Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How The Steelers Can Beat the Patriots

The 'stache alluded to a few points in his report about next week, but I thought I'd add in a few things. Nothing that I say here is that surprising, which all told is a good thing. The Patriots have flaws, we'll find out what we can do with them.

1.) Run the football - but don't be stupid about it.

If the Ravens showed anything, its that the brand of football that the Steelers have traditionally been known for can be effective against the Patriots. We'd be dumb to not run Willie like crazy. I'm not exactly sure our offensive line is up to it, but if the running game can come close to what the Ravens did our greater discipline could carry us to the victory. On the other hand, this could be exactly what Belichick is thinking.

One of Cowher's greatest strategic moves of his career was going heavy on the pass at the beginning of playoff games in '05. Everyone expected us to run, and the results were spectacular. Not only will the Patriots expect us to try and dominate at the line, after their embarrassing showing in Baltimore you know they will be ready to commit to the run and probably have 8 guys in the box.

We have to run -- but look for a play-action heavy first drive.

2.) Get within a couple feet of Brady

I suppose I've gotten used to Ben refusing to be sacked, but I was amazed by Brady's willingness to go down. Its probably better in the long run for his team and for himself (we wouldn't want to jeopardize his other career goals), but I finally understand how important it is to get pressure on him. Get within a couple feet, and he'll begin to put in motion the fetal-roll. The end result: Brady by himself in a Claude Lemieux-esq upside down turtle. See below.



Notice there is no defender in the frame. I don't remember Brady ever being hit that hard that the defender would not be near him.

3.) Attack Seau

I had no idea how important Rosevelt Colvin was to this team until Junior Seau stepped back into the starting role. Did anyone else see McGahee literally turn him around on one play? The Patriots' linebackers on the left side are Seau and Tedy Bruschi, ages 38 and 34 respectively. Age has been an issue for those 0-12 Dolphins, why can't it be a small problem for the Patriots? Conveniently, the left side of our line, with Faneca and Starks, could exploit this. Starks should have no trouble stopping the slow Seau on pass protection and he's always been strong on run blocking.

4.) Stay Patient

Points allowed by the Patriots by Quarter:

1st - 31
2nd - 65
3rd - 51
4th - 69

The high total in the 4th has to be partly due to the leads they've had. The trend, though, mostly confirms that you can wear them out. The Patriots are superb at blowing teams out, but in their two opportunities in close games they've failed to close teams out. Age, again, may play a factor, but I think it has to do with the other team relaxing and just letting loose once they are already down by three scores. Judging by the Steelers' comments they aren't afraid, which is the exact mindset they need to have.

5. Give the Challenge flag to someone else

I love Mike Tomlin, but could he please be just a bit more patient when throwing the flag? I can understand a quick throw when the other team's offense is on the field, but too many times this season we've had the ball and he still throws it 10 seconds after the play is complete. Tell Ben to take his time getting the play off, wait for CBS to give the replay, then ask the guys upstairs what to do. Do we even have anyone upstairs with Arians on the sideline?

End of Post

3 comments:

Josh said...

Yeah, Tomlin's not a great gameday coach yet. Apparently he thinks the red flag is for wishes instead of challenges. And I still don't understand why he decided to onside kick at the end of the Cardinals game. You have less than 20% chance of recovering an expected onside kick. It's just not worth that chance to give up around 20 yards of field position when, if the Cards recover, you get the ball with zero timeouts. Trust your defense!

Seth said...

Great post. I watched my Deadskins play wuss ball against the Pats a few weeks ago and they got smacked 52-7. Playing safties 20 yards deep does nothing but let little Wes Welker eat up yards all day- in fact while it is now obvious Moss doesn't like to get jammed at the line they should jam Welker too- it makes no sense to let these guys get clean off their routes- you beat Moss into submission and he quits Vince Carter style. The Ravens choked when the D-coordinator only rushed 3 and played prevent when Brady was rolling over at the sight of purple. Great point on Brady, he is a coward in the pocket and has been blessed with a good o-line who apparently never ever holds give him 5 seconds a snap. Of course 6 easy wins a year in that division doesn't hurt either. I stop my rant but I hope the Steelers lay the smack down so I can turn my TV on once without another unstoppable Patriots segment. I wonder if beating the Pats tomorrow would setup overconfidence and then dissapointment once the playoffs start.
GO STEELERS.

Seth said...

Great post. I watched my Deadskins play wuss ball against the Pats a few weeks ago and they got smacked 52-7. Playing safties 20 yards deep does nothing but let little Wes Welker eat up yards all day- in fact while it is now obvious Moss doesn't like to get jammed at the line they should jam Welker too- it makes no sense to let these guys get clean off their routes- you beat Moss into submission and he quits Vince Carter style. The Ravens choked when the D-coordinator only rushed 3 and played prevent when Brady was rolling over at the sight of purple. Great point on Brady, he is a coward in the pocket and has been blessed with a good o-line who apparently never ever holds give him 5 seconds a snap. Of course 6 easy wins a year in that division doesn't hurt either. I stop my rant but I hope the Steelers lay the smack down so I can turn my TV on once without another unstoppable Patriots segment. I wonder if beating the Pats tomorrow would setup overconfidence and then dissapointment once the playoffs start.
GO STEELERS.