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Hawaii 5-0
10-19-2012, 01:27 PM
Steelers look to reverse habit of squandering 4th-quarter leads

By Alan Robinson
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=qRIVH 6v8L9Vxc$3h5dZMVM$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYsNf3uU5Twj_MF luN4F8v1LWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Keenan Lewis (23) and Jason Worilds react after Lewis dropped a would-be interception during the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 11 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Steelers’ record in games decided by 4 points or fewer (final record):

2012: 1-2 (TBD)

2011: 4-1 (12-4)

2010: 3-1 (12-4)

2009: 3-5 (9-7)

2008: 4-1 (12-4)

If there were ever a team needing to sign up for Protecting the Lead 101, it’s the Steelers.

Former coach Bill Cowher often talked about the fine line between winning and losing, but the Steelers’ more immediate problem is getting to the finish line with the lead.

They have squandered fourth-quarter leads in four of five games, and they’ve lost after leading in the final quarter 11 times since they won the Super Bowl during the 2008 season.

The Steelers (2-3) need to find a reliable closer, especially if they’re in another close game Sunday night in Cincinnati. Every one of the nine touchdown passes they’ve permitted came when they were ahead; and they’ve lost twice as each of their past three games was decided by a last-play field goal.

“If you look around the NFL, every game, every week, games are pretty close,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Thursday. “There may be one or two games that get a little bit out of touch, but most of them come down to that fourth quarter. There is no doubt you have to win your share of close games because you are going to be in a ton of close games.”

Last season, the Steelers were 4-1 in games decided by four points or fewer. This season, they’re 1-2, while the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (5-1) are 3-1.

“We weren’t winning every game (in 2010 and ’11) by multiple touchdowns or by two possessions. We were winning the games at the end,” safety Ryan Clark said. “We were making the plays, whether defensively, offensively or on special teams, that made the difference. Right now, when the games get into crunch time, we’re allowing people to convert third downs. We’re allowing people to score touchdowns in the red zone in the fourth quarter.”

Opposing quarterbacks are 27 of 41 for 319 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on those key third downs.

Their own offense isn’t extending enough drives, which results in the defense being on the field too long. That leads to their secondary giving up too many drive-extending catches, in part because their pass rush isn’t getting to the quarterback enough.

It’s the classic cause and effect.

“All these games were really one-play games,” LeBeau said. “We have to be the ones that find a way to make a play at the end of the game that swings our way. These guys are going to fight through it, and we are going to come out on top. I am really confident in that.”

The Bengals’ Andy Dalton has thrown 12 touchdowns but has been picked off nine times, three for touchdowns. Just one such pass that goes the other way might be what the Steelers need to end their run of fourth-quarter failure.

“He’s had to throw the ball late when they fell behind against Baltimore and Cleveland, but it also shows they’re putting the game in his hands,” Clark said. “You’re going to have some mistakes when you do that, so we have to capitalize on them.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2793386-85/games-steelers-quarter-game-touchdowns-close-fourth-leads-season-winning#ixzz29l8LA5Ir

maddog78
10-19-2012, 02:31 PM
How, by playing 2-gap on the DL and giving 10-yard cushions? Until the defense attacks consistently, it will continue to surrender leads and fail to get turnovers.

DL has been playing not to lose for quite some time now.

steelersforever58
10-19-2012, 03:35 PM
DL has been playing not to lose for quite some time now.[/QUOTE]

Couldn't agree more. I don't know if it just a lack of confidence in his defense or what, but it would be nice to see some all out blitzing once in a while. For years I have been hearing commentors talking about Lebeaus exotic blitzes. Maybe I just don't understand, but I ain't seeing it.

Fire Arians
10-19-2012, 04:08 PM
Couldn't agree more. I don't know if it just a lack of confidence in his defense or what, but it would be nice to see some all out blitzing once in a while. For years I have been hearing commentors talking about Lebeaus exotic blitzes. Maybe I just don't understand, but I ain't seeing it.

either that or it's the velcro blitz technique, where all our blitzers latch on to offensive linemen and get stuck

FrancoLambert
10-19-2012, 04:22 PM
Start by replacing Keisel and Hampton with younger, more energetic players.
I rewatched the Titans game focusing on the D-line. Those two are too easily taken out of the play now. They can barely run. The last four plus minutes was sickening.
It's time to go with Heyward and McClendon.
Expose their talent if it's there.

teegre
10-19-2012, 04:28 PM
Start by replacing Keisel and Hampton with younger, more energetic players.
I rewatched the Titans game focusing on the D-line. Those two are too easily taken out of the play now. They can barely run. The last four plus minutes was sickening.
It's time to go with Heyward and McClendon.
Expose their talent if it's there.

Casey the Hutt has sucked for three (or four) years. I have been calling for his replacement... while my family, in laws, and friends all made fun of me for it.

Some say that McClendon might get pushed out of the way too easily... but, i contend that at least McClendon is young & fast... so even if he did get pushed around, he is fast enough to catch the RB from behind.

Same goes with Heyward... (although, The Beard looked good, up until the beginning of this season, when he fell off of a cliff... and took Ike Taylor with him).

Edman
10-19-2012, 06:49 PM
Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

Until the Defense stops playing not to lose and gets aggressive in the 4th quarter, finally cut the cords with Casey and the Beard, they'll keep blowing late leads. And with that Fossil Dickard Lebeau calling the shots and Tomlin being completely powerless to override him, that will never happen.

This defense is in the shitter this year. I have absolutely no faith in the coaching staff to get it done.

tanda10506
10-19-2012, 11:24 PM
Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

Until the Defense stops playing not to lose and gets aggressive in the 4th quarter, finally cut the cords with Casey and the Beard, they'll keep blowing late leads. And with that Fossil Dickard Lebeau calling the shots and Tomlin being completely powerless to override him, that will never happen.

This defense is in the shitter this year. I have absolutely no faith in the coaching staff to get it done.

Agreed. The talent is lacking on defense, but there's definitely still enough there for them to be competitive. Problem is that Revis would get cut up playing the cushions that we play, there's no pass rush cause we're playing players well past their prime, and we run the same plays over and over in the 2nd half (according to Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer). A turn around can be made, but I don't see our coaches making the necessary moves.

maddog78
10-19-2012, 11:29 PM
Start by replacing Keisel and Hampton with younger, more energetic players.
I rewatched the Titans game focusing on the D-line. Those two are too easily taken out of the play now. They can barely run. The last four plus minutes was sickening.
It's time to go with Heyward and McClendon.
Expose their talent if it's there.

:applaudit:

Problem is, they ask Heyward, Hood, and McClendon - one-gap penetrators - to play 2-gap read and react. They're not built for that. Aaron Smith was 6-5 with a huge wingspan. Hood is squat and quick. McClendon doesn't have Hampton's girth, but is quick and can penetrate. Heyward is a faster, more athletic version of Keisel. He isn't a read/react guy, he's a pocket collapsing DE.

Let them crush the pocket and let the LBs clean up. OL can't cut guys who are behind them, and gaps will be closed if the OL are turning back to react to getting beat.

Hawaii 5-0
10-23-2012, 03:14 AM
Steelers defense comes alive in fourth quarter, allows 22 total yards in 24-17 win over Bengals

By Neal Coolong on Oct 22

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/1798837/20121021_lbm_ab8_246.0_standard_500.0.jpg

Allowing at least 10 points and 128 yards over the final 15 minutes in three previous losses, the Steelers defense suffocated Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, and rode that momentum to a season-changing 24-17 win in Week 7.

It was the Steelers defense of old, in a way.

Offensively, they sandwiched two turnovers between two field goals, and trailed 14-6 in the second quarter. Still smarting a little bit from a 15-play, 80 yard drive that was capped off by a Cedric Peerman touchdown from five yards out, the Steelers defense appeared to be heading down the same path it had in previous road losses.

And then it happened.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton pumped a pass, and on his downswing, he lost grip of the ball - an issue that plagued receivers on both sides of the ball all game. It flew forward, clanged off the helmet of one of his linemen, and right into the waiting hands of outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

Woodley showed a nice reverse pivot, and got upfield for a few yards.

It was the turnover the Steelers defense has desperately needed all season to slow an opposing offense down. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger shook off the cobwebs of two uncharacteristic first-half turnovers, and hit tight end Heath Miller on a nine-yard touchdown strike. The two-point conversion went to Miller as well, and just like that, the Steelers went into the locker room tied at 14 in a game fans wrote off in the first quarter.

After that, it was all defense.

Surrendering a field goal to start the second half, the Steelers defense shut the Bengals out the rest of the way, allowing just 28 yards and one first down on their last five drives.

Three of those drives came in the fourth quarter, and two of them were three-and-outs.

The fourth quarter had plagued this defense in three previous road losses. It allowed 10 points in the fourth quarter of a 26-23 loss at Tennessee in Week 6. It gave up 13 points to Oakland in a 34-31 loss in Week 3. The season began with the defense giving up 10 (the Broncos scored 17 fourth quarter points including an interception return TD) points in Denver.

In Week 7, there wasn't a point to be had.

It was an outstanding effort defensively, and it game through coverage. Dalton released the ball quickly, thus limiting pressure, and had some success early, but it was the third time the Steelers defense was able to confuse Dalton in his career. He's now 0-3 against Pittsburgh.

The Titans had 134 yards in the fourth quarter. The Raiders had 142. Denver, 128 and an 62-yard interception return.

Cincinnati, 22 yards, one first down, zero points.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/10/22/3537904/steelers-defense-stats-week-7-nfl-bengals

Bayz101
10-23-2012, 03:25 AM
When our defense is in trouble, the offense milks the clock and keeps them off the field. Look at the time of possession.

maddog78
10-23-2012, 08:07 AM
When our defense is in trouble, the offense milks the clock and keeps them off the field. Look at the time of possession.

Offense helped late, but the defense did their job, too.

steelfury02
10-23-2012, 11:21 AM
For two quarters, the defense did what it is supposed to do every quarter. Now, the special teams and O mistakes put them in a bad position to start, but honestly - that was the most fired up Steelers team I've witnessed all season, in those two quarters

Edman
10-23-2012, 11:31 AM
Gotta give them credit. They actually did it this time. Hope to see more of it.