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mesaSteeler
11-19-2009, 06:21 PM
For Steelers, red zone turns into twilight zone
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer, dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/11-19-Steelers-red-zone-offense
This article has been read 412 times.

PITTSBURGH - Scoring touchdowns from inside the opponent's 20-yard line was not a major problem for the Steelers until last Sunday, in an 18-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Prior to that game, the Steelers had scored a touchdown on 15 of their 27 trips inside the red zone, a 55.6-percent rate that ranked 12th in the NFL.

But against the Bengals, the Steelers stalled on each of four trips inside the Cincinnati 20-yard line, settling for field goals.

"It was very uncharacteristic," said wide receiver Hines Ward as the Steelers (6-3) prepare to play at Kansas City (2-7) Sunday.

"It seemed like we were pressing the issue. We were ... forcing the issue instead of just letting the game come to us."

Part of the problem was a rare off day by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 20 of 40 passes for 174 yards.

Inside the red zone, Roethilisberger's stuggles were magnified. He was sacked twice and had two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. The Steelers also were penalized once for holding in a goal-to-go situation.

"There was just something missing all day," Roethlisberger admitted. "Something was weird about the day. It seemed like even the crowd at the beginning - everyone was just kind of different."

When the quarterback isn't feeling right, it's a big deal.

"He's got control over everything," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who had a team-best seven catches for 88 yards but also dropped a pass in the end zone at the end of the first half.

"He controls who gets the ball and dictates where the ball goes. If he felt that way, that's probably why we didn't win the ballgame."

Ward said opponents have been defending the Steelers differently the past few games after watching the Pittsburgh passing game gain yardage at a team-record pace.

"I've seen more bracket coverage in the slot," said Ward, whose 42 red-zone touchdown receptions since 2002 rank second to New England's Randy Moss.

"They really have taken myself and Santonio away. They're trying to put the safety over Santonio, but we've been moving Santonio around, switching him with Mike (Wallace)."

Against the Bengals' numerous blitzes, Pittsburgh kept tight end Heath Miller, who's second on the team with 47 receptions, in to help block more often. Ward said that was a factor in the red-zone struggles as Miller was limited to four catches for 26 yards.

"We've got to get him out of pass protection and into route running," Ward said.

The Steelers aren't ready to consider what happened in one game a trend.

"We've got to get the ball to the playmakers and continue to keep blocking like we've been all season," Holmes said. "How could we not find a rhythm when we drove all the way down the field? We just didn't put up points on the board."

Odds and end zones

Safety Troy Polamalu (knee sprain) wore a brace on his left knee but did not participate in practice. ... Wallace (illness) also did not practice. ... Defensive end Travis Kirschke (calf) and fullback Carey Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice. ... Nick Sirianni, brother of Washington & Jefferson College head football coach Mike Sirianni, is the offensive quality control coach for the Chiefs. ... The Steelers signed former Vanderbilt linebacker Curtis Greenwood to the practice squad to take the spot opened when linebacker Donovan Woods was put on the active roster Tuesday.

Steeldude
11-20-2009, 04:49 AM
get rid of the 2/3 TE sets

Steelers>NFL
11-20-2009, 07:37 AM
get rid of the 2/3 TE sets
And use the fullback (TE Johnson) in front of Mendy. :banging:

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-20-2009, 10:10 AM
Yeah, this is where I personally value a strong running game and the ability to grind out 3-4 yard rushes, so the 3rd and 4th downs are relatively short. I know that we are not this type of team any more and its more common to see empty backfield and 3 or 4 WR sets in the red zone .....so it is what it is.

IF teams are doubling Ward and Holmes, then blitzing to make Miller stay in and block, then its up to Wallace, Moore or Spaeth to make a play. I still want to see Legursky in front of Mendenhall on 1st down..............and play action.

SteelMember
11-20-2009, 10:22 AM
Yeah, this is where I personally value a strong running game and the ability to grind out 3-4 yard rushes, so the 3rd and 4th downs are relatively short. I know that we are not this type of team any more and its more common to see empty backfield and 3 or 4 WR sets in the red zone .....so it is what it is.

IF teams are doubling Ward and Holmes, then blitzing to make Miller stay in and block, then its up to Wallace, Moore or Spaeth to make a play. I still want to see Legursky in front of Mendenhall on 1st down..............and play action.

Spaeth? Who's Spaeth?

I remember some guy making headlines for pissing on a truck, but don't seem to recall any in the sports section. :noidea:

I too would like to see "The Dude" in the backfield again. Guess we need to get inside the 5 for that to happen.

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-20-2009, 10:27 AM
Spaeth? Who's Spaeth?

I remember some guy making headlines for pissing on a truck, but don't seem to recall any in the sports section. :noidea:

I too would like to see "The Dude" in the backfield again. Guess we need to get inside the 5 for that to happen.

Yeah, the guy whizzing on a truck might not get a contract offer this offeseason IMO.

As for "Dude" getting into the backfield again..........could you imagine the anger in him, if they pissed on his rug??? It really tied the room together!!! :doh:

Dino 6 Rings
11-20-2009, 10:31 AM
Duh Folks...put in the Tall Receiver...SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!!!! !!!!!!!!

really, I don't know what the solution is, but I'd like to see some mother effing touchdowns in the Redzone in close games when it really matters.

SteelMember
11-20-2009, 10:39 AM
Enter the Kansas City Chiefs.

I hope we hang 50 on 'em.

:tt04:

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-20-2009, 10:57 AM
Duh Folks...put in the Tall Receiver...SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!!!! !!!!!!!!

really, I don't know what the solution is, but I'd like to see some mother effing touchdowns in the Redzone in close games when it really matters.

:rofl: I thought there was a thread somewhere that concluded that "tall WR" was a bust??

I think the Bengals had us down. Blitz Ben and get the hands up as he tries to throw the slant to the side of the blitzer. Time of the offensive mastermind to make some adjustments.............or just play a crappy chefs team.

Steely McSmash
11-20-2009, 11:31 AM
As for "Dude" getting into the backfield again..........could you imagine the anger in him, if they pissed on his rug??? It really tied the room together!!! :doh:

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

Steely McSmash
11-20-2009, 11:36 AM
What I would really love to see is for the team to run a 2WR, RB, 2TE set and totally mix it up.

Our formation tends to dictate our plans way too much. I'm in favor of using Johnson as the 2nd TE incidentally -- No point in having Spaeth in there if you're not going to throw him the ball.