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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-21-2007, 05:27 AM
Reportcard / Game 15 -- Steelers vs. St. Louis Rams
Friday, December 21, 2007

Quarterback: A
Ben Roethlisberger brought the big play back to the offense and threw three more touchdown passes, all in the first half, and finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Just as important, he was not intercepted for the third game in a row against a gambling secondary. Roethlisberger set the tone on the first play with an 83-yard pass to Santonio Holmes that led to a touchdown. He made a perfect read and throw on a 33-yard touchdown to Nate Washington.


Running backs: A+
The Steelers had to play most of the game without Willie Parker, the NFL's leading rusher, who injured his right ankle on his first carry and did not return. But all that did was allow Najeh Davenport to have his best game with the Steelers, gaining 65 of his 123 rushing yards in the first half and scoring on a 1-yard run. He also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass and a 32-yard pass on a fake punt.

Receivers: B+
Holmes made the big play -- and 83-yard catch-and-run on a deep post that set up the first touchdown -- and converted a second-and-18 with a 23-yard catch that led to a field goal. But he wasn't the only one. Nate Washington had two more touchdown receptions, including a 33-yarder on a similar play to the touchdown he had last week against the Jaguars. And Hines Ward had a pair of big third-down catches in the fourth quarter to keep alive a drive that lasted 7 1/2 minutes.

Offensive line: C-
Roethlisberger was under a lot of pressure in the first half, getting sacked three times to tie his total from last season (46) and being forced from the pocket a number of other times. But the line did a nice job creating lanes for Davenport and the running game, which produced 85 yards in the first half and finished with 168. LT Max Starks was solid again filling in for injured Marvel Smith and threw several big blocks on Davenport runs.

Defensive line: D+
After allowing Jacksonville to rush for the most yards by an opponent in seven years, the Steelers did not do much better against Steven Jackson, who had 65 of his 85 rushing yards in the first half. And they didn't get much pressure on QB Marc Bulger, preferring to use a lot of three-man rushes and drop extra players into coverage. Bulger was sacked just once, and not until the fourth quarter.

Linebackers: D
There was little pressure on the quarterback again, though James Farrior had a sack in the fourth quarter -- ending a streak of 13 quarters without a sack. Most of that blame falls on the outside linebackers, who are responsible for generating pressure. OLB LaMarr Woodley got stiff-armed and failed to stop Jackson on a 12-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first quarter.

Secondary: B-
The defensive backs needed to bounce back after allowing seven touchdowns and three passes of 55 yards or longer the past two games, and they did ... sort of. They didn't allow a pass longer than 23 yards, though Bulger threw a pair of first-half touchdowns and had over 200 yards passing. CB Ike Taylor was victimized on the second touchdown and had a 31-yard pass interference penalty that led to a field goal. CB Deshea Townsend made a number of big plays, though he failed to prevent a 23-yard touchdown.

Special teams: C
Thank goodnesss for a successful fake punt and a couple Jeff Reed field goals, otherwise it might have been a disaster. The Steelers failed to take advantage of the Rams' poor kick coverage and instead reverted to their own early-season ways, allowing returns of 43 and 49 yards that set up a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Allen Rossum fumbled his first punt return that forced the Steelers to start from their own 4.

Coaching: B
This was the first time Mike Tomlin had to prepare his team after a two-game losing streak and they came ready to play, even with a short work week. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was looking for ways to get big pass plays back into the offense, and he was successful. The defense can't seem to find ways to get pressure on the quarterback, a problem that isn't getting corrected

HometownGal
12-21-2007, 09:08 AM
Again this week, I don't think Ben was "graded" fairly. Not only did Ben make some terrific heads-up plays, the guy had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, threw 3 TDs and 0 picks. That grade should be an A+ imho.

7/39/43
12-21-2007, 09:11 AM
Again this week, I don't think Ben was "graded" fairly. Not only did Ben make some terrific heads-up plays, the guy had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, threw 3 TDs and 0 picks. That grade should be an A+ imho.
I agree A++++ for Ben, D for O Line, Najeh got alot of them yards on his own

Jman
12-21-2007, 09:16 AM
Again this week, I don't think Ben was "graded" fairly. Not only did Ben make some terrific heads-up plays, the guy had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, threw 3 TDs and 0 picks. That grade should be an A+ imho.

:iagree:

As for the O-line, they were generous. Last year was terrible, and now Ben is tied in sacks? I'm not being fair-weather, this line needs to protect their QB. Perhaps going into the playoffs we should pick up a blocking TE - anyone at this point-put him on the line for help with the protection.

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 09:33 AM
The complete collapse of the pass rush is disappointing, but should make it easier to accept changes for next season. I attribute a lot of the problems with the run to Aaron Smith's injury, although it is possible not only Farrior but Big Snack are wearing down (as Troy continues unsound play with poor tackling and overrunning plays)

The big offseason issue is not just anticipated changes on the field (Timmons, Woodley & McFadden for Foote, Haggans & Townsend - Clark hopefully recovering) but whether Coach Dad may be hanging it up. Keeping LeBeau may have been a means to ease the transition post-Cowher, but Tomlin presumably has the confidence of this team and might be ready to make it his coaching staff.

As for the ST play, back to the drawing board - as I stated in another thread, having Davenport on the punt return team in the 4th quarter when he is pretty much the running game for the rest of the season indicates a shabby lack of attention to detail by someone responsible for ST play.

HTG - I agree Ben cannot catch a break with whomever is grading him at the P-G for both the Jax & Rams games - he had a perfect QB rating while (as usual) running for his life - if that is not A+ work what is?

TackleMeBen
12-21-2007, 09:54 AM
HTG - I agree Ben cannot catch a break with whomever is grading him at the P-G for both the Jax & Rams games - he had a perfect QB rating while (as usual) running for his life - if that is not A+ work what is?

his last name isnt brady or manning(the one in indy)

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 09:57 AM
his last name isnt brady or manning(the one in indy)

But this is the hometown paper doing the grading!

TackleMeBen
12-21-2007, 10:01 AM
it dont matter dan... everyone in sports loves brady and manning

Jeremy
12-21-2007, 10:02 AM
Again this week, I don't think Ben was "graded" fairly. Not only did Ben make some terrific heads-up plays, the guy had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, threw 3 TDs and 0 picks. That grade should be an A+ imho.

Surprise surprise.

HometownGal
12-21-2007, 10:02 AM
But this is the hometown paper doing the grading!

The Pittsburgh media is and has always been tough on Steelers QB's no matter how well they played, unfortunately.

HometownGal
12-21-2007, 10:03 AM
Surprise surprise.

The truth sometimes hurts, Jeremy, doesn't it? :flap::wink02:

Jeremy
12-21-2007, 10:08 AM
The truth sometimes hurts, Jeremy, doesn't it? :flap::wink02:

Ben still holds on to the ball too damn long and takes too many sacks. I don't see how anyone can watch him play and not see that big obvious truth. You want to blame it on the offensive line, but it's not the line's fault that their QB holds on to the ball longer than any other QB in the NFL.

HometownGal
12-21-2007, 10:22 AM
Ben still holds on to the ball too damn long and takes too many sacks. I don't see how anyone can watch him play and not see that big obvious truth. You want to blame it on the offensive line, but it's not the line's fault that their QB holds on to the ball longer than any other QB in the NFL.

I won't disagree with that, but I still believe the Steelers OL is a huge part of the ongoing sack saga.

Rotorhead
12-21-2007, 10:26 AM
Ben holding the ball too long has to do with the plays called, a25+ yd post or a 20 yd out takes time to develop, we need to start calling a few more shorter routes

TackleMeBen
12-21-2007, 10:26 AM
they did a stat yesterday that said in the last 3 games ben has been sacked 12 times. that is way too many sacks for your qb to be taking and not getting injuried.

Jeremy
12-21-2007, 10:27 AM
I won't disagree with that, but I still believe the Steelers OL is a huge part of the ongoing sack saga.

OK....this is coming from someone who played O line when he was younger. Ben takes part of the blame for the sack problem. You can only hold down pass rushers for so long. You're moving backwards and they're moving forwards, it's simple physics. So it's on the QB when he scrambles around for 4-8 seconds instead of taking the check down throw. Until Saint Ben can learn that a 5 yard completion to the fullback, or a pass throw to the beer guy in the 10th row, is a good play he's going to keep having sack problems.

[QUOTE][Ben holding the ball too long has to do with the plays called, a25+ yd post or a 20 yd out takes time to develop, we need to start calling a few more shorter routes/QUOTE]

I'm willing to bet that if you go back and watch the film, you'll see that he has a check down receiver on the flat on almost every one of those plays. The problem is that he won't use those receivers to his advantage.

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 10:30 AM
Ben still holds on to the ball too damn long and takes too many sacks. I don't see how anyone can watch him play and not see that big obvious truth. You want to blame it on the offensive line, but it's not the line's fault that their QB holds on to the ball longer than any other QB in the NFL.

That is the trade off for Ben making plays after the protection breaks down (give him Brady's protection and he could hold onto the ball for 8 seconds in the pocket) - I would like to see him dump the ball more often but holding on to the ball and taking sacks is an improvment from last year's chuck and duck exploits that resulted in INTs - I look for further improvement in terms of when to just throw the ball away since I have given up on any improvement in the pass protection

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 10:33 AM
Ben holding the ball too long has to do with the plays called, a25+ yd post or a 20 yd out takes time to develop, we need to start calling a few more shorter routes

Assuming Arians survives into 2008 maybe he can work with Ben on some three step drop and quick slants being put into the playbook such as the Rams ran early last night - right now the only quick hit short pass seems to be the flanker screen they have worked to death

Jeremy
12-21-2007, 10:34 AM
That is the trade off for Ben making plays after the protection breaks down (give him Brady's protection and he could hold onto the ball for 8 seconds in the pocket) - I would like to see him dump the ball more often but holding on to the ball and taking sacks is an improvment from last year's chuck and duck exploits that resulted in INTs - I look for further improvement in terms of when to just throw the ball away since I have given up on any improvement in the pass protection

Power running game or a QB who throws the ball 30+ times a game. In the NFL you can have one or the other, but you can't have both.

I think Steelers fans need to think long and hard about what they really want the Steelers to look like in 5 years.

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 10:46 AM
Power running game or a QB who throws the ball 30+ times a game. In the NFL you can have one or the other, but you can't have both.

I think Steelers fans need to think long and hard about what they really want the Steelers to look like in 5 years.

I do not know if you need to throw it 30 times a game but I agree (and T.H. had a series of posts on this last night) that this OL that combines the aging remnants of the SB O line and second stringers like Colon & Mahan does not match the skill set of Parker & Ben or Arians offensive schemes.

If there is a silver lining to the neglect of the OL in the draft for the last 5 years it may be that drafting the sort of OL geared to Cowher's power running game would have a lot of $$$ tied up in players not matchde to the offense the Steelers will be running for the foreseeable future after the last gasp of power running with Davenport for the rest of this season

Jeremy
12-21-2007, 11:05 AM
I do not know if you need to throw it 30 times a game but I agree (and T.H. had a series of posts on this last night) that this OL that combines the aging remnants of the SB O line and second stringers like Colon & Mahan does not match the skill set of Parker & Ben or Arians offensive schemes.

If there is a silver lining to the neglect of the OL in the draft for the last 5 years it may be that drafting the sort of OL geared to Cowher's power running game would have a lot of $$$ tied up in players not matchde to the offense the Steelers will be running for the foreseeable future after the last gasp of power running with Davenport for the rest of this season

I think going away from the power running attack is a bad mistake. Unless the Steelers put a dome on Heinz Field sometime soon, they're going to be playing in ugly conditions late in the season. Guys like Willie Parker are not built for running in those conditions. New England can get away with what they do because Tom Brady is that damn good. Saint Ben is not even close to being in the same league as Brady right now. Putting the ball in the air 30 times a game, or in the hands of a scat back like Parker, in a snowstorm has disasterous potential.

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 12:27 PM
I think going away from the power running attack is a bad mistake. Unless the Steelers put a dome on Heinz Field sometime soon, they're going to be playing in ugly conditions late in the season. Guys like Willie Parker are not built for running in those conditions. New England can get away with what they do because Tom Brady is that damn good. Saint Ben is not even close to being in the same league as Brady right now. Putting the ball in the air 30 times a game, or in the hands of a scat back like Parker, in a snowstorm has disasterous potential.

"Saint Ben" is in his 4th year in the league, already has several perfect passer rating games (an arcane stat but but nevertheless an indication he does have some passing talent), and is going to cost a bundle to re-sign (and I assume you agree he should be re-signed and will not be leaving in free agency). I know you have issues with him but assume you agree he is already one of the top 5 QBs in the league around which to build a team (if you disagree, please name me three better other than Brady & Manning)

Saying Ben is not in Brady's class at the present time (other than Manning who is?) does not mean he is not already a very good QB. The Steelers will not be paying Ben $70-75 million to hand off and will not be going to New England's screw the running game tactics. But if you are suggesting they should be going back to Cowher/Bettis power ball, I respectfully submit: 1) that it simply is not happening; and 2) that approach regularly was exposed in the playoffs from 1994-2004.

Dino 6 Rings
12-21-2007, 12:31 PM
What was the other stat I heard on NFL network, something like, only one other QB in history has more wins in his first 4 seasons in the league...that would be Dan Marino.

Not a bad stat for Ben, considering one year he put his face through a car windshield. He's a solid performer and unlike some other QBs from our past, I don't fear that Ben will ever lose a game for us, and do trust at the end of a game, he can win it.

Steeldude
12-21-2007, 02:00 PM
QB - B+ held the ball too long. his long passes may have been complete, but they are not fundamentally sound. throwing off of your back foot is not how to be consistent. i know, i know, he completed them so it's no big deal. i don't expect many to understand.

RB - A

WR - A

OL - C+ protection was poor again, but they did open holes for the RBs

DL - D+ used again

LB - D+ pretty much non-existent. harrison was the most active LB again. porter who?

DB - B more good than bad considering they had to help the DL and LBs stop/contain the run too often

ST - C poor kick coverage again

coaching - C luckily the rams couldn't stop the run. basically the steelers beat another poor team. that's been the story all year.

Atlanta Dan
12-21-2007, 02:24 PM
QB - B+ held the ball too long. his long passes may have been complete, but they are not fundamentally sound. throwing off of your back foot is not how to be consistent. i know, i know, he completed them so it's no big deal. i don't expect many to understand.



Don't expect many posters to appreciate being described as dullards by you either:smile:

Steeldude
12-21-2007, 02:35 PM
Don't expect many posters to appreciate being described as dullards by you either:smile:

i meant it more as rah-rah fans than dullards :smile:

the same fans that thought anthony smith was a god of all FS's because he had a couple of big hits. :sofunny: