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  1. #1
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    Defense
    First off, Bartell got burned pretty badly on several occasions. Chavous was almost as bad in run support as he was in coverage, and Wade looked more like a track star than a corner (running with the receiver but not even attempting to find the ball). Chavous had 12 tackles, but it seems to me that was mostly because they were throwing to his man all night. On one play Wade straight up tackled the receiver before the ball ever got there, got flagged, and the receiver made the catch anyway! That's pitiful. The Steelers secondary made ours look even worse as they frequently got their hands in there to try to break up those passes. It was hard to believe we could give up that many plays on 2nd or 3rd and long. In the first quarter, the defense produced numerous plays for loss of yardage and then would give up a huge play on like 3rd and 18. The only good news in the secondary is that I'm not sure I saw them throw to Brown's side once all night.

    The pass rush on the other hand looked about as good as we've seen all year. Glover only got 2 sacks, but he got into the backfield a lot more than that. I was watching the defensive alignment throughout the game, and I have to admit Haslett throws a whole lot of different looks out there. Maybe I was seeing things, but I'm pretty sure I saw us line up in a quarter defense and then blitz defensive backs from both sides. I used to love doing that in Madden, but I sure didn't expect to see the Rams do it. It worked, though. We'd line up with 3 down linemen, 4 down linemen, 7 guys at the line of scrimmage...you name it. Of course, all that mad blitzing is part of the reason we gave up such ridiculous gains. Even when Big Ben was getting no time in the pocket, he could pick apart our secondary.

    As far as the linebackers go, Chillar had several really good plays early in the game, including a sack. I remember noticing another particularly good hit later in the game by Draft. Each of the 'backers had 5 tackles, but I have to think they're partly responsible for the runs we gave up to the outside. Yes, the safeties are blame for that, too, as Davenport broke way too many tackles. One play in particular stuck out in my mind where two Rams defenders hit him simultaneously at the line of scrimmage, and he broke past both of them for another good run.

    Offense
    Finally some good news. We moved the ball very well throughout most of the game. The offensive line held up surprisingly well against a supposedly intimidating Steelers defense. Jackson ran with authority throughout the first half and still picked up decent gains into the second. I would note, however, that whichever back was lining up in the shotgun at the end of the game was blocking horribly. Jackson was on the sideline at that point, and the guy was white, so it had to be Owens, Leonard, or possibly Klopfenstein. Whoever it was barely put a hand on the guys he was supposed to be blocking. I'm going to guess it was Owens.

    Bruce had two dropped passes that I thought he'd have caught in his prime (and how does age affect catching ability anyway?), but he still had a big night. Bennett had a nice TD catch, but the interception towards the end of the game was a real stinker. For some reason or another, Bennett and Bruce were in the same area of the field, and predictably there were about 3 Steelers with them. I'm not really sure if it was just a poorly designed play or someone ran the wrong route, and I really don't know why Bulger threw to that side of the field under those circumstances. I'd have liked to have heard the exchange afterwords between Holt and Linehan. I can't help but think it went something like this...
    Linehan: "Oops. Game over. Might as well pull Bulger so he doesn't take any more hits."
    Holt: "So what? We're just going to give up?"

    Speaking of Bulger, he looked good out there. His passes looked sharp and decisive, and he had a real tight spiral on the ball. He usually got time to throw, but even when he didn't, he managed to escape from at least one near sack. You don't see him make plays like that very often, but it was good to see. Even the interception at the end of the first half was a very well thrown ball. If Looker had better position against the corner on that play, the Hail Mary really might have been a touchdown.


    Special Teams
    Well, how about that Derek Stanley. He had two really nice returns in the first half: a 43 yard return out to the STL 41 and a 49 yard return to the 50 yard line . That makes me happy. Having the worst coverage teams in the NFL does not make me happy at all.

    Parting Words
    Overall, it was a fun game to watch because the offense came to play, but that defensive performance was inexcusable. Bartell worries me more than he did before that game. Chavous is not a strong safety. He's a free safety who has lost enough of his speed to be a problem. We need to try to find a safety who is better in run support this off-season, but if Haslett is going to blitz like this, we're really going to need someone who is pretty good in coverage, too.


  2. #2
    RamsInfiniti's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    Great work! Thanks for the thoughts ...

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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    I think if we get everyone back from injury ok, get a decent defensive end and safety in the off season and if the young DBs can develop a little more then they'll have a solid defense. It's a lot of ifs but it's the only thing keeping me going right now.

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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    * Bulger made some fine throws, no doubt. However, I was very disappointed with that 12+ yard sack he took when it seemed he could have gotten rid of the ball to the sideline. ...Also, I saw him miss Bruce a couple of times but not sure if this was simply due to an incorrect route.

    * Liked seeing McMichael catch a couple of passes, one being an impressive grab for a 1st down.

    * Got sick watching Steelers' Davenport time and time again rush for 5, 8, or even more than 10 yards at a time against our D.

    * Jax was his usual self and that is simply great to have.

    * OL almost did a fine job! What happened with the fumble from center though? Again...

    * Agree on Stanley. ST revelation?

    * Good 'ol Glover did well.

    * Our secondary was burned.

    * Interesting FG % by Wilkie on 48-52 yarders.

    * LB's made great plays at times but seemed to be blocked out easily of the way at other times for large running gains by Pittsburgh even after Parker left the game injured.


    Yes, Bruce dropped one or two passes (in part because the ball was not accurately thrown) but I see him returning next year as still being productive. Glad to know Marshall Faulk also thinks his buddy -- 'a man of character' I believe he called him --- will return. Love two of his keen catches, the TD and the other, a pass completion after review. Both outstanding, just beautiful.

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    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    Quote Originally Posted by RealRam View Post
    Yes, Bruce dropped one or two passes (in part because the ball was not accurately thrown) but I see him returning next year as still being productive. Glad to know Marshall Faulk also thinks his buddy -- 'a man of character' I believe he called him --- will return. Love two of his keen catches, the TD and the other, a pass completion after review. Both outstanding, just beautiful.
    I agree that Bruce had some beautiful catches, and it was nice to hear Faulk praise him. According to the announcers during the pre-game show, though, Bruce's cap figure for next year will be $5 million including a $2 million roster bonus the team could avoid by cutting him. I'd like to see him back, but realistically I could see them cutting him and then trying to negotiate re-signing him again like they did a couple years back.

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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    Defense: Actually, aside from the few sacks, I thought they played rather poorly. The Steelers made every drive look like a walk in the park.

    Team: You could almost feel the frustration from Torry and Jackson. Play calling, again, was horrendous.

    "Coaching": Where were the blitzes in the second half? How about keeping an eye out for trick plays? Linehan joking on the sidelines. Pathetic.

    I believe the top people in the organization were there last night. If they saw what I saw, and if they have any intelligence (which I'm afraid they don't have) Linehan wouldn't have made it to the locker room.

    I was giving Linehan a chance earlier in the season, but now I am a proud supporter of the SLOP.
    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on the Steelers Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    According to the announcers during the pre-game show ... Bruce's cap figure for next year will be $5 million including a $2 million roster bonus the team could avoid by cutting him. I'd like to see him back, but realistically I could see them cutting him and then trying to negotiate re-signing him again like they did a couple years back.
    Yes, quite likely. Or, hopefully...

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