Stillers 19, PoeBirds 16 ……. Oct 20, 2013 …………Game #6
Stillers-Ravens Postgame Analysis and Grades
The Stillers managed to squirm ahead of the PoeBirds, leading 13-6 at the half. The 2H was a see-saw battle, with the Ravens scoring 10 points on a long FG march, followed by a long TD march. The key play was a 4Q gamble by Balt Head Coach John Harbarf, who tried an onsides kick that the Stillers recovered for an easy FG drive. The Rats tied the game at 16 with just under 2 minutes remaining, but Ben engineered a nice drive and Suisham booted a game-winning 42-yard FG as time expired.
QB: Ben had an okay overall day. He tried a TA (throw-away) in the 1Q and threw a horrific, side-armed, Tomczakian lollipop that Will Johnson nearly grabbed after nearly being INT’d by a Raven defender. Pumped and held too long, and was sacked, 11:20 2Q. Amazing Houdini escape of Suggs on 3d & 1, and scrambled for a key 1D. He certainly was clutch on the final FG drive for the winning score. Ben finished 17 of 23 -- a nice completion percentage -- but only 160 yards, which indicates a lot of piddle and diddle. To be fair, he was victimized by Moye on the well-thrown EZ lob that should have been a TD. To his credit, he threw no INTs nor fumbled the ball away. Ben also looked painfully slow -- like molasses in Buffalo in February -- on a scramble in which he was hauled down by ILB Jameel McClain after a 7 yard run, although it appeared Ben had the angle to elude the lumbering LB. and gain much more yardage B-
Redman - once again, did not dress. His new book, soon to be published: “How to go from starter to healthy scratch, in just 5 short weeks”.
Jones - good power run on 3d & 2, late 2Q, for 3 yards and the 1D. Busted thru Sugg’s grasp on this run. Had 5 carries for 16 yards, but only 1 grab, which remains perplexing, as he is the smoothest pass-catcher out of the RB corps. B+
Bell - ran with authority all game long. Ran some Wildcat in the 1H and showed good reading and patience. Hit several small creases with authority, and showed good footwork. Very impressive. Finished with 19 carries for 93 yards, and 1 grab for 6. Only flaw was the justifiable masking flag he drew when he grabbed a defender’s mask and failed to let go. A
Dwyer - superb power run on 3d & 1 , late 2Q, for 4 yards. This was his only touch of the game. Showed good hustle and football smarts by hustling downfield on Ben’s 3d & 1 scramble, and threw a block to help Ben gain a few more yards. B+
FB: Will Johnson nearly hauled in the bizarre lollipop throw-away pass in the 1Q. Had some solid lead blocks in the ground game. Still not utilized as much as he could be as an H-back who could help the weak-assed OTs in pass pro, as well as catching a few passes.
Brownie - A fairly quiet day, until the late drive. good RAC late in the game, eluding a tackler and getting 13 yards while getting OOB. Then grabbed a pass for 11 to set up the 42-yarder. Finished with 6 grabs for 50, plus an entirely assaholic false start on 3df & 4 from the Balt 5. in the 3Q. B-
Sandy - had only 1 grab for 7 yards, which obviously is not anywhere near enough production from a #2 WR. Also flagged for a hold on a 3Q running play. C-
Cotch - 2 successive grabs over the middle to help set up Miler’s 1Q TD. Had 4 for 41 in a solid effort. B+
Wheat - did not dress, due to the finger injury. Inc
Moye - Climbed the ladder and snagged a high pass for a clutch 1st down on 3d & 5 early in the 2Q. But on 3d & 5 at 10:04 4Q, Moye dropped a well-placed lob in the EZ that would have been 6 points. Very, very disappointing. Very poor. It gave me bad memories of Limas “Peed the Bed” Sweed. C
Miller - grabbed the shovel pass and scored the short 3-yard TD. Foolishly coughed up the ball after a reception late in the 1H, giving the Ravens the ball at the PIT 39 with 38 tics left in the half. Got totally abused by Suggs on the key 3d & 1 in the 3Q, but Suggs whiffed on the sack attempt. Finished with 2 grabs for a paltry 17 yards. No one can convince me this guy is anywhere close to being 95% healthy, much less 100%. C
Paulson - grabbed a low curl on the 1st play of the 2H. As he was already kneeling, he didn’t have the opportunity to cough it up. Inc
OL: Overall, the best game of the season from this motely crew. They gave Ben plenty of time on most plays, and opened up some nice holes -- with good surges -- on ground plays. Amazingly, there were no false starts, nor any holds, from this crew. Overall grade: A
Adams - Puffer Adams was used as a Tackle Eligible on a couple plays on the long 1Q drive. Due to injuries (Gilbert, then Whimper), he then got inserted into the lineup as the right tackle. B
Gilbert - went out mid 1Q and gave way to Whimper. Inc
Foster - good lead block on the shovel pass TD. Played solidly. B+
Velasco - another no-nonsense game from a guy who has to be a keeper for at least another 2 seasons. A-
DeCastro - a good, stellar all-around game from the Stanford boy. He seems to be playing with much more gusto and confidence. A
Beacham - Got tooled by Suggs for a sack, 6:00 3Q. Otherwise, held his ground okay. B-
Whmper - saw PT at RT when Gilbert gave way in the 1Q. Then got nicked up. Go figure. Inc
Keisel - got nicked up and didn’t even get on the stat sheet. Inc
McLendon - got an arm on Rice to keep him out of the EZ, late 4Q. Was pretty active and got 3 solos in a solid effort. B
Hood - got some PT, and yet somehow got held off the stat sheet. Not that I expect a DE in this scheme to collect 9 solos per game, but for chrissakes, when on the field, do something productive. C+
Heyward - good hustle to nab Rice after a mid-dump, 5:00 1Q. This was his only solo. With his frame length and agility, he should be getting a batted pass every now and then, not merely every 25 games or so. C+
Timmons - flashed in and dropped Pierce, 12:40 3Q. Flashed in and dropped Pierce for no gain, 2:56 3Q. Crashed in and stuffed Leach on the 1st lay of the 4Q on 3d & 1. Good, crisp tackle of Rice 3 plays later. Was all over the field and finished with a prolific 12 solos and 5 assists in a strong, vigorous effort. A+
V. Williams - got a goodly amount of PT and had 2 solos and 1 assist. Shows some modicum of promise, but I have concerns about his instincts and nose for the football. C
Worilds - with Jones inactive, he got the start at ROLB. Chipped in a lil’ bit, but only 1 solo and 1 assist. At this point, he’s not doing much more than Williams, a rookie 6th rounder. C
Jones - did not dress, due to concussion symptonms. Jack Lambert and Greg Lloyd would be snickering right about now. Inc
Big LaMarr - got a slop assist on a Rice cutback run, 1:27 1Q. In the NFL.come play by play, this is recorded as an ASSIST, yet somehow in the tabulations, LaMarr got a solo on this weak-assed slop assist. At 9:29 2Q, was solo blocked by the TE and got a backside slop assist on a 5-yard run by Pierce. Easily pushed aside on a kick out block by Ed Dickson on a 13-yard run by Rice, mid 2Q. Two plays later, dove and whiffed at Rice on a backside grab, allowing 2 yards. On the next play, on 3d & 8, LaMarr stunted up the middle, and easily skirted a SOLO, weak, submarine diving-block attempt by Ray Rice, and then nabbed Jacco for yet another Dong Sack. Chased down Jacco across the field, and had Jacco hemmed against the sideline chalk, but then whiffed as Jacco pirouetted and allowed Jacco to get an accurate pass off to the EZ. The missed sack allowed the Ravens to boot a chippie 32-yard FG on the next play. On 3d & 1 in the 4Q, LaMarr did NOTHING, failing to either JAM Rice, attack the passer, or cover Rice. Nope, that was The Dogger, dogging it in No Man’s Land, and Rice grabbed the short pass for 5 yards. On the next play, Leach ran up RG and LaMarrr got a slop stop after a healthy 6-yard gain. A few plays later, on 3d & goal at the1, LaMarr once again got caught flat-footed, failing to jam the TE, failing to attack the QB, and falling for the play-action fake. The result? LaMarr was once again lost in No Man’s Land, and an easy pitch n’ catch TD to tie the ballgame. Perhaps LaMarr can have his snail mail delivered to a PO box in No Man’s Land, as that seems to be his preferred address. All in all, a lot of puffed air but not much substance. C-
Ike - had good coverage on Smith, but PAUSED late in the pattern and allowed a 41-yard completion late in the 3Q. Flagged for a hold on a 3d & 11 scramble that gained 12 yards. Otherwise, had an ok game. B-
Pola - busted up a pass to Rice, 12:00 3Q. On the next play, submarined and dropped Rice on a run up RT. Helped Timmons stop Leach on the 3d & 1 on the first play of the 4Q. Was very active with 5 solos and 3 A’s. Committed a foolish offsides penalty on 3d & 2. A-
Clark - as usual, did nothing. 1 measly solo, 5 assists, and zero ballhawking. Is there any chance this stiff will get his hands on a passed football that is thrown at least fairly accurately toward its intended receiver during the course of this entire season? C-
Gay - beaten badly on a 3d & 12 post pattern that should have been a TD, but the ball was underthrown and Gay made a decent play to avoid PI and bust up the TD pass. Busted up the pass in the EZ, forcing the FG early in the 4Q. B+
Thomas - Sharko saw quite a bit of PT. Good stop after a short completion, 3:00 1Q. Came up and stuffed the run, late 3Q. Had 3 solos and 3 As, and really impresses me with his instincts and willingness to get his nose onto a ballcarrier. We have definitely found a starting safety for next season.. A
C. Allen - good stop in BF for no gain, 4:30 1Q. But on the next lay, got tooled by Doss on 3d & 4 for 22 yards. At times, looks adequate....and at other times, looks ass-clumsy.
Zoltan - Dogshit 36-yard punt to the BALT 22 in the 1Q. It’s amazing how this pile of bile keeps his job. D
Suisham - booted 4 FGs, including the game winner. Well done. A+
Felix had a stellar KO return to open the 2Q, plowing for the final 10 yards en route to a 42-yard return. Will Johnson was in prime position to recover a Suisham KO in the 2Q, but somehow got out-muscled under the pile by a RatBird. Sylvester blew up the kicker and enabled the Stillers to recover the onsides KO early in the 4Q. Sharko Thomas put a tremendous lick on Jacoby Jones on KO coverage at 10:0 4Q.
Sanders took a squib kick 8 yards deep in the EZ nearly returned the late 4Q KO all the way, but his heel barely stepped OOB at the PIT 37.
The offense piddled and diddle-fuked in the 3Q, continually battling the final 2 seconds of the playclock because of ineptly slow playcalling from Haley. It finally bit them in the ass, when Ben had to call a TO with the playclock running down at 5:34 3Q.
The use of the Wildcat package was impressive. It often can be enough to throw a defense off it’s wheelhouse, and can prevent a defense from teeing off, as the RatBirds have all too often against the Stillers the past couple of seasons. Bogging down continuously and settling for FGs isn’t desirable. Bear in mind, of course, that the 4th FG was a correct settle, with the clock winding down and Suisham booting the game-winning 42-yarder. Another FG was the result of Moye’s drop of rather routine TD grab in the EZ. So, really, out of the 4 FGs, only 2 were genuine “settles”.
The OL finally resembled an NFL caliber line. It only took 6 weeks into the season, which is at least 5 weeks too late. The continual inability to get playcalls into the huddle in a timely manner, as well the plodding and stumbling around in the 2-minute drill, simply enrages me. C+
DC: The Stillers took the 7-0 lead midway thru the 1Q, but sure as a dog shits on a sidewalk, Dick allows the Ravens to march right back. Jacco went 5 for 5 on a long, laborious 9-play drive, including two 3rd down conversions, and the Ravens booted a FG to slice the lead to 7-3.
Miller’s fumble gave the Ratbirds the ball at the PIT 38 with only 38 tics left in the 1H. This is where a good, high caliber defense makes a STAND and either pushes a weak Raven’s offense back, or forces a long FG. Nope, not Dick. Soft as a baby’s bottom, Dick allows the Ravens to move to the 20 before booting a chippie FG just before halftime to make it a 7-point ballgame.
After a Suisham FG boosted the lead to 13-3 in the 3Q, Dick promptly allowed a long, grinding 11 play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a chippie FG.
Dick then allowed Jacco to go 9 for 10 on a 16-play, 73 yard drive to TIE the game at 1:58 4Q. If you were to look up “shit defense” in the dictionary, you’d see Dick and this Softee shit ya saw on this drive. No pressure at all, and loads of Charmin softness.
How 'bout that "vaunted defense" of Dick St. LeBeau? Playing at home, with the crowd roaring and providing energy, LeBeau stood hapless and helpless as the Ravens marched 12 plays, 66 yards for a 4th Qtr FG to slice the lead to 7, and then a long, clock chewing 16 play, 73 yard march to TIE the game with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Did anyone really think, were this game to go into OT, that Dick would manage to stop the lowly Raven offense? Nope, I didn't think so. And, of course, yet another game with Zero turnovers, which makes 5 out of 6 games with zero turnovers, and the only turnovers at all have come from Neil O'Donnell-like flubbed passes by a rookie QB.
Dick continually left an ACRE of open space in the middle of the field, all game long. Never once adjusted, which is typical from a senile coach whose prime was back during the Clinton administration. .
I would be remiss if I didn’t relate Dick’s Softee Defense to Indy’s Coach Pagano. Per Sal Paolantonio from ESPN, he talked with Coach Pagano after the Indy-Denver game. Pagano said he wanted to PRESSURE the Denver receivers at the LOS, and PRESSURE Manning so that Manning couldn't play "PITCH AND CATCH". The result ? A safety. An INT. 2 FFs. All events which are foreign to Dick and his softee brand of defense. And, of course, a WIN over the previously undefeated Broncos. That is winning defensive football. Not that chickenshit softee shit that Dick spews out each week. C-
Allowed the game clock to run down to 0:03 at end of game, on 2nd down, before calling a TO and sending in Suisham to boot the FG. To me, if it’s not a 4th down FG, you call the TO around 11 seconds, just so that, if there’s a bad snap, you can actually call a TO and run another play before time expires. With only 3 seconds, a flubbed snap -- if it’s even recovered -- will easily chew up all 3 remaining tics of the clock.
The focus and intensity were pretty good. And it was the PoeBirds who committed made a rash of foolish penalties in the 3Q and 4Q, not the Stillers. Dumblin isn’t out of the doghouse, but at least he’s made some progress the past 2 weeks. B-
Synopsis: Nevermore, nevermore ! Any win over the hated PoeBirds is to be savored. Few things piss me off more than Harbaugh and the band of hooligans over there in their gay purple uniforms. This win enables the Stillers to crawl slightly back into the AFC North race with a 2-4 record. Hardly enviable, but they are within scratch n’ claw distance, should they continue to put up some more W’s. Next up, a visit to OAK, which has mostly been a house of horrors for the Stillers.
(Still Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close….)
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