View Full Version : Another Sackless Performance For Blitzburgh

12-10-2007, 07:37 AM
Another sackless performance for Blitzburgh
Monday, December 10, 2007

By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- All kinds of nice round numbers have surfaced in the mountain of evidence that the New England Patriots are allegedly the best football team in the world, with the discovery yesterday by the Steelers being especially thick with them -- Bill Belichick's 100th Patriots win, Tom Brady's 4,000 passing yards, New England's total eclipse of the 500-point planet in this pluperfect season.

But this game's biggest number was the smallest, and the roundest:


As in sacks by the Steelers.

Brady was back to pass 46 times, and 46 times, pass he did, which is why New England is 13-0 this morning and the Steelers are, to quote Mike Tomlin on the occasion of the worst defensive performance of his initial NFL season, "not close."

Anyone remember Blitzburgh?

The Steelers have one sack on the previous 90 opposition pass plays, which is no way to polish a reputation as a pressure defense, but it is the worst conceivable failing when you have to line up against Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, et al.

"He got rid of it real quick," said linebacker Larry Foote of a game in which Brady rang up 18 passing first downs and 399 air yards. "He was guessing right on us all night. He was really on top of his game."

Of course, there was no particular reason why he had to be, because the Steelers were not making him even moderately uncomfortable. Not only did they fail to sack him once, but on one play, they actually let him throw it twice.

That came on New England's first possession of the third quarter, when Brady whipped one to Moss in the right flat, where the brilliant wideout was positioned far enough behind Brady that when he dropped it, it was a fumble. Moss picked it up and flung it back to Brady, now positioned behind Moss, and Brady threw it again, this time 56 yards to Gaffney in the Steelers end zone.

Safety Anthony Smith, badly fooled on the play initially, recovered beautifully and caught up to Gaffney just as Brady's missile arrived. In other words, Smith was just in time to pretty much guarantee that Gaffney would catch it for the touchdown that made it 24-13.

"We were out of position," Tomlin said of that one. "We thought we were closing, but we didn't make the play."

That's about as close as Tomlin comes to pointing fingers in public, but Smith isn't the most pressing of the head coach's defensive problems. The Steelers have been stone sackless twice in the past five games, and managed only one in a third.

"Sometimes we got to them," Tomlin said, "and sometimes we didn't."

That's right, except for the first part.

When James Harrison purposely bumped into Brady from behind while Brady was jawing with Smith after the first of four New England touchdown passes, it was about as hard as anyone in white hit No. 12 the mere 25 minutes he was in the game.

At halftime, the Steelers offense had been on the field for 19 of the first 30 minutes, a major accomplishment in the so-called blueprint for beating New England. With the exception of a blown coverage by Smith and Ike Taylor on Moss's 63-yard touchdown, the Steelers played a clinical first half and trailed by only four at the break.

But had the Steelers known there were another 30 sack-free minutes ahead, they could have stayed in the locker room and saved themselves some embarrassment.

"He was good at reading our defense," linebacker James Farrior said. "Our disguises weren't good enough today."

Even operating from a backfield that was often empty but for himself, Brady was rarely even threatened. Brett Keisel tipped one of his passes, but not because he was particularly close.

"We were just not there," Keisel said. "It wasn't meant to be. He was nickel and diming us, forcing us to make tackles, and we didn't make enough of them. He was running a lot of shotgun. He'd get the ball, take one step, and throw. He took us up-front people completely out of the game."

New England ran 55 offensive plays that averaged 7.7 yards, and would have put up 41 points on the league's top-rated defense had Moss not dropped one in the end zone and Stephen Gostkowski not missed a field goal on another possession.

"We worked too hard, worked too hard for this to happen to us," said safety Tyrone Carter, who started his third consecutive game for Troy Polamalu. "You can't make mistakes at the back end of the coverage like we did today and expect to beat this team. That's what's been happening to teams all year against them. They blow a coverage, give up the big play, then they're behind and they can't stay with the game plan.

"It's hard with Brady. He'll be doing things on long counts and a couple of times, I was holding my disguise, holding my disguise, then he'd yell hike. You can't tip your hand too early with him."

But you can tackle him. It is legal.

You would never know it from this performance.


12-10-2007, 07:42 AM
Great post HTG.

Man, that game sucked.

12-10-2007, 07:47 AM
The Steelers have one sack on the previous 90 opposition pass plays,

If this team wants to go anywhere past round 1 of the playoffs then this needs to improve. Period.

12-10-2007, 07:51 AM
I didn't read the whole article, but what Gene needs to remember is that pressure is more important than sacks, and the defensive front got A TON of pressure on pretty boy all day.

I believe if the Steelers would have played bump & run in the second half it would have minimized the effects of Belichicks half time movie (Or if you forget that they use illegal film, 'adjustments'). Either way, you have to bring two game plans when playing the Patriots especially for your defense. If you are going to zone blitz in the first half, play bump & run or 2 deep man under in the second. That team decides what they will do in the 3rd & 4th quarters based on what you did in the 1st and 2nd... That is why they came out with streaks and deep trick plays after halftime - because zone coverage (especially zone blitzes) are weak against deep balls if you don't get to the QB.

12-10-2007, 09:02 AM
No sacks was very disappointing. They never put any consistant pressure on Brady. This was a big factor. None of the hits seemed all that hard either, and how about going after the ball, not one turnover!

12-10-2007, 09:13 AM
I'm sorry, but did anybody else notice how CLOSE we came to sacking Brady on practically EVERY PLAY? If that bastard wasn't so quick off the draw, we'd be seeing some drastically different numbers.

In my opinion, there was plenty of pressure on Brady, but he knew EXACTLY how to deal with it. He's too damned fast.

Avoid LLoyd1975
12-10-2007, 10:02 AM
I hope to see them fools again in the playoffs. I smell a mirrored situation of when we ran the table and had to go through the Colts.

12-10-2007, 11:12 AM
Close might be okay agaist some QB's but against Brady, Romo P.Manning it doesn't matter. If they get the ball out odds are the play wil be for a gain. If you don't get a sack early they tend not to worry about the pressure, confident the rush will be picked up.

12-10-2007, 11:13 AM
Close might be okay agaist some QB's but against Brady, Romo P.Manning it doesn't matter. If they get the ball out odds are the play wil be for a gain. If you don't get a sack early they tend not to worry about the pressure, confident the rush will be picked up.

Exactly. Guys like Brady and Manning will just move out of the way and throw a TD pass.

12-10-2007, 11:38 AM
In this game, sacks are going to be a rare thing. They have a good line, and that's gonna factor in. It's getting him uncomfortable, and I think the Steelers did an o-k job of it. Enough? No, but they did o-k.

12-10-2007, 11:42 AM
Another Sackless Performance For Blitzburgh

I think the word "sackless" can be taken two ways.... :scratchchin: :chuckle:

12-10-2007, 11:57 AM
You don't to have sacks if you still have pressure. I don't think we had any sacks in the Cryhawks game and we had Hassleback doing happy feet shuffle. Of course, Elisabeth doesn't have the weapons that Brady does.

Sometimes its scheme by the other team. As the article states, it?s hard to get sacks on a three, and sometimes less, step drop when the QB has 5 receivers to throw to.

Still, one thing the Steelers have been missing since Lloyd and Greene left was a consistent pass rusher who could beat his man and go to the QB with no fancy blitzes needed. I know we won a Super bowl since then, but even champions have weaknesses. Porter was the best we have had since, but he clearly had become inconsistent. I think Harrison and Kiesel have it in them but again are not consistent, yet. Hopefully one of our young new Lb'er will eventually be able to add some punch in the one-on-one situations...

12-10-2007, 07:18 PM
You don't to have sacks if you still have pressure.

Oh I totally agree, but the problem yesterday was that the Steelers D pressured Fairy Tom like mad the first half and in the second half, the pressure became MIA. He does have the quickest release in modern day football, but I just don't get why they weren't still bringing it in the second half of that game. A$$ Chin hates anyone in his space and in the first half, you could clearly see he was becoming frustrated. When he felt no pressure in the second half, he torched the shit out of us.

12-10-2007, 07:34 PM
If this team wants to go anywhere past round 1 of the playoffs then this needs to improve. Period.
These have been my thoughts all season that Clark Hagans should be playing in his last season as a Steeler unless he takes a big paycut. It is time to get some fresh young legs in there and that is where Timmons or Woodley comes in... I know this wont happen this year, but it must happen next season..

12-10-2007, 07:59 PM
I feel like i want a dominant D end on the team but I think are D line is not the problem. We need to blitz more

Black@Gold Forever32
12-10-2007, 10:31 PM
I agree Woodley and Timmons need to see some action especially in a blow out loss....When the game was out of hand...What better time to get these young guys some reps......Plus Woodley does have 3 sacks on the year...Sure it was mostly in the first half of the year....But still I think he has showed enough to play into a rotation with Clark Haggans....As for Timmons he has speed and can hit...I know experience is important...But sometimes just let an inexperience guy play if he is talented....Talent can over come sometimes....

The whole defense didn't show up yesterday and that was very disappointing....I was hoping James Harrison was going to have a big game and he didn't do jack like the rest of the D......Play the young guys Tomlin...Who knows they might have some success...lol

tony hipchest
12-10-2007, 10:34 PM
the only thing "sackless" on the field was tom brady.

and thats all i have to say about that.