Saturday, November 12, 2011

Very Late Recap/Review

Almost a week since that defensive breakdown against the Ravens.  Offense had chances too, some weird play-calling, but Ben did things he was supposed to do and gave the Steelers a chance to win.  It was the defense, especially on that last drive.  James Harrison blew up in a big way, but the defensive backfield fell apart.  I honestly don't know what it'll take for Tomlin to get rid of guys who are liabilities in pass coverage, cause it looked like things got better with the defensive backfield this season for the most part, but it went south that night.  I just hope the Steelers can bounce back tomorrow against the Bengals and Tomlin needs to get his coaching staff to get the players to play their best.

The Cincinnati Bengals have definitely improved this season.  Their rookies have done well, especially their quarterback Andy Dalton.  AJ Greene has shown his big play abilities as a receiver and the defense is decent, if not better, than the Steelers.  I hate to say it, but regardless of being the best passing defense statistically, it means nothing if you can't stop the teams when needed, and the Bengals, at least in highlights I've seen, have done what the Steelers haven't.  The Steelers won't have Lamarr Woodley again and the Steelers defense needs to generate pressure and actually force punts and/or turnovers to give themselves a chance.  Speaking of turnovers, the Steelers had chances against the Ravens, but didn't get any except for one fumble.  The Steelers need to do something about that, otherwise they'll still be facing long drives from opposing teams.  The Ravens got 14 third down conversions, which is unacceptable.  The defense needs to force the Bengals to not even have chances at 3rd down conversions, but right now, it's more important that the defense actually makes stops against the Bengals.  In addition, they need to stop the Bengals' run game cause the Ravens gashed them with the run game last week.

Offensively, the Steelers have been fine but they still need to put points on the board.  Ben had a bad pick against the Ravens that killed a strong drive at the start of the second half against the Ravens, and the Steelers can't afford that at all.  Perhaps the run game will come up, but I don't know.  The Steelers have been effective in the passing game, but the Steelers still need to protect Ben and give the rest of their playmakers chances to come up big.  Special teams also needs to have better punt/kickoff coverage, and make the field goals when given the chance.

Overall, I look for a bounce back for the Steelers early tomorrow afternoon.  The Steelers most likely aren't going to win the AFC North title, but they can still make the playoffs.  They just need to do that by beating the Bengals tomorrow.  It'll again be close, but hopefully it's a Steelers 28-20 victory.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ravens-Steelers Tonight. Big Rematch.

Can't really say much except it's a big game for both teams in terms of divisional standing and potential playoff seeding.  The Ravens have struggled recently and are looking to win the regular season head-to-head with the Steelers, whom they crushed in week 1.  The Ravens' offense has struggled and are looking to get Ray Rice and Joe Flacco on track tonight.  The Steelers, on the other hand, have been looking good and are coming off of a big win last week against the Patriots.  The Steelers are also at home and are looking for revenge for their week 1 flop against the Ravens.  It's one of the most intense rivalries in the NFL, and it's not going to be any different tonight.

Ben Roethlisbergher has been on fire lately, but it's going to be tough tonight against the Ravens defense.  That unit has always given the Steelers offense trouble, especially Terrell Suggs, who's always had Ben's number in terms of pressuring Ben and making him do things he shouldn't be doing that would hurt the Steelers.  The offensive line will have their hands full against a powerful defensive front led by Haloti Ngata and the run game will certainly struggle against it.  Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are dangerous in the open field, and will certainly be causing problems for the Steelers.  One of the keys for the Steelers to win is to protect Ben well enough so that he can get rid of the ball to avoid turnovers or find open guys.  In turn, Ben has to protect the ball and play smart football.  He needs to do what he did last week against the Patriots, spreading the ball around and not make mistakes.  That is what the coaching staff should focus on, preventing mistakes while looking to make plays.
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Another key is the receiving corps, who will be watched by one of the league's best overall defenses.  The Ravens passing D is miles ahead of the Patriots, and it will be important that it's not just the big plays the Steelers should be going for, but time of possession and efficiently effective yards gained.  Finally, the run game, while not as important in terms of play calling, must be ready as it has been inconsistent all season long.  It isn't just gaining tough yards that is needed, but also pass protection and catching that the backs need to be involved in.

It will be an overall team effort for the offense, as this Ravens defense has been effective in terms of causing problems for them and Ben needs to play his best again.  The offense needs to protect the football better tonight, and if they can do that, then they will score points and control the game.  They cannot have seven turnovers again against the Ravens, or it will be a long day against the Ravens again.

Defensively, the Steelers will be without James Farrior and, more importantly, Lamarr Woodley.  Woodley was named Defensive Player for October and it will be a huge loss for the Steelers' linebacker corps.  He was getting on fire and would have been looking to continue that tonight had he not been hit by a hamstring injury.  James Harrison will be back after missing a whole month due to a broken eye socket, but I don't know how well he'll play after being out for that long.  It will be up to the youngsters to step up and not only create pressure, but make plays when needed.  We saw how the Patriots were able to come back after Woodley left the game due to injury, and the replacements need to step up tonight to show why the Steelers signed them to the team.  They need to play smart and effective against a potentially dangerous offense that has Ray Rice doing everything for the offense.  Joe Flacco has struggled, but he can cause problems for the defense and he'll look to have a repeat performance against the Steelers like in week 1.  The linebackers need to step up and create turnovers to give their offense a chance.

The defensive front needs to play extremely well, for Ray Rice has burned them before, especially in week 1.  The run defense hasn't been like they've been used to, although the secondary has improved in passing D.  In any case, the defensive linemen need to create pressure and force Flacco to make mistakes.  To do that, they have to contain Ray Rice, otherwise the Ravens will be eating up the scoreboard again.  It's an intense rivalry game, and the Steelers need to play with coolness.  Ike Taylor needs to show he's good at being a cornerback and not commit stupid penalties as he's shown to have done before.  Keenan Lewis has been a godsend, stepping up and improving when given the chance.  The Steelers defensive backfield needs to prevent the Ravens' receiving corps from causing a lot of damage again.  Troy Polamalu is nearing breakout game potential, and I personally hope that tonight is it for him to get on track.

The Steelers defensive needs to play near perfect football tonight.  They must be able to create pressure and force the Ravens to make mistakes if they want to make this game close, or at least prevent the Ravens from getting scoring chances.  The Steelers defense has definitely looked at their first meeting very closely and are looking to redeem themselves tonight.

Special teams took a hit when Daniel Sepulveda was put on IR yesterday.  Jeremy Kapinos has been signed on to replace him.  Sepulveda was looking good as a punter, but now it's imperative that field position is in the Steelers' favor.  The Steelers have to protect the ball to prevent blocking attempts on field goals and punts, prevent the Ravens from getting good field position and scoring chances, and give themselves chances at favorable field position.  It would be bonuses for the Steelers if they can get touchdowns on special teams play, but they need to play smart football in order to give Ben and the offense scoring chances.  It is another aspect the Steelers need to play smart at, as the last time they played the Ravens saw them score on a fake field goal.  That cannot happen again, and the Steelers' special teams unit needs to step up tonight as well.

I'm hoping the Steelers win tonight, I really do, but week 1's results don't really give me much confidence.  The Steelers did win big against the Pats last week, but the Ravens will be a tougher match up.  Plus, before last week's win, the Steelers have won against bad teams but a couple were closer than they should have been because of dumb mistakes and missed opportunities.  The Steelers need to make a statement tonight against the Ravens, because they have the players to contain the Steelers' receiving corps, and the defense has been hit by the injury bug.  It will be tough, and the Steelers need this win to stay close in the divisonal race, especially when they face an improving Bengals team next week.  For tonight, the Steelers need to win, and it will be a close 24-21 victory.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Injury News, Lamarr the Big One.

Well, Lamarr Woodley's pretty much out.  After waiting to read and hear about Woodley's injury, it looks like he's out.  A shame too, since he's been on fire and came up big last game against the Pats.  Bright side, though, James Harrison will be back most likely, and we'll see Jason Worilds and see how he does.  Lawrence Timmons will also be the inside linebacker since Harrison's coming back.

James Farrior is questionable, and so is Hines Ward, though, I find it highly unlikely he'll miss this Sunday's game.  The bigger, and sadder story, is Emmanuel Sanders taking some personal away time for his mom's death.  In addition to a knee injury, he has taken time away from the team to grieve for a lost family member.  Rightfully so, as it's only a football game that is one of many to be won, and while we would like a W, Sanders needs to be with close ones.  Hope he comes back strong.

Doug Legursky is going to miss his third game in a row due to a foot injury.  The surprise injury report is Daniel Sepulveda being listed as a questionable for a knee injury.  Hope it isn't serious.

We'll see how this all plays out and hope that the Steelers get some revenge against the Ravens on Sunday night.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three Days after the Steelers' Patriotic Win, Latest News

Wow, still have trouble getting over a big W for the Steelers.  They played great defense, man-to-man instead of just bunching up against Brady's team.  The Steelers' defense really played well, although they lost Lamarr Woodley before the end of the 3rd quarter.  Lamarr was having a field day, with two sacks on Brady and disrupting everything for the Pats' offense.  Sadly, he suffered a hamstring injury and it's uncertain if he'll play on Sunday night against the Ravens.  The Steelers' defense really did lose pressure after he went out of the game, but they held.  Keisel sealed it with a sack-fumble, which lead to a safety and a 25-17 Steelers win.  Granted, there are still things that should have prevented the Pats from winning. I know the pass rush was lacking after Lamarr went out, but the secondary, while doing well overall, could have done more in terms of coverage, but they did what they had to do in the end.

Now we have to wait and see if Lamarr will even suit up on Sunday night.  On the brighetr side, James Harrison, James Farrior, and Jason Worilds were cleared to practice this week but we don't know yet if they will play.  The linebacking corps is really decimated with injuries, so we will have to see how Tomlin's coaching staff will adjust to this situation.

Offensively, it was near perfection.  Ben was Brady, and he only threw one bad pick.  Ben had a couple good TD passes, one each to Mewelde Moore and Antonio Brown.  We didn't need Hines that game, but he'll definitely be there for the Ravens game.  Personally, I can't wait to see Hines looking to pick it up against the Ravens, but that's getting ahead of myself.  Right now, the Steelers offensive line is doing well enough to protect Ben, but now it's going to be against a tough Ravens D.  Let's see if the coaching staff will be able to continue the hot streak like they did against the Pats, although that team's defense isn't really dominating like the Ravens.  They passed a lot, which I wasn't a big fan of in terms of short-yardage situations, but they didn't let Brady take the field, which was important.  I just hope the running game can still be a factor, cause then that will really give teams pause to think about what to do.  It's a passing league now, but it would really help if the run game also punches in a couple TD's a game.  For now, let's enjoy it and hope that the coaches will be able to find ways to game plan against the Ravens defense.

Special teams was pretty good, although Suisham could have made another field goal to give a bit more breathing room but it wasn't really a gimme kick.  He did well enough and I just hope he does more against the Ravens.  Still need to protect the ball and have tight coverage, but for the previous game, no complaints.

Coaches Tomlin, Arians, and LeBeau all worked in synch.  Now we just have to see if the defense can adjust again, possibly without Harrison and Woodley being the main factors.  We'll have to see, but for now, let's enjoy the win over the Pats and anticipate a really tough showdown with a divisional foe.  The Steelers have gotten it together, and they will need to do more against the Ravens.  Let's hope the Steelers coaches will figure that out.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick Preview and My Big Mouth.

Ok, just found out that Hines Ward is out against the Patriots.  Dang, I really didn't mean it.  Seriously, I thought we could see a Steelers' win even without Hines, but it would be helpful to have another option.  Now, the young receiving corps better step it up big against the Patriots later today, but to do that, it's not just getting open and catching passes from Ben.  The Steelers' offensive line needs to protect Ben in order to let him succeed and keep drives alive.  In addition, the running game needs to get on track against the Pats' defense, even with a struggling Pats defense because when you have the running game shifted into high gear, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team in terms of time of possession and relieving said pressure on your team's quarterback.  Ben can run and extend plays, but he needs to find open receivers to stay alive and keep the ball out of Tom Brady's hands.  Albert Haynesworth, one of two big additions for the Pats in the offseason, hasn't been a big factor but with the way the run game has been for the Steelers lately, this is his chance to make an impact.  The Steelers' coaching staff needs to protect Ben otherwise it will be a long day for him.  Overall, the Steelers' offense needs to run on all cylinders and not turn the ball over, otherwise the Patriots will shred the Steelers again.

Defensively, again without James Harrison and just saw on CBS that James Farrior's out too.  Things have been okay defensively for the Steelers the past few weeks, but now they face a much better offense in the Pats.  The defensive front needs to not only put pressure on Brady, but also force him to make mistakes and sack him.  The Patriots have always been able to protect Brady well enough to let him make passes that lead to game-winning drives. His receiving corps is deadly, with Welker being the main factor.  Rob Gronkowski is also a major part of the offense as he's another option for Brady as his main tight end.  Chad Johnson is also going to be there, and while he hasn't been able to get on track this season, like Haynesworth, Chad will look to be a factor because he's played for years against the Steelers as a Bengal, and he'll see this as motivation to have a big day.  The Steelers defensive backfield needs to make sure they're all clicking like clockwork in order to stop the Pats, not letting the receivers get yards after the catch.  Ike needs to be careful, otherwise those penalties he got last week against the Cardinals will bite the Steelers in the end.  Troy Polamalu also needs to be an impact on defense, whether it's stopping Welker and the passing game or the run game.  Lamarr Woodley needs to step up his game big time and this is his shot to show that he isn't just feasting on less potent opposing offenses.  In short, the Steelers' defense has its chance to finally get over the hump, so to speak, against Belichick and Brady's Patriots, and use this as motivation to win another Super Bowl.

Special teams is also a factor, as Welker is dangerous in that area too.  The Steelers have been able to protect the ball and stop opposing teams' special teams, but they still need to keep it up against the Pats as field position will be crucial in this game.  We'll see how the Steelers respond today.

Overall, I do wish Hines was playing, really I do.  He has a chance to join an exclusive club, 12,000 career yards, but not today.  I know I said the Steelers could win without him and we don't need him today.  He can still be a factor later in the season, but it's best he doesn't play today to save him for later to prevent further injury.  Still, if he was healthy, he would be another key weapon for Ben's game.  Today, though, it's about the young receivers, Heath Miller, the running game, and the defense.  Ben needs to step up big game and show he's ready to lead this team again to a championship.  Hopefully it'll be much closer than last season's practical blowout in Pittsburgh, but I hope it's a Steelers win, 38-30.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Again the Late Recap but To the Point.

Alright, alright, I know.  Late recap again of the previous week's game.  So I was feeling really high and let real life settle in.  The game was nearly perfect.  Nearly, cause the running game for the Steelers was anemic against the Cardinals' defense.  Ben, though, picked up the slack with a bomb to Mike Wallace and a couple other TD passes to go with it.  Ben's really picked it up since opening day.  Antonio Brown had a sick one-handed grab that really showed the Steelers have something going.  Granted, it was against bad teams mostly, but he's done very well.  Tomlin and Arians have done better in terms of the passing game, with the exception of the Jags game I didn't get to see.  Still, the Steelers' offensive line have to do a better job against the Patriots tomorrow to allow Ben to do his thing.  Hines Ward's out I think tomorrow, since he's been listed as questionable but we won't miss him cause his presence is always felt.  He's Myron Cope to the players as Cope was to the general citizens of Steeler Nation.  Still, it'd be nice to see him play tomorrow cause he's really helped the young receivers step up, as we've seen lately with them.  Hines is really important in the passing game, and I hope he'll still be important after his playing days are done.

Defensively, wow.  What can I say?? It seems a totally different team even without James Harrison.  Lamarr Woodley, man, what a beast he's been lately.  A safety he got after forcing Kevin Kolb to have an intentional grounding, to go along with sacks.  The defensive line has done well in terms of putting pressure on the opposing quarterback, but the run defense still concerns me.  They haven't really faced powerful runners in a while and I hope when they face an even competent running team, that they'll be able to respond well.  Ike Taylor has to be careful cause he went overboard in his physicality.  Nothing wrong with it, just he needs to be careful in terms of getting penalized and he needs to do his job as a cornerback without getting flagged.  As for the rest, eh.  They did well but we'll see how they respond to the Patriots' passing game.

Special teams was alright, just keep the ball safe and not let anyone attempt to block a kick, a punt, or force a turnover of any kind.

Overall, nice game. Now we need to see how they do tomorrow against the Patriots.  Hopefully, they can keep it up and stop the Pats.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Late Recap Again/Preview

Sorry guys, but I didn't recap cause of real life and the fact I didn't get to see the game. Am I happy they won?  Yes and no. Why? They did get the W, but they actually should have lost to the Jaguars after they let them come back from being down 17-0.  Sure, the Steelers' run game got back on track again, with Rashard Mendenhall being a 100-yd game back again after a while, but the offense from what I saw/read just sputtered.  The defense did do well, but actually could have done more in terms of impact.  The entire team cannot expect to just let teams come back and still hope to hold on for a win.  The Steelers were up by almost twenty points at halftime, and nearly lost.  I can only hope the Steelers team gets it together against the Cardinals today.  The offense needs to stop going for the deep throw all the time, and actually manage the game.  Yes, stay aggressive but let's not go overboard.

Speaking of the Cardinals, it's a rematch between two Super Bowl contenders from a couple years ago.  The Steelers' D needs to come out and finish strong to stop the deadly Larry Fitzgerald.  Yeah, Kevin Kolb's essentially a rookie since he got traded from the Eagles because this is his first year being named as the starter from day one.  He's done alright, all things considered, since the Cardinals went through the QB carousel all of last season.  He's been stable, and the Eagles did draft him some years back thinking he was a star in the making.  Maybe, but until then, the Steelers defense have to be strong and not let him be successful with the ball, whenever they face him.  The Steelers may be doing better statistically in the passing game, but the run defense still needs some work and they need to step it up again with Casey Hampton out and James Harrison not yet coming back, whereas Aaron Smith is again not finishing the season due to injury.  Things are okay, at least, cause Troy Polamalu will start despite having a concussion, as medical doctors cleared him and it doesn't appear too serious.  Hopefully Troy can make an impact again, and maybe the defense overall can force some turnovers finally.  We shall see.

On offense, as mentioned, there has to be less tendency to throw the deep ball.  Mike Wallace can catch in whatever way, long, short, medium.  If he's not open, then don't throw it to him.  Find the open receiver, even a running back.  Don't just hold the ball long and hope for a big play.  Ben needs to stay alive and keep the ball out of the opposing team's hands.  Stay upright and find the open receiver or throw the ball away.  The O-line is again banged up with Doug Legursky being injured but on the team section I just saw on Y! Sports, he's not out so that's a good sign.  The offensive line needs to protect Ben and open running lanes.  Speaking of Ben, he just said in an article from the Steelers' official website that he wants the no-huddle being used more often.  That should be at least attempted, if not outright used.  Time to throw in some wrinkles to keep opposing defenses guessing.  Keep the ball longer and win the time of possession battle.  Don't let the other team get a chance. The offense needs to start clicking and beat down teams.

Special teams, again field position and protecting the punter and kicker.  Let's see something good out of the team's special teams unit.

Hopefully the Steelers win again, but it'll be close.  Steelers win 26-17.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Late, late recap from last week. Very short preview today.

Sorry for the lateness, guys.  Just happy that the Steelers actually protected Ben, and having Max Starks actually made a difference. No doubt we're hoping for the same today against the Jaguars.  Run game was good, but can Mendenhall get back on track? Don't know, don't care.  Just win, guys, and you do it by protecting Ben and opening running lanes.  Redman and Dwyer both looked good, so hopefully Mendenhall will get the same.  Regardless of the records, the Jags will look to go after Ben and stop the running game.  They'll also look to stop the passing game, so hopefully Ben and the offense will still function well.  We saw what they could do when the offense goes running in a balanced, efficient manner.  Hopefully it'll be the same today.

Steelers' defense wasn't bad.  Ok, things were out of hand for the Titans, and Chris Johnson wasn't able to run, but the defense did fine in the passing game, and the front did fine even without James Harrison.  Hopefully the defense can still do well against Maurice Jones-Drew, he's a freak of nature running back.  The Steelers D needs to stop him, and prevent Blaine Gabbert from looking like a superstar by pressuring him and forcing him to make mistakes.  The defense was able to do well against the Titans last week, and a bit of luck was also good for the team too.  Let's hope the Steelers D will get on track again for the second straight week.

Special teams needs to wake up.  Seriously, don't let the opposing team's guys break through and block field goal kicks and punt attempts, otherwise there won't be a penalty that will call back those touchdowns as we saw the past two weeks.  And don't let the opposing team recover onside kicks.  Just lucky the Steelers were able to pull away, so the Steelers' special teams needs to be on its best behavior game wise and make the plays needed to win.

All in all, better last week.  Hope for the same today.  Beat the Jags, Steelers.  Let's get on track.  It'll be close, since these two teams always play close.  I believe it'll be close again, and it'll be a Steelers' win 21-13.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Steelers-Texans Recap: Bad and Ugly. Nothing Good.

Oi vey!  Maybe I shouldn't put up previews on game day since the Steelers actually won their games when I previewed at least the day before the game.  It's probably because I put up the preview on the day of the Steelers game against the Texans.

Damn is all I can say with disgust.  The O-line was obviously a mess as we saw Ben get sacked 5 times, lose the ball during one of those sacks (though that was wiped out by a Texans penalty), Ben running for his life pretty much all game and the running game is again nonexistent.  Worse, Ben has a sprained foot when I watched ESPN, but that's actually better than a broken foot when this was first reported.  Ben might have had a broken one and it would've been significant, but the MRI results yesterday was negative so it's good news.  Rashard Mendenhall is also dealing with an injury but maybe those two should sit this one out, even though they are competitors.  I'm just worried for the rest of their seasons, even their careers further down the line.  That O-line is just a mess, and Tomlin needs to figure out how to make this work.  Hindsight is 20/20, and the organization is now wishing they at least kept Flozell Adams or signed another lineman before the season started.  Also, what is Bruce Arians doing not running the ball even once on their next to last drive?  All three were passes, and nothing.  Ben shouldn't have to keep running for his life.  It's like when I read a column from Y! Sports, Ben should just let his teammates make plays.  Throw the ball but not really long.  Make short and middle throws, or just run when there's pressure bearing down on him.  Those things will really help Ben survive.  Overall, we have to see if Tomlin can get the offense going against the Titans, cause that team is definitely improving and the O-line is just ripe for the Titans' pickings.

Speaking of the Titans, Chris Johnson is looking to have the same kind of day Arian Foster had this past Sunday.  The Steelesr let a running back have at least 100 yards rushing for the second time in four games.  Ray Rice was the other in the first game of the season.  The Steelers defensive line is just awful right now, with only one turnover I can recall forced by that line and not a whole lot of sacks.  This is concerning.  Yeah, they're old and deteriorating in skills, but this is a veteran unit that should know how to make plays even with those factors.  Lamarr Woodley isn't even a factor.  The linebacking corps isn't any better, actually the defensive backfield isn't all that great.  Troy hasn't made a pick or sack yet, and there moments where he could have made a big play but didn't, with Foster's big second-half TD run being the most obvious.  The odd thing is that the passing defense is statistically better while the run defense is worse.  At least we saw promise from Keenan Lewis.  I actually can't see any positives from either side of the ball.  The defense didn't get shredded any further because of Andre Johnson's freakish injury, which is just odd of how it happened but it really kept him out of the game.  Speaking of injury, Aaron Smith is also dealing with a foot problem for the Steelers, and now we better hope the young guys step up.  The Steelers defense needs to get motivated, or at least better prepared because that usually reliable unit isn't getting it done so far this season.  Tomlin and LeBeau better figure out what to do with this unit, or it will be a longer season.

Special teams....geez, how lucky is it that the Texans got themselves a lot of penalties that kept the Steelers in the game?  I still don't get how the Steelers couldn't keep the Texans from even reaching the ball.  That blocked field goal shouldn't have even happened.  A lot of things have gone wrong for the Steelers in that game, and the coaching staff needs to keep them motivated.  More importantly, health is vital and Ben, even when injured, needs to be the leader since he is the face of the franchise.  The same can be said for Troy, or even Harrison and Woodley.  Those guys need to lead this team, and the Steelers need to pull it together before things get even more out of hand.

I still believe in this team, but it's getting harder.  It's one game at a time now, and it starts with the Titans.  Let's hope the Steelers get back on track this upcoming Sunday.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Steelers v. Texans: Key Matchup

Another AFC South team the Steelers face, and this one is more dangerous than the Colts.  Simply because they actually have their starting QB healthy, and Matt Schaub isn't a slouch at all.  Sure he's not Brady or Peyton, but he's been statistically successful and he's got plenty of weapons in man beast receiver Andre Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels, along with Arian Foster who is gimpy but still dangerous as running back, along with Ben Tate who has carried the load when Foster was out.  The Texans offense is dangerous, and the Steelers need to not only blitz the QB, but also be able to cover the Texans' receiving corps and stop the run.  Last week, the Colts were able to run the ball on the Steelers D-line, and there were moments where the Colts actually would have won the game with wide open receivers, just with QB Curtis Painter not getting a lot of reps.  Hopefully Troy shows up again, and the Steelers linebackers and defensive line put pressure and stuff the Texans' running game, especially with Brett Keisel out.  As usual, I'm worried about the Steelers defensive backfield, so let's hope they step up a lot.

On offense, oy!  The offensive line got blasted last week in Indy, and injuries again force an O-line shuffle.  Doug Legursky and Johnathan Scott are out.  Trai Essex at left tackle and Ramon Foster at right guard.  Maurkice Pouncey, ouch, he's questionable but I think he should play.  If not, oh boy.  The O-line needs to be able to give Ben time to throw the ball as he got hammered again last week, not to mention the running game had been practically nonexistent last week.  Let's hope the Steelers get that going and fast.  Also, Ben shouldn't have to keep looking downfield, but Bruce Arians' playcalling as offensive coordinator has been questionable.  Play-action's great, but let's not keep throwing downfield as we saw against the Colts last week, short to medium throws helped a lot to put the Steelers in position to win the game, and that put the pressure off Ben.  Some more of those throws will help set up not only the deep game but also the running game.  In any case, let's hope the Steelers offense can finally click on all cylinders and let it set the momentum for the rest of the season.

Special teams, eh, what else but stop the Texans from getting even decent field position and the Steelers put themselves in good field position.  Shawn Suisham kicked the game-winning field goal but he better make all of his kicks, otherwise he'll start to feel the heat from Pittsburgh.  All in all, get a well-rounded game going, guys.

I'm always going Steelers, but it'll be close again, with the Steelers winning 24-16.  I just hope to not have anymore heart attacks this week, but the Steelers aren't going to blow away teams unless they play near perfect football.  Let's hope the Steelers start moving today.

Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!

Recap: The Finale. BUCS LOSE.

Pirates 3, Brewers 7
Yes, this recap is late, sorry about that. Not a great way to end the season, but against a playoff team, not getting swept might be considered a victory. As much as I hate to say it, the Brewers look like a very complete team and have a good chance to go all the way this year. I think Phillies-Brewers for the NLCS should be an interesting matchup, although I'll still root for the DBacks, Rays, and Tigers to make it to the Fall Classic.

As for this game, Neil Walker was the only real offense of note, as he went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles. Derrek Lee also had a double, possibly his last hit in a Pirates uniform. Jeff Locke took the loss after giving up 5 ER in 4.0 innings. He gave up 3 home runs in the process. Sorry kid, but you're not quite ready to stick in the majors just yet. Maybe in a couple more years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 162: Brewers


The last game of the season, so make it a good one. No matter what, the Bucs cannot finish in last place this year, but they can clinch 4th place outright with a win or a Cubs loss. There will be a tie for 4th otherwise.

Starting Pitchers
Jeff Locke (0-2, 4.97 ERA)
Zach Greinke (15-6, 3.86 ERA)



Let's Go Bucs.

Recap: Status Quo. BUCS LOSE.

Pirates 4, Brewers 6

This was the kind of game I pretty much expected to happen after the dramatic win on Monday night, but I also can't say that it sucked any less by knowing it. Prince Fatass made the pitching staff his bitch all night. Can't wait until he's irrelevant to the Bucs on some AL team. As for the Pirates' offense, Neil Walker led the way with 2 doubles; Alex Presley also went 2 for 4. Ross Ohlendorf, it's been real, but have fun on some other team like the Royals.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 161: Brewers

The Pirates will try for the series win in Milwaukee for the first time in a long time. They will also be using their 8th (9th?) catcher of the season to do it, Matt Pagnozzi.

Starting Pitchers
Ross Ohlendorf (1-3, 8.29 ERA)
Randy Wolf (13-10, 3.61 ERA)


Let's Go Bucs.

Recap: Lengthy Late First. BUCS WIN.

Pirates 9, Brewers 8
I didn't get a chance to watch the end of this game as it ran rather long, but what I did see was the Buccos answering back every time the Brewers tried to mount a comeback and as a result they picked up their first win in the House of Horrors for the season. Alex Presley was the MVP, going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI, a double, and a solo home run. Xavier Paul also had a triple. Charlie Morton's stuff wasn't exactly Electric, but the offense carried the team in this one and he ended up with a no decision. Daniel McCutchen got the Win, while Joel Hanrahan picked up his 40th save of the year.

Two Days After: Steelers-Colts Recap

Oh man! That's all I have to say to describe the game.

It started ok, but maybe the Steelers got too cute.  The deep pass from Ben to Mike got a score, but since then it went downhill.  Ben got sacked twice and fumbled the ball because of Freeney and Mathis.  That got the Colts into the game, and the defense just harassed Ben all game long.  The O-line just got beaten badly, and at least three times I could see the O-line losing guys to injuries, and one of them came back into the game.  This is very concerning, as the commentators even mentioned that they only had 5-7 linemen for the game.  This is bad, and it's almost to the point where they should've kept Flozell Adams. Hopefully the Steelers can remedy the situation, at least to keep the O-line together but that's been the problem, consistency.  Speaking of consistency, the running game was nonexistent.  Two out of the first three weeks of the season, the run game has been invisible.  The Colts had more rushing yards, by a wide margin I'm sure.  Thankfully Ben led a strong final drive to lead to a game-winning field goal, but that can't be the modus operandi for the Steelers' season.  Bruce Arians better make changes as the offensive coordinator, cause if he doesn't and he expects to make it far like he did before with the same methods, then he better have a good press conference prepared.  Tomlin has to be upset with the way the offense went, and he has to be concerned with the Texans up next.

The defense, on the other hand, did pretty well.  No hating for the secondary, although Ike got lucky on one play when Curtis Painter came in as the Colts QB and overthrew Reggie Wayne.  Troy had an impact, as he was a factor for the Colts to be worried about, as he made good tackles, nearly had a couple picks, and made a bad decision near the end of the game when Painter handed the ball off to Addai.  I admit, I thought he was after the running back, but it could've been play-action for I knew, and Troy has always been an incredible bad-ass when he's taking in plays.  Troy was upset, but football's about making quick decisions when guys are fighting to get open and make plays.  Troy I'm sure will be more prepared for the next game, for if he sees what looks like a hand-off against the Texans, he'll go with what the play looks like to him.  Troy did recover a fumble that James Harrison forced on Painter, and Troy took it to the house.  Hopefully Troy can do that again, and I know he'll make sack and stop the plays that will give the opposing team positive gains.  Speaking of plays, where was Harrison and Woodley?? Last week, they had something going, but they were outplayed by Freeney and Mathis.  I hope for Woodley the money isn't on his mind after his new contract was signed, but he and Harrison didn't make much of an impact until near the end with Harrison's forenamed sack/fumble.  They need to get it on against the Texans, for the secondary actually did ok and the safeties made some good plays too.  The defensive line is a concern since the Colts were able to run the ball and get the ball off.  Hopefully Dick Lebeau is examining the game tape and he'll make the necessary adjustments against the Texans.

Special teams, Antonio Brown is the new Santonio Holmes, without the showboating and problems.  Waiting for him to take one to the house, but it'll be fine for now with his mostly good returns.  Suisham, though, has to be glad that that missed field goal from about 30-yards didn't haunt him and he made a longer one to win the game, but he has to be concerned if there are anymore misses like that, especially at critical moments, he'll be out like Jeff Reed.  Of course, it's not like they have another kicker they could find, but Suisham better be not thinking he can do that again.  Tough, I know, but he better make those kicks.  Speaking of kicks, I hope he can actually prevent kickoff returns, but then again that might actually hurt the coverage teams more since they need to prevent those returns.  Punts and kickoffs have been doing decently on coverage, but I hope they can win the field position battles for the Steelers.

This Sunday at 1PM, it's the Steelers vs. Texans.  The Texans have a powerful offense, just not the defense cause they still have problems with handling opposing teams like the Saints, but the Texans have been improving on that side of the ball, and they have Johnathan Joseph leading their corners.  Speaking of leading, Mario Williams is still a factor for the Texans as he's an outside linebacker with Ryans and Cushing there.  The D-line isn't terrible, but I'm more concerned of how the Steelers O-line will work.  Let's hope the Steelers are looking at the game tape and are game planning to make adjustments to stop the Texans.  More thorough review will be later in the week.

Let's Go Steelers!

Monday, September 26, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 159: Brewers

The Pirates have one last chance to take down the Brewers in their own field before the season is over. It's fitting that this last series is in the House of Horrors, as the Pirates season has been a house of horrors since the 19-inning game. End on a good note with some #ElectricStuff.

Starting Pitchers

Charlie Morton (10-10, 3.67)
Sean Marcum (13-7, 3.31)

Recap: Almost Over. BUCS LOSE.

Reds 5, Pirates 4
Once again the Pirates failed to record a sweep, and once again I can't say I'm too surprised as it hasn't happened much at all this year. Chase d'Arnaud was the clear mvp for the Bucs, as he went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and a triple, but the Pirates just couldn't solve Dontrelle Willis, who ended up picking up the Win. Neil Walker had the only other XBH, a double.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 158: Reds


opponent

Cincinnati Reds

September 23, 2011, 7:05 PM

ballpark

PNC Park

TV: ROOT Sports
Stream:
Radio: 104.7 FM
Radio Stream:
Here



Go for the sweep.

4 games left...


Weather Forecast

Mostly Cloudy, 75°, Precip: 10%; Wind blowing in 8 mph from Right Center

Pitching Matchup

Dontrelle Willis (0-6, 5.04 ERA) vs. James McDonald (9-9, 4.28 ERA)

Lineups


Pirates
  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Josh Harrison, 3B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Derrek Lee, 1B
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Ryan Ludwick, RF
  7. Chase d'Arnaud, SS
  8. Michael McKenry, C
  9. James McDonald, P
opponent
  1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  2. Dave Sappelt, LF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Jay Bruce, RF
  5. Chris Heisey, CF
  6. Juan Francisco, 3B
  7. Devin Mesoraco, C
  8. Paul Janish, SS
  9. Dontrelle Willis, P



gameday character

Let's Go Bucs.

Recap: The Joker. BUCS WIN.

<p><b>Reds 3, Pirates 4</b><br>
Josh Harrison was a home run short of the cycle (4 for 5) and Neil Walker went 3 for 4 with a double as the Pirates held on to beat the Reds and earned the Win for Brad Lincoln. The runs for the most part were as a result of sacrifice flies, which is fine, but Jason Jaramillo hit what turned out to be the game-winning single in the 3rd to score Neil Walker. The Pirates survived several Reds rally attempts to hold onto the victory. Jason Grilli recorded the save due to Joel Hanrahan having the night off. The Bucs will look for the sweep in the last day game of the season.</p>

Steelers vs. Colts

Alrighty, week 3 of the NFL season.  It's the Steelers who have their guys pretty much, against a Colts team totally different without Peyton Manning.  The interesting thing is that Kerry Collins, as a starter, is 5-1 against the Steelers and has thrown more TD's than picks.  Last year, though, was different as he came in for the Titans after then-starting QB Vince Young got knocked out of the game.  The Steelers, of course, won that game.  This time, the Steelers are in the Colts' house in Indianapolis, the site for Super Bowl XLIV,  a place the Steelers are hoping to get to and win it all.


The Steelers' offense will face problems as usual.  Offensive line needs to protect Ben, and make sure he doesn't get any kind of injury.  The good news is that he still has receiving corps and the run game.  Bad news: he's got rookie right tackle Marcus Gilbert starting another game.  Ok, last week wasn't to bad, but who the heck has Dwight Freeney on their team?  Oh yeah, the Colts.  And there's still Robert Mathis, a guy who I don't pay a whole of attention to cause of Freeney, but is definitely an important defensive line player.  It's Freeney, though, who's the main defensive player for the Colts.  He's basically James Harrison for them.  Whether it's Freeney Gilbert's assigned to block, the Steelers' coaches better have a gameplan to stop the Colts' pass rush.  The Colts haven't been known to be a run stopping D, but the NFL is now more of a passing league.  Still, it couldn't hurt to use the run game against the Colts' run D, as it could soften up the Colts defense and/or make them cautious of the run game, making the passing game open up for the Steelers.  Or it could be done in reverse, where the run game is opened up due to the passing game.  Either way, Ben needs to have a better outing this time against the Colts.  Actually, according to Y! Sports, there's a lot of injury concerns heading into this game, and Freeney and Mathis are injured, though I'm sure they'll play.

A couple years ago in Pittsburgh, Ben threw some bad throws that were picked off and the team overall had trouble against the Colts.  Overall, Ben hasn't been great in the regular season against the Colts from what I can remember, other than the playoff win against the Colts in Indy.  Still, the offense needs to click, as they still need to open up the run game and protect Ben, who in turn needs to take good care of the ball and find his receivers.  The Steelers have to do what the Browns did last week, not necessarily the exact same, but close enough that the Steelers can put this game away against the Colts.

For the defense, the Steelers' pass D is still the first thing I'm worried about.  Yeah, Peyton isn't playing, but Collins has played against the Steelers before.  The Colts still have their receiving corps, including go-to receiver Reggie Wayne.  The Colts' offense, though, has suffered as seen with their 0-2 record.  Granted, they got blown out in week 1, but could've actually won last week against the Brownies.  They just ran into a team that has actual room for improvement, and Peyton Hillis is a running back beast.  This was due in part to the Colts offense just being stagnant for the most part, and Collins is actually listed on the list of injuries.  Who knows how this will affect the Colts offense, but there's no doubt that Peyton's injury has thrown the Colts for a loop.  In any case, regardless of who's the QB, the Steelers' secondary needs to step it up cause it isn't Seattle they're facing.  The Colts receiving corps is overall miles ahead of the Steelers', with match up nightmares abound for the Steelers' defensive backfield.  They need to be able to cover their guys well enough to prevent catches and TD's.  Also, Troy better get back into the thick of things, as he all but disappeared in week 1 against the Ravens and had a bit more presence last week against the Seahawks.  Still, the Steelers pass D needs to step it up and not let the Colts get into the game.

The Steelers also need to stop the Colts' running game, as that could help the Colts' passing game if they could get their running game going.  The Steelers aging D-line needs to step into the fountain of youth again, maybe even give more playing time or starting jobs to the younger guys like Ziggy Hood.  In any case, they need to pressure the QB, force turnovers, and stop the Colts' run game.  The defense, overall, needs to bring their A-game and keep building momentum if they want to win it all.

Special teams, eh, what else can I say?  That has also been a weak point, but there have been some bright spots.  Still would like to keep field position an advantage for us and the kicking game needs to be successful again when given the chance.  If Antonio Brown can get free with some blocks on punts and kickoffs, we'll be good.  The Steelers' special teams coverage also better keep the Colts deep within their own territory so that the Steelers can get good field position for their offense.

In the end, it's the coaches who have to get their guys prepared.  Both Mike Tomlin and Jim Caldwell have gone to Super Bowls in some capacity, and they know how to handle their players.  We just have to see how these two coaches do it.  Both are dealing with different issues of their own, and Caldwell's got the harder job with Peyton out.  Tomlin doesn't have that but he's got to keep his guys motivated after they reached the Super Bowl last year and they're still reeling mad from that week 1 beat down, that I'm sure of.  I still hope the Steelers win, but the Steelers are facing a desperate team in the Colts, who might be near out of the playoffs should they keep losing without Peyton at QB.

Overall, I say Steelers 28-20.  I still keep the scores close because even the best teams lose to teams they're either supposed to beat or should be able to win against.  The Colts are still a talented team, just without their franchise QB, but nothing's more dangerous than a wounded animal.  The Steelers will look to add another W to their record, and I hope I'm not worryingly overreacting with the Steelers.

HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 157: Reds


opponent

Cincinnati Reds

September 24, 2011, 7:05 PM

ballpark

PNC Park

TV: ROOT Sports
Stream: Check Here
Radio: 104.7 FM
Radio Stream: Here



Win the series for Steve Miller.

5 games left...


Weather Forecast

Partly Cloudy, 68°, Precip: 10%; Wind blowing out 5 mph to Center

Pitching Matchup

Travis Wood (6-5, 4.62 ERA) vs. Brad Lincoln (1-3, 4.85 ERA)

Lineups


Pirates
  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Josh Harrison, 3B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Derrek Lee, 1B
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Ryan Ludwick, RF
  7. Jason Jaramillo, C
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Brad Lincoln, P
opponent
  1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  2. Drew Stubbs, CF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Chris Heisey, LF
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Devon Mesoraco, C
  7. Juan Francisco, 3B
  8. Edgar Renteria, SS
  9. Travis Wood, P



gameday character

Let's Go Bucs.

Recap: Walk-off 'Wick. BUCS WIN.

Reds 3, Pirates 4
An unfortunate series of events in the top of the 9th led to the bases loaded for Joel Hanrahan, and he hit Todd Frazier to bring home the tying run. The next batter flied out to center, but the damage had been done and Hammertime failed to record save #40, not to mention losing the win for Jeff Locke. Fortunately, though, all was not lost as in the bottom of the inning, backup-backup catcher Jason Jaramillo doubled with one out and then Ryan Ludwick doubled to deep center to score the walkoff run. In other positive news, Cutch had a double and a triple, and Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer. The Bucs will look for the series win against the Reds tonight.

Late, Late Recap of Seahawks v. Steelers

Seahawks    0
Steelers      24


Apologies for the late review.  Been lazy cause of job searching, thinking of school, yada yada.  Hope to be better in reviews/recaps.  Plus, I needed some cool down time after watching any Steelers game, especially the win against the Seahawks.

What can I say?  A lot better performance.  Ben still got sacked/hurried a few times, so O-line still needs working but at least there haven't been false starts.  Scary moment with Ben getting hit below the knees, twice actually.  The first there was a flag but the guy didn't have control, the second should've been a flag.  Nice throwing from Ben and the receivers stepped up.  Loving Emmanuel Sanders.  Antonio Brown, eh, he's done alright but his special teams is a contribution.  Hope to see him make steps to be the player we've seen in the preseason and the year before.  Running game was good.

Defense, man, better effort.  Guess the old, aging line still has something to prove.  Secondary still is suspect, but it wasn't like they would've been killed by Tavaris Jackson, but Sidney Rice being out for that game, that was a factor.  Rice would've been a huge factor for this team and I don't know how the defensive backfield would've turned out (probably bad).  Still, Troy has made some near-big plays, but I think he's still affected by that injury from last year.  Defensive line did a lot better, but let's see them make improvements overall for future games.  Special teams did fine, doing what they had to do.

Overall, much better game.  Later today hopefully, a review of tomorrow night's Steelers-Colts game.

HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

PIRATES GAMEDAY 156: Reds


opponent

Cincinnati Reds

September 23, 2011, 7:05 PM

ballpark

PNC Park

TV: ROOT Sports
Stream: Check Here
Radio: 104.7 FM
Radio Stream: Here



The last homestand of the season starts tonight. Would love to see the Bucs finish this season on somewhat of a positive note.

6 games left...


Weather Forecast

Cloudy, 62°, Precip: 15%; Wind blowing out 7 mph to Left

Pitching Matchup

Edinson Volquez (5-6, 5.87 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (0-2, 6.75 ERA)

Lineups


Pirates
  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Derrek Lee, 1B
  5. Ryan Doumit, C
  6. Garrett Jones, RF
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Jeff Locke, P
opponent
  1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  2. Drew Stubbs, CF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Jay Bruce, RF
  5. Todd Frazier, 3B
  6. Dave Sappelt, LF
  7. Ramon Hernandez, C
  8. Paul Janish, SS
  9. Edinson Volquez, P



gameday character

Let's Go Bucs.

Recap: Coming Up Short. BUCS LOSE.


team-spacer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 inning-spacer R H E LOB
Pirates 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 score-spacer 5 11 0 7
Diamonbacks 3 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 X score-spacer 8 11 0 5

It's always bad when your starting pitcher leaves in the 3rd inning, but especially so when the score is 8-1 after 3. Still, the Pirates were able to chip away at the lead until finally the score was 8-5 with 2 on and 2 out for Ryan Doumit in the 8th. Unfortunately, he hit a grounder to short and that was that. The Bucs went 1-2-3 in the 9th. on the positive side, Derrek Lee went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a solo homer. Ryan Ludwick also homered.