“Palmer Sucks: This was a great analysis pre game and you absolutely dissected what the Steelers actually did to stop RG3--it was dead on. While it wasn't perfect, LeBeau at least had the Steelers disciplined to stay in their lanes and RG3's running wasn't a factor. Great Job!
Thanks Len! We give LeBeau a hard time here sometimes, but in this case I think we owe him some props. As I mentioned before, Dick’s owned rookie QBs, and Griffin – despite all the pre-game jock-riding – turned out to be no different.
One play in particular impressed me:
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The Redskins are lined up in the Pistol, but with a twist: an H-Back behind Griffin. This is clever because the H-Back is as likely to block as he is to take a handoff or go out for a pass. So there’s no pre-snap clue given to the defense. At the snap, Griffin will fake hand-off left, and you’ll see the Stillers defense follow right – all except for one player, LOLB Lamarr Woodley. As Griffin turns right to bootleg, still with the ball, he suddenly spies Woodley, who by scheme has stayed home. Griffin freezes -- the play is blown up! Griffin is able to avoid Woodley’s tackle, but the pass option is gone. He takes off running, but is cleaned up by the second level with just a short gain. Discipline like this helped the Stillers contain Griffin all game long.
This discipline, combined with the tough running of Dwyer (you can read what I had to say about him in 2011, which still holds http://www.stillers.com/Article/View/b6b44a77-a2a3-497a-a369-9ab65cc90219) took the game on a sloppy day. The Pittsburgh Hamburglars (like those uniforms?) have some momentum going into the game with the Super Bowl champs.
The Giants will provide a good idea of where the team stands. Another thing that’s helping things is the fact the “dink and dunk” offense holds the ball an average of 34 minutes a game. That’s second-best in the league, and a key reason the “old, slow and over” defense stays new, fresh and rested.
The key to the game is whether the defense can hold a lead late against one of the NFL’s true comeback kids, Eli Manning. They’ve blown it twice late against lesser competition this year. So we’ll see.
One thing going for the Stillers is that the Giants actually seem to be a better road team than at home. I don’t think having to fly in on game day is as big a deal as some are making it: it’s only an hour in the air, and it’s a 4 o’clock game. There’s plenty of time to sleep in your own bed, without having to get up early.
The Giants’ Justin Tuck has been whining to the media about the Stillers supposedly getting away with holding. If so, they’re doing a lousy job – go ask Roethlisberger.
Victor Cruz has been a match-up nightmare: I’d double him all game and take my chances stopping the run.
Something else that impressed me last week: for the first time in a long time, the Stillers defense popped guys. Yeah, the Redskins dropped a bushel-load of passes, but some of those were from straight-out hits and footsteps-hearing. I’d like to see that trend continue Sunday.
Enjoy the game!