1. A few months ago the Steelers defense was good enough to get to the Super Bowl, a few months later this defense is all of a sudden too old to keep up with the Ravens offense? Uh, no.
2. 90% of the Ravens offense is dumps and screens to
RBs and TEs. The Steelers see this 2 or 3 times per year yet seem surprised that this was the focal point of the Ravens attack. Why were they not prepared for this? Baltimore registered 13 catches for FB/RB/TE and only 4 catches for their WRs (all by Boldin). The Ravens realize that you can neutralize an aggressive/blitzing defense by getting the ball to RBs/TEs and creating mismatches against LBs. For some reason the Steelers have never been able to do this. Why can't we scheme Mendenhall 1-on-1 vs a slower Linebacker? Why does Ray Rice find himself in situations where he goes into motion and gets to run a pattern against Foote or Farrior? When was the last time Redman or Mendenhall were schemed or game-planned into a mismatch vs a safety or LB?
3. Sure the score dictated it, but rushing the ball only 16 times against Baltimore is not a recipe for success.
4. Having said that, the Ravens secondary is suspect and the Steelers passing game is supposed to be WAY above average. I'm very disappointed in the offense. Wallace, Sanders, Ward, Brown, Cotchery, Miller, Saunders, Battle, Mendenhall, Moore, Redman. There are enough weapons right there to move the ball through the air against any defense in the NFL. This offense should be putting up 28+ points per game and should be on a Patriots, Saints, Packers level. Getting to the endzone 1 time is embarrassing.
5. LT Scott is going to have to improve in a big way before week 2. Any chance Max Starks or Flozell Adams get a call at some point over the next week? In my opinion Legursky isn't a starting NFL Guard and Scott isn't a starting NFL LT. The way I see it, the Steelers have at least 2 Offensive Linemen who are fringe starters. Not good. You can have all the WRs in the world but you're not moving the ball if you don't have time to throw down field.
6. Sepulveda was the best Steeler on the field today. When your punter is the best guy in your lineup on Sunday, you're not having a great day.
7. The Ravens were blitzing, playing aggressive, and pressuring the pocket. You counter that pressure with draws and RB screens. Did you see either of those today?
8. Where was the deep ball? The camera doesn't really give us the benefit of seeing the entire field but I'm assuming the Ravens secondary was playing extremely deep and keeping the Steeler WRs in front of them. I don't recall any deep bombs to Brown, Wallace, etc…which is usually a huge part of our offense.
9. Foote is a nice backup but I don't think I like the Foote-Farrior rotation mid-game. The defense seemed confused on many occasions and Ravens were running free on short/intermediate routes all day long.
10. Polamalu lost a
foot race to TE Dickson for a TD. Timmons lost a foot race to RB Rice for a TD. Those are 2 of the best guys on our entire team, they need to win their individual battles.
11. Flacco is 1-7 against Big Ben. Over the next week you will hear so much praise heaped on Reed, Rice, Flacco, etc….that you will think the Ravens just won the Super Bowl. We have beaten the Ravens senseless over the past few seasons and have CRUSHED the hearts of their team and their fanbase in many postseasons. Think about that…we have ended their seasons and denied them trips to the Super Bowl on numerous occasions. They can win game 1 of this regular season. Congrats. I'll take the multiple trips to the Super Bowl, the playoff daggers to their hearts, and Ben's 7-1 record vs Flacco. If we win today, hey, it's just another W over Baltimore. If they win today (like they did) it's the biggest W for them in a long, long time. I think that mentality showed a bit today as well. Looked like we were prepared for an exhibition game and they came out like this was their Super Bowl.
12. Ike Taylor usually covers the other team's fastest WR. That's a great strategy most of the time but against Baltimore I don't want Willie Gay and McFadden matched up against Boldin. Ike took Evans out of the game but when team's have more than 1 good WR you're left with our subpar CBs locked up against guys they have no business covering. For this very reason, you need 3 starting CBs in the NFL. The Steelers only have one. This weakness is most exposed against elite passing attacks, obviously, but if teams with average passing games like the Ravens start exposing your secondary then you have major concerns.
13. The Ravens had 6 scoring drives. 4 of them started in Steeler territory. This is why I don't want to hear the “defense is getting old” excuse. You will hear that all week I'm sure. Is our defense to blame for coughing up the ball 7 times on offense? The Ravens scored a TD on a drive that covered 37 yards. Then another TD on a drive that covered 18 yards. Then added on a FG after going for -3 yards on 3 plays. They gained 52 yards and walked away with 17 points. Can't blame the defense for this one. They were not good, don't get me wrong, but they shouldn't shoulder the blame.
14. The Ravens move Oher to RT and all of a sudden he's good enough to shut down Woodley?
15. The Ravens sign McKinnie, put him at LT and he shuts down Harrison?
16. The Ravens sign FB Leach and in game 1 Rice runs for 100+ yards?
17. The Ravens acquire Evans from Buffalo and he instantly demands coverage from Ike Taylor, allowing Boldin to run free against our scrub Cornerbacks?
18. The Ravens release Todd Heap because he's too old/slow. His replacements (Pitta and Dickson) combine for 7 catches, 104 yards, and a TD.
19. The Ravens signed Ricky Williams in the offseason. He ran for more yardage than all of our RBs combined.
20. Did every Steeler who was given a new contract this offseason take the day off?
That's all for now…