Monday, November 1, 2010

Quick Thoughts on Steelers-Saints


The Good:
*As opposed to the general perception, the Steelers ran the ball effectively. Mendenhall broke another big run on the same play that he scored in OT against the Falcons in the opener.

The Bad:
*Trouble with blitz pick-up. All three Saints sacks came when the Steelers were in the same formation using the same personnel (video here)--three wides, Heath Miller as TE and Mewelde Moore as a sidecar to Roethlisberger. It's hard to know exactly who was responsible depending on line calls but it appears that Adams gets beat on the first, Moore the second and Pouncey makes a bad choice on the third.

The Saints constantly ran a three man outside overload and the Steeler had trouble adjusting. It will be a great learning experience for Pouncey in the long run.

*Heath Miller's fumble. After not fumbling in his first 58 games, Miller has fumbled 4 times in his last 27. Miller generally is secure with the ball, but the timing of his recent fumbles has been a killer.


The Good:
*The LBs and DBs did an excellent job of tacking receivers and limiting yards after the catch.

*The run defense continues to be outstanding.

The Bad:
*The Steelers pass defense in the second half was terrible and as a result they couldn't get off the field on third down, a problem that plagued them all of last year. Brees, 20-22 for 191 yards in the second half, made some excellent throws but the Steelers seemed to let too many guys run open in the middle of the field.

Special Teams:

The Good:
*Emmanuel Sanders is proving to be the real deal in the return game. He had two excellent kick returns and averaged 32 yards on his three returns. He also returned a punt, the first of his career, for 38 yards.

The Bad:
*Sanders again fumbled a kick return, his second in two games, which the Steelers were fortunate to recover. If he continues to put the ball on the ground Mike Tomlin is going to put him back on the bench.

*Special teams coverage, which has been excellent all year, was less than stellar.


The Good:
*Although it didn't work, I liked the decision to go for it on 4th and 4 from the Saints' 40 in the fourth quarter. Emmanuel Sanders ran the wrong route on the play.

*Jeff Reed's 51-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. Reed missed badly, but I liked the decision. In a dome that's a kick he should make well more than 50% of the time.

The Bad:
*The play calling at the goal line was very questionable. I would have preferred to see a quarterback sneak on first down rather than running Redman from the fullback position. If Redman is going to be the goal line back, put him in the tailback position and let him pick the hole. I also think they should have taken another shot at the end zone on fourth down.

*Calling three straight pass plays from the New Orleans 33 on 1st and 20 with 1:31 left in the first half used less than twenty seconds, got the Steelers no closer for a field goal attempt and gave N.O. ample time after Reed missed from 51. The should have run the ball at least once.

*Overall the play calling seemed predictable with the Steelers running on first down and then facing second and third and long. I would have preferred more play action on first down when the Saints were less likely to blitz and I would have rolled the pocket on occasion in obvious passing situations to give Ben more time.

*The Steelers need to use the no-huddle more often. Ben has historically been very effective when using it. There was ample opportunity last night.

*The Saints were missing their top three corners. They showed early that they weren't going to let the Steelers beat them deep by having their safeties line up 20 yards from the line of scrimmage and then blitzing. The didn't change that base defense the whole game and the Steelers never adjusted to it.

Big Officiating Calls:
*Pass interference on Hines Ward with 1:31 left in the first half. The Steelers had a first down on the New Orleans 23 after Ike Taylor's interception, but the call moved them back to the 33. Three incompletions used up only 15 seconds and Reed missed the field goal.

*On 2nd and 9 from the Pittsburgh 42 James Harrison was called for roughing the passer with 4:17 left in the game. New Orleans got a first down and went on to score the TD that put the game away.

1 comment:

Pants said...

Predictable as ever: run, wide-receiver screen pass, sack, punt, repeat.