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Old 02-08-2011, 07:45 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Steelers fans should have been nervous before the game even started, when Pittsburgh native Christina Aguilera fumbled some lyrics while singing the national anthem.

Steelers players took her cue and tripped over their lines one too many times in their 31-25 Super Bowl loss Sunday to Green Bay. Although they still own more Lombardi trophies than any other NFL team, the Steelers long will remember the seventh that got away.

Those three turnovers that led to 21 of Green Bay's 31 points, however, were not so much giveaways as they were takeaways.

Take the first one. Ben Roethlisberger, throwing from his 7 on first down, fluttered a pass short and way off target from Mike Wallace speeding deep down the left sideline. It was intercepted and returned 37 yards for a touchdown. The reason? Howard Green, a 340-pound defensive tackle, slammed into the quarterback before he could complete his follow-through.

Roethlisberger's second interception was right on target in tight coverage between two Green Bay defenders. Wallace seemed to get his hands on it but safety Jarrett Bush strong-armed him to come up with the football for an interception.

The final turnover, a fumble by Rashard Mendenhall, came after Ryan Pickett and Clay Matthews slammed hard into him to force it. That was no soft fumble. Those calling him Earnest Byner Mendenhall might want to remember the great Jerome Bettis' fumble in Indianapolis that Roethlisberger's shoestring tackle saved from becoming The Bus' legacy.

If anything, it was failure on the part of the Steelers defense to prevent touchdowns after two of those turnovers and their defense's inability to stymie Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense that prevented another Lombardi delivery to the South Side trophy case.

Green Bay's offense moved 53 yards in just four plays to score after Roethlisberger's second interception. The Packers moved 55 yards in eight plays to score after Mendenhall's fumble. Holding them to field goals on one or both of those drives might have been enough.

The Steelers defense did hold the Packers to a field goal on their final drive, but that came at a deep cost. With six minutes left in the game, with the Steelers trailing by three after a touchdown and 2-point conversion, Green Bay had the ball on its 25. It was third-and-10. A stop there, the Packers would have punted and the Steelers would have had plenty of time to run their usual offense to either move into a tying field-goal try or possibly taking the lead with a touchdown.

Instead, Rodgers' pass sailed over the top of Ike Taylor and into the hands of Greg Jennings for a 31-yard completion and a first down that kept their drive to three more points going, a drive that would kill four more minutes.
More missed opportunities

That Mendenhall fumble on second-and-2 at the Green Bay 33 with the Steelers trailing by four after scoring two touchdowns was a killer for them. But so was another offensive series that penetrated to the Packers 29 before dissolving.

It occurred before the fumble with the score still 21-17. A drive that started from their 40 moved snappily to a first down at the Packers 29.

Earlier in that series, from the Packers 44, Wallace streaked past his man deep but Roethlisberger did something he has not done for most of the season either in games or practice -- he overthrew the speedy Wallace, who seemed to slow up and reach for the ball rather than run to it. It would have gone for a touchdown and put the Steelers ahead.

A 15-yard pass to Ward did get them a first down at the 29. But from there, Matthews deflected a pass on first down. On second down, Roethlisberger completed a pass to Heath Miller who was thrown for a 3-yard loss. On third down, Roethlisberger was sacked for a 2-yard loss. On fourth down, Shaun Suisham hooked his 52-yard field-goal attempt wide to Forth Worth.
Kudos to offensive line

The best play by one group of Steelers was their maligned offensive line. With Doug Legursky replacing injured Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, with right tackle Flozell Adams leaving for a time with a stinger and then returning to play, that offensive line played the game of its season and gave the Steelers a chance to win.

Roethlisberger's first interception, returned for a touchdown, came when he was blasted and that goes to his protection, but he was sacked just once. And the Steelers ran for 126 yards.

The way Legursky played, perhaps the Steelers should consider their original 2010 plan for next season with Pouncey -- put him at right guard and keep Legursky at center.

"They did a great job," said Mendenhall. "They controlled the line of scrimmage all day."
Ward climbs list

Lost in the Super Bowl shuffle was the fact that Hines Ward moved into second place with the most receptions in postseason history with 88. He caught seven Sunday and passed Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, who had 87.

Ward's touchdown also tied him for third place in the postseason with three others who scored 10 receiving. And his 78 receiving yards left him third on the all-time list in that category with 1,245 career yards in the postseason.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11039...#ixzz1DNIYwdHB
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

To me, SB XXX was "the one that got away".

SB XLV is simply the one we didn't win.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

I normally agree more often than not with Bouchette. But I don't agree with him on several points in this article. First and foremost, the loss falls on the offense. Three turnovers usually will lose the Super Bowl for any team. But specifically:
  1. The first interception may have started when Ben was hit, but Wallace had plenty of time to come back and make a play on the ball (eg: swat it down). Instead he just stood there like a spectator in the crowd.
  2. The second interception was a ball that never should have been thrown. Wallace was tightly double covered ... best case scenario on that ball would have been an incompletion.
  3. The long pass that Ben over threw Wallace on was a very poor pass. It wasn't that he overthrew Wallace, he actually threw the ball as if Wallace were running a different pattern. Again, I think Wallace had some time to adjust his route and make a play on the ball, but he continued to run his route. The Steelers young receivers are going to make lots of plays going forward and I hope they learn to be ball hawks and not expect a pass between the numbers every time. Adjust to the ball when it's in the air!
  4. Mendenhall's fumble ... yes he got crushed, but I blame that on the fact this team does not have a true FB on the roster. I think Johnson has improved his blocking this year, but he totally whiffed on his responsibility on that play. Matthews was his man and he didn't even slow him down.
  5. Yes, the defense gave up too many points, but I believe the Packers would have scored less had the offense provided more sustained drives. The defense forced several punts in the second half and the offense did not capitalize. We tend to blame that defense when they don't pull out the win (and overcome 3 turnovers). Talk about taking a group for granted.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirklandrules View Post
I normally agree more often than not with Bouchette. But I don't agree with him on several points in this article. First and foremost, the loss falls on the offense. Three turnovers usually will lose the Super Bowl for any team. But specifically:

The first interception may have started when Ben was hit, but Wallace had plenty of time to come back and make a play on the ball (eg: swat it down). Instead he just stood there like a spectator in the crowd.
Maybe so, but I don't think that Ben was trying to complete that pass as much as he was just trying to throw it away. He was in his end zone and between the tackles, so he couldn't just turn sideways and throw it. He saw some Steeler jerseys on the left side and wanted to just throw it OB somewhere near those jerseys but was unable to complete his throwing motion.


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Originally Posted by kirklandrules View Post
The second interception was a ball that never should have been thrown. Wallace was tightly double covered ... best case scenario on that ball would have been an incompletion.
That pass/play is Ben's bread and butter checkdown and he's thrown that same pass countless times to Hines, Miller and Santonio. It was Wallace's job to recognize where the ball really is and where the defender is and decide to either try to catch the ball or knock it down. Wallace just assumed that the ball was going to be spot on and he went into a tuck as if to catch it rather than reacting to where the ball really was.

That's "Wide Receiver 101" and he simply made a rookie mistake and I don't blame Ben for that pick at all.


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Originally Posted by kirklandrules View Post
The long pass that Ben over threw Wallace on was a very poor pass. It wasn't that he overthrew Wallace, he actually threw the ball as if Wallace were running a different pattern. Again, I think Wallace had some time to adjust his route and make a play on the ball, but he continued to run his route. The Steelers young receivers are going to make lots of plays going forward and I hope they learn to be ball hawks and not expect a pass between the numbers every time. Adjust to the ball when it's in the air!
I think that play was a little of both. Ben threw it too far inside and somewhat short, but Wallace didn't adjust as well as he might have. Again, the rookie / chemistry thing needs more time to develop in the future.


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Mendenhall's fumble ... yes he got crushed, but I blame that on the fact this team does not have a true FB on the roster. I think Johnson has improved his blocking this year, but he totally whiffed on his responsibility on that play. Matthews was his man and he didn't even slow him down.
I agree about the fullback, but Mendy does have a tendency to carry the ball too low and exposed and if you watch several of his runs in that game, you'd have to wonder why he doesn't fumble more often.


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Yes, the defense gave up too many points, but I believe the Packers would have scored less had the offense provided more sustained drives. The defense forced several punts in the second half and the offense did not capitalize. We tend to blame that defense when they don't pull out the win (and overcome 3 turnovers). Talk about taking a group for granted.
Agreed.

There was little consistency in the offense and I still don't understand why we didn't just keep running more. The run was working and although it rarely makes for much in the highlight department, it was getting the job done. I wonder if Ben's ego had something to do with that --- you know, trying to go toe to toe with Rodgers instead of playing the game that worked?

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Old 02-08-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

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Originally Posted by FanSince72 View Post

I agree about the fullback, but Mendy does have a tendency to carry the ball too low and exposed and if you watch several of his runs in that game, you'd have to wonder why he doesn't fumble more often.
While the replay of the game, the camera panned to Capers, before the Mendnhall fumble, followed by Aikman saying Green Bay thought they could have some success stripping the ball from Mendenhall - I recall Mendy had fumbling problems prior to this year and although he only fumbled twice this season it appears that still is as seen as a hole in his game
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

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While the replay of the game, the camera panned to Capers, before the Mendnhall fumble, followed by Aikman saying Green Bay thought they could have some success stripping the ball from Mendenhall - I recall Mendy had fumbling problems prior to this year and although he only fumbled twice this season it appears that still is as seen as a hole in his game
In golf, I've always believed the old saying that says: "Under pressure, you tend to revert back to what's comfortable" which means that if you naturally fade the ball but have been working very hard on a draw, when the pressure rises, your tendency is to go back to a fade.

The same thing applies with running backs. You can "train" a guy to tuck the ball away and he can respond very well to that training. But when the pressure is on, instinct takes over and old habits appear.

I think that's pretty much what happened.

It takes years to break a habit that's part of your DNA. In golf, it can be handled by simply aiming a bit more to the left, but in football, that "natural tendency" can cost you games.

Old habits die hard.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

that hit on mendy would have made anyone fumble. sometimes it is what it is, it was a perfect hit right on the ball.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

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that hit on mendy would have made anyone fumble. sometimes it is what it is, it was a perfect hit right on the ball.
This.

I'm not sure how it is the one that got away when they played like shit. They didn't deserve to win. Maybe if Ben leads them on a drive at the end, but. Yeah. Packers won. Nothing got away.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

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Maybe so, but I don't think that Ben was trying to complete that pass as much as he was just trying to throw it away. He was in his end zone and between the tackles, so he couldn't just turn sideways and throw it. He saw some Steeler jerseys on the left side and wanted to just throw it OB somewhere near those jerseys but was unable to complete his throwing motion.
I hope he was trying to complete that pass ... Wallace had a step behind his man running up the left side. That might have been a big gain had that throw not been disrupted.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: On The Steelers: Super Bowl XLV will be the one that got away

I suppose one reason the loss hurts is that the team overachieved and got some breaks to get to Dallas but could not continue that run

2-4 record against playoff teams in the regular season (1-3 after Roethlisberger returned) indicates a less than top tier contender and the Steelers caught a huge break by not having to play a road playoff game in New England

It was remarkable the Steelers made the Super Bowl, let alone had a great chance to win after falling behind 21-3. That is a reflection upon how well this savvy group of veterans usually has figured out how to win over the last 7 seasons
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