PDA

View Full Version : Steelers' defense clutch, but other concerns arise


mesaSteeler
10-26-2009, 11:43 PM
Steelers' defense clutch, but other concerns arise
Posted Oct. 26, 2009 @ 2:35 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening
http://www.profootballweekly.com/2009/10/26/steelers-defense-clutch-but-other-concerns-arise

The Steelers enter their bye week at 5-2 and tied for the lead in the AFC North after a 27-17 win vs. Minnesota. Two fourth-quarter defensive touchdowns were the difference for Pittsburgh, which got a 77-yard fumble return score from OLB LaMarr Woodley and an 82-yard interception return tally from ILB Keyaron Fox to hold off the Vikings, who rolled up 386 yards, 274 coming in the second half. But Minnesota, for all of its success moving the ball, could muster only 10 points and no offensive touchdowns in the final 30 minutes. And Pittsburgh, when it needed it most, got some unlikely points from some unlikely players.

As Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin noted, when you "put 14 points on the board defensively, you can overcome a lot of errors."

The PFW spin

Tomlin began his postgame remarks by noting that the Steelers were "pretty fortunate to win that football game to say the least," citing the Vikings' edge in time of possession and the Steelers' inability to score a TD in three red-zone trips.

A win is a win, and there's no doubting Pittsburgh's quality after it came up big in the final minutes. But the Steelers have plenty to work on before returning to action Week Nine at Denver. Among the points of concern:

Vikings QB Brett Favre picked apart the Steelers' secondary. Favre repeatedly hit tall, athletic WR Sidney Rice, who caught nine passes for 123 yards in the second half alone. He also hit RB Adrian Peterson on three passes for 57 yards in the final 30 minutes. Give Favre credit: time and again he made excellent throws, and he seemed to particularly have success against the Steelers' zone coverages. Rarely do quarterbacks attack the Steelers' pass defense the way Favre did, and the Vikings' success in the passing game was most likely a case of a Hall of Fame quarterback playing exceptionally well. Nevertheless, any coverage lapses must be fixed before the matchup with Denver; QB Kyle Orton has markedly improved this season under the tutelage of head coach Josh McDaniels. One good sign for Pittsburgh: the Steelers did get quite a bit of pressure on Favre, notching four sacks. And Woodley's TD came after DE Brett Keisel knocked the ball away from Favre.

The Steelers' passing game didn't take advantage of a supposedly vulnerable secondary. QB Ben Roethlisberger was held to 175 yards passing and was sacked three times. WR Hines Ward was a nonfactor, catching just one pass. Also, Santonio Holmes caught just two of the seven passes thrown his way. With Vikings CB Antoine Winfield missing the game because of injury, the Steelers were not expected to have much trouble passing, but their air attack never quite hit its stride.

RB Rashard Mendenhall's fumbling woes continue. He has lost a fumble in each of the last two games, the latest coming on an ill-timed leap well inside the Minnesota 5-yard line on the second play of the fourth quarter. Mewelde Moore replaced Mendenhall on the Steelers' final offensive series. Mendenhall is undoubtedly the club's most talented back, but at age 22, he's still learning on the job. And his miscue Sunday, with the Steelers leading 13-10 and driving to go up by two scores, could have been particularly costly.

The Steelers' kickoff coverage needs work. The Steelers have given up kickoff-return touchdowns in each of the past two weeks. The Vikings' Percy Harvin took a too-short Jeff Reed kickoff and returned it 88 yards for a score on Sunday, cutting Pittsburgh's lead to 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Poor kickoff coverage can stop a team's momentum cold and can change games; the Steelers must collectively improve in this vital area.

eafratitpm3
10-27-2009, 12:24 AM
Why did Sydney Rice have a great game, two words Ike Taylor!!!!! I see the back of his Jersey more than I saw Chad Scott's in years past. He never gets his head around when covering. I remember watching the game this weekend and the Vikes had a 3 and 8. Farve threw a pass down the left sideline and Sydney Rice stopped and caught it and Ike was still running down the field. He was running side by side with him and instead of looking back and probably intercepting it, oh wait, thats Ike Taylor he has hands of bricks.

SteelC7
10-27-2009, 01:42 AM
ike taylor is our best corner, he usually shadows the opponents #1 receiver, william gay is the one who got abused all day by the viking receivers

eafratitpm3
10-27-2009, 02:50 AM
ike taylor is our best corner, he usually shadows the opponents #1 receiver, william gay is the one who got abused all day by the viking receivers

If I'm not mistaken Ike covered S. Rice for the majority of the game, he had 11 receptions for 136 yds. I can assure you that B. Marshall is a much better receiver than Rice. I hope Ike can shut him down.

Fire Haley
10-27-2009, 10:30 AM
Ater re-watching the game 3 times now, Gay had a good game, he was tackling behind the LOS and made a beautiful break-up of a pass that he almost picked off. He had one or two bad plays that made him look bad to casual observers.

Ike shadows guys alright - but it seems he never makes a play on the ball.

SteelGhost
10-27-2009, 10:55 AM
If I'm not mistaken Ike covered S. Rice for the majority of the game, he had 11 receptions for 136 yds. I can assure you that B. Marshall is a much better receiver than Rice. I hope Ike can shut him down.

If he plays ... Maybe his replacement will be tested all day long. I agree that it wasn't a good day for Ike.

I'm not very concerned for Kyle Orton, his arm is not as strong as The Drama King's, and there could be a pick or two, imho.

steelreserve
10-27-2009, 11:01 AM
I don't think Brett Favre "picked apart" our secondary. He was getting mostly short gains because that's the way we were playing our coverage, and we gave up no touchdown passes. He had a good game, yes, but I didn't think we looked particularly vulnerable.

I was much more concerned by the fact that it seemed like every other pass from Ben was tipped or knocked down at the line. That scared the crap out of me a number of times, and it makes it hard to run an effective offense. Thankfully, I'm thinking timing and luck had a lot to do with that.

And special teams ... yeah, don't get me started on the special teams. They need to get their shit together. But if we can give up a touchdown per week on ST and still win, we must be playing pretty well.

Steelboy84
10-27-2009, 12:29 PM
If he plays ... Maybe his replacement will be tested all day long. I agree that it wasn't a good day for Ike.

I'm not very concerned for Kyle Orton, his arm is not as strong as The Drama King's, and there could be a pick or two, imho.

Yea, but Denver has plenty of weapons.

SteelStang
10-27-2009, 01:41 PM
The PFW assessment is very accurate IMO.

Favre did the same thing Cutler did in week 2. Dumped the ball to the underneath guys and took advantage of our DB's playing a country mile off. If Ike were such an awesome corner, then why isn't he playing tighter? I've never viewed Ike as a true shut-down CB. He is constantly late turning his head and seems to get beat on a lot plays coming out of the break.


No question I thought that Arians' once again out-thought himself. Why on Earth would you not work on those weak DB's more? Make them show they can stop us. Of course our offense actually has to have the ball in order to do this. Can't remember a time when we got beat so soundly on T.O.P.


The kicking game? Not even going to go there.

SteelGhost
10-27-2009, 03:09 PM
Yea, but Denver has plenty of weapons.

Well said SB84, I hope our D come up with a big game, I think Orton is going to have to face our pass rushers all day long.

:tt:

moedap
10-27-2009, 04:40 PM
Farve threw a pass down the left sideline and Sydney Rice stopped and caught it and Ike was still running down the field. He was running side by side with him and instead of looking back and probably intercepting it, oh wait, thats Ike Taylor he has hands of bricks.

That is a designed timing route which is very hard and next to impossible to defend. Ike had inside coverage and was running step for step with Rice. At the right time Rice looked back and the ball was in his hands. Very hard to stop for a corner. Guess wrong on the timing or the route and the next time Rice gives a quick look like its that route Ike bites and gets burned deep for a TD.