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View Full Version : How bad special teams, a sloppy offense and coaching decisions cost us 15-1


vrabinec
01-08-2010, 01:22 PM
I started lookid at what the biggest problems with the Steelers were and I was amazed that at one point (right after the Jamaal Charles kickoff return for TD to open the KC game) our defense had given up 11 TD's and our special teams and offense had given up 8 via kick returns, interception returns for TD, and fumble returns for TD. So I started to go through the games to see what the scores of the games would have been if we had simply been able to tackle a return man somewhere between the 25 and 35, if we hadn't thrown any interceptions that were returned for TD's, if we hadn't coughed up any fumbles that weren't returned for TD's, if we hadn't gone for it on 4th down in field goal range, fumbled or thrown interceptions in the red zone, missed field goals that were 45 or shorter in decent weather conditions, dropped onside kicks in obvious onside kick scenarios, or comitted penalties or gotten sacked to take ourselves out of field goal range.

By my calculation, we would have scored 405 points instead of 368. This doesn't even include getting stuffed for no yardage on 3 consecutive plays at the opponents 36 without making any concerted effort to at least move the ball into field goal range (you wouldn't believe how many times things like THAT happened)

By my calculation, we would have given up 217 points instead of 324. Yup, that's not a missprint. That would have made our +- 189, which would have been the best in the NFL. Now, some of those drives would have turned into points anyway, but probably not enough to make a difference. We should have been 15-1. The only game we would have lost anyway, believe it or not, is the Cleveland game.

Here are the plays:
1. Tennesee- Ward fumbles at the Titans 3. Score should have been 16-10
2. Chicago- Reed misses 2 very makeable field goals, one miss sets up Chicago nicely for a FG of their own. Score should have been 20-7
3. Cincinnati 1- Ben throws a pick-6. Steelers go for it on 4th and 4 instead of punting and Cincy comes back to barely get in FG range (I didn't count this, just letting you know). Score should have been 20-16.
4. San Diego- Logan's fumble is returned for a TD. Chargers recover an onside kick and score a TD. Score should have been 38-14
5. Detroit- Ben gets intercepted for a pick-6. Score should have been 28-13
6. Cleveland 1- False start on Starks takes us out of field goal range. Cribbs returns one against us for 6. Mendenhall fumbles in the red zone. Score should have been 33-7
7. Minnesota- Harvin returns a kick against us for a TD. Score should have been 27-10
8. Denver- Ben gets sacked, stripped, and they return it for a TD. Ben throws a red zone pick. Score should have been 31-3
9. Cincinnati 2- Bernard Scott returns a kcik for a TD against us. Ben interception sets up Cincy in the red zone for a FG. Again, I'm not even including things like that a Spaeth fumble forces us to kick from deep in our own zone which sets them up for a FG or that a Harrison personal foul helps them set up for another FG. Score should have been 12-6
10. Kansas City- Charles returns the kick for 6 against us. Ben intercepted in the red zone, ball is returned into our red zone, setting a FG for them. Overtime should never have happened, but even in overtime, Moore is stuffed for a 3 yard loss to take us out of field goal range. Score should have been 27-14
11. Baltimore 1- Spaeth commits offensive holding, taking us out of FG range. Overtime should never have happened, but Dixon throws the pick in OT to set up their FG. Score should have been 20-17
12. Oakland- Steelers go for it on 4th and 1 at the Raiders 5 and don't make it. Ben sacked to take us out of field goal range. Ben gets intercepted in the red zone. Again, this doesn't even include our special teams letting Gary freakin Russel get a big return that basically sets them up for a FG. Score should have been 33-27
13. Cleveland 2- A cribbs return sets up a FG. This game we still would have lost 10-6. Of course, maybe if we were 12-0 going into that game, they would have played with a little more enthusiasm.
14. Green Bay- Botched onside kick sets up the Packers inside Steeler territory. Score should have been 37-26 (or 30-26 if you figure we wouldn't have made that last second drive)
15. Baltimore 2- Ben gets picked deep in our end to set them up for a FG. Score should have been 23-17
16. Miami- I didn't see anything in the parameters stated above that changed the score, but we did have that delicious topping to the season when Ben threw a deep pass that got intercepted as we tried to kill the clock. Score should have been 30-24

This is a travesty, and it doesn't include lost opportunites. It's possible we were the sloppiest team in the NFL when it came to offense and special teams. We'll see if Tomlin notices the same stuff and has the brains to fix it next year.

SMR
01-08-2010, 01:27 PM
I started lookid at what the biggest problems with the Steelers were and I was amazed that at one point (right after the Jamaal Charles kickoff return for TD to open the KC game) our defense had given up 11 TD's and our special teams and offense had given up 8 via kick returns, interception returns for TD, and fumble returns for TD. So I started to go through the games to see what the scores of the games would have been if we had simply been able to tackle a return man somewhere between the 25 and 35, if we hadn't thrown any interceptions that were returned for TD's, if we hadn't coughed up any fumbles that weren't returned for TD's, if we hadn't gone for it on 4th down in field goal range, fumbled or thrown interceptions in the red zone, missed field goals that were 45 or shorter in decent weather conditions, dropped onside kicks in obvious onside kick scenarios, or comitted penalties or gotten sacked to take ourselves out of field goal range.

By my calculation, we would have scored 405 points instead of 368. This doesn't even include getting stuffed for no yardage on 3 consecutive plays at the opponents 36 without making any concerted effort to at least move the ball into field goal range (you wouldn't believe how many times things like THAT happened)

By my calculation, we would have given up 217 points instead of 324. Yup, that's not a missprint. That would have made our +- 189, which would have been the best in the NFL. Now, some of those drives would have turned into points anyway, but probably not enough to make a difference. We should have been 15-1. The only game we would have lost anyway, believe it or not, is the Cleveland game.

Here are the plays:
1. Tennesee- Ward fumbles at the Titans 3. Score should have been 16-10
2. Chicago- Reed misses 2 very makeable field goals, one miss sets up Chicago nicely for a FG of their own. Score should have been 20-7
3. Cincinnati 1- Ben throws a pick-6. Steelers go for it on 4th and 4 instead of punting and Cincy comes back to barely get in FG range (I didn't count this, just letting you know). Score should have been 20-16.
4. San Diego- Logan's fumble is returned for a TD. Chargers recover an onside kick and score a TD. Score should have been 38-14
5. Detroit- Ben gets intercepted for a pick-6. Score should have been 28-13
6. Cleveland 1- False start on Starks takes us out of field goal range. Cribbs returns one against us for 6. Mendenhall fumbles in the red zone. Score should have been 33-7
7. Minnesota- Harvin returns a kick against us for a TD. Score should have been 27-10
8. Denver- Ben gets sacked, stripped, and they return it for a TD. Ben throws a red zone pick. Score should have been 31-3
9. Cincinnati 2- Bernard Scott returns a kcik for a TD against us. Ben interception sets up Cincy in the red zone for a FG. Again, I'm not even including things like that a Spaeth fumble forces us to kick from deep in our own zone which sets them up for a FG or that a Harrison personal foul helps them set up for another FG. Score should have been 12-6
10. Kansas City- Charles returns the kick for 6 against us. Ben intercepted in the red zone, ball is returned into our red zone, setting a FG for them. Overtime should never have happened, but even in overtime, Moore is stuffed for a 3 yard loss to take us out of field goal range. Score should have been 27-14
11. Baltimore 1- Spaeth commits offensive holding, taking us out of FG range. Overtime should never have happened, but Dixon throws the pick in OT to set up their FG. Score should have been 20-17
12. Oakland- Steelers go for it on 4th and 1 at the Raiders 5 and don't make it. Ben sacked to take us out of field goal range. Ben gets intercepted in the red zone. Again, this doesn't even include our special teams letting Gary freakin Russel get a big return that basically sets them up for a FG. Score should have been 33-27
13. Cleveland 2- A cribbs return sets up a FG. This game we still would have lost 10-6. Of course, maybe if we were 12-0 going into that game, they would have played with a little more enthusiasm.
14. Green Bay- Botched onside kick sets up the Packers inside Steeler territory. Score should have been 37-26 (or 30-26 if you figure we wouldn't have made that last second drive)
15. Baltimore 2- Ben gets picked deep in our end to set them up for a FG. Score should have been 23-17
16. Miami- I didn't see anything in the parameters stated above that changed the score, but we did have that delicious topping to the season when Ben threw a deep pass that got intercepted as we tried to kill the clock. Score should have been 30-24

This is a travesty, and it doesn't include lost opportunites. It's possible we were the sloppiest team in the NFL when it came to offense and special teams. We'll see if Tomlin notices the same stuff and has the brains to fix it next year.

I respectfully understand your frustration and I feel we could have easily won at least three more games instead of the losses but we need to move on- FORWARD.
:drink:

vrabinec
01-08-2010, 01:41 PM
I respectfully understand your frustration and I feel we could have easily won at least three more games instead of the losses but we need to move on- FORWARD.
:drink:

And IMO THE BIGGEST PART of moving forward from this is to make sure THIS crap doesn't happen again. A good coaching staff should be able to cut this down to a minimum. We'll see next year if we have a good coaching staff. I keep thinking of something I heard Jimmy Johnson say once. He said, "Every year, you're really only competing with 10 teams. The others will self-destruct though sloppy play, bad personnel decisions, and bad coaching." We self-destructed this year, and took ourselves out of contention. I can live with it happenning once. If it happens again next year, I'll be in a different frame of mind.

Vincent
01-08-2010, 01:43 PM
This is a travesty, and it doesn't include lost opportunites. It's possible we were the sloppiest team in the NFL when it came to offense and special teams. We'll see if Tomlin notices the same stuff and has the brains to fix it next year.

Good piece of work Vrabinec!!

We hear a lot of discussion about "Yebbit SBXLIII" as MT validation. The stuff you have here didn't happen last year (as much). We were really lucky in 08 and the defense either kept us in enough games, or outright won a few, not the least of which was the AFCCG.

So is the difference between the two seasons the "way the ball bounced? Could be. I really don't see much evolution in MT's body of work. The only thing I see that I can solidly attribute to MT was the defense blocking very well on run backs. Kudos to MT for that. The rest of the 3 seasons I see a young man that's "growing into his job".

So will MT "notice the same stuff and have the brains to fix it"? The cliché (MT speaks in clichés) - It remains to be seen. But I haven't noted anything in his tenure here or the off season so far to indicate that he will. Notwithstanding the Zierlein and Ligeshesky dismissals, the larger issue hasn't been addressed. In fact, he caved to it.

And IMO THE BIGGEST PART of moving forward from this is to make sure THIS crap doesn't happen again. A good coaching staff should be able to cut this down to a minimum.

And that id precisely why finished 9-7 and missed the play offs. The better staffs make corrections within games. The lesser ones (that survive) make the corrections from one season to the next. The rest don't.

One VERY telling thing happened in 09. They lost the locker room for a spell. It was evident. It was particularly evident in Cleveland 2. I don't think they've recovered. And I think caving on the larger issue will make the situation worse.

Angus Burgher
01-08-2010, 02:21 PM
Good analysis, but Ben didn't throw a pick in the Miami game. I think you're confusing him with Holmes on that stupid trick play.

Larry
01-08-2010, 02:31 PM
Whiny, whiny, whiny. If ANY other team's fans posted something like this during one of our good seasons, most of you would be ridiculing them.


15. Baltimore 2- Ben gets picked deep in our end to set them up for a FG. Score should have been 23-17


I'm sorry, did you forget the opening drive interception that WE got, putting us on their 10 yard line! How about the back to back fumbles, saving us from bad field position? How about the fact that the Ravens imploded in that game and missed so many opportunities, and we ended up winning it anyway!


7. Minnesota- Harvin returns a kick against us for a TD. Score should have been 27-10


My god. You CANNOT be serious. Do you not remember our TWO turnovers returned for touchdowns from literally our own goal line. Come on man, grow up.

supa_fly_steeler
01-08-2010, 02:35 PM
You can't call it a coaching faliure when shut down ike instead of wrapping himself around the carries legs tries to helplessly push murphy out of bounds.... murphy regained balance and was off like usain bolt.

that is a player error. not coaching.

Get your heads of your asses and start blaming some of the players efforts, yes some of it was coaching BUT a WHOLE lot of IT was PLAYERS.

vrabinec
01-08-2010, 02:39 PM
Good analysis, but Ben didn't throw a pick in the Miami game. I think you're confusing him with Holmes on that stupid trick play.

He did but it was called back because of the holding. The problem was the play call and that we were chucking it deep when we should have been trying to kill the clock.

Prok
01-08-2010, 02:40 PM
I respect the author for trying to spark debate/convo. Why are some of you coming down on them so hard? Isn't this MB all about convo/debate ??

vrabinec
01-08-2010, 02:42 PM
Whiny, whiny, whiny. If ANY other team's fans posted something like this during one of our good seasons, most of you would be ridiculing them.



I'm sorry, did you forget the opening drive interception that WE got, putting us on their 10 yard line! How about the back to back fumbles, saving us from bad field position? How about the fact that the Ravens imploded in that game and missed so many opportunities, and we ended up winning it anyway!



My god. You CANNOT be serious. Do you not remember our TWO turnovers returned for touchdowns from literally our own goal line. Come on man, grow up.

You can't control what the other teams, do, but you CAn control what you do. Yes, I understand that other teams turned the ball over in the red zone against us. I can count four, a Culpepper interception, and a couple other ones like the Favre turnovers. Point is, we comitted those types of mistakes FAR MORE than our opponents did, even the opponents that were supposed to be "bad" teams, like Cleveland. If you disagree, feel free to go through the play by play of the worst team you can think of, and see how many points THEY cost themselves. Bet it's nowhere near what we cost ourselves.

supa_fly_steeler
01-08-2010, 02:44 PM
Also i doubt we would of gone 15-1... That's an extremely hard thing to do even if we did have a fully fit team, we are bound to have some bad days (eagles 08) and some good days (patriots 08).

steelreserve
01-08-2010, 02:46 PM
With all due respect, I think you have to write off about half of those plays as unlucky breaks that just happen over the course of a season. It's impossible to say which half, but if NONE of them happened, then the season would be going a little too perfectly. Some of that type of shit is going to take place no matter what.

This is a travesty, and it doesn't include lost opportunites. It's possible we were the sloppiest team in the NFL when it came to offense and special teams. We'll see if Tomlin notices the same stuff and has the brains to fix it next year.

However, on THAT point, I couldn't agree with you more. It seemed like every time we had a chance to take control of the game, we absolutely broke our necks to hand it right back. I have rarely seen a team make so many costly mistakes at exactly the worst time.

Well -- actually, I have seen a lot of teams do that, but they tend to be the ones that finish 2-14. The Steelers would actually be playing winning football for most of the game, then throw it all away with 5 minutes of play you'd expect to see out of the Rams or the Lions. I've never seen that before. Good teams don't usually do that for more than, like ... one game in a row. But teams that make those mistakes consistently usually don't play well in the first place. One more mystery in a f***ed up season, I suppose.

Ricco Suavez
01-08-2010, 02:48 PM
IF, IF, IF. The Longhorns are saying IF Colt McCoy does not get hurt they are national champions. I read this crap on Browns, Bengals, and Ravens boards last year. A person can dissect every game and find missed chances. Some (not meaning me) can even see plays that were designed one way and are so screwed up in execution that it makes you wonder what a player was thinking. I agree the bounces that went our way last year where not as kind to us this year. Lets hope that better game plans with better player execution leads to a better new year.

vrabinec
01-08-2010, 02:51 PM
You can't call it a coaching faliure when shut down ike instead of wrapping himself around the carries legs tries to helplessly push murphy out of bounds.... murphy regained balance and was off like usain bolt.

that is a player error. not coaching.

Get your heads of your asses and start blaming some of the players efforts, yes some of it was coaching BUT a WHOLE lot of IT was PLAYERS.

I'm blaming both the players and the coaches, but the coaches are the ones who are supposed to be the brains of the organzization. They are the ones who are supposed to see what's wrong and formulate a plan to fix it. They are the ones whose responsibility it is to coach the players so those players are aware of the mistakes they are making, know what they need to do in the off season to fix it, and if they are either unwilling or incapable of fixing it, then it's up to the coaches and FO to have someone waiting behind that player who IS willing to do those things. 75% of the responsibility lies with the coaches IMO.

Florida_Steelers_Fan
01-08-2010, 03:01 PM
this thread reminds me of Benjamin Buttons when he was replaying the events that led to the woman getting hit by the car. I appreciate the OP's efforts on this, but it's all speculative. EVERY team has a few special teams gaffes...EVERY team occasionally gives up a turnover for a TD. to say those things should NEVER happen is out of the realm of reality. face it...if the steelers had beaten the raiders, browns, or chiefs (games they could have won) - just ONE of those games we would be having a few different conversations this week...

shoulda, coulda, woulda...

Rotorhead
01-08-2010, 03:04 PM
Very good post. It makes you realize some of our teams mistakes. Have to figure about half will happen, good or bad year, however you are correct in this season we just shot ourselves in the dam foot all to often. Whether it was poor play calling, missed coverages, stupid penalties or poor execution . . . it was always at the worst time. Lets hope the coaching staff and players can figure out a way to cut the mental errors in half and we will be in the playoffs next season.

Vincent
01-08-2010, 03:04 PM
Whiny, whiny, whiny. If ANY other team's fans posted something like this during one of our good seasons, most of you would be ridiculing them.

Rational observations and discussion do not comprise "whining".

This is a Steelers forum. We discuss the Steelers, and you might have observed, everything about the Steelers. If you don't care for the tenor of the thread, read a different one.

I'm blaming both the players and the coaches, but the coaches are the ones who are supposed to be the brains of the organization. They are the ones who are supposed to see what's wrong and formulate a plan to fix it.

Thats some radical @#$% that right there, man.

wootawnee
01-08-2010, 03:11 PM
Dude.......Knock off all the what ifs.........If you take away opponents returns for td's why wouldnt you take away our 2 against the Vikings........


This season went to shit when Ben pussed out cause of a head ache and Hines Called his bluff in the Media.........

Plain and simple........We win that Baltimore game, I guarretee we beat the Raiders and the Browns......That stupid set of moves derailed the team......Ben punking out ,and Hines NOT keeping what is going on in the locker room in the House.........Old Skool guys would not have done this..........

Well that is 3 games and that would have made us 12-4, division champs, the 3rd seed..Playing a game at home this week........And Feared and favored.......

Grow up.......You guys are Vets.......

vrabinec
01-08-2010, 03:18 PM
Dude.......Knock off all the what ifs.........If you take away opponents returns for td's why wouldnt you take away our 2 against the Vikings........


This season went to shit when Ben pussed out cause of a head ache and Hines Called his bluff in the Media.........

Plain and simple........We win that Baltimore game, I guarretee we beat the Raiders and the Browns......That stupid set of moves derailed the team......Ben punking out ,and Hines NOT keeping what is going on in the locker room in the House.........Old Skool guys would not have done this..........

Well that is 3 games and that would have made us 12-4, division champs, the 3rd seed..Playing a game at home this week........And Feared and favored.......

Grow up.......You guys are Vets.......

I wonder if you see the irony in telling me to knock off the what ifs, then you go on to give your own verison of the what if?

It's the offseason, there's nothing else for me to do. I was just appalled by the sheer volume of screwups we had. Though you guys might be interested. But if last season is all settled and we're all good as to what the problems were, then I guess we kinow what needs to happen next year for us to be successful. In MY version of that, we cut out the parts where we shoot ourselves in the foot. In YOUR version of that, they man up, grow up, and suck it up if they're injured. While I agree with you to a point, I still think that we'll see the greatest improvement in this team if we cut out the costly mistakes (that and get a real corner opposite Ike, get a real o-line coach, and get some sensible playcalling from Arians)

Steelers>NFL
01-08-2010, 03:23 PM
Regardless of ifs, this team is or was not good enough to go 15-1, ever.
12-4 or 13-3 at best. But never 15-1.

Jmat
01-08-2010, 03:30 PM
Don't you folks have snow to shovel or something?

It's time to let this go.

supa_fly_steeler
01-08-2010, 03:33 PM
I'm blaming both the players and the coaches, but the coaches are the ones who are supposed to be the brains of the organzization. They are the ones who are supposed to see what's wrong and formulate a plan to fix it. They are the ones whose responsibility it is to coach the players so those players are aware of the mistakes they are making, know what they need to do in the off season to fix it, and if they are either unwilling or incapable of fixing it, then it's up to the coaches and FO to have someone waiting behind that player who IS willing to do those things. 75% of the responsibility lies with the coaches IMO.

you cant fix player laziness, yes u can bench Ike, but who to start a bunch of rookies, it's a tough decision for the coaches.

Vincent
01-08-2010, 04:23 PM
As far as Whiz, I always liked Whiz. It's amazing what a coach can do to an offense that utilizes their talents to their strength and Whiz was ALWAYS bright when it came to that. He is without a doubt instilling the "Steelers" way in Arizona and that speaks wonders on where we are as an organization.

Not to drag Stainless into this, but this is really all anybody is saying about the "brain trust" here. If Steeler fans weren't discussing these aspects of the 09 season, I'd suggest that the search begin for their brain waves.

markymarc
01-09-2010, 11:53 AM
It's time to focus on the off season :chuckle: