October 31, 2011

Steelers Play Keep Away with Patriots: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 365 yards and two touchdowns and the offense held the ball for 39 minutes in a 25-17 win over the New England Patriots. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was held to a season-low 198 yards passing. In other week eight games, the winless Rams stunned the Saints, the Eagles crushed the Cowboys, the Lions trounced the Tebows and the Colts extended their Lucky streak to 0-8.

posted by rcade to football at 11:27 AM - 29 comments

I'm surprised there wasn't a "Christian Devoured By Lions" headline in at least one NFL article on the web today.

posted by grum@work at 11:36 AM on October 31

The Steelers out Patrioted the Patriots. The Steelers "O" did to the Pats defense exactly what New England has done to us in years past, pick the zone apart, take short passes, use the tightend, eat the clock. The best way to beat Brady, just like the key to beat a healthy Manning, keep him off the field.

posted by Debo270 at 11:40 AM on October 31

And the Panthers let another slip away from their greasy paws. That's OK though as they're on the right track as opposed to last year when the light at the end of the tunnel was a train comin' at ya.

posted by NoMich at 11:48 AM on October 31

"the Colts extended their Lucky streak to 0-8."

Steady now. I believe if the season ended today, (not withstanding the uneven 07/08 records), the Dolphins would have the #1 overall pick due to strength of schedule.

The only teams with a losing-record Miami have left to face are the NFC East triumvirate of Dallas-Philadelphia-Washington, with my money on Miami accidentally beating the Washington football team and their comedy Quarterbacks.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:50 AM on October 31

when the light at the end of the tunnel was a train comin' at ya.

Cam Newton is indeed a train. This guy needs more hype. He can borrow some from Tebow.

posted by tron7 at 11:52 AM on October 31

This is why I can't win at fantasy football.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:54 AM on October 31

I don't understand the Eagles. Are they good or not? Last night, they were just clicking on all cylinders. Some weeks they look a wreck.

I'm pretty sure the Beck experiment in Washington has failed and failed some more.

Cam Newton is indeed a train. This guy needs more hype. He can borrow some from Tebow.

Newton is one of the more surprising stories in the NFL. I thought he was considered a bit of a project, but he certainly isn't. Of course the Panthers didn't get the number one overall pick in the draft for nothing, so he has that to contend with.

posted by bperk at 12:12 PM on October 31

Can't imagine the frustration Kyle Orton is going through having to sit and watch the worst QB in professional football history start in his place. For that matter, I can't imagine the pain the entire Denver Broncos roster is having to endure.

On another note, isn't Rob Ryan supposed to be some sort of defensive wizard? If so, how does one explain the Eagles running the same screen in the neighborhood of 9 times and the Cowboys not bothering to make any adjustments to defend the play?

posted by cixelsyd at 01:43 PM on October 31

I believe if the season ended today,

I thought draft order ties were determined by coin flips? Too lazy to look it up, though.

posted by bdaddy at 02:12 PM on October 31

To me it appears that the Steeler's have completely revamped their pass offense due to the fact their line can't block for > 3 seconds.

I have no supportive data to back me up, but it always felt like their pass plays were always play action + long developing mid/deep range routes sprinkled in with occasional WR screens/slants. This left the offense very dependent on Ben and his scrambling ability to extend plays as most were slow developing. Ever since those early defeats (and ugly wins), it seems the other way around, where they are now getting the ball out of Ben's hands quickly as a "scheme" as opposed to just an occasional mixed in play.

Of course, that may have just been due to the opponents in the 2 games I'm thinking of, but wondering if this is a planned trend moving forward. With the speed/quickness of those WR's, I think I like this model(especially given the lack of OL consistency due to injuries). Does tend to make Ben's "broken play" ability more of an infrequency, rather than a dependency.

posted by bdaddy at 02:29 PM on October 31

I haven't seen the Steelers much this season, but I thought the O Line actually stood up pretty well yesterday. Big Ben seem to have more time than previous seasons in the packet. That could be attributed to the scheme you mention, which is the kind of football nuance I'm completely oblivious to.

posted by jmd82 at 02:41 PM on October 31

Strength of Schedule is the first tiebreaker for non-playoff teams with the same W/L %, but it turns out that I have it the wrong way around - The team with the weakest Strength of Schedule picks first because they lost the same number of games to lesser teams.

So the Colts would currently pick #1, with the Dolphins #2.

After more than a decade of Peyton it should be illegal for them to take Luck.

The Phish will have to trade down and settle for Landry Jones or Matt Barkley.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:41 PM on October 31

If so, how does one explain the Eagles running the same screen in the neighborhood of 9 times and the Cowboys not bothering to make any adjustments to defend the play?

They were absolutely killed by that play, and pretty much anything in the middle. If they made adjustments at half-time, I don't see them.

I think Miami can get a win. They played pretty well against the NYG before they gave it away in the end. The Colts have this locked up, I think.

posted by bperk at 03:01 PM on October 31

The Colts still have two games against the Jaguars, who can match them three-and-out vs. three-and-out all day long baby.

posted by rcade at 03:28 PM on October 31

Dude, you have fun at that game.

posted by NoMich at 03:31 PM on October 31

Can't imagine the frustration Kyle Orton is going through having to sit and watch the worst QB in professional football history start in his place.

Cut the melodrama, it's not like he was leading them to titles. If he didn't look so shitty this year he'd still have the starting job.

posted by tron7 at 03:32 PM on October 31

On a completely unrelated note, I've really enjoyed Collinsworth-Michaels lately. I especially liked Collinsworth being horrified at how he looked dressed as Polamalu for Halloween.They even tried to explain why the Cowboys were being destroyed on defense.

posted by bperk at 03:47 PM on October 31

The Lions-Broncos game was probably the least exciting game I've watched all year.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:56 PM on October 31

Because I've seen just about jackshit about one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this year*, I feel obliged to point out that the Bengals are 5-2. You'd think you might hear Andy Dalton's name once or twice along with all the extended Tebow/Newton/Painter/Ponder coverage. Or was a 5-2 record expected for the Bengals due to their perennial powerhouse status?

*And because I'm a complete homer

posted by tahoemoj at 05:11 PM on October 31

Luck could choose to follow a time-honored Stanford tradition and refuse to play for the Colts.

posted by beaverboard at 06:53 PM on October 31

Or was a 5-2 record expected for the Bengals due to their perennial powerhouse status?

You are right. They deserve some due for their surprising success. They never talk about Dalton, and I haven't seen them play at all. Is he really playing QB or is he mainly managing the game?

posted by bperk at 09:09 PM on October 31

At this point it's been mostly management, but he seems more comfortable every week. Gruden's west coast offense style suits him well. It doesn't hurt that the defense keeps it close, giving him a chance to engineer some game winning drives late. I'm not fooled into thinking this is an elite team, as they have been beating up on the weakest teams in the league. However, most pre-season polls had the Bengals as the worst team in the league, and they've proven to be far from that, rookie QB and all. Watching young QB's fall on their faces on a weekly basis, I think Dalton deserves some credit.

posted by tahoemoj at 08:43 AM on November 01

Cincy isnt bad, but look at the wins. Cleveland, Indy, Jacksonville, Seattle, Buffalo. I see the Bills as the only real wion there. They lost to the 49ers and Denver. I think once they get the Steelers and Ravens 2 times, those #'s may change some.. Their next few weeks look like a much different road.

The steelers have been better on their O-line since Max Starks was brought back a few weeks ago. The line has been a trauma ward the last 2-3 seasons. I dont think we have started the same group twice this year to be honest with you. The short drop stuff againsthe Patriots was new this week. After losing to the Pats the last few years, we finally changed the game plan and used the short pass to replace the run this week and control the clock

posted by Debo270 at 10:00 AM on November 01

You also dropped the zone and played a lot of press-man, which is very unusual for LeBeau.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:26 AM on November 01

You also dropped the zone and played a lot of press-man, which is very unusual for LeBeau.

I guess someone on the staff finally noticed that Brady picks our zone apart

posted by Debo270 at 11:08 AM on November 01

Cincy isnt bad, but look at the wins. Cleveland, Indy, Jacksonville, Seattle, Buffalo. I see the Bills as the only real wion there. They lost to the 49ers and Denver. I think once they get the Steelers and Ravens 2 times, those #'s may change some.. Their next few weeks look like a much different road.

Yeah-I got that.

I'm not fooled into thinking this is an elite team, as they have been beating up on the weakest teams in the league.

My point was only that almost every pre-season prediction had them as the worst team in the league. Now they have won more games with their rookie QB than they did all last season with Carson Palmer. No matter what happens down the stretch, the season is considered a success for a "rebuilding" year.

That being said, the Bengals have absolutely nothing to lose in playing the Steelers and Ravens. They're expected to lose all four games. If they can pull out a victory or two and slap some of the smug off the divisions powerhouses, it'll make it a great season.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:25 PM on November 01

The Ravens are somewhat of an enigma right now. I can see the Bengals taking one from them.

I haven't seen the Bengals yet this year. Are they down to just Cedric Benson as the sole remaining major malcontent/troublemaker on the roster at this point? If so, their success may be due at least in part to that. They've had far too many distractions in the past.

posted by beaverboard at 01:54 PM on November 01

NFL final four:

Bills vs Bengals
Lions vs Falcons

A loveable loser finally wins the Super Bowl!

;)

posted by grum@work at 03:13 PM on November 01

Are they down to just Cedric Benson as the sole remaining major malcontent/troublemaker on the roster at this point?

There's this "Adam Jones" character you may have heard of who was recently cleared to play after fighting off a neck injury, and WR Jerome Simpson may or may not be selling copious amounts of gange out of his living room. Beyond that, I do believe that there is an element of chemistry that the Bengals of the Palmer/Ocho era were missing.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:55 PM on November 01

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