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Old 11-01-2010, 07:41 AM   #1
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Default Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise
By John Harris
Monday, November 1, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - If is isn't broken, don't fix it.

That's been Mike Tomlin's motto in his four years as Steelers coach.

Tomlin boasts a style all his own without having a so-callled "system." He's a coach for all seasons who's smart enough to know a good thing when he sees one.

Sunday night, the Steelers squared off against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. It was another big game for Tomlin, who entered last night's contest having won twice as many games as he's lost (36-18).

Tomlin isn't a resident genius like New Orelans coach Sean Payton, who wants us to know how smart he is. He isn't impulsive like Denver's Josh McDaniels, another young coach. He isn't a friend like Dallas' Wade Phillips, who allowed his players to walk all over him.

If Tomlin has an ego, I haven't seen it.

He was asked not to mess up a good thing. The Steelers' "system" was already in place long before he arrived in Pittsburgh. So far, Tomlin has done that.

The Steelers faced the Saints with Nick Eason and Ziggy Hood starting at defensive end, and it may as well have been Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel out there. The Saints couldn't run the ball in the first half. Heck, the Saints barely tried (six carries for 15 yards). At halftime, quarterback Drew Brees had a 57.8 passer rating.

Trailing 6-3 at the 8:24 mark in the third quarter, the Steelers actually gained momentum despite falling behind for the first time. The Saints' offense was on the verge of taking control against the Steelers' defense, but the Saints went from first and goal at the 3 to fourth and goal at the 5.

Tomlin, of course, wasn't satisfied with the Steelers defensive stand. He could see like the rest of us his defense needed to have a 2008 flashback last night because his offense was stuck in park. After three quarters, the Steelers had amassed -- this is not a typographical error -- 149 total yards.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played by far his most ineffective game since returning from a four-game suspension. He was under siege from New Orelans' pass rush, and it showed in the way he got rid of the ball quickly and underthrew receivers.

The passing game was out of sync. More than once following an incompletion, Roethlisberger gestured downfield to indicate he and the intended receiver weren't on the same page.

But that's the beauty of Tomlin's Steelers. They're resourceful and supremely confident. The Steelers never believe they're out of a game.

After carrying the offense for three quarters, the Steelers' defense finally got some help.

Trailing 13-3, the Steelers made it 13-10 on Rashard Mendenhall's long touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

And then the Steelers defense, on the verge of giving up more points, forced a Brees' fumble and gave their defense a chance to win the game.

Back and forth it went. Normally reliable tight end Heath Miller lost a fumble after a 25-yard reception as New Orleans grabbed back the momentum.

New Orelans was playing desperate following an upset loss to Cleveland a week earlier. The Steelers play desperate every week. It's what separates the Steelers from other teams. They play every game like their entire season depends on it.

Sometimes it doesn't work out the way Tomlin wants. The Steelers are an imperfect team attempting to play a perfect game. Last night was one of those nights. Next Monday night against Cincinnati, they'll lace it up and do it all over again.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

I'd have to disagree. The Steelers Defense dominated the first half but Drew Brees lit them up after halftime. 20 out of 22 passes he completed in the 2nd half. It seems likely that Sean Payton made halftime adjustments and the Steelers did not.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

This is the NFL. The Saints have a pretty talented team offensively. Our defense, no matter how good it is, will give up some points. The rules are slanted in the offenses favor. Even the best defense is going to give up points.

The problem is 100% on our offense. If our offense could have sustained a few drives the Saints never would have put up those points. If our offense put up some points then the defenses job gets much easier. Once again Arian's unit is under achieving with a ton of talent. There is no excuse for how pathetic our offense plays at times. Arians system is to try and hit a HR in every AB. That mind set puts us in a position to make mistakes and fall short more often then not. The play calling, the routes, the lack of cohesiveness, the in ability to adjust to a blitz, etc all fall on Bruce Arians. If we had Kordel Stewart at QB and a bunch of chumps playing WR and RB I'd understand the poor offense.

Once again our offense has let down the team.
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

It seems like the writers in Pitt really drank the kool-aid. They defend the coaching and trash the "D" the spends most of the game on the field. I really wish they would notice the pink elephant calling plays on offense and the coach that loves the "prevent". Love him or hate em Bellichik with this talent wouldn't let teams in games
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

The coaching in this game, at least on the offensive side, was horrible and you can't blame it all on Bruce Arians. If your offense is completely ineffective, you have to change it up, and if your OC can't figure that out, then you, as the head coach have to. That's WHY you're the head coach.

I am so sick of Tomlin getting off scott free whenever the Steelers lay an egg. I'm still honestly not convinced the man should be a head coach. He won a Super Bowl, yeah right. All Tomlin did was step into an ideal situation and didn't screw it up right away. But he sure as hell did last year and a few more games like last night's crapfest, and I'll be declaring this season lost as well.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

The whole coaching staff deserves blame. Both offense and defense. Even special teams. Just a poor game.
Tomlin doesn't deserve praise, though I don't think he deserves the blame.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

He doesn't deserve ALL of the blame... but he shouldn't be completely absolved of it either.
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

we need to get rid of BA before all our players get much older
he keeps making the same mistakes, and he just does not know
how to create good match ups for our receivers
Payton came out on the second half and destroyed us with the passing
game and BA came out doing the same old shit.
look at Dallas they kept the same coach and they are 1-6
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

I just don't get this article.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Even in defeat, Tomlin deserves praise

How can he write this article the morning after Tomlin coached the crappiest game of his career? Tomlin made 4 terrible choices that greatly influenced the game aginst us last night.

1. challenging the non fumble call that clearly wasn't a fumble. Does he even know what the rule is, if so how could he challenge that play. I realize no harm came of that series in the short term, but in the long term it might have cost us a touchdown,.

2. Which gets us to point 2. the non challenge. On our wonderfull goalline offensive series on the second down play I think Mendenhall might have broke the plane of the goal with the tip of the ball. It certainly looked like a reasonable case could be made for a challenge. I think the reason it wasn't is because having needlessly burned one challenge already you couldn't afford to use your second one there.

3. Reed fg att. from too far with too much time left in the half. If there's less than 35 seconds in the half ok try it, but Reed is historically a poor risk outside of 45 yards. You essentially jump started a stagnant Sainst offense by needlessly giving then great field position before the half.

4. 4th and 4. A 3 point game, and you again needlessly give the saints superior field position. The offense was too erratic to trust to make that conversion, and the risk of not making it was too great to afford the chance.
"A man's got to know his limitations."
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