Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Steelers Fans Should Know Better

All this week Steelers' fans and the Pittsburgh media have been criticizing Mike Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff for utilizing a pass-first game plan in the 31-28 loss to the Denver Broncos. These Steelers' devotees claim that the team suddenly developed an identity crisis out in Colorado, and would have fared better if it had made a more concerted effort to run the ball against the Broncos' statistically-deficient run defense. I'm not so sure.

First, Pittsburgh did not change its identity this past Sunday. The Steelers' offense did what is does best nowadays, which is to move the ball through the air. While the unenlightened national media continues to portray the Steelers as a run-first team, Steelers' fans should know better. All season long the Steelers have been a pass-first team (and the same was true during the Super Bowl year). More often than not, the pass-oriented approach works; Pittsburgh builds a lead through the air and then switches to a run-oriented attack in the second half (thereby padding its rushing yardage totals). This approach didn't work particularly well versus Denver, but I didn't hear anyone complaining after Pittsburgh's opening drive, which was virtually run-free and ended in a touchdown. The fact is, Denver played with more passion and that's why it won the game. Let's not blame the Steelers' game plan.

If fans want something to worry about perhaps they should question why the team has failed to match its opponents' intensity in two straight road games. It's no surprise the team failed to match Arizona's intensity; for all intents and purposes that game was the Cardinals' Super Bowl. But the loss to Denver was a mild surprise, hence the first "loss" of the season for "What are the Chances...?" (5-1, 18-4 all-time).

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

FIRST OFF, I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU ARE A STEELER FAN? OK, SO THE ANSWER IS NO. WELL, LETS TAKE THIS A LITTLE FERTHER, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT? OK, AGAIN NO, LET THIS STEELER FAN ENLIGHTEN YOU. THE STEELERS IDENTITY DIDN'T CHANGE JUST CAUSE A NEW COACH IS IN TOWN. THE BETTER TERM TO USE HERE IS " IN FLUX " WHICH IS WHAT THE STEELERS ARE IN RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF THE COACHING CHANGE.THIS TEAM IS STILL PRIMARILY A COWHER TEAM, WHICH IF YOU KNOW COWHER, THIS IS A TEAM BUILT FOR THE RUN FIRST MENTALITY. EVERY TEAM IN THE NFL KNOWS WHEN THEY PLAY THE STEELERS, THIER OBJECTIVE IS TO TURN US INTO A PASSING TEAM, BECAUSE THE RUN WILL BEAT EM.WHICH GOES WITH OUT REASON, THAT YES STEELYYARD, WE ARE A RUN FIRST TEAM. PLEASE DO NOT YAP, JUST FOR THE SAKE OF USING YOUR KEY BOARD. THANK YOU, AND YOU HAVE A NICE DAY!.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, the Broncos were able to control the line of scrimmage that's all. Kendall Simmons was flat out getting pushed around. Aaron Smith got hurt. One of Ben's picks wasn't his fault and they really could've won the game. It seems they ran a long ball control drive on that last push in the fourth frame. My issue was with the clock management on that drive. I think they controlled it for about 8:00 minutes. That's where they should have run the ball a few times with a minute and change to go. Why they thought they'd be able to stop the Bronco's short passing attack in a two minute offense situation is becaue the Steelers usually have the guys to stop it. Also I think they got jobbed on that last reception by the Broncos. It should have been a completion AND a fumble but..of course it shouldn't have come down to that. If they'd been able to get a dominate push up front from the out-set the running game would have been there. I don't think they had an identity crisis so much as a flat out inability to control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Well, I've been watching Steeler football since the late-60s, and they've long been a "run twice, then throw deep team." I'd be willing to wager, though, that they are statistically more successful when they change to first down play-action passing. Ben's a huge (ahem) resource, and I hate to see him always in predictable third-and-long situations, when defenses can tee off on him.

11:14 AM  

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