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Dead Men Walking

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Nothing But Candy Corn... E-mail
Written by Cotter   
November 02, 2010 09:20

Everybody wants someone to blame after a loss.

I suppose it's part human nature, part the product of manufactured expectations.

But like almost all losses, Sunday's loss was a team effort.

Tackling was sub-par, the pass rush was sub-par, the situational play-calling was sub-par, basically the overall effort was "below the line," as Tomlin either would say, or did say.

The first half was acceptable.


They probably should've been up a few more points, but at least they were locked in a heated game. You figure the Steelers had some setbacks, but they'd head into the locker room, make some adjustments, get their heads in the right place and come out thirsty for blood.

But things didn't really work out that way.

They had opportunities, to be sure. But those opportunities were mostly thwarted by bad breaks.


This must be the sign for "quit f#*$ing around"...or at least it should've been.

Certainly the Steelers weren't going to go 15-1 this season, and the they aren't exactly working with a cupcake schedule like some other teams, so losses were inevitable at some point. And hey, the Saints - despite their recent uselessness - are still defending Super Bowl champs.

What was really frustrating, though, was that you felt like the Steelers were a play away from winning for a good 55 minutes, and then in the last 5 or so, the bottom dropped out.


Yep, there goes the game, watch it go.

But fret not, Steeler fans.

The team is now 5-2, which unfortunately means 2nd place in the division, but not much beyond that.

The Patriots continued to beat shitty teams, besting the Vikings 28-20 yesterday. And frankly, I'm fine with everyone easing off the Steelers nuts for at least a week. Let them remember that it's not about what you've done, it's about what you're going to do.

Of course, next week they take their show to Cincinasty to take on the 2-5 Ben-gals on Monday night - the second of three straight prime time games in which they'll play. I'd love to say I like the Steelers chances here, but really, they better come to play. The Bangles are buried right now. If they have any hope of putting a respectable season together, it'd have to start next week. 2nd week in a row the Steelers play a team that had high aspirations but has been more or less embarrassed in recent weeks.

Carson Palmer was 17/38 in the Bengals loss to the Dolphins on Sunday, which I'm dubbing "Death by Place Kicker."

That's a 45% completion percentage.

But that didn't stop TO from catching five balls for 65 yards and TWO TDs.

Whatever, why am I talking about the Bengals right now?

Let's just get to the recap.

The sooner we get through this, the sooner we can move on to Cincinnati hate week - which is kind of like Christmas, only you don't get shit.

Anyway, I give you the "Things That Were Awesome," "Things That Were Not Awesome," and "Things That Can Die in a Fire."


Things That Were Awesome:

1. Stevenson Sylvester

It's kind of nice to take this opportunity to highlight guys like Sylvester, who normally wouldn't be first in line for a spot in this part of the recap, but who have been doing a solid job week in and week out.

It'd be a lot nicer if I got to do so after a win, but you can't always get what you want, right?

Unless you're James Harrison, of course.

Ike Taylor

Blame whoever you want for this loss, just don't blame Ike.

He had five tackles and a pick, and was in on a number of pass plays to keep things at bay.

Yeah, Drew Brees lit up our secondary like Santonio Holmes does a blunt, but not Ike.

Neither the Colston TD, nor the Lance Moore TD was on his watch.

3. Spindenhall

15 carries for 70 yards and a score.

Maybe if we were able to give him the ball in the 2nd half, it could've been 22 carries for 115 yards and two scores or something.

But when you've got your back against the wall, ain't no time to hand it to Mendy.

Of course, look at what happened when we did.

That 38 yard TD run in the 4th Quarter quickly narrowed the Saints lead to a field goal yet again, and the drive only took 2:07 off the clock.

At 13-10, with 10 minutes left to play, the Steelers looked real good.

Fast forward a few minutes and meh, not so much.

4. Bryant McFadden's strip sack 

Well, I guess it wasn't really a strip sack, but it was a sack and forced fumble.

Frankly, I don't really care what you call it, as long as you call it "awesome."

5. Brett Keisel's manliness

If only that beard could double team offensive linemen.

Things That Were NOT Awesome:

1. Jeff Reed

First, I'd like to point out that missing a 51-yard field goal is NOT even remotely the reason the Steelers took home an L on Sunday.

It obviously didn't help, but opportunities were squandered all over the field and those three points, while helpful, weren't going to make the difference.

Still, when Jeff Reed stepped up to attempt a 51-yard field goal, I had about 40% faith that he could hit it, even in a dome.

And look how that worked out...

For the record, Jeff is now 1 for 6 on field goals outside of 40 yards.


Yeah, it probably has something to do with your foot...

2. Manny's dumb mistake

When I first started this recap, I had Manny under "Things That Were Awesome."

After all, he had three kick returns for 91 yards, which equates to about 30 or so yards per return, AND a punt return of 38 yards.

Which I'll take every day of the week...

And how about what he did to Alex Brown, the DEFENSIVE LINEMAN, on Redman's 15 yard run early in the 1st Quarter?

Or the 21 yard catch to move the chains on 3rd and 8?

But all of that good work carries the black eye of another fumble, and most discouragingly, potentially breaking up what could've been an easy TD for Hines on 4th and 4.

3. Hey, you guys remember the time Julius Jones tried to fight Troy Polamalu?



4. Protection

Who's doing the raping, here?

Amazing that the Saints ONLY came away with three sacks.

5. Big Ben's game-ending INT

The Steelers would've had to come up with some legit magic to score 10 points in two and a half minutes.

That still doesn't mean it was time to throw a duck to the Saints' nickel Corner.

[video courtesy of Mikey and Big Bob!]

Oh well, you live and you learn.

Things That Can Die in a Fire:

1. First one to convert a 3rd down gets a cookie...

No other words necessary.

2. The Saints' goal line stand

Run. Run. Run. 19 yard field goal.

Is that not a 6'5", 250 pound, two-time Super Bowl winning QB standing there with his thumb up his ass?

3. Goofy ass fake reverse

We went over this last week.

The Steelers can't even execute a real reverse.

So, why in the world would they think faking a reverse was going to lure the Saints into biting on it?

On 2nd and 17.

I hate to nitpick playcalling, because a lot of times people turn the right call into something it's not, just because of lack of execution.

But is anyone really going to dispute that this was a waste of a play?

I'm sure one of you assholes will. 

4. The Saints converting 4th down

I doubt anyone's questioning Sean Payton's decision to go for it on 4th and 1 only like 10 minutes into the game.

But that's because the Saints converted it, which is probably the Saints running game's only achievement in 60 minutes on Sunday.

You know, it didn't really have any bearing on the outcome of the game, but it showed that the Saints were playing balls out, recognizing how important the win was to them.

The Steelers...well, they might've had their balls out, but it wasn't to play with them...errrr, you know what I'm saying here, right?

5. The 4th Quarter

I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to say when the Steelers hold the Saints to only 6 points through three quarters, only to give up 14 points in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Fatigue I'm sure was a factor. Playing in a dome doesn't exactly provide a copious amount of fresh, cool air.

But just imagine how things would've gone if Heath Miller doesn't fumble for only like the 4th time in his career.

The Steelers had just put 7 points on the board to make the score 10-13. On the ensuing drive, Drew Brees fumbles away a MAJOR opportunity thanks to Bryant McFadden, and the Steelers are driving towards 6 points, which would give them at least a field goal edge.

But just as easily as the Steelers were given the opportunity, it was taken away.

You can't really blame Heath for this one, that was just a good play by the Saints.

Doesn't make it hurt any less.

And then of course, finally, Yinz Luv Da Stillers...

So, who's ready for Cincy?

If you haven't already, become a fan of OFTOT on Facebook, and follow Cotter on Twitter. Or don't. Your choice, really.

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