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mesaSteeler
12-06-2008, 03:05 PM
TED SUNDQUIST’S WEEK FOURTEEN SCOUTING REPORTS: COWBOYS AT STEELERS
http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/12/06/ted-sundquists-week-fourteen-scouting-reports-cowboys-at-steelers/

[Editor’s note: Former Broncos G.M. Ted Sundquist looks at Sunday’s huge game between the Steelers and the Cowboys.]

Quick, imagine if you will an offense that is 24th overall, generating barely over 100 rushing per game (22nd) & just over 200 passing (19th). They rank 27th in 1st down efficiency; 25th via the ground & 25th through the air.

Their receivers drop almost 10 catchable balls per game, their QB has thrown one more TD than interceptions and has been sacked 36 times (27th).

They’re 30th in “big plays” over 20+ yards, yet struggle to convert on 3rd & short (27th) and 3rd & 1 (32nd).

Their overall success rate per play is 45.3% (21st), rank 29th in kickoff returns & 29th in punt returns, 31st in gross punting & 23rd in touchback percentage on kickoffs.

Five of twelve games they’ve scored twenty points or less, average less than 4 yards per carry and fewer than twelve yards per reception.

They won’t have a 1000 yard RB and may not eclipse 1000 yards with any WR.

Yet this team is one of the most feared in the AFC and approaches the playoffs as a Super Bowl favorite.

PITTSBURGH.

Behold the power of defense.

The ’08 “Steel Curtain” is suffocating the life out of opponents and has put Pittsburgh atop of the AFC North at 9-3. Mike Tomlin’s defense is 1st vs. the pass, 1st vs. the rush, 1st in the red zone, 1st in points allowed, 1st in sacks, 1st in preventing 20+ yard plays, 1st in yards per game, 1st in yards per play and OK, 29th in 3rd & 10+ to go (25%).

Enter the resurgent Cowboys coming off three straight victories and the return of QB Tony Romo. This could very well be another insightful matchup leading towards the NFL’s version of the “big dance”. Ready your office pools and playoff brackets.

Stopping the Steelers is no easy task but it has been accomplished three times. In those three defeats Pittsburgh surrendered their top three “net yard passing” games.

Philly, the Giants & Indy were all able to at least stave off the pressure and give their QB’s some time. Except for the Eagles (3), there were no turnovers generated by the Steelers D. That only happened in one other game against the Jaguars in early October.

KEY #1 for Dallas has to be the establishment of the pass by protecting Romo. Ten of the eighteen sacks Dallas has surrendered to opponents came in their four defeats. LB’s James Harrison (14.0) & Lamar Woodley (11.5) have well over half of the team’s 42 total. Heavy pressure will be on OT’s Flozell Adams & Marc Colombo. RB Marion Barber (toe; game-time decision) is a major component of the Cowboy attack and won’t often be held back to add to protection. It’ll be up to Romo to make the reads & quickly release in the face of the charge from Pittsburgh’s front seven.

KEY #2 for Wade Phillips’ Cowboy defense will be generating the turnover. In the Steelers’ three losses they gave up the ball 10 times and for the season they have 16 total. Almost half (16) of the 36 sacks recorded by the opposition came in those three games. The bending point for both teams appears to come off pressure. For the Cowboys that means DE Demarcus Ware (knee; probable). Ware leads all Dallas defenders (and the NFL) with 15 of the teams 39 sacks and has forced two fumbles. QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee; probable) will look to the short passing game and his quick release to avoid the Dallas onslaught. If the Cowboys can get in his face and force some hesitation, they could very well add to “Big Ben’s” personal turnover number of 15 (12 picks & 3 fumbles).

For Pittsburgh it’s all about the “run”. The Steelers attack opponents heavily with the ground game on first downs to create manageable situations on 3rd. KEY #3 will be the perimeter running of Willie Parker (knee) and the O-Line. Between the tackles Pittsburgh is struggling to reach 4 yards per carry through any hole but around the ends they’ve averaged well over 5.

Despite the speed of the Dallas defense look for Pittsburgh to try and get their RB’s into the open field with the outside pull. Both Parker and Mewelde Moore have long runs of 32 yards and the running game has 34 carries over 10+ on the season. Dallas has been hit with 7 runs of 20+ or more. The OLB’s in the Dallas defense are looking to rush first and lack the short area change of direction ability of Harrison & Woodley in Pittsburgh’s version of the 3-4.

The Steeler defense will lock down the pass in similar fashion to the run. WR Terrell Owens is back to his “big play” self over the past three weeks with the return of Romo. But look for KEY #4 to be the production of Dallas TE Jason Witten. Witten produced season highs with 9 receptions for 115 yards & 1 TD vs Seattle last week. His athleticism will help in creating separation from the quickness of the Pittsburgh secondary and he will certainly be targeted in the short to intermediate routes in the face of the Steeler pressure. Witten averages 12.2 with every catch and could be a major factor in Dallas’ ability to convert on 3rd & long, especially if the Steelers are able to contain Barber early in the series.

KEY #5 on special teams will be the long range accuracy (40+) of PK’s Jeff Reed and Nick Folk. Reed has two misses from beyond that distance (one from 50+) & Folk has just one miss from 40-49. Always in play is the footing at Heinz Field and points in a game of this magnitude will be at a premium.

BrandonCarr39
12-06-2008, 03:09 PM
I think it will be a close, tight, hard-hitting, and a BIG defensive battle b/w the 2 teams. With Barber being out, I hope Romo pays EXTRA attention into protecting that ball.

If anything, I think it'll come down to turnovers. If both teams protect the ball OK, it'll be a low scoring 13-10, 17-10, etc kind of game. However, whichever team starts getting careless...it'll get ugly early and fast.

revefsreleets
12-06-2008, 03:51 PM
Doesn't Sundquist know what ails the Steelers? It's Arians. Only Arians. Without Arians, the team would be throwing up 60 a game, Ben would have 77 TD passes, and Willie would be both 100% healthy and a 3,000 yard rusher.

markymarc
12-06-2008, 08:50 PM
I also would not be surprised with a low scoring game especially with the weather for tomorrow. Could come down to a special teams play. And I know the Steelers defense will be up to the task of shutting down the Cowgirls offense.

cubanstogie
12-06-2008, 08:58 PM
Doesn't Sundquist know what ails the Steelers? It's Arians. Only Arians. Without Arians, the team would be throwing up 60 a game, Ben would have 77 TD passes, and Willie would be both 100% healthy and a 3,000 yard rusher.
yep, Arians dropped those 10 balls. I knew we dropped alot of balls this year but 10 a game thats ridiculous. GET RID OF NATE.

Steelers Since '75
12-06-2008, 09:10 PM
yep, Arians dropped those 10 balls. I knew we dropped alot of balls this year but 10 a game thats ridiculous. GET RID OF NATE.

Nate has the skill set to make it as an NFL WR... he just has to keep practicing his catches. He is a big play threat for us... seems to have more opportunities that ole 'smokin Holmes. Sweed hasn't beaten him out yet so how bad could he be :noidea:

ben7
12-06-2008, 09:55 PM
Does anyone else think that are defense would preform even better when on a fast surface. When they play at home, they have the obvious home stadium advantage but the field doesnt play in there favor because it is often sloppy. If the defense had a field where it was solid weather wise , the defense would be so much faster.

Steelers Since '75
12-06-2008, 10:03 PM
Does anyone else think that are defense would preform even better when on a fast surface. When they play at home, they have the obvious home stadium advantage but the field doesnt play in there favor because it is often sloppy. If the defense had a field where it was solid weather wise , the defense would be so much faster.

Every team play better on a better field... that is logic. The advantage the Steelers have is they play at a higher level on their garbage field than anyone else... embrace the old school muddy in your face style of Stillers ball! :tt02:

BrandonCarr39
12-06-2008, 11:01 PM
Does anyone else think that are defense would preform even better when on a fast surface. When they play at home, they have the obvious home stadium advantage but the field doesnt play in there favor because it is often sloppy. If the defense had a field where it was solid weather wise , the defense would be so much faster.

Beh-we actually play BETTER on the road than at home, why? B/c our fans at TX Stadium are ****. Aside from the wk2 Mon night game against the Eagles, the stadium is AWFULLY quiet most of the time.

At least the Heinz Field fans know how to go crazy.

LVSteelersfan
12-07-2008, 11:41 AM
Where the heck did he get that stat of 10 catchable drops per game? They might drop as many as 5, but TEN. Ridiculous. That is ridiculous and cannot possibly be right. Now if you add the drops from Ike Taylor, maybe I can see it.

The Duke
12-07-2008, 12:23 PM
Where the heck did he get that stat of 10 catchable drops per game? They might drop as many as 5, but TEN. Ridiculous. That is ridiculous and cannot possibly be right. Now if you add the drops from Ike Taylor, maybe I can see it.

Written by PFT

and I take it as an exaggeration

no way a team drops 10 balls a game

cubanstogie
12-07-2008, 12:31 PM
Written by PFT

and I take it as an exaggeration

no way a team drops 10 balls a game

10 does seem a bit high. But the point is valid. It seems to me they are dropping more passes this year at crucial times with the exception of Miller who has hands of glue. If I had the games recorded I would check it out for myself. No fear when we get rid of Arians the dropped passes will stop. unexplainable.

The Duke
12-07-2008, 12:36 PM
10 does seem a bit high. But the point is valid. It seems to me they are dropping more passes this year at crucial times with the exception of Miller who has hands of glue. If I had the games recorded I would check it out for myself.

true. Even Hines has been dropping passes

Still, if the ball hits ward or miller's hands on 3rd down it's 99% of the times a catch

That is if ben can get the ball to them.....

No fear when we get rid of Arians the dropped passes will stop. unexplainable.

lol :sofunny: