Monday, November 19, 2007

Too many flags

The Steelers committed way too many penalties during yesterday’s desultory, lackluster performance at Jimmy Hoffa Stadium – eight penalties in all, for 100 yards. Here they are:
  • PENALTY on PIT-I.Taylor, Defensive Pass Interference, 41 yards, enforced at NYJ 24
  • PENALTY on PIT- S.Mahan, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at NYJ 33 –
  • PENALTY on PIT-M.Starks, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at PIT 34
  • PENALTY on PIT-C.Haggans, Defensive Holding, 1 yard, enforced at PIT 2
  • PENALTY on PIT-Aa.Smith, Roughing the Passer, 15 yards, enforced at NYJ 23
  • PENALTY on PIT-W.Colon, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at NYJ 43
  • PENALTY on PIT-G.Warren, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at PIT 45
  • PENALTY on PIT-B.McFadden, Defensive Pass Interference, 8 yards, enforced at NYJ 47

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls can forgive the first-quarter pass interference penalty on Ike Taylor. You could argue that while it did lead to a field goal and accounted for the most yards of any of the eight penalties, it was not the costliest penalty. Other candidates for the costliest penalty would be:

  • The offensive holding call on Max Starks, who was in the game as an extra tight end, for crying out loud. Inexcusable. The loss of 10 yards put the Steelers in a third-and-19 situation, where Jets safety Kerry Rhodes intercepted a deep pass intended for Nate Washington. (Rhodes can sky, by the way; he showed serious springs in making a spectacular play).
  • The indefensible defensive holding call on Clark Haggans on the ensuing possession late in the first half. The call nullified a change of possession when Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens fumbled the ball out of the end zone. The Haggans penalty also enabled the Jets to salvage a field goal at the end of the half (and, of course, three points turned out to be the margin of victory).
  • Roughing the passer, by Aaron Smith, who was flagged for a late hit on Clemens after he threw an incomplete pass on third and 15 with 6:36 left in the third quarter. It did not look like an egregiously flagrant hit. Although the Jets did not score, however, the penalty extended their drive and gave the Jets life at a point when the Steelers had seized momentum.
  • Similarly, the illegal procedure call on Willy Colon, with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter, disrupted a Steelers drive that ended when Ben Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled for a change of possession that once again put the Black 'n Gold defense on the field.

For all that, somehow the Steelers managed nearly a seven-minute advantage in time of possession (35:52). Just goes to show how badly penalties can hurt a team.

Way too many mistakes.

  • If there’s any consolation (there’s not) from yesterday’s slate of games, at least we can take satisfaction in the miserable performances by the Ravens and Bengals. Baltimore’s Brian Billick once again outcoached himself as the Ravens lost to Cleveland. In Cincinnati, overhyped quarterback Carson Palmer threw four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. His QB rating for the day was a wretched 68.5. The Bengals stink out loud. Still.

Like the Steelers, the Bengals committed way too many penalties and mistakes. Unlike the Bengals, the Steelers are likeable. So, we’ve got that going for us, anyway.


At least Steelers fans showed up yesterday at the Meadowlands. Too bad the team didn’t.

After tallying just nine sacks in their first nine games, the New York Jets racked up seven sacks against the Steelers yesterday. That pretty much tells you all you need to know.

Oh, and the special teams still suck. But you knew that already.

The receivers struggle, too often, to get separation. The defense isn’t putting enough pressure on the opposing quarterback. Questionable play-calling. Costly penalties. Spotty tackling.

Did we mention the special teams? The special teams, yeah, they suck. Still. Especially the kick coverage … which was not helped by that lame punt at the end.

The 2007 draft class, “led by” first-round choice Lawrence Timmons, has been less than impressive. And that’s being kind. Timmons can't even make a tackle.

Well, at least the fans showed up, again, as they always do, on the road.

As the New York Daily News reported:

The Steelers' fans crashed the party, turning the stadium into the Meadowlands on the Monongahela.

"That kind of ticked us off a little bit," safety Kerry Rhodes said, referring to Black-and-Gold, Terrible-Towel-waving fans who appeared to outnumber the Jets' faithful. "I thought we were at a neutral site, somewhere between New York and Pittsburgh."

The Jets were angry, almost embarrassed by the lack of support, but they overcame that - along with a season of ineptitude - to shock the Steelers in overtime, 19-16, yesterday. In what several players mockingly called a "road victory," the Jets beat the Steelers at their own game.

According to the New York Post:

"You had no choice but to notice," Jets tight end Chris Baker said of Giants Stadium absolutely taken over by black-and-gold-clad, "Terrible Towel"-waving Steelers fans who bought all the tickets from the apathetic Jets fans who opted not to show up.

"When I came out for warm-ups, I was like, 'Wow, I've never seen this before.' I was definitely shocked, because I've been here for six years and we've had ups and downs, but I've never seen our stadium with more visiting fans than home fans.

"It was motivation for me, because it was irritating to see that many fans for another team in our stadium. That's why I gave them a wave after the game and said, 'Thanks for coming.' "

Safety Kerry Rhodes said, it "ticked us off a little bit," but he added, "their fans made it fun for us."

"It [ticked] us off," defensive end Shaun Ellis said. "It was weird. It felt like an away game. It felt good to get a road win."

Linebacker Matt Chatham called the fan issue "a touchy subject," adding, "you don't have to guess how it made us feel about it. We're grateful for the [Jets] fans who were there."

And, as Newsday reported:

The Steelers' fans were so loud that the Jets had to use a silent count at times, according to Clemens.

"It was extremely bizarre," Baker said. "I haven't seen that in six years. It was a little disappointing."

Guard Brandon Moore said it felt like Heinz Field, and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery added, "It wasn't really a good feeling, being in your own stadium and seeing all those towels."

Said Coles: "It was a nice away game. This is the first time I played a home game and felt like the road team."

It doesn’t matter how many Steelers fans will show up in
Foxborough, Mass., on Dec. 9. The matchup that day against the New England Patriots looks more and more like a mismatch.