Monday, November 12, 2007

The Stache Report: Browns vs. Steelers

- I will admit that coming into this season I had some doubt as to whether Ben was a franchise QB. Coming off a 23 INT season, I think most everyone did. But what he has done this season has not only solidified his stance as a franchise QB, but in my mind I also think he’s the 3rd best QB in the league behind Brady and Manning. And as it relates to Manning, even then I’m not sure if I’d take him over Ben. What he is able to do game in and game out, shrugging off defenders like it’s nothing and willing this team to victory is incredible. He’s also a humble guy who gives credit every week to his receivers and offensive line, even when they play like crap. Contrast that with Manning, who in the midst of a terrible game by his offense on Sunday night sat idly by himself on the sideline with a miserable disposition. Is that the sign of a leader? If Ben were in the same situation, I have no doubt he would be on the sideline, going to his O-line and receivers and telling them that he was going to go out and win the game.

- One guy on the offense who has been outstanding to date has been Heath Miller. The guy doesn’t drop anything. Can you remember the last time he dropped a pass? When Ben is in trouble, Miller is the guy he’s looking for. Heath deserves a spot in the Pro Bowl.

- James Harrison made his presence felt once again, as he was responsible for arguably the turning point in the game. He was able to strip Jamal Lewis of the football, and the Steelers cashed in with a Hines Ward touchdown reception to get them going and pull within five. He also insisted that he be placed on the punt coverage team on the final Steelers punt of the game, and guess who was there to bring down Cribbs?

- That’s a nice segway to the special teams, who should be embarrassed with the grab ass effort they put in. We read all summer about how much time was spent in training camp on special teams. Hell, they even hired an assistant special teams coach. And then game time rolls around, and the results are beyond bad. The Cribbs touchdown return was some of the most embarrassing special teams play I’ve ever seen. And it doesn’t get any easier. All of the teams remaining on our schedule have return men that can kill us: Leon Washington (Jets), Ted Ginn (Dolphins), Glenn Holt (Bengals), Ellis Hobbs (Patriots), Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars), Dante Hall (Rams), and Ed Reed (Ravens).

- A lot of credit has to go to Tomlin and LeBeau for their defensive adjustments at halftime. They shut down the Browns offense in the 2nd half, and that’s no easy task. It seemed like we dropped more people in coverage in the 2nd half. As a result, Anderson had to hesitate and wasn’t able to complete those quick 3 step passes that he likes.

- There were challenge miscues by both coaching staffs. Once again, Tomlin made a hasty challenge on Cribbs TD return. There was plenty of time to look at the replay, and it was clear Cribbs never stepped out of bounds. I know it was a play of great magnitude, but even so there was no point in challenging it. We lost a timeout that we very well could have needed at the end of the game. The Browns were not as lucky. They ultimately paid the price when Crennel wasted two timeouts following the Heath Miller TD. For some odd reason, the Browns called a timeout following the play. Then, they decided to challenge the play and they subsequently lost, causing them to use another timeout. If you are planning on using a timeout in the first place, why not just challenge the play from the beginning?

- I have an issue with the Braylon Edwards touchdown. Specifically, I don’t think the call should have been reversed. The call on the field was an incomplete pass. It takes INDISPUTABLE and CONCLUSIVE evidence to overturn a call. The best analogy I heard was that if you asked 50 people watching the game in a bar what they thought, and all 50 agreed that the call should be overturned, then the call should be reversed. In this case, was it likely that Edwards got two feet in bounds? Yeah, probably. Was the replay evidence conclusive enough, though, that you could say for sure that he got both feet in bounds? In my opinion, no.

- This has been a recurring theme, but the pass protection needs to get better. The Browns had seven sacks all season prior to Sunday's game, and they were able to register four against the Steelers. Not good.

- Was it any surprise that the Heinz Field grass looked like utter shit, again? It’s clear the players can't get any footing on the surface. Check out Cribbs TD return. Allen Rossum is the first guy who has a shot at him, and he slips and falls, allowing Cribbs to head upfield. Willie Parker consistently had trouble maintaining footing and accelerating, and for a guy who’s main asset is speed, that makes it tough. A new surface is needed. Hopefully, on a national TV game against the Dolphins on a Monday night in two weeks, the field will be in such horrible shape that either the NFL demands the grass be replaced, or the Rooneys are so embarrassed by it that it leaves them with no choice. That same weekend, four WPIAL championship games will be played on Friday, as well as a Pitt game on Saturday. So imagine what the field will look like by Monday night.

- Finally, I’m sure many of you have seen this on Deadspin. But it’s too good of a video not to show here. If this doesn’t sum up the Ravens QB woes, I don’t know what does. If you are a Ravens fan and you see this, what are you thinking during the commercial break? Your starting QB is approximately 98 years old, and you see your backup do this while he's getting ready to go into the game:

End of Post

1 comment:

Lanny said...

I can't get enough of that video. It's funny and short enough that I just keep hitting play.