Sunday, December 29, 2013

Steelers End Season With Beat-Down Of Browns 20-7




Steelers 2013 Season Comes To An End (8-8)

AP summarized the game and the Steelers season as well as anyone: "Pittsburgh played like it didn't want its season to end. Cleveland looked like as though it couldn't wait to pack things up and go home...The Browns got their wish. The Steelers did not." Steelers drummed the Browns 20-7.

The fact is the Steelers lost games in the beginning of the season they should have won. Then---in the final eight weeks of the season---they went a respectable 6-2. The offense gets most of the credit considering they scored at least 20 points for the ninth straight time (their longest streak in 11 seasons). Unfortunately, it was not enough.  The Steelers failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season.

In looking at the "glass half full" scenarios, perhaps the way the season ended today portends a brighter outlook for the 2014 season.


Season's Significant Numbers:
  • Le'Veon Bell set the franchise rookie record for yards from scrimmage with 1259 yards rushing surpassing the previous record held by Franco Harris in 1972 (1235 in 14 games). This was a remarkable achievement considering he missed the first three games of the season. He recorded 8 TD's for the season.
  • Antonio Brown also sealed a spot in franchise history with his 1,399th receiving yard against Green Bay. He ended the season with 1,499 yards on 110 receptions. Brown also recorded 8 TD's for the season.
  • Roethlisberger ended the season with 4,261 yards on 584 attempts with a 64.2% completion record and 28 TD's.  Passer rating = 92.0.
  • Emmanuel Sanders ended the season with 740 yards on 67 receptions and 6 TD's.
  • Heath Miller 593 yards on 58 receptions and 1 TD.
  • Jerricho Cotchery had 46 receptions for 602 yards and 10 TD's.
  • On  defense, Jason Worilds recorded 8 sacks, Cameron Heyward 5, LaMarr Woodley 5, and Lawence Timmons 3 sacks. Team Total: 34.
  • Team interceptions total: 3 with one each for Polamalu, Gay and Cortez Allen.
  • Total first downs: 312 (opponents 303).
  • Third down conversions: 82/216.
  • Fourth down conversions: 9/15
  • Total offensive yards: 5,400 (opponents: 5,395)
  • Total rushing yards: 1,383 (opponent 1,849).
  • Total passing yards: 4,017.
  • Field goals: 30/32.
  • Touchdowns: 41.
  • Time of Possession: 30:53 (opponents 29:06).


Still The:

Pittsburgh Steelers.com, PG, Fox Sports, CBS Sports

Friday, December 27, 2013

Browns @ Steelers Pre-Game Review




Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, 1 p.m. ET CBS


While the Steelers are still in the hunt, the path to post-season playoffs remains a challenge. In short, the Steelers have little control of the outcomes on Sunday with one exception: they must beat the Browns.

Miami needs to lose (playing the Jets). The Ravens need to lose (playing the Bengals). The Chargers need to lose (playing KC). In other words, if all three lose and the Steelers beat the Browns, the Steelers are the sixth-seed. The good news? They've been sixth-seed before in 2005 beating Seattle to win the Super Bowl.

At least with the Browns, history has been good to the Steelers. They haven't lost to Cleveland at home since 2003 and winning 18 of their last 20 meetings overall. Roethlisberger is 16-1 against the Browns.

RB Le'Veon Bell needs 73 yards from scrimmage to over take Franco Harris' rookie record of 1,235 yards.

Sanders (knee) and Worilds (abdomen)---as of today---remain questionable for Sunday's game.




PittsburghSteelers.com, USA Today Sports, NY Post, ESPN

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Steelers Beat Green Bay 38-31 Still In The Hunt




Steelers Still In The Hunt

Steelers are now 7-8 after beating the Packers 38-31. They're in exactly the same position they were in last year at this time at 7-8. Today's win has to leave Steelers fans asking themselves: What if?---What if the Steelers had played the first part of the season as they've played in the second half?

As mentioned in the previous post, the Steelers remain in the hunt. Next week, the Steelers meet the Browns at home. For the Steelers to get into post season, Jets have to win in Miami, KC has to beat San Diego and the Ravens need to lose to the Bengals. One more thing. The Steelers need to beat the Browns.  It's going to take a miracle, but crazier things have happened in the NFL.


The Numbers:
  • Ben was 16/28 for 167 yards. 2 TD's and 1 interception.
  • Bell ran for 124 yards on 26 attempts. 1 TD.
  • Antonio Brown had 6 receptions for 105 yards.
  • Spaeth and Sanders both recorded one touchdown each.
  • On defense, Keisel, Worlids and Timmons recorded one sack each.
  • Polamalu forced a fumble.
  • Red zone efficiency: 80%.
  • Third down efficiency: 20%.
  • Total rushing yards: 151 on 29 rushes averaging 5.2 yards per rush.
  • Net yards passing: 192. With an average of 6.4 yards per pass.
Final Game Of The Season:

Browns @ Steelers. Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. 1 p.m. ET

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Steelers @ Packers Pregame Review





Steelers (6-8) At Green Bay (7-6-1)
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 4:25 p.m. ET

Since 1972, the Steelers have won 20 division titles. This year will not be one of them. The Steelers are also 6-time Super Bowl champions. This year will  probably not be one of them. Sunday's game is the first meeting between both teams since the Packers beat the Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. Green Bay can lay claim to their third straight NFC North title if they beat Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The Steelers are a long shot for post season. They'll need to beat Green Bay and Cleveland. In addition, Miami, NY, San Diego and Baltimore must finish with 8-8 records for tie breakers to break in Pittsburgh's direction.

The last time the Steelers played at Green Bay it was November of 2005. Charlie Batch was QB for the injured Roethlisberger. Steelers won 20-10.

Green Bay's QB Aaron Rodgers has been ruled out to play Sunday. Steelers DE Brett Keisel is expected to play (he's missed four out of the last five games).

Need To Know: Steelers now own the oldest secondary in the NFL with Polamalu at 32, Ryan Clark at 34 and Ike Tayler at 33.

Steelers.com, Fox Spots, Steelers Depot

Monday, December 16, 2013

Steelers Take It To Bengals 30-20 But Too Little To Late For This Season





Steelers Come Out Of The Blocks Quickly To Beat Bengals 30-20

Roethlisberger was sharp. Antonio Brown was impressive with a returned punt and catching a TD all in just over a minute of the first quarter.  Shaun Suisham added some icing to the cake with his three field goals.  He was responsible for 12 of those 30 points. The special teams play was also particularly impressive. At one point in the game, the Steelers led the Bengals by 24 points. In fact, the 21 points in the first quarter were the most for the Steelers in the fist 15 minutes since they scored 21 points in 2004 against New England.

Yet, while the win was impressive, we know this game should be placed into the " to little to late" file. Having said that, it shows the Steelers have not given up on the season.


The Numbers:
  • Roethlisberger was 20/25 for 191 yards, one TD and one interception. Notice the pattern as pointed out by Ron Cammarata (contributor to this blog). The Steelers wins have come on Ben throwing for less than 300 yards. When he exceeded that total, the Steelers have a losing record this season.
  • Ben came into the game with 189 straight passes without an interception. His streak ended last night at 207.
  • Bell rushed for 57 yards on 24 attempts. He also had 5 receptions for 50 yards.
  • Antonio Brown had one receiving TD and one rushing TD. He rushed for 66 yards on 5 receptions.
  • Sanders ended the game with 38 yards on 5 receptions followed by Miller with 35 yards on 4 receptions.
  • Ziggy Hood captured one sack.
  • Third down efficiency was a weak 20%.
  • Fourth down efficiency was 100%.
  • Penalties: 4-25 and no fumbles lost.
  • Red zone efficiency was 50%.

The Steelers next meet the Packers at Green Bay on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, at 4:25 p.m. ET

Fox Sports, Steelers.com, Yahoo Sports

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Steelers-Bengals Pre-Game Review: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013




Bengals (9-4) @ Steelers (5-8)

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 8:30 p.m. ET

The first time the Bengals and Steelers played this season, Bengals QB Andy Dalton threw for 280 yards and a touchdown. That was on September 16, 2013.  The Bengals beat the Steelers 20-10. It was also the second of four straight losses for the Steelers until they beat the Jets (19-6) on October 13, 2013, right after the bye.

This game will be the fourth time both teams meet on Sunday Night Football. Steelers hold a 2-1 edge.

If the Bengals win (and the Ravens lose), they will claim the AFC North title.

Coach Tomlin made is clear he's still focused on winning the remaining games, not on 2014.

Notes:
  • Roethlisberger has thrown for 11 TD's with no interceptions.
  • Occasional columnist to this report, Ron Cammarata, also reminds us that the Steelers are 2-11 in the last 13 games when Roethlisberger throws for 300 yards or more. On the other hand, the team is 3-0 in the past three games when he has thrown for under 300 yards. As Ron points out correctly, Roethlisberger  can be our greatest asset and also our greatest liability...when he allows his ego to get in the way.
  • Steelers released LB Kion Wilson to make room for DE Brian Arnfelt who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster.
Steelers.com, Bleacher Report, WPXI.com, USA Today

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dolphins Dash Steelers Playoff Hopes With 34-28 Win




Steelers Staring At Second Consecutive Losing Season

The 2013 Steelers were unable to put up a win when it was desperately needed. They still had a shot at post-season going into this game (with a win and Ravens loss---Ravens squeezed out a win with 4 seconds left in their game) yet this team was unable to pull it off.

In reality, this disappointing season has never been the year for the Steelers. The 0-4 start appeared to set the stage for a season of discontent. And while Steelers fans never give up hope as evidenced in 2005 when the  6th seed Steelers won the Super Bowl; 2013 didn't break in their favor (even after almost pulling off a miracle ending today that included multiple laterals with a call that Antonio Brown stepped out of bounds on the Miami 12 yard line).

The Numbers And Notes
  • Roethisberger's 213th touchdown was a team record, surpassing Terry Bradshaw by one (Ben did it in his 10th season while it took Terry 14).
  • Ben threw for 349 yards (23/39) and three touchdowns.
  • Steelers rushed for 84 yards. Bell had 61 of those yards on 15 attempts.
  • Antonio Brown ended the game with 137 yards on 5 receptions and one TD. Cotchery and Sanders both scored touchdowns.
  • Red zone efficiency was 100% with 3rd down efficiency holding at 47%.
  • Penalties-yards: 9-63.
  • Steelers completed 16 first downs.
  • Play selection: 65% passing/35% rushing.
Steelers close out the 2013 season with the Bengals (next Sunday, 8:30 p.m.), Packers and Browns.

Pittsburgh.com, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, Pitts. PG

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Steelers-Dolphins Preview




Miami (6-6) @ Pittsburgh (5-7)
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 1 p.m., CBS ET

This game will no doubt determine if the Steelers make the playoffs especially following their loss to the Ravens last week.

There is a cause for optimism for the Steelers. They haven't lost to Miami at home since September of 1990. The Steelers have also won five straight games against the Dolphins. The last time the Steelers lost to Miami was in September of 1998.

Miami's QB, Ryan Tannehill, has 17 TD's this season and 13 interceptions. He's been sacked a whopping 45 times through the last 12 games. Having said that, he's thrown over 300 yards in consecutive games.

Roethlisberger, on the other hand, has not been intercepted in three consecutive games while throwing 10 touchdowns. He's completed 62.4% of his passes for 841 yards. Ben currently holds a 105.8% passing rating for his last three outings.  On the down side, Ben will be playing with his third center of the season, Cody Wallace. Wallace will be making his first career start replacing the injured Fernando Velasco.

A win over Miami paired with a Raven's loss to the Vikings would put the Steelers back in the hunt.

Current line: Steelers by 3.

Fox Sports, Pittsburgh Steelers.com, Bleacher Report

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ravens Edge Steelers 22-20 As Steelers Remain In The Hunt By A Thread




Steelers Lose To Ravens But Remain In The Hunt By A Thread


If there is any truism in the NFL, it's this: Whenever the Steelers play the Ravens expect hard-hitting, intense football. That intensity was on display again last night. In addition, it's expected the game will always come down to the final moments. Leading up to this game, eight of the previous ten games were decided by 3 points. That script was also on display last night with the Ravens edging out the Steelers by 2 points highlighted by a missed 2 point conversion by the Steelers in the last minute of the game. Adding to the nail-biting, they had two on-field touchdowns erased in the last 90 seconds of the game, one by Miller and the other by Bell.

With the end of the Steelers three game winning streak last night, they now stand at 5-7 in the division. The Steelers find themselves in must-win  situations with their remaining four games to capture a Wild Card birth.


The Numbers

  • Roethlisberger was 28/44 for 257 yards and two TD's. No interceptions.
  • Bell rushed for 73 yards on 16 attempts and one TD.
  • Miller had 86 yards on 8 receptions.
  • Bell pulled in 7 receptions for 63 yards.
  • Antonio Brown managed 59 yards on 5 receptions.
  • Sanders scored one TD and 43 yards on 6 receptions.
  • Cotchery had 1 touchdown.
  • Steelers ended play selection at 71% passing plays and 29% rushing (a significant decrease from the game against the Browns last week where those numbers stood at 50% a piece).
  • While it might not have appeared that way, time of possession for both teams was about even with 7 seconds separating both teams.
  • Steelers managed 22 first downs to the Ravens 16.
  • Bell left the game with a possible concussion.
Steelers next meet the Dolphins on  Sunday, December 8, 2013. 1 p.m. game time ET

Steelers.com, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Steelers--Ravens: Thanksgiving Day Preview




Steelers @ Baltimore
Thursday, November 28, 2013 8:30 p.m. ET


Steelers and Ravens are both  looking to get their sixth win of the season. The good news for the Steelers? The team is finally playing playoff football. Roethlisberger has 6 TD's in the last two games with no interceptions completing 63.3% of his passes. And while the Steelers are still ranked 30th in rushing in the league, Le'Veon Bell is finally racking up some yardage (80 against Cleveland last Sunday). In addition, the Steelers have won their last three games including five of their last seven. LeBeau's defense has 10 sacks over the last three games while the secondary has forced 7 turnovers. The 0-4 start now appears to be a distant memory.

The Steelers have also been able to remain in the hunt with key players out with injuries throughout the season including C Pouncey,  LB Woodley (still doubtful),  TE David Johnson, LB Larry Foote and E Brett Keisel (who might return tomorrow).

The bad news? The Ravens are 4-1 at home with their defense allowing just under 11 points per game. Nevertheless, there remains some good news for Steelers. They've won their last three trips to Baltimore, and the Ravens' offense is ranked 31st in the league averaging only 4.5 yards per play.

Perhaps S Will Allen said it best: "We're getting on a roll at the right time."

PittsburghSteelers.com, Fox Sports, NY Post, USA Today

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Steelers Beat Browns 27-11; Ron Cammarata's "View From The Stands"--- Would Expanding Roster Depths Improve The Game?



 
Steelers Back In The Hunt: Beat Browns 27-11
 
After one of the poorest starts in franchise history, the playoffs to the Steelers now look like a possibility. The Steelers (5-6) remain in the hunt after besting the Browns 27-11 for their third straight win.
 
The Numbers:
 
  • Roethlisberger improved to 37-11 in starts against division teams. He's 16-1 against the Browns since 2004, his rookie season.
  • Ben was 22/34 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
  • Bell rushed for an impressive 80 yards on 23 attempts.
  • Antonio Brown managed 92 yards on six receptions and one TD.
  • Sanders had 52 yards on six receptions including one TD.
  • Heath Miller recorded 41 yards on five receptions.
  • Steelers play selection was 50 for 50 on rushes and passes.
  • Steelers also won time of possession by approximately 7 minutes.
  • Third down efficiency was 29%.
  • Red zone was 50%.
  • Penalties-Yards: 2-8
  • Defense only allowed 55 yards rushing low for the season.

AFC North Standings

1. Cincinnati 7-4
2. Steelers 5-6
3. Baltimore 5-6
4. Cleveland 4-7

Next Game: Steelers at Ravens,  Thursday (Thanksgiving Day),  8:30 p.m. NBC



A View From The Stands



Would Expanding Roster Depth Improve The Game?

Sadly, over the past several weeks we have been reminded of the half century commemoration of President Kennedy's death by way of various media. Kennedy's love for football and in particular the Army/Navy game is well documented. The 1963 Army/Navy game was postponed the weekend following the President's death, and played in early December.  Many experts of Army/Navy football history view that game as the iconic classic of this rivalry, and played in tribute to the fallen Commander in Chief. Jack Ford, the ESPN legal analyst, produced a wonderful documentary on this event that has been broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. If you have the opportunity, and see it on the schedule, watch this one hour broadcast. It's a wonderful piece of American popular culture.

In that horrible weekend, a young NFL Commissioner, Pete Rozelle, after consulting with Kennedy's Press Secretary, chose to play scheduled games, based on the decision that the games might provide cathartic relief for a nation in mourning. Years later, Rozelle would claim this to be his greatest blunder as the league's commissioner. The Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, has repeatedly echoed the same sentiment.

In retrospect of this fifty year span, it has given contemplation on how the league and the game changed so dramatically from being second rate to the more popular college brand in 1963, to being the king of American televised sports in 2013.  For the purpose of this commentary, let's focus on the salary structure and the income generated through the business of the NFL. In 1963, salaries were minuscule compared to today, which is obvious in all walks of life. But, in 1963, the differential between what players were paid by their respective position was not as dramatic as what we see in 2013. For example, salary levels between the quarterback of 1963 were measurably more comparable with their team mates than what we see in today's league where the lion's share of cap space is budgeted to meet the market requirements paid to the star players, such as starting QB's.

In the Steelers present day salary cap structure, the large piece of the salary pie goes to the QB and a veteran safety. The market place dictates these inordinate windows of opportunity, so these comments are not made to disdain either Ben or Troy, or their skills; it is just the financial reality of today's game.

In the spirit of commentary, we will offer another scenario that is fantasy. Please bear with my seeming naivete as this proposal offers a simplistic approach to the much more complex issue of roster size. For people who pay close attention to the NFL, not the casual fan, there is a rumbling that the game is changing for the worse. That play is not as competitive, as good as it could be, or that it has been in recent decades.  Players are injured at peculiarity higher incidents than in years past...season ending injuries. Are injuries more prevalent today only because the players are so much bigger or stronger? Are players not prepared as well because summer camps are run differently today than in the past? Or is it just parity?

Perhaps there is something much deeper and inherently wrong in a system that is stymied by the existing salary cap and roster limitations. Very few NFL owners or groups of owners are solely dependent on football alone as the only source for their business portfolio (outside of the Packers organization). On the whole, NFL owners see higher revenue percentages generated by their football ventures, generally far exceed profit margins recognized by more traditional businesses. Outside of the gigantic dollars associated with television rights, ownership is making lots of money, especially when tying in all the ancillary products like food and beverage concessions, parking, and personal and luxury seat licensing with annual fees. Assuming this as logical theory, then where is it written that full time NFL rosters could not be expanded to accommodate the greater need for the good of the game. For example, every team is permitted a 53 man roster to dress at season's beginning. Yet every time a player is hurt and unable to perform, players are brought up from taxi squads, or brought in off a waiver wire. Predictably, often this produces lower caliber play, because it takes time to assimilate, in some cases learn a new playbook, or blend into the chemistry of the locker room. What if that 53 man roster was increased by 5 or 10 players? Obviously, it would cost ownership, millions more in salaries and expenses for an expanded roster of full time players, but the research may justify the costs, considering the big picture.

More specifically, look at the Steelers present day roster and consider the crying and whining specific to our poor offensive line play. In Pittsburgh, all we hear on the talk shows and in print is who can they get to play based on the roster limitations? It is to the point that if we suffer another injury to the interior offensive line that we will be moving Heath Miller to tackle (sarcasm please). If roster sizes were permitted to increase when camp breaks in August, and more players took every day reps, and coaches could see the development throughout the term of an entire season, then many of the young players that showed so much promise on draft day might bloom and turn into good players quicker. Instead, when injuries happen, we hear these stories about the guy working as a substitute teacher, or selling cars, when he gets the call. That is nice sounding, but that guy would be better suited to help a team if already on the roster.

In this make believe scenario, a better league may find a way to flatten yet expand salaries to the point where the majority of monies were not earmarked to starting quarterbacks, and rosters were expanded to offer real competitive depth at all positions. The NFL in the last 50 years has re-branded itself on numerous occasions. It is time to rethink its own great expectations and go back to the drawing board in looking at roster depth and expanded limits for the long term good of the game.

Ron Cammarata
Section 110--Row CC-Seat 10

Steelers.com, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Steelers Beat Down Motown 37-27






Roethlisberger Shreds Lions 37-27

Steelers (4-6) burst out of the blocks early in their game against the Lions and then regained their momentum with a second half rally beating the Detroit Lions 37-27.

Roethlisberger was sharp. He had one of his best games of the season passing for 367 yards and four touchdowns including two TD's in the closing minutes of the game. WR Antonio Brown was impressive as well managing 147 yards on seven receptions. Two of those receptions were touchdowns.

The Steelers defense, asleep in the second quarter, awoke in the second half and shut down the Lions.

The Lions remain winless in Pittsburgh for the last 58 years. Pittsburgh owns Detroit with 12 of 14 wins in their history.

Perhaps Coach Tomlin summed the game best when he said, "Boy, that's a satisfying victory."

The Numbers
  • Roethlisberger was 29/45 with 367 yards and four TD's including zero interceptions.
  • Steelers passing dominated in play selection once again 63% vs. 38% rushing.
  • Rushing yards were negligible with Le'Veon Bell's 36 yards on 18 attempts. Bell also had four receptions for 52 yards.  Ben chalked up 12 yards himself.
  • On 7 receptions, Antonio Brown finished the day with 147 yards and two TD's.
  • Heath Miller added 67 yards on 8 receptions.
  • Cotchery had 48 yards on 3 receptions and one TD.
  • Wheaton  with 3 receptions totaled 38 yards.
  • At this time last season, Steelers were 6-4.


Next Game: Steelers at Browns Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. 1 p.m. ET

Fox Sports, Steelers.com, Yahoo Sports, USA Today

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Steelers Take It To Bills 23-10; Ben On Trade Rumors




Steelers Bounce Back With Running Game Beating Bills 23-10

In snapping a two-game losing streak, perhaps the narrative that stands out in the Steelers win over the Bills today is what's been lacking for most of the season. The Steelers rushed 52% of the time versus passing at 48%. Steelers managed 120 yards rushing (total 136) with Bell (57 yards and 1 TD), Dwyer (38) and Sanders (25). In addition, Antonio Brown had an impressive 104 yards receiving on six receptions. Cotchery added another TD (now leading the team with 6 touchdowns this season).

Ben Roethlisberger ended the game with 204 yards (18/30) and one touchdown. He also had one interception and was sacked four times. Roethlisberger has been sacked 35 times this season already. Considering his offensive line is riddled with injuries, this stat should  come as no surprise anyone.

The Numbers:

  • Steelers time of possession was almost a full 12 minutes more than the Bills (35:16 to 24:44)
  • Steelers managed 19 first downs.
  • The Steelers came into this game with an average of 37.4% on third-down efficiency. They ended this game at 47%.
  • Red zone efficiency was 40%.
  • Average yards per rush 4.1 with average yards per pass at 4.8.
  • When the Steelers opponents rush for less than 100 yards, the Steelers are 3-0. If it's more than 100 yards, they are 0-6. The Bills ended with 95 yards rushing.

Ben On Trade Rumors



"One of the BS stories I ever heard of. I want to be a Steeler for life...I want to finish my career here" Roethlisberger in post-game interview.

Fox Sports, PittsburghSteelers.com, Yahoo Sports

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bills @ Steelers Preview: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 1 p.m.




Buffalo Bills (3-6) @ Steelers (2-6)
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. 1 p.m. ET CBS

Game Notes:
  • In last week's game against the Patriots, the Steelers gave up the most yards---610---and points---55---in franchise history.
  • The Steelers are 7-1 at home in the regular season against the Bills.
  • The Bills have dropped four straight and eight of nine to the Steelers, including the playoffs.
  • A win would make Roethlisberger 66-39 during the regular season and 38-14 at home.
  • TE Heath Miller is two TD's away from tying Buddy Dial for the fourth most receiving TD's in franchise history.
  • Polamalu needs one interception to tie Jack Ham and Darren Perry for the seventh most in team history.
  • Pittsburgh is 31st in rush defense with an average of 131.3 yards.
  • Both teams will be trying to avoid their third straight defeat.
  • Buffalo's three QB's have been sacked 28 times and rank last in the league with a 55.4% completion rate.
  • Bills have been impressive in their running game and rushing the passer this season. This game could give them an opportunity to take advantage of Pittsburgh's two weaknesses.
  • Steelers play selection for the entire season: 65% passing and 35% rushing.
  • Steelers will be facing rookie QB E.J. Manuel
  • RT Marcus Gilbert is questionable (ankle) as is Mike Adams (rib injury). CB Ike Taylor is probable (concussion).
  • Line right now: Steelers by 3.
Steelers.com, Fox Sports, Bleacher Report

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Patriots 55-Steelers 31





Steelers Fall To 2-6 In Loss To Patriots

Roethlisberger had an impressive 400 yards with 4 TD's but so did Tom Brady. Brady decided to come out of his recent under performance and ended the game with 432 yards and 4 TD's. But there was also one other significant difference. Ben was intercepted twice.

I hesitate to call the game a blow-out considering the Steelers kept the game close for the first three quarters. In fact, the Steelers were still in the game with about 7 minutes left in the third quarter battling back to a 24-24 deadlock. Unfortunately for the Steelers, football has four quarters.  It was in that 4th quarter that one cannot deny the Patriots blew out the Steelers. The Patriots scored 28 points to the Steelers 7 in that last quarter. Brady did what he does best. He took over and never looked back.

The Numbers:
  • Steelers dropped to 2-6 for the first time since 2006.
  • Roethlisberg's pass to Brown was the 200th of his career.
  • Steelers play selection was heavy on the passing side yet again--passing 71% of the time.
  • Steelers edged out the Patriots in Time of Possession by about 3 minutes.
  • Patriots managed 33 first downs to the Steelers 24.
  • Steelers 3rd down efficiency was 38% compared to 58% for the Patriots.
  • Steelers red zone efficiency was an impressive 75%.
  • Steelers rushing yards: 108 but no TD's on rushes.
  • Net passing yards: 371
  • Penalties: 8-96
  • Cotchery had a big day with 3 TD's and 96 yards.

Next Game: Bills @ Steelers. Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.  1 p.m. EST

Steelers.com, ESPN NFL, Fox Sports

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Steelers @ Patriots Preview Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013



Steelers (2-5) At Patriots (6-2)
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. 4:25 p.m. ET CBS

The last road game the Steelers won against the Patriots was on Nov. 30, 2008. The Steelers have never beaten Tom Brady in New England. In fact, Brady is 6-2 against the Steelers.

But the Steelers are not concerned about those statistics. They're more concerned about getting back into playing Steelers football. Coach Tomlin still believes those areas that need to be fixed can be even after the embarrassing loss to the Raiders last week. "Our record is our record. There's nothing we can do about what has been played," said Tomlin earlier this week.

However, one statistic sticks out like a broken tibia. Namely, the Steelers have been disappointing in accumulating rushing yards. While the NFL overall average is almost 814 yards, the Steelers are sitting on a lowly 481 yards. Add to that, the Steelers are now tied for 27th in the league for scoring averaging 17.9 points per game. In other words, offensive production is conspicuous by its absence.

Ben Roethlisberger is going to also have to up his game especially in picks. He's currently sitting on 7, just one shy of his overall total all of last season.  Moreover, of the Patriots 10 interceptions, seven have been at home. However, there is some good news for the Steelers. Tom Brady is not playing as well as he has in the past. His passing rating is currently 70.9---20.7 below his career mark.

Probable Inactive List:

Landry Jones, Markus Wheaton, Curtin Brown and David DeCastro (R ankle injury last week against the Raiders).

Steelers.com, Fox Sports


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Raiders Beat Steelers 21-18




Steelers Lose To Raiders 21-18

There is a reason why this blog is entitled, The Pittsburgh Steelers Report. I report but rarely make commentary. I leave that to the sports pundits or to the occasional guest columnist. But, after today's game, I'm compelled to ask: WTF?

In addition to the Raiders winning their first game after a bye since 2002, their quarterback---Terrelle Pryor---managed to pull off something never done by an NFL quarterback: He ran for a 93-yard touchdown on the first play of the game. Again---WTF?

And it didn't end there. Normally reliable Shaun Suisham missed a 34-yard attempt with 8 seconds remaining in the first half enabling the Raiders to go into their locker room retaining a 21-3 lead.

If it couldn't get any worse, it did. Steelers lost three offensive linemen. By the end of the third quarter, the Steelers lost Ramon Foster to a concussion, David DeCastro to a right-ankle injury and Guy Whimper to a left knee injury.

There was some good news. The defense managed to come up with three turnovers. Brent Keisel's fumble recovery led to a Steeler score closing the gap to 21-10.

Bottom Line: The Steelers allowed the Raiders to control most of the game. And the running game was virtually non-existent. The team looked lethargic.


The Numbers:
  • Steelers play selection was 70-30% with passing surpassing rushes.
  • Roethlishberger was 29/45 for 275 yards with one TD and 2 interceptions.
  • LeVeon Bell ran for a paltry 24 yards on 13 carries. However, he did score one TD.
  • Dwyer ran for a whopping 9 yards on 3 carries.
  • Sanders ended up with 88 yards on 7 receptions and one TD.
  • Antonio Brown made 9 receptions for 82 yards.
  • Steelers managed 20 first downs to the Raiders 13.
  • Third down efficiency was a meager 27%.
  • Efficiency in the Red Zone: 50%
  • Steelers had 3 penalties resulting in 12 yards.
Next week the Steelers travel to meet the Patriots where they've never beaten Tom Brady. Game time is 4:25 p.m.

Steelers.com, Fox Sports

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Steelers @ Oakland Preview




Steelers (2-4)  @ Oakland (2-4)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m., ET, CBS


Steelers are hoping to make it three wins in a row at Oakland. If the Steelers run game continues to improve, along with the defense, they should be able to win tomorrow.  In their last two outings, they managed to hold the Ravens and Jets to a total of 22 points allowing only one touchdown in the last two games. In addition, RB LeVeon Bell is getting stronger after missing the first two games of the season (foot injury).

"Right now we just have to keep marching in the right direction," said LB LaMarr Woodley this week.

Line as of now: Steelers by 2 +1/2

Steelers have won nine of the last 10 games in October.

PittsburghSteelers.com. USA Today, Fox Sports

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steelers Beat Ravens 19-16 On Suisham's Late Field Goal




Steelers 19, Raven 16 And Suisham Stays Perfect (14 for 14)

Steeler fans are hoping the team is finally pulling out of its early season funk. Roethlisberger's drove the Steelers in seven plays to start a late game rally to have Shawn Suisham stay perfect with a 42-yarder to help beat Baltimore 19-16. Steelers are now 2-4.

Steelers entered the game 31st in their running attack. Rookie Le'Veon Bell changed that today with a career high 93 yards on 19 carries. His performance today was the most by a Steeler running back this season.

Just as impressive, Steelers did not leave any scoreless quarters scoring in all four--7-3-3-6.


The Numbers:
  • Steelers running game was evident with 56% of the plays rushing against 44% passing.
  • Roethlisberger was 17/23 for 160 yards, one TD and no interceptions.
  • As mentioned above, Le'Veon Bell managed 93 yards on 19 carries.
  • Antonio Brown had 6 receptions for 50 yards.
  • Cotchery 4 receptions for 41 yards.
  • Heath Miller had 2 receptions for 17 yards and one TD.
  • Steelers also edged out the Ravens in time of possession 31:01 vs. 28:59.
  • Steelers managed 17 first downs.
  • Defense had one sack by Woodley.
  • Steelers 3rd-down efficiency: 58%
  • Red zone efficiency: 33%
  • 141 total rushing yards averaging 4.9 yards on 29 rushes.
Steelers will be traveling to Oakland next week. Game time 4:05 p.m. EDT

Steelers.com, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Steelers-Ravens Preview




Baltimore Ravens At Steelers
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, 4:25 p.m. CBS ET

Two Super Bowl teams meet on Sunday, but the teams have been struggling this season. In fact, both teams lack a good running game. In addition, their weak offensive lines are taking a toll on both team's quarterbacks. Roethlisberger and Flacco have been sacked 19 times to date.

Having said that, the Ravens defense has managed to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, an area where the Steelers have been severely lacking. However, the Steelers defense did show some life in last week's win over the Jets. Steelers limited the Jets to 83 yards on 20 carries. We can only hope that will continue through the rest of the season.

Steelers look to improve 20-15 against the Ravens, including 11-7 at home. The Ravens have won the last three regular-season games at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, have not lost its first three home games since 1986.

Jarvis Jones, Landry Jones, Markus Wheaton, and Isaac Redman are expected to be inactive. LB Jarvis Jones is questionable (concussion). DE Brett Keisel, LB LaMar Woodley and TE Heath Miller are listed as probable.

Fox Sports, Steelers Depot, USA Today, Steelers.com

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Steelers End Drought---Beat NY Jets 19-6




Steelers Finally Get Win By Beating Jets 19-6

"The Pittsburgh Steelers were tired of seeing that dreaded zero in the win column."

That's the first sentence from the AP feed regarding the Steelers 19-6 win over the Jets today. That observation put things in perspective. But I'm going to edit that sentence this one time: "The Pittsburgh Steeler fans were tired of seeing that dreaded zero in the win column." And the win could not have come at a better time in a dismal beginning for one of the premier teams in the history of the NFL. In fact, the Steelers, as well as their fans, have not witnessed a beginning such as this one since 1968. The win over the Jets is also Pittsburgh's 600th win in team history, the only team in the AFC to reach that landmark (and only the 4th in league history).

A Look At The Numbers

Steelers are now 1-4 (last season at this time they were 2-3).

Roethlisberger was 23/30 for 264 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 34 yards on 16 carries. Antonio Brown managed 86 yards on 9 receptions. Heath Miller had 6 receptions for 84 yards. Sanders had the team's only touchdown.  Shaun Shuisham came through with a fine performance making four field goals accounting for 13 of the team's 19 points.

Pittsburgh's play selection was a little more even than in their first four games throwing 54% of the time while rushing 46%. Steelers also had about a 10 minute advantage in time-of-possession (35.49 to 24:11).

Steelers were able to produce 16 first downs. Their 3rd down efficiency was 38%. They suffered 7 penalties for 49 yards.

The good news: Steelers finally recorded their first takeaway with Clark picking off Smith's throw to Konrad Reuland.  Steelers are 14-1 when Ben's passing rating is over 100. It was 113.8 today. Antonio Brown's 30 catches over the course of the last three games ties him with retired Hines Ward for the team's record.

Fox Sports, Steelers Depot, PittsburghSteelers.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sunday: Steelers @ Jets




Steelers @ Jets
Sunday, October 13, 2013, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

"Rex's marauding defense should have no problem getting to Roethlisberger, who is becoming increasingly statuesque." Hondo, NY Post

Unfortunately, the way the Steelers have been playing this season, Hondo makes a good point. His observation makes more sense considering the Steelers are off to their first 0-4 start in 45 years.

So what to expect? On D, DE Cameron Heyward will be starting with rookie Vince Williams lining up alongside Laurence Timmons at inside linebacker. Defense will need some help considering the Steelers are the only team in the NFL to create a turnover.

On offense, Le'Veon Bell hopes to give the Steelers an offensive punch is sorely needs. In his debut, he finished with 57 yards and two TD's in 16 carries.

Newly acquired LT Levi Brown is expected to replace Mike Adams. Guard Ramon Foster is still uncertain to start (strained pecs). Roethlisberger needs better protection and quickly. In London, he was sacked five times by the Vikings and 15 times for the first four games of the season. He'll also be facing the second ranked defense in the league.

Roethlisberger needs four more TD passes to join Terry Bradshaw as the only players  in team history to throw 200.

Steelers signed two familiar faces this week with the return of safety Will Allen and LB Stevenson Sylvester

The last time the Steelers faced the Jets at NY was in 2007.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Big Ben's Clock Stopped As Vikings Beat Steelers 34-27; RIP L.C. Greenwood




Steelers Off To Worst Start Since 1968

One year ago at this time, the Steelers were 2-2. Today, they're 0-4. It's the worst start for the team since 1968 and making the playoffs just got much harder. Steelers need to go 8-4 for any chance of making the playoffs.  In fact, including the pre-season, Steelers are 0-8 and have already matched their losses for the entire 2012 season.

Reviewing the numbers:
  • In play selection, once again, Steelers passing exceeding rushing by a ratio of over 2-1 with 71% of the plays passing and 29% rushing.
  • Steelers finally had impressive numbers in first downs with 29 to the Vikings 16.
  • Steelers also surpassed Vikings in time-of-possession by 36.26 minutes to Vikings 23.33.
  • Ben was 36/51 with 383 yards with one TD and one interception.
  • LeVeon Bell's debut was impressive with two touchdowns.
  • Cotchery had a good performance with 103 yards on five catches including a touchdown.
  • Steelers defense had an impressive series after Bell's touchdown. But that was their only shining moments in the game. With the exception of Troy's continued good play, defense was conspicuous by its absence most of the game.
  • Steelers 3rd-down efficiency was 53% and red-zone efficiency was 50%.
  • Steelers recorded 4 penalties for 50 yards and one fumble by Ben in the closing minutes of the game (his 6th turnover in 2 games).


L.C. Greenwood Passes At 67



Former defensive end and member of the famed "Steel Curtain" of the 1970's died at 67.

L.C. won four Super Bowls with the Steelers as well as a six-time All Pro pick and two-time All Pro during his career (1969-1981).

In 2007,  the Steelers named Greenwood to the franchise's all-time team.

 
 

Steelers have a bye next weekend. Their next game will be on Sunday, October 13, 2013, at the NY Jets.

PittsburghSteelers.com, ESPN, Fox Sport, NFL

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hail To The Steelers: Steelers vs. Vikings In London Sunday




Steelers To Play Vikings In London

Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at 1 p.m. (in London) CBS

"It's definitely a business trip," declared C William Gay.

Gay made it clear there's a sense of urgency. All of the Steelers appear in no mood to take in the sights or meet and greet any Royals. They can do that on their own time during the off season.

Antonio Brown continued with focusing on the mission this weekend. "You have to stay singularly focused on what is important."

It's also clear the Steelers need to improve their offensive game including the running game (Steelers to date have only rushed 32% of the time). Steelers are also averaging the worst in the AFC with 51.7 yards. In addition, the team has to focus on reducing turnovers. While Roethlisberger showed some signs of improvement last week, he has four interceptions in the last three games (with only four TD's). The good news? Antonio Brown is playing well.

The defense has to also perform better especially in forcing turnovers. Having said that, Troy is having a good season. The Steelers have done a decent job in stopping the run.

TE Heath Miller will be playing as well as the debut of RB Le'Veon Bell. These two can certainly give the offense the punch it so dearly needs right now.

It's undeniable the Steelers are in a must-win situation (they haven't started 0-4 since the 1968 season). A loss this weekend will diminish their chances of making the playoffs considerably. Less than 4% of the teams who have started 0-3 have made the playoffs in the last 35 years (since the beginning of a 16 game season). Only San Diego made the playoffs after beginning 0-4. That was in 1992.

The Vikings have yet to hold an opponent to under 30 points.

It's time the Steelers play like the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bears Roll Over Stumbling Steelers: 40-23; London Next Week





The Steelers Disappoint Yet Again + Turnovers Remain A Major Problem


While the Steelers are now 0-3, the fact is when you count their pre-season losses in addition to the tail end of the 2012 season, the Steelers have only won one game out of the last 11. In other words, the problems we've been witnessing this season should surprise no one,  even the casual Steelers fan.

The Steelers did show some marginal improvement. While Ben has to shoulder some of the blame for the loss last night, he still managed to throw for 406 yards (26/41). We also witnessed more diversity in their offensive formations. But the fact remains, few NFL teams can survive five turnovers in one game. In the case of the Steelers last night, one of Ben's interceptions (2 total) and two fumbles led to the Bears putting 17 points on the scoreboard. In other words, Ben's improved performance was small consolation with five turnovers including three fumbles.

One of the glaring deficiencies in the Steelers defense is the lack of turnover production.

Regarding play selection, Steelers rushed 34% of the time vs. 66% passing. Total rushing yards were a paltry 80, seven of those by Roethlisberger. At least Antonio Brown lent some optimism to the offense with two TD's and 196 receiving yards. Steelers also improved in first down production with 21 to the Bears 15.

The Steelers have not been 0-4 since 1968. Let's hope the team gets its act together before some Steeler fans decide to sit in a closed garage sucking on their vehicle's tailpipe.


Next Game: London



Steelers meet the Vikings at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. 1 p.m. EDT

PittsburghSteelers.com, Fox Sports, ESPN

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DA Bears @ Pittsburgh: Preview




Chicago Bears (2-0) @ Steelers

Sunday, September 22, 2013
8:30 p.m. ET NBC


Steelers have not experienced an 0-3 start since 2000. Moreover, only three teams who started the season 0-3 have made the playoffs since 1990.

Tony Dungy on the Steelers tomorrow: "Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to win games for the Steelers. They've got to play it differently than they have in the past, get rid of the ball quicker, run the ball, take the pressure off Ben..."

Steelers offense has only rushed for 75 yards (Bears 208). They've only put up 19 points on the scoreboard (Bears 51 points). Those two conspicuous stats alone tells a large part of the story regarding the team's miserable performance and start this season. In addition, Ben's thrown only 2 TD's along with 2 interceptions. He's completed about 58% of his passes. He's thrown for 397 yards (Bears 526).

Defense has yet to record a takeaway.

"There's been a problem with our functioning, " said Coach Tomlin. "There's been a problem with our production."


Notes:
  • Heath Miller is listed as probable for tomorrow's game.
  • Last week, Bears forced 6 turnovers. Last season, they recorded 44 takeaways
  • Ben is 15-1 at home against NFC teams.
Steelers.com, ESPN, Fox Sports
 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bengals Best Steelers 20-10: Offense Comes Up Small Yet Again



Steelers Now 0-2 With Loss To Bengals For The First Time Since 2002

If you want to understand what happened in last night's Steelers loss to the Bengals all you have to do is 1-review the stats, and 2-go back to the previous post and re-read the commentary by Ron Cammarata. In short, as Ron summarized last night's game this morning: "16 carries for 45 yards. Put themselves into situations where they must run offense out of the gun...but no juice in that offense...just too predictable. 34 plays out of the gun...19 under center. Moved the ball well under center...ie big pass to Paulson that he fumbled. Ben overthrew everyone most of the game." Again, go back to the Ron's commentary. After reading it, last night's outcome should have come as no surprise.

 
Game Stats:

Steelers passed 70% of the time to 30% rushing (Didn't we hear proclamations about more "balance" in the pre-season?). Bengals time of possession was almost a full 11 minutes longer than the Steelers. Steelers had 14 first downs to the Bengals 22 (almost a factor of 2-1 over the Steelers).

Ben was 20/37 for 251 yards. The rushing performance was anemic (officially ended with 47 yards and that included 6 yards by Ben). Bengals rushed for 127 yards. Redman's performance was not that at the level of an NFL running back (4 total yards. In the last two weeks, Redman's rushed for a pathetic 12 yards on 10 carries ). In fact, this was the eighth straight Steelers game with fewer than 100 rushing yards. 

Again, turnovers hurt the Steelers. They had two turnovers while in scoring range (Paulson that led to a Bengal TD and a Roethlisberger interception). In addition, they failed to get a first down in seven of their 12 possessions. The offensive line continues to have a problem with enabling the run and protecting Roethlisberger. Losing Pouncey is a big factor and will probably continue to be.

What we're left with this season (unless we see improvement quickly) is a team that can't run the ball, a quarterback who does not appear to understand his performance is better when he's under center rather than out of the gun and an O line that still can't protect the quarterback.

That, my friends, is a formula for disaster.

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.  Bears at Steelers 8:30 p.m. ET

Fox Sports, CBS Sports, Steelers.com, Bleacher Report

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Steelers At Bengals; Ron Cammarata Commentary: "View From The Stands."



Steelers @ Bengals

Monday, September 16, 2013. 8:40 p.m. ET ESPN

Steelers Injury Report: C Maurkice Pouncey out with knee injury (torn ACL + MCL in right knee). Larry Foote has ruptured bicep. LaRod Stephens-Howling also has a torn ACL. CB Cortez Allen (ankle) did not practice yesterday. Heath Miller also ruled out as well as Le'Veon Bell.

Utility lineman Kelvin Beachum will be under center. Jonathan Dwyer was resigned last Wednesday as a result of injuries to Howling. Steelers also added enter/guard Fernando Velasco from the Titans.

The AFC North went 0-4 in week 1 as the Steelers are trying to avoid an 0-2 start since the 2002 season. The Steelers won 11 of their last 12 games in Cincinnati. In that game, Dwyer ran for 122 yards on 17 carries.

Sidebar: After week 1, no Steelers are listing as leaders in rushing and receiving yards of the top 32 listed this week. Let's hope that changes in the coming weeks.

USA Today, Fox Sports, Yardbarker, PittsburghSteelers.com

View From The Stands
Section 110 Row CC Seat 9



The one NFL truism held above all others regarding a successful season is "how well your team is playing the last portion of the year." Obviously, one's favorite team can't go winless into the last third of the season...but just be around .500, get hot at the end of the year, and often that is a team to reckon with come the playoffs. In recent seasons, we have seen it repeatedly with playoff runs made by the Packers, Giants, Ravens, and yes our beloved Steelers on their way to the Super Bowl. So an early loss or two should not send Steelers Nation to the Clemente Bridge.

Unfortunately, in the Steelers present scenario, they are starting the 2013 campaign the way they ended the 2012 season. One would have to be living under a rock not to realize that this team is Ben-centric...and that is OK, considering he is our best offensive weapon. But the disturbing philosophical choice of abandoning the run game after a fumble or two, or because it is not clicking from the game's onset is shortsighted. Of course, we are told over and over that we could not run the ball. So subsequently we use the short passing game in place of a committed effort to establish a run in all four quarters.

In the season opener, the Steelers were down to the Titans by less than a touchdown going into the second half of an ugly performance, but took the approach that they were down by three touchdowns. As reported earlier in this blog, they attempted five carries in the second half...five, and fifteen for the whole game. The ratio of 69% pass to 31% run is astounding considering the coach-speak we heard in the off-season about how a balanced offensive approach is crucial to wins. Where was Felix Jones, a veteran RB that actually showed some pop in the pre-season? Yes...the offensive line is pitiful. But let's consider some of the contributing factors to the woeful run game:

  • When a team conducts the majority of their plays out of the shotgun formation, and is one dimensional, with a weak offensive line, it is like throwing raw meat to the lions for any NFL defense. The small % of running plays out of a shotgun are negligible, especially in the Steelers scheme...so defenses simply pin it back and come from the corners. Any wonder that your quarterback is sacked often?
  • Out of the shotgun Ben seems to have "Peyton Envy." His tendency to hold onto the ball is magnified by an average corps of receivers, and their inability to shake open even in simple passing routes.
  • When they run the offense from under center, it is almost always with a single set back, and rarely in a two-back formation. We heard that Haley utilizes a fullback, but didn't see much of that in the opener or rarely last season. When he does use a motion back/TE (like David Johnson), they are often too slow to get to the point of attack, and way too predictable as they scrape to the hole. Perhaps, an old school "I" formation with a fullback lead could bring some life to an interior run game that is all but purged from the Steelers playbook.
  • At 31, Ben is not about to change his mechanics, yet he displays some of the worst footwork of all starting NFL QB's. His step progression can be timed on sundial, and his inability or disinterest in booting the football are painfully obvious as every handoff looks like we are running a stretch play even when it is an inside run.
  • Yet, with all of this criticism, they are a better offense when Ben is "under center" in play action mode. It hides a glaring weakness of the offensive line and at least adds some dimension of deception. The new zone blocking schemes are also a task that this offensive line is going to need time to master.
  • Simply put...our offensive line is not good enough or cohesive enough at this stage of their development to run shotgun a majority of plays.
  • In actuality, this is yesterday's news. This observation has been documented in past seasons, so it doesn't make a difference whether it is Haley's offense or the former Arians. Ben has claimed he prefers running the offense out of the shotgun and so often in empty set formation...unfortunately...the blocking skills of his offensive teammates just don't equate.
To Ben: in stealing a partial line from the "most interesting man in the world" beer commercial..."Stay upright my friend."

Ron Cammarata
Ron is an occasional contributor to The Pittsburgh Steelers Report

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ouch!!! Steelers Lose Opener At Home To Titans 16-9




Titans Stun Steelers In Opener 16-9


Believe it or not, there was some good news this week. Everyone else in the division lost too.

But right now that's little consolation considering the Steelers ended the 2012 season 8-8, went 0-4 in this pre-season and now dropped the opener to the Titans (Steelers won 10 straight home openers previous to this game). In the pre-season, the Steelers had a 28.8% third down conversation rate, and they ended the pre-season 29th in red-zone efficiency.

So what went wrong?

Losing Maurkice Pouncey and Larry Foote to serious injuries was the beginning of bad news. In fact, the injuries may be season ending. This occurred after a pre-season when the Steelers reminded everyone of how important it was for the offensive line to remain healthy.

That was followed by a pathetic 195 total yards for the Steelers. Rushing yards proved to be embarrassing with a total of 32 yards. In play selection, Steelers passed 69% to 31% rushing while the Titans mirrored the Steelers in the opposite direction passing 32% compared to rushing 68% of the time. In fact, the Steelers only ran 15 times, 10 in the first half and 5 in the second. They ended the day with a "whopping" 2.1 yards per carry. To add to the embarrassment, the run plays never produced a first down (Steelers ended up with 14 first downs compared to 17 for Tennessee). In fact, Steelers time of possession was almost a full ten minutes less than the Titans. If the Steelers running game continues to produce pathetic results, the Steelers will need more production out of the passing game. But that's going to be a problem if Haley's short-yardage passing game fails to produce any first downs. And, as Ron Cammarata, an occasional contributor to this blog, noted it depends on how long Ben "holds the ball" and also noting Roethlisberger does not have the quick releases of Manning, Brady, Brees or Rodgers.

Once again, penalties  and turnovers cost the Steelers field position on two occasions---an illegal block on Jason Worilds and a holding penalty on Shamarko Thomas. Isaac Redman fumbled twice, once deep in Titan territory.

There was some good news even in this distressing loss. Roethlisberger converted 4 of 7 third downs and Woodley recorded his first sack of the season. Jarvis Jones also recorded a tackle in the backfield on Chris Johnson. Antonio Brown had 5 receptions for 71 yards followed by 7 receptions by Sanders for 57 yards.

Coach Tomlin summed it up best: "We got a lot of work to do." This statement follows an earlier statement after the team's second pre-season loss when Tomlin said, "We need to get better in a hurry." Today's game made both of those statements appear conspicuously obvious.

Fox Sports, PittsburghSteelers.com, Pitt PG

Friday, September 6, 2013

Titans At Steelers



Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh

Sunday, September 8, 2013. CBS at 1 p.m.
Titans 2012 Record: 6-10
Steelers 2012 Record: 8-8

Steelers have done well in their home openers. They've won 10 in a row. That impressive start happens to be the longest active streak in the NFL. Also impressive,  Roethlisberger is closing in on 30,000. In addition, Coach Tomlin is 6-0 in home openers.

Rookie RB Le'Veon Bell has been ruled out for Sunday's game. Isaac Redman is expected to start at running back. TE Heath Miller is still listed as doubtful. David Johnson will likely get the start in place of Miller.

While the offensive line remains a mystery, overall it's healthier than last year's line while anchored well by the return of  RG DeCastro and RT Marcus Gilbert.

It's important the Steelers get off to a good start. Their schedule does not get any easier with a trip to Cincinnati for week 2. That game is followed with the Bears at home on  Sunday, September 22 at 8:30 p.m.


 
Steelers.com, USA TODAY, Fox Sports, NY Post

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Final Roster Moves Completed Today




Steelers Final Roster Moves

As the Steelers enter the start of the football season after an 0-4 preseason, the Steelers  finalized their roster moves today to 53 players.

Significant moves included:

  • Releasing running back Jonathan Dwyer and activating TE Heath Miller (Miller can begin practicing with the team immediately).
  • In addition to Dwyer, 12-year veteran punter Brian Moorman was also cut.
  • Some of the players waived included G Mike Golic, C Joe Madsen, WR Reggie Dunn, LB Terrence Garvin, CB Devin Smith, RB Alvester Alexander,  and S Voss Ventrone.
  • The roster cuts leaves the Steelers with three quarterbacks, five running backs, five wide receivers, five tight ends, eight offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, eight linebackers, 10 defensive backs, and three specialists.

Steelers vs. Carolina Postscript

Steelers lost to the Panthers 25-10.

In a game without any stars, QB Landry Jones played the entire game. He completed 16 of 35 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

The Steelers offensive line only played two series. Primary skill players were given the night off.




Steelers open their season against the Titans at home on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Steelers.com, Steelers Depot, Fox Sports