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Thread: Lolley's "Post-Baltimore" Thoughts

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    Default Lolley's "Post-Baltimore" Thoughts

    Sunday, October 03, 2010
    Post-Baltimore thoughts

    Anybody who would have taken 3-1 coming out of the first four games, raise your hand.

    OK. That's pretty much everybody.

    Yes, I'm sure you don't like it that the Steelers lost to the Ravens, but it gives this team two weeks to re-focus with what Hines Ward called an angry Ben Roethlisberger coming back.

    That's not a bad thing.

    The Steelers will still control their own destiny this season.

    And Sunday's loss should shut all the idiots up who don't think the Steelers need Roethlisberger.

    Baltimore's pass defense was a little better than I gave it credit for. The front seven makes a lot of that happen with the pressure it brings.

    Still, there were things that could have been exploited.

    Rashard Mendenhall should make the Pro Bowl this season. He's running hard. He's running decisively. He's been the Steelers' entire offense - for the most part - through the first four games when everyone knew he was coming.

    Mendenhall will no doubt need the next two weeks off to rest his body up for the remainder of this season.

    The Steelers have made it to their bye relatively healthy.

    That's good news. Chris Hoke and Trai Essex will be back following the bye.

    Everybody wanted to talk about the first four games being the make-or-break portion of this season, but really, it's the next four games.

    After playing Cleveland at home in Roethlisberger's return, the Steelers play road games at Miami, at New Orleans and at Cincinnati. That's a tough stretch for any team.

    The only good thing about that is that there's no way the Steelers will take the third of those three games, at Cincinnati, lightly.

    That's a big thing because history shows that NFL teams don't do well in the third game of three consecutive road games.

    If the Steelers can at least split those four games, giving them a 5-3 first half, they'll be in excellent shape.

    Remember, Baltimore still has to play at New England, at Atlanta and at Houston. The Ravens also have home games against the Steelers, Dolphins, Saints and Bengals. That's seven pretty tough games left on the Ravens' schedule.

    I thought Charlie Batch did a good job with his hard counts against the Ravens. Were they a factor in the two false starts late in the game?

    Possibly. But if the Ravens had jumped offside on those, everyone would be saying what a great move they were.

    The offense knows the snap count. There's no reason for them to jump offside.

    Those two offside penalties really limited what the Steelers could do.

    Look at it this way, Mendenhall had two carries for five yards that were negated by the false starts. That would have put the Steelers in a third-and-five from the 8, as opposed to third-and-10 from the 3.

    They may have attempted a pass from the 8 off a three-step drop. But you don't want Batch dropping back into the end zone to pass the ball. Too many bad things can happen.

    And no, I'm not taking a safety in that situation. When your defense has only given up three touchdowns - to that point - in nearly four games and a touchdown is the only thing that can beat you, you have to make the opponent score a touchdown.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Lolley's "Post-Baltimore" Thoughts

    Steelers Report Card: Game Four vs. Baltimore Ravens

    GERRY DULAC grades the Steelers' effort Sunday in their loss to Baltimore

    Monday, October 04, 2010
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

    Bryant McFadden can't believe he is called for pass interference against Baltimore's Anquan Boldin in the second quarter Sunday at Heinz Field.


    Charlie Batch was 4 of 6 for 54 yards on the 93-yard drive that gave the Steelers a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter. And his soft 34-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El set up the first touchdown. But the offense managed just 3 yards and failed to score on two possessions when defensive takeaways gave them the ball at the Ravens' 27 and 33, respectively, in the second half.


    Rashard Mendenhall pounded out 79 yards on 25 carries against a Ravens defense geared to stop him and also scored two touchdowns -- the second multiple TD game of his young career. His 7-yard touchdown around right end was all Mendenhall, too, because he beat the defense to the corner and got the ball inside the pylon. Isaac Redman's blitz pickup on a third-and-5 pass helped keep that drive alive.


    Batch kept trying to connect with Mike Wallace behind the defense, but his only success was a 20-yarder underneath the coverage. Antwaan Randle El was one of five receivers with two catches, the biggest a 34-yarder over CB Fabian Washington to set up the first touchdown. But TE Matt Spaeth had one of two false-start penalties when the Steelers were backed inside their 10 in the final two minutes.


    The Steelers averaged 3.1 yards per rush and finished with a season-low 84 yards rushing, not what they were hoping against a Ravens defense that allowed more than 170 yards rushing against the Browns. Batch was sacked twice, but the first one was a coverage sack. G Chris Kemoeatu had one of the three false-start penalties and rookie C Maurkice Pouncey had one of the two holding penalties.


    The Ravens finished with 70 yards rushing on 27 carries, an average of 2.6 yards, and didn't have a run longer than 10 yards. And the only sack against QB Joe Flacco was registered by NT Casey Hampton, who forced a fumble on the play. But the Steelers needed to put more pressure on Flacco, who had committed nine turnovers in five previous games against them. Instead, he put the pressure on them.


    The defense made sure RB Ray Rice wasn't going to hurt them, holding him to 20 yards rushing and 9 yards receiving. ILB Lawrence Timmons led the team for the third game in a row with 13 tackles (six solo) and pressured Flacco into a bad throw on third-and-1 near midfield. But James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley failed to register a sack for the second game in a row and never flustered Flacco.


    Flacco was nothing short of sensational, throwing for 256 yards and completing all four pass attempts on the winning drive that took just 36 seconds. William Gay had big pass breakups on third and fourth down from the Steelers' 2 in the final three minutes to protect a 14-10 lead. But Ike Taylor's interception at the Ravens' 27 went for naught and Bryant McFadden got beat on the winning TD to Houshmandzadeh.


    The Steelers failed to take advantage of two takeaways inside the Ravens' 35 when K Jeff Reed missed field goals from 49 and 45 yards in the third quarter. P Daniel Sepulveda was more than solid with punts of 57 and 52 yards, but special-teams captain Keyaron Fox was called for holding on Sepulveda's final punt from the end zone, giving the Ravens another 10 yards to start their final drive.


    There is a certain lack of concentration when you commit as many penalties in one game (11 for 88 yards) than in the previous three combined (11 for 80). And the lack of faith in the passing game was evident when the Steelers ran three consecutive plays from their 3 in the final minutes. Even when the defense finally blitzed, that backfired on the winning touchdown pass with 32 seconds left.

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