Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tomlin challenged when it comes to challenges

I’ve been saying for years that Mike Tomlin is not nearly as good an in-game coach as Bill Cowher and one reason is his use (or lack of use) of challenges. Example: In tonight’s game, on the fourth quarter drive in which the Colts drove 80 yards to tie the score at 20-20, the Colts appeared to be stopped just short on a third down play at the 30-yard-line. But Indy got a favorable spot and was awarded a first down. In my opinion, that seemed a good time to throw the challenge flag, as a (likely) successful challenge would have left the Colts with fourth and inches. Instead, the Colts built momentum and went on to score.

Sure, the Colts would likely have converted on fourth down, but I like putting the other team in a convert-or-lose situation any time I can. Especially when a still-wobbly Curtis Painter is the other team’s QB. Little-noticed missteps like these lead to losses; fortunately the Steelers escaped with a win tonight.


Colts: What are the Chances...?

It seems the main way the game can go wrong tonight at Indianapolis is if the Steelers’ tackles can’t slow down Colts DE’s Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, a not unlikely scenario considering that Pittsburgh’s OT’s are Jonathan Scott and rookie Marcus Gilbert. It could be that the Steelers will run the ball more than usual, especially early on, in hopes of avoiding the kind of negative plays that might energize the hometown crowd.

On the other side of the ball, the Colts’ scheme is the kind that can give Pittsburgh problems, and with four quality receivers — Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and tight end Dallas Clark — the Steelers don’t have the cover guys to shut down such a diverse attack. But Kerry Collins isn’t what he used to be, and hasn’t looked particularly good thus far in 2011, faced with the task of adapting to an offense designed for Peyton Manning.

I’m not sure if the Steelers will cover the 10.5 point spread, but I think that Pittsburgh will win. What Are the Chances…? is 1-1 in 2011 and 60-27 all-time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Seahawks: What are the Chances…?

The Steelers are a 14-point favorite against the Seahawks, a shocking large number considering the Steelers’ performance in week one. But if the Steelers play with the emotion and intensity that was missing last week versus Baltimore, they might very well cover. The Steelers should be able to make big plays in the passing game, and it’s hard to imagine Seattle QB Tavaris Jackson exploiting the Steelers’ D. Expect a double-digit victory for Pittsburgh. And if it doesn’t transpire, then there will be cause for concern going forward.

What are the Chances is 0-1 in 2011, but 59-27 all-time.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ravens: What are the Chances...?

The Ravens are a slight favorite over the Steelers in today's season opener, a minor surprise considering the recent history between the teams. In all likelihood this game will come down to which team does the best job of protecting its quarterback, as both Baltimore and Pittsburgh are expected to struggle with pass protection this season. Historically, Roethlisberger has played exceptionally well in week one games and the Steelers have more weapons in the passing game, which is why I like Pittsburgh to come away with a win - 55 percent chance.

Entering the 2011 season What are the Chances is 59-26 all-time.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sun columnist Preston refers to Roethlisberger as ‘Drama Queen’

In a Sept. 4 post, Baltimore Sun sports columnist Mike Preston asks Where is the Drama Queen? – a reference to Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, who he says, always leaves us wondering whether he’ll play. “If it ain't his arm, it's his knee. If it ain't his knee, it's his ankle. It it ain't his ankle, it's a fingernail,” writes Preston, who ain’t in the business of writing eloquently, and apparently doesn't recall that Big Ben played most of the 2010 season with multiple broken bones, including a broken foot.

Perhaps Preston is just sore that Roethlisberger has been a “Raven Killer” (as the longtime columnist freely admits). But if he’s wondering why there hasn’t yet been any drama regarding Big Ben’s health, it’s because it’s only week one. In other words, Roethlisberger hasn’t yet had the opportunity to play behind his subpar offensive line, which hasn’t been able to keep from suffering an inordinate number of hits and sacks in recent seasons. But don’t fret, Mr. Preston, by the time the Steelers meet the Ravens again on Nov. 6, Roethlisberger’s injuries will once again be fodder for columnists like yourself.

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