Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New Jersey
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Scary accurate analysis by Steelers fan on Buffalo Board
"The Steelers will earn their 500th victory (the first AFC team to reach that figure) this week with an easy win over an injury-plagued team with below average talent who may have a hard time focusing. Some have said this is a trap game, considering the possibility of a Steelers letdown meeting a Bills emotional high by dedicating the game to Kevin Everett. I say talent trumps emotion, and after the initial series or two, when the Bills realize they are overmatched, they will deflate quickly.
The injury to Kevin Everett overshadowed the Bills? health issues on defense, but they are far more significant. Buffalo?s depleted secondary should be easy for Ben to dissect, as long as Arians doesn?t go crazy with the play calling early. Since the Bills only have three healthy defensive ends on their roster, including their long snapper, and five healthy linebackers, running against this defense might be fairly easy too. The Bills are scrambling to fill roster spots after this wave of injuries. Not only will they be signing second and third tier players, (so far Safety Bryan Scott, linebacker Leon Joe and Defensive End Copeland Bryan; if you said who? You?re not alone) they won?t have much time to build any cohesion between the new and existing players. Based on the injury situation alone, this game should be easy. Buffalo suffered a double-whammy emotionally last week, the Everett situation compounded by losing a close game in the final seconds. Bad teams find ways to lose games like that, and Buffalo is a bad team. Add in the home opener crowd going crazy, the Steelers being pretty much injury-free, and the confidence built in the win over Cleveland, and we have the makings of a rout.
We will see more of the same from the Steeler offense, multiple sets, shifting, and Ben directing traffic based on his reads. Denver had some success against Buffalo with short passes that resulted in decent YAC (yards after catch) and I think we will see the Steelers employ that same tactic. Holmes and Ward can both take slant and post routes a long way. I?m particularly interested in seeing Holmes go up against his former college teammate Ashton Youboty. Bills fans have said Youboty should have been the starter all along; I guess we?ll see if they were right. Hines needs one 100-yard receiving game to move into sole possession of second place on the team?s all-time receiving list. He currently has 16, which is tied with Louis Lipps. One touchdown catch gives him 60 for his career; the only other Steeler to reach that many is John Stallworth.
The tight ends will be featured heavily as well, exploiting Paul Posluszny?s weakness in coverage. Poz will make many Larry Foote-type tackles, meaning the stat sheet will look good, but the positive effects of his effort will be minimal, as the stops he makes will be downfield, not near the line of scrimmage. The Bills gave up a lot of yardage (470) and first downs (23) to the Broncos between the 20?s (8 of 10 Denver drives ended on Buffalo?s side of the 50) but not a lot of points. The Steelers were very efficient in the Red Zone against the Browns, and I expect that to continue.
I foresee the Bills blitzing more than they normally would, in an attempt to make up for deficiencies caused by injuries and because the Steelers O-line looks susceptible to it. Getting those line calls right, reading the defense and getting out of bad plays at the LOS will be the key factors when the Steelers have the ball. I also think a reverse or some other form of trickeration designed to take advantage of the Bills? blitz will be effective. Look for plenty of play action and screens mixed in with longer routes intended to stretch the banged up Bills secondary. Somewhere among the first 15 play script is a deep route down the middle to #83. Ben will be his efficient self, building on his 15-5 record as a starter in Heinz Field. At Heinz Field, Roethlisberger is 309-of-509 (60.7%) for 4,307 yards with 28 touchdowns including a perfect passer rating (158.3) against Tennessee in the 2005 season opener and has posted at least a 125.0 passer rating four times.
They will trap and double team Aaron Schobel to slow him down. I still think he gets a sack. A few less carries for Willie, but he gets his hundred, and thus over 3,000 yards for his career. No fumbles this week. Add in a couple of catches and a TD. Najeh Davenport and Carey Davis contributes at about the same level as last week. Kreider makes his presence felt in the fourth quarter. His eeforts won?t show up on the sta sheet, but FWP will be appreciative. Ced and Nate get one catch apiece, just because Ben wants them to. Heck, Tuman might even catch one this week. Spaeth gets into space and causes match-up problems in the red zone. Don?t be surprised if he gets another TD.
The Bills have not faced a 3-4 team in the preseason or last week, and they are definitely not ready for LeBeau?s magic. I expect to see some cover 2, and Man/Zone combo defenses, aimed at taking away deep passes to Lee Evans. Deshea isn?t 100% and look for the Bills to test him with a deep pass to Evans early. When Evans scores a TD, the Bills have won 12 out of 18 games. So, keeping him out of the end zone will be important. Josh Reed has missed practice all week with a thigh contusion, so Roscoe Parrish has to make some contributions as a receiver, not just as a return man. Look for a reverse and/or WR screen to Parrish as an attempt to get him into open space. Mr. Parrish, meet Mr. Polamalu.
The Bills started their first drive against the Broncos with three running plays. Stopping the run is always first priority and Marshawn Lynch will provide a challenge. Look for him to approach 100 yards with one 20+ yard gain, but not reach the century mark. Lynch reportedly missed practice on Wednesday because of a stomach ailment brought on by something he ate. Maybe it was from watching video of Jamal Lewis getting beat up last Sunday. In any case, missing practice the day the game plan is installed is not a good thing.
Later in their first possession on Sunday they ran two WR screens, something I think we?ll see in response to the Steeler blitz. Losman is always a threat to scramble, maybe too much so for his own good. We might see Trent Edwards before this one is over. Losman will finish with less than a 50% completion rate and will throw for about 120 yards with at least one pick.
Steelers continue to get pressure from all three levels, D-line, ?backers and defensive backs. Different looks than we saw against the Browns, with even more movement by Keisel. Jason Peters is a very good left tackle, so look for the Steelers to overload the defensive left side, just like they did when Ike got his first sack, in an attempt to get in Losman?s face and force bad decisions.
Losman?s won-lost record as a starter is 8-17, due in large part to bad decision-making and inaccurate passing, both of which will feature prominently in this loss.
I don?t think we?ll see wholesale D-line substitutions as we did last week, but we will see a fair share of the ?Big? Package (Smith & Keisel at End, with Hoke & Hampton at Tackle) and the first appearance by Timmons on defense. 4 sacks and twice that many QB pressures.
Special teams-wise, I hope to see more production from Rossum. He?ll have plenty of punts to return, but only a couple of kickoffs. Sepulveda will again spark message board debate with another good performance. The Bills? Pro-Bowler Brian Moorman is adept at placing punts inside the 20. Catch and return ?em, Alan; don?t let them bounce. Reed makes a field goal and misses one, as he always seems to do at home. Solid coverage but one long kickoff return by the Bills results in objects being thrown at TVs throughout the Steeler Nation, but not a touchdown.
If that isn?t enough to make you pick the Steelers, consider this is Buffalo?s first trip to Heinz Field, and teams opposing teams are 5-19-1 when playing there the first time. The Bills haven?t won a regular season game in Pittsburgh since 1975. The Bills are 4-12 on the road the past two years and 3-9 on grass fields (Can we call the Heinz Field turf grass?) As for the Steelers, they are 4-1 coming off a win by 10 points or more over a division rival over the last 3 seasons (35-11 since 1992); 9-4 after allowing 14 points or less last game over the last 3 seasons (68-33 since 1992); and 9-3 after a win by 14 or more points over the last 3 seasons (45-21 since 1992). Trivia, yes, but trends are trends."
pretty good stuff...