Stillers 25, Patriots 17 ��. Oct 30, 2011 ����Game #8
Stillers-Patriots Postgame Analysis and Grades
The anticipated bumpkin carving occurred at Heinz Field, but this time it was the Stillers who had the sharp knives and carved up the opposing defense. On a day when the hapless 0-6 Rams beat up on the Saints, the Stillers stormed out to a 10-0 lead and played keep-away from Brady, chewing nearly 40 minutes of clock en route to a 25-17 win over the hated Patsies.
QB: Benji had a near-superb day, lighting up the weak NE pass defense for 365 yards on 36 of 50 passing, and 2 TDs. Ben had ample time in the pocket, and used it to pick apart the Patsies. He had a poor lapse in the 2Q, when he pumped 4 (four) times and refused to throw the ball, and then was sacked for a 9-yard loss. On the very next play, he threw a hideous INT on a deep crosser, which gave NE the ball at the PIT 8. Late in the 3Q, Ben again held the ball forever, and was stripped of the ball on a sack, which would have been a disastrous turnover at the PIT 30. Luckily, Ben recovered the loose ball. In all, a strong performance by Ben, but he�ll face a much, much stouter defense next week vs. Balt. A-
RB: Socrates Mendenhall had a fairly solid outing, toting the pig 13 times for 70 yards....just enough to keep the NE defense honest. He ran with good authority, charging ahead with zest and zeal rarely seen before his missed game. He had nice runs of 12 and 18 yards, and had a good downfield block in the 1Q to help Wally move the chains on quick WR hitch. He had a nice 3-play sequence in the 3Q, first hurdling a tackler and gaining 9 yards; then gaining 8 on 3d & 1; and then gaining 5 yards on a plunge. Mendy also had 3 grabs for 22.
Redman played some and chipped in nicely. He had a couple strong 5-yard runs, and grabbed 1 pass for 5 yards. Nothing spectacular, but quiet, steady, productive work. He did drop a mid-dump off in the 2Q.
Moore chipped in as well. He made a stellar grab and then plowed into the EZ for the first TD. He had a nifty, churning run late in the 1H, gaining 16. He had a decent blitz pickup on 3d & 13 in the 3Q, allowing Ben to hit Sandy for 17 yards.
Pound for pound, this was this crew�s best overall effort of the season. A+
FB: Not used much, as the Stillers wisely exploited the weak NE pass defense. Redman had a strong plunge on 3d & 1 late in the 4Q, getting blasted but plowing hard enough to get the 1st down and chew the clock. Inc
WR: Ward sat out the game with his injured leg. This crew marched on in his absence, having a stellar game from all involved.
Wally and Brown continued their sizzling production, with Wally grabbing 7 for 70 and Tonio grabbing 9 for 67. These 2 men basically Patsied the Patsies, cutting the Patsie defense to shreds with clever underneath crossers, drags, and out, much like the Patsies have done to PIT many times over the years. Tonio caught his 1st NFL TD on a short pass in the 2Q.
Sandy Sanders also chipped in, grabbing 5 for 70. He was flagged for a blatant OPI when he locked downfield before the pass.
Yancey Cotchery finally got his 1st & and only catch of the year. It was good, though....a tough catch on a very low throw, on a key 3d & 5 in the 1Q that gained 10.
My notes reveal no dropped passes by this crew, which is obviously quite laudable. A+
TE: Miller personally roasted the NE defense on the opening TD drive, grabbing 4 passes, each gaining a 1st down. He had a drop late on the drive, on a fairly difficult bullet that Ben threw a bit high. Miller finished with 7 grabs for 85. Johsnon caught a short out late in the game for 7 yards. The run blocking was acceptable. A
OL: The line had a strong game, giving Ben ample time and room, and opening some nice holes for the ground game.
Gilbert had a strong drive-block on Mendy�s 12 yard gain in the 1Q. Gil got nicked up in the 2Q, but came back in the 2H. Scott replaced Gil and luckily didn�t do any damage. Gil had a poor, foolish false start on 3d & goal at the NE 7 in the 4Q, which basically forced a FG. Starks had a solid game protecting Ben�s blind side. One sack �beat� Starks, but that was on a WLR (wide loop rush) where Ben held the ball for nearly 8 seconds. I can�t blame Starks on that play.
Foster had a very solid game, and it makes you wonder why he is so reviled by the Steeler coaching staff. Pouncey also had a solid game.
Wallowing in shit most of the game was Pis Kemoeatu, who had a wretched game. He got his weekly penalty, this time for a hands to the face in the 2Q. He was bullrushed and shoved on the 1st series, forcing a hasty dumpoff to Mendy that was inc. A really sorry block. On a Redman draw in the 3Q, Kemo got shoved into the hole as though he were a blocking dummy, and the play lost 2 yards. For someone who is so squatty and looks so stout, this guy has poor leverage and too often gets pushed to and fro.
Kemo: C All others: A
DL: The Pats played from behind the entire game and were never able to use their ground game. Fat Hampton played after missing a couple games, and did little. Keisel and Hood were workhorses who have a strong effort. Keisel was disruptive in the 2H, batting a TE screen in the 3Q, and then stripping Tom Lady late in the game. Hood delivered a bit hit on Faulk in the 2Q. Heyward chipped in a little bit, as did McClendon. Hoke did not dress due to injury. B+
LB: By the rarest of good luck, Taunto Farrior was unable to dress, due to either an injury, or the 3rd degree burns from the scalding issued by LaRod Stephens-Howling on the 73-yard catch & run TD last week. Either way, it was an enormous blessing in disguise.
Stevie Sylvester played ILB in place of Taunto, and played ok. With a ton of nickel packages being used, Vester didn�t get all that much PT and didn�t make it onto the stat sheet.
Larry Timmons started at ROLB and did just allright, finishing with 1 solo and 3 As. He was totally engulfed on the wide Faulk run on 1st & G at the 8 following the INT, which gained 6 yards. Timmy actually made a couple solid plays. He had on a good stick on Ben Jarvis on a running play just prior to the 2MW in the 2Q. Then, on the 1st play of the 3Q, he had a good chasedown on a sweep to the opposite side, chipping in to stop Ben Jarvis for a 2-yard gain. Timmy did provide some good pass coverage.
In a surprise of surprises, Larry Slow-a-Foote actually had a very acceptable game. He was incredibly stout and hard-hitting at the POA (point of attack), continually stepping in to fill the hole with sturdy ruggedness. He laid the wood to Faulk just before a big skirmish in the 2Q. He had a couple of boners, though. He slashed in on a 3d & 1 in the 2Q, but failed to corral the RB, who garnered ahead for 2 yards. Late in the game, he was too slow on a middle circle route to Faulk, which gained 18.
Big LaMarr was able to pad his sack stats with at least 1 Dong Sack, if not 2. In the 2Q, on a 3d & 15, he stunted up the G/C hole, TOTALLY UNTOUCHED, and got a sack. Then he beat Sebastian Vollmer, who started one game this season, in week 2, and has sat out ever since with a balky back. LaMarr gave Vollmer an initial bull-shove, and Vollmer responded like Jon Scott -- collapsing backwards, and then doing nothing.
Big LaMarr was sealed in badly on the 1st play of the 3Q, on a wide sweep to his side. Very poor job of setting the edge, something that MUST be done by an OLB in a 3-4 defense. At 5:44 3Q, Big LaMarr was jog-chasing the QB on a reverse boot, and then collapsed to the ground as he is often wont to do. I figured this was simply Manny being Manny, er, LaMarr being LaMarr, but it turned out he pulled a ham and did not return.
Big LaMarr finished with 2 tackles....1 on a play where he was UNTOUCHED and UNBLOCKED, and another when he beat a rusty tackle with a bad back who hadn�t played in 5 weeks. Yes, I know LaMarr was injured and missed the last 25 minutes of the game. But please, let's hold off just a bit, if you will, on calling for Big LaMarr to win the DPOY.
With LaMarr out, Chris Carter came into the game, with Timmons mostly moving to LOLB and Carter at ROLB. Carter had 1 solo and 1 assist. Carter committed an assaholic neutral zone infraction on a late 3d & 2. B+
DB: Unlike every game in the past 3 seasons, the Stiller DBs played aggressive, press coverage, with CBs jamming WRs and Pola being used in a variety of close-in coverages instead of playing 22 yards off the LOS, as Dick is wont to do with him.
Ike led the way with a stellar effort. He mostly shadowed Welker -- mostly from the slot -- and smothered Wesley, who grabbed only 6 passes for a piddly 39 yards!! LMAO ! Ike slashed into drop Ben Jarvis for a 1-yard loss during the 1st series. Ike also had a bust-up on a long, quail-like pass to Price in the 4Q, although a different ref crew might very well have flagged this as DPI. Ike left with a stinger in the 4Q, but returned.
Pola was everywhere and was a bundle of energy. He drilled Faulk on a short pass on 3d & 11 in the 3Q, and then nearly ripped of Welker�s head -- literally -- with a high, hard tackle in the 4Q. Pola will probably get a letter from Adolf Goodell by Wed. Pola had a great hustle play on the late fumble, running and then diving toward the loose ball, and then punching it in order to prevent a Patsie from recovering the loose ball.
Like Foote, Gay had a surprisingly adequate game. He played press coverage on a variety of players, to include Branch and Hernandez. He also had a good tackle of Hernan on an end around that gained 2 yards in the 4Q. Gay was flagged for PI in the 2Q, although the flag literally came in a good 12 seconds after the play had ended and after the NE sideline berated and pleaded with the ref. I�m getting a bit weary of indecisive penalty flags being thrown 10 and 12 seconds after a play has ended.
Keenan Lewis saw a ton of PT and played decently. He had good coverage on a stop n� go by Branch in the 3Q, which forced Brady to look elsewhere. He also had good coverage on a deep ball to Ocho Stinko. He main boner was on the TD by Branch. On this 3d & goal play, Lew was in press coverage, but then never got a hand on the receiver, who ran an easy out for the TD.
Cortez Allen was finally permitted to play and did okay. He had decent coverage on Gronko late in the 2Q. Gay and Allen combined to tackle Gronko on 3d & 8 in the 3Q, holding the TE to 7 yards. Allen was trucked by Gronko after a short grab in the 4Q.
Mundy was flagged for a hold of Gronko on the late 4th & G. A really awful penalty to take there. He did deliver the lick a couple plays prior at the GL, which should have been ruled a TD but instead was ruled down at the half-yard line.
Ryan Clark spent most of the game looking for cheap-shots at defenseless receivers and backs. He had a big hit on the 1st play of the 3Q, although it was a clear and blatant leading-with-the-helmet that should be fined when Adolf Goodell reviews the tape on Monday. He then committed a foolhardy, asinine personal foul penalty at the end of a 3Q play, in which the ballcarrier was well OOB, but Clark hit him anyway, and to make matters worse, did it with �helmet to helmet contact�, as the ref stated. Clark did had a good hit at the GL to prevent Faulk from scoring late in the game. But then, on the next play, Clark was caught in no man�s land, covering nobody (aside from a tackle eligible) and doing nothing on the TD pass to Hernandez.
Ike and Pola: A+ All others: B
Spec teams: Mostly good. The KO coverage was superb. Brown had a couple good returns.
But there was plenty of bad. Suisham had a grisly game. He booted 3 FGs, but missed a key 44-yarder in the 4Q on a short spinner. He also booted a shitty squib KO OOB in the 1Q, giving the Pats the ball at their 40. Shitpulveda punted only once, a shitty 30-yard effort late in the game that was caught at the NE 20. B-
OC: For the most part, a nice game by Arians. He exploited the weak NE pass defense, and he did it with loads of QUICK passes to fleet WRs as well as POP PASSES to the TE, which should be money in the bank 90% of the time. Big kudos to the Stiller offense, which consumed enormous gobs of clock on long, methodical marches, and scored 23 points. Scoring drives of 11, 16, 10, 14, and 11 plays chewed clock (a game total of nearly 40 minutes of TOP !) and kept Brady on the sidelines.
It wasn�t all pretty, however. With the Stillers toying with a feasting on the NE defense in the 1Q, Arians kept calling his cutesey 0-step hitches, with Brown gaining MINUS-1 and then MINUS-1. It just defies all logic how Arians can go away from what is working to a shit play that loses yardage. His fetish and love affair with the 0-step hitch is beyond all belief.
Late in the 1H, the Stillers had their usual clusterfuck of time mis-management. Ben spiked the ball after a completion to Sanders, at the NE 48 and 8 secs left. Instead of trying a pass to get into FG range, the offense ran a grab-bag play that ended with a long quail to Sanders that was inc. 2 secs remained, and the following play was a short pass to Moore, which would have been superb on the previous play. Instead, it gained 24 harmless yards as the clock ran out.
After Gilbert committed a false start in the 4Q, there was the usual wasted timeout. It should be rather easy to shuttle in a play after a 5-yard false start.....but not for Arians.
Then there was the total abortion late in the 4Q, with the Stillers holding a 6 -point lead and the Pats having no timeouts. With the ball on the NE 28 on 2d & 11, the Stillers emerged from the 2MW, needing only to plunge the ball twice, and then either plunging on 4th down or perhaps trying a FG, or even punting, with the worst case a boot through the EZ for a TB. What does Airhead Arians do ?? He calls 2 consecutive pass plays -- neither of which has ANY purpose -- and Ben takes a beating and a huge LOSS, losing 11 and then 8 yards !! A total fiasco of epic proportions. That�s just what you want....your franchise QB taking unnecessary shots late in the game, and of course, taking a huge risk of a STRIP & fumble, which has happened with Ben at least 25 times in his career. I�m still dumfounded over those 2 plays....and if I hadn�t seen it with my own 2 eyes, I would have never have believed it. B
DC: Dick finally awoke from his 3-year slumber with a sensible gameplan against a competent offense. Quick -- someone call the HoF and see if Dick can get inducted as a coach !! To his credit, Dick mostly did what I stated (in my pre-game analysis) needed to be done, in particular --
- getting Sylvester on the field
- getting Gay off of Gronko
- getting Fat Hampton off the field
- using PRESS coverage (duh!) to disrupt the timing routes of NE
- using Pola for more than a glorified FS, which is how Pola was used in last season�s playoffs
Of course, Dick�s task was made 20 times easier when the offense was able to chew gargantuan chunks of time off the clock on long, methodical scoring marches. Brady is a great QB, but he can score ZERO points while standing with his offense on the SIDELINE. Dick also got a huge break in the 4Q, when Gronko scored a TD at 4:10, but the refs botched the call and placed the ball at the 1-foot line. The Pats scored a few plays later, but spent 1:35 of precious time scoring a TD that they�d already scored.
The secondary played their press coverage superbly, making the obvious question -- what in sam fuking hell took LeBeau so long to use press coverage ?? 10 months ago, we pissed away a Super Bowl because Dick insisted on putting his CBs on islands, 12 yards off the LOS.
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut. Let�s see what Dick does next week against the offense that savagely ravaged him in week 1. A.
HC: Tomlin did a superb job of downplaying this game, all the while feeding his team dozens of press clippings and feeding their rage. The fiascos at the end of each half have absolutely got to stop. These are the juvenilish kind of mistakes you see at the high school level. A
Synopsis: Any beating of the Cheatriots is nice to relish and savor. Alas, there is little time to do that, as a far more important game away, with the Stillers hosting the hated PoeBirds on a Sun. nite game. This game will presumably decide the AFC North, unless the Bengals continue their hot run and present a challenge as well. It�s a must-win game for the Stillers to win the division, and it�s comes 7 weeks after the Poebirds totally humiliated and embarrassed the Stillers on opening day. Let�s hope the Stillers didn�t shoot their wad in today�s win over the Patsies. Further, this beating of the Pats is eerily familiar to the Halloween Massacre of 2004, when the Stillers blew out the Patsies that Hallow�s Eve. The Stillers won the battle that season, but lost the war when then got whupped by the Patsies, at home, in the AFC title game. Let us hope this Halloween beatdown brings along different fate.
Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the