November Rain: Steelers Lose

20
24

Different Manning, similar result. If you’re looking to place the blame on someone for this game, look no further than this douchebag:

 

Pregame

Run the Ball showed up for this game, so it was a good time for all of us in section 107.


Country “Superstar” Keith Anderson (who?) sang the national anthem. It was okay.
He’s no Scott Blasey.

The Defense gets the honors of the introductions. Solid picture of Potsie here.

The Steelers won the toss and elected to receive. I thought they should have deferred, but I guess the thought was that they didn’t want to fall behind early.

First Quarter

With Moore in the starting lineup, Gary Russell drew the straw with “Kick returner” written on it. He picks up a facemask penalty on his first return to set the Steelers up in good position. Just like the Divisional game in 2005, the Steelers come out throwing. And what do you know, they have success. Ward and Holmes get quick grabs, setting up a 3rd and 1 that Mewelde converts to get the ball across the 50. The Steelers take the opportunity to attack the worst run defense in the league and pound Moore at them for two 4-yard carries. On 3rd and 2, Arians goes to the air and Ben hits Holmes on a skinny post for 19 yards to get inside the red zone. The Steelers seem intent on getting the ball in Santonio’s hands as they try an end around that goes nowhere. Ben hits Nasty Nate on The Crabtree Play to get the ball down to the 4, and it only takes Moore two tries to get it into the end zone. Huge opening drive.

7-0

Face Me Ike comes out with some solid defense against Reggie Wayne as Peyton takes a shot deep right off the bat. Addai gets 9 and 3 to pick up a first down and give the Colts some breathing room. Peyton goes deep again and Ike and Wayne execute the best tip-drill since Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor. Wayne is able to waltz into the end zone to tie the game. Where was Ryan Clark on that play?

7-7

With the game tied, the offense needed to respond. The Steelers responded by going 3-and-out, adding the exclamation point of Freeney sacking Ben and forcing a fumble that we were lucky enough to recover.

After dodging the bullet of a potential turnover, Paul Ernster comes in for his first punt. He makes a decent kick that pins the returner on the sidelines, and a holding penalty on Indy forces their offense back.

Henry Paulson commissions a bailout package for the Colts next drive as Manning hits Dallas Clark on 3rd and 11 to prevent a 3-and-out and Addai converts a 3rd and 1.


Aaron Smith has seen enough and brings down Manning for an 11-yard sack. The Colts are further set back by a false start and Ike makes a great play to break up a pass intended for Wayne on 3rd and forever.

Moore goes nowhere on first down, but Ben and Hines hook up twice to convert, including a big 3rd and 8 connection for 22 yards to keep the drive alive. Moore gets 1 and instead of letting the clock run out on the quarter, Ben hurries up with a play, which ends up being an incomplete pass, forcing us into a 3rd and long to start the 2nd quarter.

Situational football: we suck at it.

Second Quarter

Ben finds Moore on a check-down and Mewelde scampers for the first down. With new life, Arians goes into his bag of tricks and the Steelers execute the worst successful flea-flicker ever. Moore almost throws the ball over Ben’s head, forcing Ben to make a leaping catch and then just chuck the ball downfield with defenders hanging on him. On a drastically underthrown ball, Hines makes a great play coming back for it, and spins out of a tackle to get down to the 1.


Moore goes in untouched to get the lead back.

14-7

Patrick Bailey makes a huge special teams tackle. Anyone remember when a noname guy named James Harrison made the team by making huge special teams tackles? Bailey has a bright future ahead of him. Rhodes replaces Addai and picks up 4, then Manning hits Wayne for 8. Peyton throws three incompletions, two of which were intended for Wayne, but Ike was like a blanket. Punt.

With another chance to blow the game open, the Steelers go 3-and-out.

Lucky for us, we have the best defense in the league. Harrison comes up with a sack and Marvin Harrison is a little bitch afraid to catch the ball, forcing another punt.

After a 3-and-out, the offensive genius Arians comes out with the motif offense. Run-run-pass…except Mewelde Moore takes things into his own hands and picks up the first down. Ben converts the next 3rd down by hitting Spaeth for a solid gain to get the ball inside the 30. Moore carries for 1 then pulls in a short pass for 4 to set up 3rd and 5. An incompletion on 3rd down brings on Reed.


17-7

The field goal was nice, and having a 2-possession lead was good, but we knew we weren’t out of the water yet. The Colts had a little over 4 minutes left, and you were just hoping that the defense could hold the lead until halftime. The Colts convert a 3rd and long on a perfectly thrown pass by Manning to Harrison. Ike was all over it, but Manning fit it in a spot where only his receiver could get it. Marvin puts a sick move on Deshea and gets wide open over the middle, but Manning is afraid of getting hit by James Harrison and throws it low, missing a wide open Marvin.

Addai picks up 11 on 2nd down to move the chains and Rhodes comes in and gets 7 more before the 2-minute warning. The Colts shoot themselves in the foot off the break by taking a false start penalty. Harrison gets pressure again, forcing a bad pass. Polamalu is all over Clark on the 3rd down attempt, forcing a punt that pins the Steelers inside the 10.

Let’s set the situation: the Colts have 3 timeouts left. We have the ball 92 yards from the end zone. There’s 1:43 left. They have a very good chance of getting the ball back before halftime. So what should we do? Run the ball 3 times to make them use their timeouts, then punt.

Moore runs for 1, Indy timeout. So far so good. Ben goes play-action and hits Spaeth with a fairly safe pass to set up 3rd and 2. Timeout Indy. A little risky, but okay, we got to 3rd and short. Arians calls the same play they ran earlier on 3rd and 2, the post to Holmes.

Ben underthrows it and Ratliff picks it off. And now, Indy has the ball, on the 30, with a minute and a half AND a timeout.

Manning looks deep for Harrison, but Gay and Carter are there. But Marvin comes back with a catch to move the ball inside the 20. Gonzo makes his first catch of the game for the Ponies to get it inside the 15. Manning throws and incompletion, but Deshea gets flagged for holding. giving them the ball inside the 10. After an incomplete pass, Rhodes dips and dives down to the 2, prompting the Ponies to use their last timeout to stop the clock with 9 seconds left. When the offense comes out, you KNOW they’re going to throw. Everyone KNOWS they’re going to throw. So what do we do? We play zone. Manning to Clark for an easy score.

17-14

Ben kneels to end the half. Giving up a score to the Ponies and having them get the ball to start the second half inspired a Tom Clancy book.

Third Quarter

Coming out of the half, you knew we needed more points. A 3-point lead wasn’t going to hold. Manning hooked up with Clark and Gonzo to get the drive going. Gonzo pulls in another to get the ball near midfield. Manning keeps gunslinging and spreads the ball around to Wayne, Harrison and Garcon to get the ball inside the 30. Addai and Rhodes grind out a few more yards before Manning went back to the air and hit Gonzo to get the ball inside the 20. Peyton took a shot for Harrison down the sidelines on 3rd down, but Marvin wimped out when Tyrone Carter came over the top to lay a lick on him. Harrison stayed down to smell the grass, but walked off the field and came back on the next drive. Vinatieri knocked home a field goal to tie it up.

17-17

Gary Russell busts off a great return to get the ball out to the 40 and set us up with excellent field position. Ben comes out and hits McHugh for a few, the Moore comes back with a decent run to get to 3rd and 4. Ben finds Moore out of the backfield to pick up the first down and get the ball across midfield. Ben looks for Moore again, but it wasn’t happening. Hines pulled one in for 5 yards, but couldn’t come up with a catch on 3rd down, forcing a punt.

Addai gets stuffed by Harrison and the Deisel, but comes back with 12 yards on a short pass to move out of the shadows of the end zone. Polamalu blows up Addai on the next carry and Wayne can’t pull one in on 2nd down to force a 3rd and long. When we needed to get off the field, Ike made a great move to try and break up a pass for Wayne, but did another Misty May-Traenor, tipping the ball up for Wayne to haul in. Ryan Clark was there this time to make the tackle. The defense responds by stopping Rhodes then forcing two incompletions intended for Gonzo. Deshea was hurt on the 3rd down play. Our secondary is dropping like flies. Punt.

After Moore lost a yard, Ben hit Spaeth for a big 12 yard gain to move the sticks. Moore was stopped for another short gain as the quarter expired.

Fourth Quarter

Ben comes out and hits Hines for 7 to get the ball near midfield and set up another 3rd and 2. Once again, on 3rd and short, we throw. Hines converts and picks up 17 to get the ball into Pony territory. After Moore goes nowhere because Arians hasn’t learned that running on first down doesn’t work, Ben and Nate hook up twice to get the ball down to the 20. Moore carries twice for 15 yards to get the ball down to the 5. Ben has to take a timeout after they can’t figure out a play. Moore gets the carry on first and goal from the 5 and gets it to the 1. 2nd and goal from the 1. I wonder what play we’re going to run? Maybe the same one we scored on twice before. The Ponies are ready for it. 3rd and goal. The offensive genius that is calls the same freaking play again. Stopped again. Probably the most disappointing field goal of the season.

20-17

You had that bad feeling that a 3-point lead wasn’t going to hold, but you had faith in the defense. The defense responded by stepping up and forcing a 3 and out. Ike made a great play on first down to break up a deep pass intended for Wayne.

With a little over 6 minutes on the clock, this was the time when a long scoring drive would have sealed the deal. Instead of running the ball and winding the clock, Arians throws a wide receiver screen to Holmes for a loss of 3. Still convinced we need to throw, Ben hits Hines over the middle for 9 yards to get to 3rd and 4 as the clock winds under 5 minutes. When a safe play would have been smart, Ben throws over the middle for Holmes and the pass gets picked off, giving the Ponies excellent field position for the second time in the game.

Can anyone stop the Colts offense from 30-yards out? I doubt it. Rhodes picks up 9 on first down, then gets stopped on second down, but is able to pick up 6 on 3rd and 1. With a first down at the 17, Manning goes play action and hits Rhodes on a flare out of the backfield for an easy touchdown down the sidelines.

24-20

The Steelers got the ball with 3 minutes left. Flashes of the Jacksonville game played back through your head as you hoped we could pull it off. You felt better after Ben hit Hines for 7 then converted a 3rd and 3 with a big pass to Spaeth with 2:22 left. You would hope that 22 seconds would be enough time to get a play off in a no huddle offense. But Ben can’t pull it off and the refs blow it dead at 2 minutes.

Out of the break, Ben hits Spaeth again for 5 yards. As the clock runs, Ben doesn’t get the next snap off until 1:34 when he hits Moore on a short pass to get across midfield. Once again, Ben takes forever to get the play off and throws an incompletion for Holmes. The Ponies got called for offsides, so we caught a slight break there. Ben goes back to Holmes for 4, but Dallas Baker can’t pull one in on a slant that would have put us in great position. On 3rd and 1 Moore carries for 3 yards, forcing us to use our 2nd timeout with 48 seconds to go.

With the ball on the 32, the Steelers were within striking distance. But Max Starks got called for a holding penalty then gave up a sack to Dwight Freeney, forcing us to use our last timeout.

On 2nd and 27 from midfield, Ben hits Baker along the sidelines and he is able to get out, but only gets to the 43, forcing 3rd and long. Ben dumps one off to Mewelde who scampers for 16 yards with 28 seconds to go, but goes down in bounds and the clock winds…and winds….the Steelers rush up to the line with no timeouts left and the clock running. Hines and Holmes to the left, Baker and Washington to the right. Ben gets the snap off with 1 second left, he rolls to the right and chucks it downfield….


Washington goes up and gets his hands on it….

No dice.

Game.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Hines Ward– 9 rec 116 yds
Defensive Game Ball: Aaron Smith– he was all over the place in run defense. He is unblockable.


Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game
Passing on 3rd and short

We’ve been doing this all season, and we did it last year too. I have no idea why we feel the need to throw on 3rd and short. We threw two interceptions this way today, and it’s not going to get any better. Fire Arians now.

Final Thoughts

 

  • It’s painfully obvious now: in order to move the ball, we have to get it to Hines or a tight end.
  • This team was completely unprepared for this game offensively.
  • Where was the pressure on the quarterback? Where was the creativity from LeBeau? He played it safe so as not to give up the big play, which we still gave up.
  • If Marvin Harrison doesn’t have 4 drops, we get killed.
  • Fire Arians now.
  • We are the worst team in the league at running screens and draws.
  • Did it really take us 1 minute to run 2 plays after the 2-minute warning? Have we even practiced our 2-minute offense?
  • 3 points in the second half doesn’t cut it.
  • Ben throws 42 times against the worst run defense in the league. Who is making these offensive play calls?