Pittsburgh vs Indy – Recap
Going into this game, and according to the spread, the Steelers were the mighty favorites against the Peytonless Colts but I for one didn’t think this would be a blow-out victory by any stretch of the imagination because of one key match-up: Freeney & Mathis vs Scott & Gilbert. Combined, both have 9 Pro Bowl appearances against an average (at best) Scott and a promising rookie. This match-up had me concerned going into this game, especially considering the nasty hit Big Ben took last week. So this is my take on the Good, the Not So Good, the Hero, and Goat from week 3 vs Indy:
Let me start by saying I will take an ugly W vs a horrible L any day of the week and even though we were double digit favorites against the Peytonless Colts it equated into an ugly W.
Troy – need I say more? He is looking better and better each week and barring a matter of inches from taking the handoff himself the D would have only given up 6 points with being on the opposite side of the turnover game.
Wallace: He is putting his money where his mouth is in regards of getting 2000 yds, isn’t he? I was glad to see him and Ben connect on the 81 yd pass play. To be honest they need to throw that deep ball at least 3 or 4 times a game. I think this will keep safeties from dropping into the box which should help out the run game, but that is just crazy talk from an arm chair coach, right?
Brown: While not putting up Wallace like numbers he did make some key catches to keep the chains moving. We are definitely deep at a few positions on this team and WR is one of them.
Gilbert: I refuse to put any type of blame on him for the sack/fumble by Mathis. Ben did what Ben does and held onto that ball for so long I had time to walk my fat ass over to the fridge for another beer – and that is no joke either. Love him or hate him for that, Ben is not going to change and I for one can live with those drama filled, mini episode, in game scrambles that do result in game changers in the positive for us more often then not. I thought Gilbert played well yesterday and showed something special coming back into the game after dinged up and going against Freeney. He is definitely showing some promise for the OL.
Not So Good:
Play calling/game planning: For the life of me I just don’t understand some thoughts leading into this game. See the opening paragraph, but this was the key matchup in my opinion. If I was a paid consultant due to my massive football I.Q. or the fact that I do have a little bit of common sense, I would have recommended that the Steelers run more 2 or 3 TE sets at Indy and give Scott and Gilbert help with those two DE’s Indy has. More often then not this made Scott look like an EZ pass toll booth when faced with Freeney, one on one.
OL: Same ole, same ole complaints about the OL I have read for years…You know I am not going to get on this group that much as I believe some of this was a match up problem and should have been addressed in the game planning phase of this game. I mean you have what you have, this is probably the best asset that Indy has on D (Freeney and Mathis) and we should have done a better job game planning around this and look for a more conservative approach to helping these guys out (see 9 combined Pro Bowls) and hopefully exposing Indy’s run defense especially with Bracket being out too.
Run game: Where to start? Could start with the OL play, could start with Mendy being indecisive and hesitant at the LOS, could start with the slow developing run plays, or I could just say that we are not good running the ball right now. You make the pick, all seem to be an issue and hopefully we can figure something out. Right now as a team we rank 23rd in rushing and have yet to have a 100yd rusher. This is not good and needs to change, bottom line.
Rush Defense: Is it just me or is something off here? Currently we are not leading the league in rush defense, as a matter of fact we are not even in the top 10. I know, it is only week 3 and the “sky is not falling”. I would think against a Peytonless Colts team we would look to shut down the run first and foremost and force Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter to beat us. Aaron Smith did not look good up front and on many plays was getting handled one on one. I love Smith and believe he went extremely underrated for many years but I believe age and nagging injuries have started to take a toll on him. I believe it may be time to consider starting Hood, once “The Beard” comes back or at least getting a better rotation going.
This week’s award is going to go to Big Ben (close was Troy and Wallace) but even though he was not as sharp, threw a pick and fumbled twice he still manned up and drove the team down for the game winning FG. Some QB’s don’t bounce back from that adversity but Ben seems to shake those things off more often then not and adds another fourth quarter comeback to his resume. Say what you want about him, like him or hate him, he does have an inapt ability to thrive in those situations and according to my research just passed Bradshaw with 20 fourth quarter comebacks.
This week I have to lay this prestigious award at the feet of David Johnson. Let’s recap for a minute: SB he completely missed on the Matthews block that led to the Mendy fumble, he completely missed on week 1 against the Rats that led to the Mendy fumble, he (and Bronco) missed on the jumbo package goal line against Sea-hags in which Mendy was stoned at the one yard line, and yesterday I counted several times where he missed blocks completely. I for one do not understand this? I understand the “position flexibility” concept, but let’s be honest if Heath goes down would you rather have Johnson or Saunders starting? He is no receiving threat and his blocking skills rank just below the stench coming off of fresh road kill baking in 100 degree heat. What is the point anymore coaching staff? You cannot tell me “Bruce Arians offense does not believe in a FB…” nonsense. If that was the case, what is this guy doing lining up in the FB position? Seriously, this is quickly becoming a huge liability when Mendy won’t even follow him through the hole which happened last night – it’s called trust and from last game I clearly saw, Mendy does not trust him and I don’t blame him. This needs to change and a possible solution that I have is run a two back set and let Redman get some lead blocking plays. It cannot be any worse, I mean hell I can go out and whiff blocks just as easily for ½ this guys pay and you might have cap space for Adams or Starks then. I honestly thought Sean McHugh did a better job when he was with us versus this. This needs to improve…and he may be the best thing you have ever seen on the sled in practice but that doesn’t mean squat if it can’t translate during game time. Listen, I am not asking for a flashback to 75’ Yinzer football, but some improvement or at least an effort would be nice.
These are just some observations I saw, obviously there could be more but game is done on to next week. Comments welcome.