Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steelers @ San Francisco: Random thoughts

de·ba·cle
noun
\dē-bä-kəl, di-, -ba-; ÷de-bə-kəl\

Definition of Debacle:
1: a tumultuous breakup of ice in a river
2: a violent disruption (as of an army) : rout
3a : a great disaster b : a complete failure : fiasco

1. As a fan I want to know everything about my teams; and while I surely know more than most it must also be acknowledged (right at the top) that I do not know as much as I would like.  Having said that, the defensive game plan versus the 49ers ~ specifically the big cushions afforded their receivers ~ is a puzzlement.  Following the victory versus New England much was made of how effective the press coverage was in throwing off the timing between Tom Brady and his receivers.  So, why then, didn't the Steelers use the same approach against a west coast offense that is predicated on timing patterns?  From my perch on the couch it seemed that the Steelers took a much more passive defensive approach than in recent games, and it did not seem to serve them well.

2. Mike Wallace needs to bulk-up.  Since the first month of the season opponent defenses have taken to not only double teaming Mr. Wallace but also playing him more physically at the line of scrimmage; and the approach seems to be working.  In the first four games of the regular season Mr. Wallace averaged 6.25 catches per game for an average of 108.5 yards per game (25 catches, 434 yards).  In the ten games since he has averaged 4.2 catches per game for an average of 64.6 yards (42 catches, 646 yards).  Antonio Brown has certainly benefited from the increased attention Mr. Wallace has received; but if the Steelers are to do an serious damage in the playoffs (i.e. return to the Super Bowl) then Mike Wallace needs to recapture his earlier form.

3. We all respect players who play hurt; but when they hurt the team by doing so then they do the team no favors.  It easy to understand why Ben Roethlisberger dragged his gimpy ankle onto the field Monday night ~ what with the Steelers having been presented an opportunity to vault to the #1 seed in the AFC ~ but he was horrible.  If Charlie Batch is incapable of besting that performance ~ and the suggestion here is that he should start the next two games ~ then one has to wonder why he (or Dennis Dixon) is on the roster.

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