Well, here we are with a week 11 football hangover worse than the hangover induced by post loss "sorrow drowning" I participated in last night. About last mid-week last night I was talking with a Chiefs fan and I said I would not be surprised if the Steelers gave up a KO return early. He says to me "Our ST is really bad." "Our ST coverage is worse," I retorted.
So after allowing a shockingly horrible 3 KO returns this year, what does the team do? We drop one player and activate a PS guy. Small moves will give you small results. It's about time we try making a big move for big results on our ST coverage team. Maybe some defensive starters should be put out there to fire up some of those guys and show them the attitude it takes to make big plays. I don't know the answer, but something a bit more drastic needs to be done.
Anyway, another loss where we surrendered "free" points to an "inferior" team. Off the opening kick Jamaal Charles returns one for 97 yards and we give the Chiefs an instant 7 point spot. We spent a good portion of the first half fighting out of a hole. That is just bad football. The thing that is particularly bad about this return is how many missed tackles there were. Every guy out there, it seemed, missed a tackle and therefore shared the blame. Let's take a look at some screen caps of the Charles' return.
Charles catches the ball at the 3 and here we go!
By design or not, I am not sure, Charles sweeps across the field. This is not a big deal if our ST holds their lanes, notice Logan is doing just that on the left side of the screen cap. Two Steelers(hard two catch numbers since they were sprinting so fast) have a huge gap down the middle and a clear shot on Charles. Good ST players and teams make the stop here and end the return before the 15. However, our two players continue running at where Charles was and not where he is going. They blast by him and miss out on even having a chance to tackle here. Oops.
Here, Charles gets a great block and hits the hole very fast. Logan is peeling off his block very well here and probably should have just tripped Charles with a foot (legal or not, who cares). Please notice the space I have labeled "WTF?" Charles see daylight, Charles happy.
You have to just laugh at this one. The pointed out player holds his lane and is waiting there for Charles to arrive. He gets one of the most dominant two hand taps I have seen in the history of two-hand-touch football history. He absolutely demolishes Charles with a two-hand touch so rough I thought he was going to get a personal foul. In all seriousness, I cannot describe how bad this play was, nor can you see it in a screen cap. Go back and watch the highlight video of the game. This dude absolutely misses on a very weak cutback by Charles. *Note* Logan is recovering from his block.
You are now boarding flight 6-4, a non-stop flight to fail. Andre Frazier displays a wonderful slip 'n' slide form he must have been doing the previous day at the team BBQ. He gets a full hand on Charles. Dude, grab something! Jersey, arm, leg, ball, facemask, pride, grab some more of those BBQ spare ribs, just grab something! Furthermore, notice all 3 of the players over-pursuing to the outside of the field. What happened to holding your lane? It's pretty obvious what is going to happen, 42 is about to have a "three-for" of a block.
Logan was finally caught up to Charles who is falling down in this picture. However, he temporarily gets distracted by the over-pursuit party and decides to poke his head in. He runs right by Charles who essentially falls down and gets back up untouched. Notice the Chiefs player congratulating Frazier on his tremendous slide, or maybe he is asking if they have any leftover spare ribs from the BBQ.
As Charles stumbles Ryan Mundy makes one last "effort" at a tackle and throws a weak arm in Jamaal's path, who simply blazes through it and he is off to the races. This return is full of poor execution and too much over pursuit. Honestly, from looking at these returns I cannot tell if it is a lack of coaching or just terrible execution by the players.
It should be noted that, on Charles next 3 returns he only averaged 20.3 yards and did not really have another big one. However, I that means little to nothing when he put 6 up on the board from his initial return. What do you do now Tomlin? We can't just keep allowing this to happen if we want to contend for the playoffs. Hopefully, no one took offense to my satirically negative tone. I was just hoping that some humor tied in with the analysis would lighten up the mood after a bad loss.