Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jacksonville v. Steelers:
Instant First Half Analysis

As we pointed out Saturday Jacksonville has a winning record when losing the coin toss, so the fact that the Steelers won the toss represented something of an early setback.

First Quarter
Obviously the offense was just pathetic. They gained 41 yards, twenty-one rushing and sixteen passing, but with Ben Roethlisberger being sacked twice for a total loss of seventeen yards the official passing statistic for the first quarter was -1 yards.

Defensively all that can be said is that they adjusted as the quarter went on, and after allowing a forty-two yard drive on Jacksonville's first possession the Jags netted a total of 13 yards on the other two possessions of the quarter.

Second Quarter
Thank God for Adam Podlesh. The horrible effort by the Jaguars' punter, from deep in his own territory, was the equivalent of a turnover. And Ben Roethlisberger's third down 18 yard touchdown pass exceeded his total for the entire first quarter. However the inability of the Steelers' offense to do anything with their next two possessions of the quarter -- they had -1 total yards -- allowed the Jaguars to turn the field position battle back in their favor.

As pathetic as the Steelers' offense played the defense has been an even bigger disappointment. Not stopping Maurice Jones-Drew on the fourth down carry (as a UCLA alum I love Maurice, but come on!) was a back breaker. All told, the two scoring drives by Jacksonville took 18 plays and covered 110 yards. Fred Taylor already has 72 yards rushing, Mr. Jones-Drew has 20, and David Garrard has 6 -- Jacksonville is more than on their way to a 100 yard rushing day.

The Steelers have just played one of their worst thirty minutes of football, but only trail by three points. Improvement is likely to result in a Steelers' win, however another half like the first will almost certainly result in a loss.

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