I have been writing articles over the past few weeks grading the Steelers play—calling by quarter on both sides of the ball. It didn't happen last night.
Maybe it was because the Steelers game against the Saints was about the 10th game that I had watched over the weekend, maybe it was because it was late, or maybe it was because the Steelers' play calling was putrid and not worth grading.
I think I'm going to go with option three. By the middle of the second quarter I had trashed the article since it wasn't worth breaking down by quarter or anything for that matter. Let's keep it simple—F on offense, F on defense.
I got some grief earlier in the week for suggesting that if the Steelers were going to continue with the play calling on defense that had started in the Baltimore game, it was going to be a long night.
So much for that. Brees didn't make mistakes, completed balls in the red zone—actually, anywhere he wanted to. Other than a couple of plays, he had all day to throw the ball. I'm not sure how much more Dick LeBeau needs to see before he re-evaluates this strategy, because it is not working.
On to the offense. On some level Bruce Arians had been lucky this year because with replacement quarterbacks over the first four games it was hard to be too critical. Those days are over, and it is the same old offense that we have seen over the past couple of years.
Three straight running plays from inside the tackle on the one inch line. You have to be kidding. If I didn't see another quick screen to Hines Ward for a month it would be too soon.
Anyone see Emmitt Smith's Hall of Fame induction speech? Smith could not have given more praise to his fullback Daryl Johnston for the success he had over his career.
Pittsburgh doesn't even have a real fullback on its roster. When all of the preseason talk of getting back to the run was going around, the ever arrogant Arians said that "his offense" doesn't use a fullback.
Passing routes to the running backs into the flats are designed as out and ups, rather than up and outs. You might as well run a toss sweep.
The players have a role in this as well. Ben Roethlisberger had a bad night and at times was missing wildly. The offensive line was terrible, and surely it made it more difficult for Roethlisberger when he had Saints hanging off of him all night. The secondary was guessing all night, which is inexplicable since there were usually seven or eight in coverages.
This could go on for another 1,000 words. Why is Randle El still returning punts? Why is Mewelde Moore the situational running back when the Steelers run an oldie but a goodie—five wides on third and short? Why did Trai Essex return to the lineup when Doug Legursky was an upgrade at right guard? Why isn't a play action pass in the playbook? Where are the pages with middle screens and draw plays?
Enough. You get the picture, and hopefully Mike Tomlin will too.
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