Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Stache Report: Steelers vs. Bengals

In order to streamline my thoughts, I’m going back to the format I used for the preseason games rather than go position by position.

- Yesterday, we saw good Ben. The guy who refuses to be taken down and can make play after play. Time and time again, he eluded rushers to buy some time and find the wide-open receiver. The comparisons to Favre are legit. He’ll wow you most of the time, but every now and then he’ll make a boneheaded pass (see his INT to Deltha O’Neal in the 2nd half. The three points would have been valuable there)

- I guess Hines heard my gripes in the last Stache report. I thought his lackluster game against Denver was a sign that he was slowing down, but maybe Sam was right when he said it was just rust. He absolutely fooled Leon Hall out of his jock strap on the first TD, and then Hines did what he does best on his 2nd, finding the open spot in the defense.

- Kenny Watson and the Bengals running game had some success on the ground, and the reason could be two-fold. Either we really missed the presence of Aaron Smith, or it was because the Steelers were predominantly playing the cover 2 to thwart the Bengals deep passing game. I tend to think it’s the latter more than the former. Many times we only had 6 in the box to stop the run, and I find it hard to believe that one player can cause that big of a drop off.

- Let me state that I love Mike Tomlin. Think he’s a fantastic coach and is going to be one for a long time. That said, I don’t think he’s proved himself to be very good at challenging plays, at least from what I’ve seen thus far. Sunday’s challenge of a 4th down Chad Johnson completion is the latest example. It was clear from the replays that Johnson probably caught it, and even if he hadn’t there were no conclusive views to prove so. Yet Tomlin went ahead and threw the red flag. When he’s thrown it, it seems like it’s been a hasty decision without considering the replay evidence available. I don’t know if it’s someone upstairs telling him to challenge, or if he’s doing it himself, but this needs to be rectified.

- Sunday’s game reminded me of why I like Anthony Smith so much. With Ryan Clark out, Smith filled in more than capably. He was all over the field and he made sure the Bengals knew it. He was the one responsible for Chad Johnson bouncing his chin off the turf, and then later on he absolutely laid the wood to the Douche on a sideline route. The best was it was such a big hit that they played the requisite replay with the sound, and after the hit, as the Douche is laying on the ground, you can clearly hear Smith yell “BITCH!” I think Smith needs to take over the starting FS spot permanently. He brings a much-needed swagger to the defense.

- Cincinnati is an absolute mess. Marvin Lewis has lost control of that team, and you could have figured that out a while ago if you listen to the shit his players routinely spew. Suddenly, the offense isn’t what it used to be. I’ve always held the belief that Palmer is a “paper champion”, to use Lee Flowers words. He puts up great stats, but when the game is on the line I don’t want him quarterbacking my football team. The offensive line isn’t what it used to be, and the defense is just terrible. The sieve-like defense falls squarely on Lewis. Season after season it’s a weakness, and offseason after offseason they fail to address it properly. Sorry, but drafting an overrated cornerback from Michigan in the 1st round doesn’t qualify as fixing the defense.

- LaMarr Woodley needs to see the field more. Tomlin talked about incorporating him more in the defensive gameplan, but he actually ended up playing less this week. Even as a rookie he’s probably one of our most gifted pass rushers, and against the Ravens O-line if given the chance I think he could apply some much needed pressure against Boller or McNair.

- Watching the entire game yesterday, I got the distinct impression that CBS “analyst” Randy Cross is anything but. He was atrocious. Here is a recap of his gaffs yesterday:

1) On a replay showing James Harrison getting pressure on Palmer, he referred to Harrison as “#92 Jason Gildon.” I shit you not. Jason Gildon. The guy’s been off the team for four years!

2) Called Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, “Marvin Harrison”

3) On a replay showing a Carson Palmer completion, he referred to Palmer as “Ben”

4) After saying that the Steelers were up 11 points, he followed that up with “that’s two touchdowns.” No Randy, it’s not. It’s a touchdown, 2-point conversion, and a field goal.

5) After a graphic came up showing the Steelers next few games, including the Dec. 9 game at New England, Cross mentioned how that should be a marquee game and claimed the game was in Pittsburgh. Mind you, this was seconds after the graphic came up that clearly stated “At New England”

6) Referred to next week’s Patriots-Colts game as “New Indy”

- Finally, now comes an even bigger game next Monday night at home against the Ravens. I’m anxious to see how the offensive line performs. It’s one thing to have success against the weak Bengals front seven. It’s another to do it against the Ravens. Their D-line and linebackers routinely abused our O-line last year, so a solid performance by our guys in the trenches would do a whole lot to ease my mind. The Steelers should have success rushing the passer against the Ravens nicked up offensive line. I think the way to beat the Ravens is spread them out. They’re going to stack the box, and you are not going to run against them. I’d coming out throwing to loosen the D up, and then pound Parker and Davenport. Teams have had success using the no-huddle offense against Baltimore this season, so for all that talk out of Latrobe about using it, this is the week. The key will be the pass protection. If they can hold up, we should be fine. The Ravens offense doesn’t scare me. I don’t think you’ll see too much cover 2 this week, but rather more pressure from LeBeau. The Ravens don’t have the weapons to attack us vertically. Gotta watch out for Todd Heap though, who always shows up to play the Steelers. Harrison against Heap is a bad matchup for us. Ideally, you could use Timmons to cover Heap some, as I think he has the size and speed to stay with him. But I don’t think Timmons is ready. The line is currently at Pittsburgh –9, which to me is entirely too high. I can’t figure that one out. No matter, it’s going to be a tough, hard fought game.

End of Post


Anonymous said...

I didn't have a problem with the Tomlin challenge. The chances were very slim of it being overturned, but it was an important enough play that it was worth giving it a shot. You never know when the refs will make a horrible decision. People probably thought Dungy was a moron for challenging the Polamalu INT in that playoff game, but the gamble paid off on that one.

I Want To Fight Tom Brady said...

Just remember how long it takes to review a play. It slows down any momentum the offense has, and gives the defense a chance to take a rest.

Anonymous said...

Randy Cross is a retard. It seems like he announces Steelers games every week, yet he has no clue who any of the players are other than the biggest names. He actually spent two plays in the second quarter calling Deshea Townsend a safety. You know, the Deshea Townsend who has been playing cornerback for the Steelers for the LAST TEN YEARS.

I looked it up, it's actually been a decade that Townsend has been playing corner for the Steelers. Five more years and Cross will become aware of this, after Townsend has been off the team for 4 years like Gildon.

Dave Wannstache said...

I couldn't believe the Jason Gildon comment when I heard it. How can a so called analyst make such a mistake?

Next time him and Enberg do one of our games, I bet he'll refer to Holmes as "Kordell" or "Slash" after a deep pass.

Anonymous said...

That's why I turn off the TV sound and listen to the radio. Sometimes the radio broadcast is a couple seconds ahead of the TV, which is really annoying, but it beats having to listen to idiots like that.