 27,898 yards held by Terry Bradshaw.

Next Game:

Steelers at Raiders.  4:25 EDT

(Sources: News/NY Post/USA TODAY)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Steelers vs. Jets: What's Trending This Week; James Harrison Donates $100 Grand To Kent State

Steelers vs. Jets: What's Trending?

  • Harrison and Polamalu missed practice again this week.  Harrison's left knee is still on the mend. Polamalu is dealing with a calf injury.
  • According to Coach Tomlin, Roethlisberger appears comfortable in running a no-huddle. Roethlisberger has been advocating for the no-huddle for years. He used it as his primary offense at Miami University.
  • Roethlisberger completed 22 passes for 245 yards last week, two TD's and one interception last week.
  • Roethlisberger is 24-5 in his last 29 home games with a 62.9 completion percentage, 43 TD passes and a 97.7 QB rating.  He's 3-1 against the Jets.
  • Steelers appear to be ready to give Jonathan Dwyer more carries.  Dwyer ran nine times for 43 yards, a 4.8 -yard per carry and one TD that was overruled by replay in the loss to Denver last week. Tomlin did not commit to starting Dwyer.
  • Tomlin has not said what his plans are for Rashard Mendenhall although he did practice.
  • Outside Linebacker, LaMarr Woodley said, "We won't be 0-2." If history is any indication, Steelers have never been 0-2 under Tomlin.
  • Jets are 1-8 all-time against the Steelers.
  • Ryan Clark will be back according to all reports. If so, he will definitely give the defense a boost.
  • Power Rankings USA TODAY: Steelers 14th. Jets 15th

James Harrison Donates $100,000 To Kent State, His Almer Mater

Steelers James Harrison donated $100,000 to his former school Kent State.

"I had a good time at Kent...I wanted to do something to give something back to the school, " said Harrison.

The donation will be used for scholarships. Also, Kent State announced the field house weight room will be named in his honor.

"We are extremely grateful to James for his commitment to Kent State and the football program, " said Joel Nielson, Athletic Director.

    (Sources:, Tribune, USA TODAY, PG,)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Steelers Lose To Manning 31-19: Defense Came Up Short

Steelers Lose To Manning 31-19

Okay, let's get one obvious truth out of the way right now. The defense came up short---real short especially when the Steelers came up with the go-ahead TD. In fact, after the Steelers scored, the Broncos came up with TD's of their own. Dick LeBeau's scheme against a quality QB like Manning was a lot to be desired.

In fact, time-of-possession was in the favor of the Steelers (35:05 to 24:55). It was not like the Steelers didn't have enough chances to pound the ball into the End Zone.  Steelers Red Zone efficiency was 50%. Yet, Manning was able to overcome Pittsburgh's 10-minute time-of-possession convincingly.

At least Roethlisberger can be given a lot of credit for chewing up the clock, leaving Manning on the sideline watching Ben convert 11-19 third downs. In fact, at one point in the game, Roethlisberger took 30 snaps to Manning's one. And Steelers know that Heath Miller is a dangerous weapon on third-down conversions. On the other hand, it appeared Ben took too long to get some plays started. Crowd noise? Don't know, but it was conspicuous on several key plays.

Offensive line played well. Gotta give em credit where credit is due. It's been lacking for a few years.

Steeler fans also have to be happy with Jonathan Dwyer's performance. While Redman had a dismal 1.8 yards a carry, Dwyer ran 43 yards on nine carries.

Yet, even Roethlisberger had to admit, Tracy Porter's pick led to a 43 yard touchdown that put the game out of reach for the Steelers with just over two minutes remaining in the game.

Roethlisberger finished 22 of 40 for 245 yards with two TD's and one interception.

In closing, it's only the first game of the season. Denver's stadium has one of the toughest home-field advantages in the league. In addition, it cannot be discounted the Steelers were up against one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. It's also undeniable the team's performance was hurt by not having several key players including James Harrison.

If this team can get healthier in the near future, things will look up. Having said that, defense needs some work. I also sensed the defense was tired. Lack of conditioning? I don't know, but one thing was obvious: Peyton Manning shredded our D in the fourth quarter coming up with 11 fourth-quarter points.

Next Game:

Jets at Steelers.  Sunday, 9/16/12 at 4:25 PM EDT on CBS

(Sources:, Pitt PG, USA TODAY, Fox Sports)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Steelers at Broncos: Pre-Game Review

Steelers At Broncos: Sunday, 8:20 ET, NBC

The last time these two teams met, Denver won in overtime 29-23. The last time these two teams met, Tim Tebow was QB. This time the Steelers will be facing a guy by the name of Peyton Manning. "He's going to be the same Peyton Manning, " LeBeau said earlier this week.

Expect Todd Haley's new offense to utilize quick passes and quick strikes to offset the Broncos pass rush especially if Mendenhall does not play (Steelers have still not ruled out him out for the opener).

Expect Dick LeBeau's defense to focus on producing more turnovers much like they did during the 2010 season. In addition, LeBeau will be looking for Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward to help DE Keisel. LeBeau still has reliable Polamalu, Woodley an Timmons to cover any tears in the steel curtain.

James Harrison is still not expected to play. He had complained the "knee still didn't feel too good" earlier this week. Harrision did not practice on Friday. Under Tomlin, players who generally do not practice on Friday, do not play the weekend.

David DeCastro was placed on IR.

Coach Tomlin looks to improve his opening day record to 5-1. Ben needs 10 completions to reach 2,100 career yards. Polamalu has recorded at least one interception in five of the last seven season opening games. Woodley is looking to record a sack for the third consecutive opening game.

Steelers current odds to win Super Bowl: 16-1
Over/Under Wins: 10
Strength of Schedule: 17, facing 6 playoff teams.
(USA TODAY,, NY Post, Pitt. PG)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Charlie Batch Makes Team; Dwyer Looking Good in the Pre-Season; Roster Cuts; Injury Update

Charlie Batch Makes Team

When Charlie Batch hit Emmanuel Sanders with an absolutely awesome spot-on 37-yard pass  for the first TD against Carolina this week, I said to myself: Charlie will stay with the team. And sure enough, the 37-year old Batch made the team this week.

Charlie was 11-14 for 102 yards and one TD with no interceptions.

This will be Charlie's 15 NFL season. He will sit behind Roethlisberger and Leftwhich.

Nine players did not play including Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Health Miller, Pouncey, Taylor and Polamalu.

Unless other major changes or made (ie. trades), Steelers will be meeting Denver with six rookies draft picks including DeCastro, OT Mike Adams, NT Almeda Ta'amu, Halfback Chris Rainey, TE David Paulson and  G/T Kevin Beachum

(Rainey had two great plays returned because of penalties, one a 78 yard punt return)

Steelers had an explosive first quarter against Carolina. The score should have been 24-0 if not for the penalties nullifying Rainey's great runs.