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83-Steelers-43
12-31-2007, 12:19 AM
Don't bet on Steelers lasting long in playoffs
Monday, December 31, 2007
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BALTIMORE -- As the Steelers proved two years ago, when they turned a No. 6 seed into a Super Bowl championship, all things are possible in the NFL postseason. You just wouldn't want to place a serious wager on this Steelers team going much further than, say, one game in the NFL's impending 12-team tournament.

"Ready or not, here we come," was the spin coach Mike Tomlin put on the Steelers' division playoff game Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field. It was apt phrasing because there are serious questions as whether the Steelers are ready for the kind of competition they'll face in the playoffs, particularly from Jacksonville.

Unlike the 2005 Steelers, who peaked at the end of the season by winning eight in a row, the current version peaked in early November with a decisive four-touchdown win against the Baltimore Ravens. It has been mostly downhill since for the Steelers, who will go into the playoffs having lost four of their final seven games.

The most recent loss was to those same Ravens yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium, 27-21. It might not be fair to place a lot of stock in this defeat since the Steelers were playing without Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, all of whom were rested because of nagging injuries. But the absence of those three players were more than matched by a plethora of injuries to the Ravens, who had lost nine consecutive games and hadn't won since Oct. 14.

If the game was virtually meaningless for the Steelers, it was equally so for the Ravens.

The Steelers rallied from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to make a snoozer a bit exciting, and that prompted Tomlin to say he was "proud of the way our men fought." But it was those same men who fell behind, 27-7, after three quarters to one of the worst teams in the NFL.

What was particularly disheartening about the loss was yet another savaging of the Steelers' one-time superb run defense. Fifth-year pro Musa Smith, in his first career start, gained 83 yards on 22 carries. Second-year pro Cory Ross, who had never carried the ball from scrimmage in an NFL game until yesterday, gained 72 yards on 12 carries. All told, the Ravens rambled for 180 yards on 40 carries.

If the Steelers can't handle the unheralded Smith and Ross, what are they going to do with the Jacksonville tandem of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, who torched them for 216 yards two weeks ago?

"It's disappointing to us," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "This team loves to stop the run, prides itself on stopping the run and we haven't been able to do that. Teams are going to keep attacking us like that, especially Jacksonville. They have those two good backs and we definitely have to come up with some answers or we're going to be watching the playoffs."

Just as big a problem for the Steelers in stopping the run will be mounting a rush offense of their own. When they lost to Jacksonville at Heinz Field, 29-22, Dec. 16, they had a strong running attack of their own. Willie Parker gained 100 yards that afternoon on only 14 carries. But Parker is done for the season after breaking his leg against St. Louis Dec. 20. He led the NFL in rushing at the time of his injury and the Steelers simply do not have anyone remotely ready to replace him.

The notion thrown around on talk shows and the Internet last week that the Steelers would be better with 247-pound Najeh Davenport replacing the 209-pound Parker was blown to smithereens yesterday. Davenport was in the third start of his six-year NFL career for good reason. He might be a big back, but he's not a power back. He's not the reincarnation of Jerome Bettis. He's not going to give the Steelers the power-running game Bettis did.

On 12 carries against the Ravens, Davenport picked up 27 yards. Gary Russell, in only his third NFL game, carried six times for 20 yards.

"We didn't get enough of a look at Najeh or Russell because of the circumstances of the game," Tomlin said.

In fact, Tomlin might have got too much of a look at what now constitutes the Steelers' running game.

Clearly, a game plan has been established for Jacksonville: Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger and more Roethlisberger.

There was a lot of bravado in the Steelers' locker room.

"We've got a lot of prideful men on our defensive side," Ward said. "I don't see Fred Taylor doing that to our defense twice."

Maybe not, but just like the chances of the Steelers advancing, you wouldn't want to bet on it.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07365/845643-194.stm

jjpro11
12-31-2007, 12:28 AM
anything can happen in the playoffs.. but its blatantly obvious we are going into the playoffs playing our worst football of the season. the offense really hasnt changed much, but our defense has taken a complete 180 from the start of the season to now. the smith injury has just absolutely murdered us. even before his injury though, thomas jones ran all over us. something just isnt "there" right now.

Steel Pit
12-31-2007, 05:28 AM
I'll bet, I will bet that the Steelers defeat the Jaguars. Would that be defined as lasting long in the playoffs? Man some people are all about doom and gloom.

We all know that the Steelers aren't playing well. We knew that they weren't playing well in their 1st matchup with the Jaguars but still yet they tied up the game and at least put themselves in a position to possibly pull it out.

Everyone is talking this Jaguars team up as if they are right in line with the Patriots. I'm sorry people, I wasn't that impressed with them. That first game was more about the Steelers playing awful as opposed to the Jaguars being a force.

I also know this, during the 2005 regular season, I saw an Indianapolis Colts team WHIP THE STEELERS TAILS worse than the Jaguars whipped us in 2007. Did that regular season whipping help the Colts in their playoff rematch versus the Steeelers. UHMMM, NO, in fact it had absolutely no bearing on the playoff game.

On the other hand I saw the 2004 Steelers kick the Patriots A$$ES in the regular season but what happened in the playoff rematch?

I saw the 1997 Steelers beat the Broncos in the regular season but what happened in the playoff rematch. Once again, the regular season winner lost in the playoff rematch.

F, I said F, the mother-humping Jaguars. Get on board people, we can handle the Jaguars.

bozz723
12-31-2007, 06:48 AM
I will bet, and in fact I did.


Whole new season now. The past is a freak.

lamberts-lost-tooth
12-31-2007, 06:51 AM
I hate Smizik...anything short of playing in the AFC championship will have the spin of being a dissapointment in his columns.

Galax Steeler
12-31-2007, 07:02 AM
I would just like for us to come out and just play some good old fashion steeler football for a change stopping the run and playing like we used to play.

PisnNapalm
12-31-2007, 08:23 AM
Unlike a couple years ago.... I have little hope in getting past the first round. A couple years ago the whole team was playing inspired football. They played at or above their capabilities. This year.... I'm not feeling it.

17 rushing yards in the first half of yesterday's game.... damn. We're screwed.

HometownGal
12-31-2007, 08:55 AM
I'll bet, I will bet that the Steelers defeat the Jaguars. Would that be defined as lasting long in the playoffs? Man some people are all about doom and gloom.

We all know that the Steelers aren't playing well. We knew that they weren't playing well in their 1st matchup with the Jaguars but still yet they tied up the game and at least put themselves in a position to possibly pull it out.

Everyone is talking this Jaguars team up as if they are right in line with the Patriots. I'm sorry people, I wasn't that impressed with them. That first game was more about the Steelers playing awful as opposed to the Jaguars being a force.

I also know this, during the 2005 regular season, I saw an Indianapolis Colts team WHIP THE STEELERS TAILS worse than the Jaguars whipped us in 2007. Did that regular season whipping help the Colts in their playoff rematch versus the Steeelers. UHMMM, NO, in fact it had absolutely no bearing on the playoff game.

On the other hand I saw the 2004 Steelers kick the Patriots A$$ES in the regular season but what happened in the playoff rematch?

I saw the 1997 Steelers beat the Broncos in the regular season but what happened in the playoff rematch. Once again, the regular season winner lost in the playoff rematch.

F, I said F, the mother-humping Jaguars. Get on board people, we can handle the Jaguars.

Gosh - it is so nice to feel some positive energy around here! :cheers: :thumbsup:

The 2007 Steelers are clearly NOT the 2005 Steelers, but I don't believe these guys have played up to their capabilities in the last several games. The biggest glaring difference between the 2005 and 2007 teams is that I don't feel that fire and intensity from the D that I felt in 2005. That team had the killer instinct - this team simply does not. The Steelers O, with Ben at the helm, seem to have found their groove, but the D doesn't appear to be in sync most of the time. Not only do Tomlin and Lebeau have a lot of game planning and film watching to do - they need to kick these guys in the rumps, fire them up and inject them all with the "B" factor (Belief). If they believe in each other and themselves, anything is possible.

revefsreleets
12-31-2007, 09:10 AM
I have the Steelers beating the Jags this week, but that's probably as far as they get this year. OL woes and poor special teams play is not the recipe for deep playoff runs.

cubanstogie
12-31-2007, 09:13 AM
One thing that is improved over 2005 is Ben. He is playing as well as any QB except for shady Brady. I actually gained confidence hearing Bettis say LeBeau will have the Defense ready for playoffs and come up with a plan agains Jags. Whether or not the players execute is a different story. Back to Ben, he is not turning the ball over like in years past even though lineman are breathing down his neck. Like someone earlier posted we were tied with Jax in 4th quarter and played a terrible game. We have to contain Taylor and Jones-drew and make Garrard beat us. Earlier in season our defense was a bend don't break defense giving up zero big plays. We need to get back to that with Jags and we will be fine. I think people get so negative around here because they don't want their hopes shattered. If you believe you are going to win and lose it is demoralizing. To each his own, but right now every one is 0-0, and we do have an experience factor over Jags as well. I think we will see a different Steelers team.

bozz723
12-31-2007, 09:18 AM
Unlike a couple years ago.... I have little hope in getting past the first round. A couple years ago the whole team was playing inspired football. They played at or above their capabilities. This year.... I'm not feeling it.

17 rushing yards in the first half of yesterday's game.... damn. We're screwed.

Oh stop it.


I know you will say a team that doesn't try to win doesn't have heart, but that is what happened. The Steelers just didn't even feel like being there yesterday, they were looking ahead and still almost won.

If it weren't for a catastrophic fumble and 2 horrific interceptions we would have blown out the ravens on a day no one wanted to, or cared to play.


The Jaguars rush defense sucks, and we can certainly pass on their mediocre corners. The only concern, once again is the rush defense. Who woulda though? Our only concern is the rush defense?

However, I look for LeBeau to get the Steelers back to their old ways of stopping the rush game somewhat. All we need to do is stop it somewhat and we win. Simple as that.


Steelers 28-9 victory on Saturday night.

Bank on it.

sherlock
12-31-2007, 09:25 AM
Yeah,to hell with the gloom and doomers!
C`MON STEELERS!!!!!! :helmet::tt02:

ohiosteelerfan20
12-31-2007, 09:30 AM
I feel better about the playoffs this year than I did at any time in the 90's, 2001,2002 or even 2004. Why? Because we have a big time QB. I new even after the loss to the Pats in 2004 that we had a big time QB. And as long as we have that we have a chance. I mean think about it. Great D and a crappy QB(Kordell) doesnt win it all. The Ravens of 2000 and the Bucs of 2002 are the exception. Great QBs win it all. Now I know its not likely this year, but I still have hope that Ben will get hot and make plays that only he makes. If that happens and with a break or two, who knows. But as long as we have a healthy Ben, I am not losing hope.:tt02::tt02::jammin::jammin:

Newzfoxjr
12-31-2007, 09:39 AM
Oh wait, optimism?! I thought we were all slicing our wrists by now?

When you get into the playoffs, your record doesn't matter. We have talent. We have big-play ability. We almost beat Jacksonville. Had we stopped them just one more time than we did, we might've. We came back from 15 points down in the 2nd half, and tied it. We can win.

Jeremy
12-31-2007, 09:45 AM
Oh wait, optimism?! I thought we were all slicing our wrists by now?

When you get into the playoffs, your record doesn't matter. We have talent. We have big-play ability. We almost beat Jacksonville. Had we stopped them just one more time than we did, we might've. We came back from 15 points down in the 2nd half, and tied it. We can win.

No, but it does matter what kind of football your team is playing at the end of the season. Right now, Pittsburgh is playing bad football. The run defense is spotty and the cornerbacks and getting beat on simple out pattern 9 times out of 10. Unless the defense somehow finds themselves between now and Saturday, it'll be one and done.

bozz723
12-31-2007, 09:54 AM
Actually Jeremy, it doesn't matter what kind of football you are playing at the end of the season. In fact is completely and totally irrelevant.

Ex. 2001, 2004.


The fact is, it is common sense to say that if the Steelers can't stop the run, or the pass, they will lose.

Come on now.

HometownGal
12-31-2007, 09:55 AM
I feel beter about the playoffs this year than I did at any time in the 90's, 2001,2002 or even 2004. Why? Because we have a big time QB. I new even after the loss to the Pats in 2004 that we had a big time QB. And as long as we have that we have a chance. I mean think about it. Great D and a crappy QB(Kordell) doesnt win it all. The Ravens of 2000 and the Bucs of 2002 are the exception. Great QBs win it all. Now I know its not likely this year, but I still have hope that Ben will get hot and make plays that only he makes. If that happens and with a break or two, who knows. But as long as we have a healthy Ben, I am not losing hope.:tt02::tt02::jammin::jammin:

Good post ohiosteelerfan and I so appreciate your optimism! :cheers:

I have no doubt that Ben & Co. can make things happen this Saturday on the field, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about our D. Ben and the boys could put up 25-30 pts. on the Jags, but if the Steelers D allows the Jags to score 26-31, we're history this season.

I'm not losing the faith, though. Stranger things have happened. :tt02:

P.S. RAH RAH.

bozz723
12-31-2007, 10:02 AM
Lol.


Losing faith..


We are a better football team than the Jaguars. Why would you lose faith? Everyone is acting like we are going up against the 78 Steelers..


Lets get real folks. The Jaguars ain't gonna beat us.

Jeremy
12-31-2007, 10:24 AM
Lol.


Losing faith..


We are a better football team than the Jaguars. Why would you lose faith? Everyone is acting like we are going up against the 78 Steelers..


Lets get real folks. The Jaguars ain't gonna beat us.

They already did it one time.

steelpride12
12-31-2007, 10:44 AM
Im sure the Steelers could be a different and better team in the playoffs, and possibly since there at home come off a 3-4 point victory over the jags, but a win against the Pats the next game is out of the question. We proved ourselves a great team in the beginning of the season, but let it all slip away and we look like the 8-8 team we once were.

Steel Pit
12-31-2007, 10:51 PM
Lol.


Losing faith..


We are a better football team than the Jaguars. Why would you lose faith? Everyone is acting like we are going up against the 78 Steelers..


Lets get real folks. The Jaguars ain't gonna beat us.

They already did it one time.


Fly on back to your nest Jeremy.

SuperMan313
01-01-2008, 03:40 AM
We're definately playing our worst Football of the year, and got big problems with the OL and Special Teams, I'm really hoping we can beat Jacksonville to pick up some confidence, but I got this gut feeling MJD and Taylor will torch us all night long..

Galax Steeler
01-01-2008, 07:43 AM
We're definately playing our worst Football of the year, and got big problems with the OL and Special Teams, I'm really hoping we can beat Jacksonville to pick up some confidence, but I got this gut feeling MJD and Taylor will torch us all night long..

I dissagree I don't think jacksonville will run against us like they did in the first game we will watch the tape and figure out ways to stop it.

bw87a
01-01-2008, 08:17 AM
i would have thought we would have watched the tapes and been able to stop them in the first game. we knew it was coming...

Jeremy
01-01-2008, 08:18 AM
[QUOTE=Jeremy;348445]


Fly on back to your nest Jeremy.

Truth hurts to some people.

Atlanta Dan
01-01-2008, 08:43 AM
Vegas thinks the Steelers are done after Saturday - the line opened at pick 'em and Jags are now favored by 2.

Shows the $$ are moving to Jax and, with the 3 point advantage usually given to the home team, that the Jags are regarded as the clearly better team.

Jags 30 - Steelers 20

HometownGal
01-01-2008, 08:47 AM
Vegas thinks the Steelers are done after Saturday - the line opened at pick 'em and Jags are now favored by 2.

Shows the $$ are moving to Jax and, with the 3 point advantage usually given to the home team, that the Jags are regarded as the clearly better team.

Jags 30 - Steelers 20

While I don't pay much attention to the Vegas odds, I can't disagree with the Jags being regarded as the better team. As much as it hurts to say this, right now they are.

That doesn't mean I've lost the faith that the Steelers can pull this game out, but it's going to take a lot of effort, self-confidence, consistency and almost perfect execution to do so - all the way around.

stillers4me
01-01-2008, 08:49 AM
Vegas thinks the Steelers are done after Saturday - the line opened at pick 'em and Jags are now favored by 2.

Shows the $$ are moving to Jax and, with the 3 point advantage usually given to the home team, that the Jags are regarded as the clearly better team.

Jags 30 - Steelers 20

Jan 5, 2007.......The Steelers Last Stand

It's more than we had last year. I wish we weren't the walking wounded 'coz our QB has had a hellava year and that's something we Steelers fans have waited along time to see. Ben has succeed in the Revenge Tour '07!

Here's to plugging the gaps for '08! :cheers:

Atlanta Dan
01-01-2008, 08:59 AM
Jan 5, 2007.......The Steelers Last Stand

It's more than we had last year. I wish we weren't the walking wounded 'coz our QB has had a hellava year and that's something we Steelers fans have waited along time to see. Ben has succeed in the Revenge Tour '07!

Here's to plugging the gaps for '08! :cheers:

Agreed - at full strength this team had a good shot against anyone, but the losses of Clark, Aaron Smith, Marvel Smith, and Fast Willie, plus Troy being banged up much of the year (someone noted he slowed down in the second half of the Jax game, which IMO would indicate his knee started acting up again) are tough to overcome.

FYI is an ESPN ranking of the 12 playoff team's offenses, both overall and by component - Steelers rank #7 and Jags rank #5 - Ben is ranked as the #3 QB behind guess who, while the OL ranks a richly deserved 12 out of 12:

The Steelers are led by perennial Pro Bowl LG Alan Faneca, an excellent athlete who plays with an attitude that carries over to the rest of the line. However, the team is going to have to deal with the possibility of not having LT Marvel Smith for the playoffs due to a back injury; his absence will seriously deplete an already-questionable offensive line. Other than Faneca, the unit is a collection of adequate athletes who lack premier bulk and strength.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3174937&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl %2fplayoffs07%2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d3174 937

Hoping for the best Saturday night but looking forward to seeing how this team adjusts in the offseason :cheers:

Edman
01-01-2008, 09:28 AM
The Defense can't tackle and can't stop the run. They've lost their swagger. If the Steelers are to get anywhere, they'll have to do it on Ben's arm. I would not be surprised or shocked if Jacksonville's first rushing play goes for 5+ yards. That's how much confidence I've lost in this defense.

SteelDogFan
01-01-2008, 09:58 AM
Thats a Positive thought!!!!!

Dino 6 Rings
01-01-2008, 07:22 PM
Seriously...was this thread started to piss me off.

on a Steelers board, don't bet on the Steelers lasting long...

I BET ON THEM WINNING IT ALL!!!

HELL YEAH!!! New Season, balls bounce differently in the playoffs, if one player for one team goes down, the playoffs completely change.

Heck, every year we see the "teams" to beat go down. Every Year. Was Seattle really the best NFC team 2 years ago? Are the Cowboys really the best NFC team? heck, they will have a tough time against the Skins, the Seahawks, the Packers or the Bucs. And as for the AFC, until the COLTS lose, they are still the champs and I don't care about any records. We are ALL 0-0 now. One game elimination. win and you move on, lose and you are forgotten. Unless you are supposed to win it all, then you are remembered as a choke. And I know, there will be a huge CHOKE this post season, and it won't be the Steelers doing the gaggin.

HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!

shevdog
01-01-2008, 08:12 PM
I got a feeling about those Steelers in the playoffs. Of course the facts and stats point the other direction. Let's just say that in the playoffs, I see the AFC not being so cut and dry. Some upsets are in the works. As for the Steelers, we'll see. We have Jacksonville this week. Beyond that, it is going to be a wild ride!

alittlejazzbird
01-01-2008, 08:20 PM
Jan 5, 2007.......The Steelers Last Stand

It's more than we had last year. I wish we weren't the walking wounded 'coz our QB has had a hellava year and that's something we Steelers fans have waited along time to see. Ben has succeed in the Revenge Tour '07!

Here's to plugging the gaps for '08! :cheers:

You know what? Ben is going to continue to have those kind of years, because he's that kind of quarterback. He is a true elite franchise quarterback, and that's all too rare in the NFL. I think we will be back to the Super Bowl within three to five years (maybe less, if we can successfully address offensive and defensive line issues in the offseason). But in my opinion, this is not the year.

Unlike 2005, when we were playing our best ball as the season ended, this team is regressing from its earlier excellent play. Some, but not all, of that regression is due to injuries. If we can beat Jacksonville, which in my opinion is fairly unlikely (not that I wouldn't be thriled with a win!), I don't see us getting past Indy and/or New England.

I'm happy to see Ben getting the recognition, via the Pro Bowl, that he deserves. But in my opinion, this is not the Steelers' year. They'll be back, and sooner rather than later, but I don't think it will be this year. Just my two cents, for whatever it's worth.

Preacher
01-01-2008, 08:23 PM
I got a feeling about those Steelers in the playoffs. Of course the facts and stats point the other direction. Let's just say that in the playoffs, I see the AFC not being so cut and dry. Some upsets are in the works. As for the Steelers, we'll see. We have Jacksonville this week. Beyond that, it is going to be a wild ride!

ABSOLUTELY.

And hey... While my head says we will be one and done, my heart says to grip that yellow towel tightly... cause a good QB, a speedy receiver, and a great possession receiver can change the game in an instant.

stillers4me
01-01-2008, 08:36 PM
ABSOLUTELY.

And hey... While my head says we will be one and done, my heart says to grip that yellow towel tightly... cause a good QB, a speedy receiver, and a great possession receiver can change the game in an instant.

:jammin:

alittlejazzbird
01-01-2008, 08:39 PM
ABSOLUTELY.

And hey... While my head says we will be one and done, my heart says to grip that yellow towel tightly... cause a good QB, a speedy receiver, and a great possession receiver can change the game in an instant.

Preacher, your lips to the football gods' ears. I'll be the first person to admit I was wrong if they win!

geo123
01-01-2008, 09:19 PM
Jacksonville has been putting up some good points in there last few games. Even in the loss to Houston they scored 28. If we're going to win we'll have to score at least 27.

Steel Pit
01-02-2008, 12:55 AM
ABSOLUTELY.

And hey... While my head says we will be one and done, my heart says to grip that yellow towel tightly... cause a good QB, a speedy receiver, and a great possession receiver can change the game in an instant.


And lets not forget that the Jaguars are not FLAWLESS! A mistake or two by the Jaguars and this game could be over by the 3rd quarter. I say again, as BAD as the Steelers played versus the Jaguars a few weeks ago, and I mean BAD!, they still had the opportunity to possibly pull that game out.

Steel Pit
01-02-2008, 01:00 AM
[QUOTE=Steel Pit;348788]

Truth hurts to some people.


Fly on back to Steelers forum after the game and I'll eat crow or even Cardinal wings if you're right. I'll be here and I'll be looking for you.

The truth, well I don't seek out a Cardinals fan when I'm looking for football truths.:wave:

X-Terminator
01-02-2008, 07:33 PM
Sorry ladies and gents, but while the homer and optimist in me says we'll beat Jacksonville by 30 points...the realist in me says we'll be lucky to lose by 10. We just have too many injuries to key players and at key positions to pull this one out. I really hope I'm wrong, though.

revefsreleets
01-02-2008, 08:20 PM
Homer aside, an honest analysis has to include the difficulty of beating a quality opponent twice in one season. The Steelers, despite some glaring flaws, are a quality opponent, and this would be two losses in a row at home for the Steelers.

I don't see it happening.

I'll reserve judgment as to our odds of beating either Indy or NE after I see how well the OL blocks and the ST play Sunday, but I don't see us losing to Jax this weekend.