Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eagles: In review

After correctly predicting an Eagles' victory, "What are the Chances...?" is now 3-0 on the year and 29-7 all-time in terms of predicting the outcome of Steelers' games.

A few notes in the wake of Sunday's loss: Mike Tomlin was wrong not to kick a field goal on 4th and 10 from the Eagles' 22 with less than a minute to go. It almost certainly wouldn't have changed the outcome, but game management decisions like these (and Tomlin's inability to see the error of his ways) should be a concern for Steelers' fans.

Second, it's not necessarily true that the Steelers need a strong running game to pass the ball effectively. In recent years, Pittsburgh has frequently utilized a pass-first/pass-oriented approach, often with spectacular results. What is necessary for the Steelers' offense to be successful is half-decent pass protection for Ben Roethlisberger. Last year, the Steelers' ratio of sacks to pass attempts was 11.6 percent. This year it's an eye-popping 20.3 percent, putting Pittsburgh on pace to allow 64 sacks. There isn't an NFL offense or quarterback that is going to be consistently successful allowing sacks at that rate.

While the O-line is the team's greatest concern, Pittsburgh may also struggle to stop the run in coming weeks if NT Casey Hampton is out of the lineup for any length of time. Pittsburgh probably doesn't have enough depth on its D-line to play without two of its three starters for an extended period time.

Unfortunately, the Ravens have a strong running game and the potential to utilize the kind of blitz-happy pass rushing schemes that could present major problems for the Steelers on Monday night.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous mark said...

I think this Monday night game could be a disaster waiting to happen. We all remember 2 seasons ago when the Ravens almost killed Ben in 2 games. With this o-line playing this way, you can be sure the Ravens are reving up the engines! We are starting a rookie a Rb too, so fumbles as well as moving the pile are now a bigger concern. Look for Ben to be passing quite a bit Monday, lets just hope (pray) he has time.This game will be close but I think the Steelers will make 1 or 2 more plays then the Ravens. Joe Flacco will get harrassed and the Steelers win 23-13

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope that on Monday, Bruce Arians implements a short passing game and eliminates the 7 step drop, the )-Line doesn't look utterly oncfused on what the heck their assignments are when picking up the blitz and it would be nice to see an audible or a hard count to draw an aggressive defense offside. The offensive performance against the Eagles looked like a team that was prepared to face the Houston Texans, not the Philadelphia Eagles.

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11:26 AM  
Blogger Pablo said...

Larry Zierlien should have been fired last year.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AGREE WITH THE FIELD GOAL TRY AT THE EAGLES 22, THAT WOULD HAVE PUT THE EAGLES DEFENSE ON CALL. THE ONSIDE KICK WOULD HAVE TO BE SUCCESSFUL, BUT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THATS WHERE COACHING DICISIONS ARE MADE BUT WASN'T. YOU STILL NEEDED TWO SCORES, WHAT THE HECK!

9:14 AM  

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