View Full Version : Steelers hope to avoid more flags

01-11-2009, 09:30 AM
Steelers hope to avoid more flags
By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Steelers have embraced their rematch with San Diego in the AFC divisional playoffs, but they're hoping Round 2 against the Chargers today doesn't degenerate into another game of flag football.

The Steelers were penalized 13 times for 115 yards, and the Chargers twice for 5 yards on Nov. 16 at Heinz Field. That differential explains how the Steelers managed to outgain San Diego by 192 yards (410-218) yet win the game by just one point (11-10).

"We can't be a highly penalized bunch," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We were in that instance.

"Hopefully, it won't even be anywhere close to that this time around. If it is, we're going to have big-time problems."

The 13 penalties and 115 yards in infractions were season-highs for the Steelers.

Wide receiver Hines Ward was penalized three times for 30 yards, twice for holding and once for an illegal block.

Tight end/fullback San McHugh was penalized on what otherwise would have been a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Willie Parker.

Four of the penalties were incurred on special teams.

Ward was among the Steelers who expressed frustration in the immediate aftermath of the flag fest and said he'd seek clarification from the NFL regarding what constitutes holding and what does not.

He said this week that he never did get any answers from the league, and that he intends to keep playing the way he always has.

"I'm not going to go out and change my ways," Ward said. "Last year, we didn't have Willie Parker. I know he's itchin' to get an opportunity to play in the playoffs.

"It's going to take some blocks from the wideouts to get him going and spring him open for some long runs. Hopefully, we can do that and mix it up with the play-action pass."

It'll take McHugh and others impeding the progress of Chargers without drawing yellow laundry to get Parker into the end zone.

"I wish I could say I haven't thought about it, but the fact is I have," McHugh said of his holding penalty. "We'll look at it and learn from it, but you can't look at it too much and take too much from it.

"The worst thing that can happen is you take away your aggressiveness. They make the calls, and you have to live with them. Right or wrong, questionable or not, it really doesn't matter. The flag's thrown, and you get the consequences of it."

Several of the calls against the Steelers the first time they played the Chargers were obvious. Among those were penalties for offside (defensive end Aaron Smith), illegal formation (offensive tackle Willie Colon), fair-catch interference (safety Anthony Smith), illegally downfield on a kick (linebacker Keyaron Fox) and two false starts (wide receiver Santonio Holmes and guard Darnell Stapleton).

The four holding penalties, including McHugh's, were more subjective in nature, at least according to McHugh.

"You get 10 referees, five might call holding, and five might not," he said. "At the end of the day, they called it.

"The biggest thing is you don't want to change the way you're playing and get it in your mind to where you're thinking about penalties."

Mike Prisuta can be reached at mprisuta@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923.

01-11-2009, 10:08 AM
Drive killers..........thats all they are......drive and momentum chokers. And they can be just as damaging as a turnover (depending on when and where they occur)

No pre-snap penalties.......no personal foul penalties. Play smart but play physical. Find a way.........MAKE THIS HAPPEN AND NEVER LET THE CHARGERS BREATHE.

01-11-2009, 11:33 AM
Some of those 13 penalties were our own fault, but I tell you what the officials either better let them play or call it evenly for both sides. None of this lopsided B.S.