"You are educated when you have the ability to listen to almost anything
without losing your temper or self-confidence." - Robert Frost

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ravens 35 Steelers 7

 at Ravens           -1            Steelers             37         -125   +105
Projected Win %          46.61%

If you are a Steelers fan, all you can ask for is a do-over.  Erase the game from your minds as much as possible, hope everything bad we saw isn’t a permanent trend for the season and get ready to host the Seahawks in 6 days.

Remember, there is only one score that matters and that’s 0-1.

Fortunately for us, a 35-7 score counts the same as 21-20.  It’s only one loss and one many Steelers fans would have accepted on our schedule forecasting the season.

Do I even bother to make comments on the game?  Is there one part of the blowout that angers me more than others?  In the spirit of “analysis”, I’ll try:

1.  As a closet GM, it is frustrating to me to see the Ravens so easily fix their pre-season offensive line issues while the Steelers continue to wallow if poor offensive line play going on five seasons.  The Ravens o-line was horrid three weeks and watching Ozzie Newsome and Co. bring in McKinney, shuffle the line around, patiently wait for a healthy Matt Birk and put out a unit week 1 that flat out dominated a deep Steelers front-7 was not only discouraging, but downright sickening to my stomach.  Is it really that easy?

2.  Speaking of offensive lines, we might as well admit the Steelers right guard spot will again be the worst in the NFL this season (going on 4 seasons).  Doug Legursky isn’t the answer and Foster would not be an improvement.  I’m disappointed with the decision to cut Tony Hills and this game didn’t change my mind.

3.   I know fans want to sweep the whole game under the rug, but I thought the Steelers were in the game and had weathered the storm when we had possession down 14-7 in the 2nd quarter with 8:00 until halftime. The offense had just scored.  The defense had just forced a punt.  The game wasn’t out of hand.   To have an ugly 3-and-out (3 incomplete passes), punt and then allowing the long, 5+ minute Ravens drive (giving up four 3rd down conversions in the process) to go up 21-7 that was the true backbreaker.  I give a lot of credit to the Ravens during this stretch.  We can talk all we want about the turnover-fests in quarters one and three, but the Ravens solidified the game in the 2nd quarter with those two series by just out-executing us.

4.  I am not going to single out any unit more than others for the loss.  Every facet of the team, ranging from Roethlisberger to the running backs, receivers, O-line, D-line, linebackers and defensive backs played below par and failed to make key plays or take advantage of opportunities.  One game does not make a trend for any of these groups.

5.  I do feel a bit disappointed that this game will statistically ruin Roethlisberger’s season.  I had such high hopes for an MVP quality year.  Committing five turnovers, after committing only EIGHT all of last season will be hard to overcome.  Scoring 7 points will be hard to overcome for the offense.  There are no such things as mulligans to the national media and I just don’t see how Roethlisberger and the offense can overcome such a poor performance.  Maybe by December we’ll be singing a different tune, but it would have been nice to have a few garbage drives late to at least make things respectable on paper.

If anything, you hope this game acts as a wakeup call to everyone from the general manager and coaching staff down to the star players and scrubs.  We didn’t come prepared mentally and physically and we got our asses kicked by an arch-rival.  No excuses.  The Ravens deserved to win by a large margin.  I can only hope this isn’t the Super Bowl hangover so many Steelers haters predicted.

Back to the drawing board and let’s hope for just a nice step in the right direction against a bad team in the Seahawks next week in our home opener.

Signing off….


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