A Blast from the Past: Another Question We Were Debating Back in the Day

via rfhcollective

On to November of 2011, and Steeler Nation was still pinching themselves over an unexpected 25-17 victory over the New England Patriots.

As Hombre de Acero penned:

The Steelers victory over the New England Patriots was one of the most remarkable and impressive regular season wins of the Mike Tomlin era. Yet, despite the milestone moment, the victory still managed to usher in as many questions as it did answer about the team and its chances moving forward, beginning with this Sunday’s home matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Fittingly for this, our first post-Heath Miller week ever, Miller was the top receiver for the game, with seven receptions for 85 yards. (A shame it wasn’t 83…) The low yardage was because Ben spread the ball out to nine different receivers, all of whom caught at least one pass: Young Money, naturally (AB was actually the receiver with the most receptions, at nine for 67 yards), Jerricho Cotchery, three backs (Mendenhall, Redman, and Mewelde Moore), and David Johnson.

The bulk of the New England passing yards went to Rob Gronkowski, but he still had less than 100. which, in combination with the 43 rushing yards, was not a recipe for success.

This win would take the Steelers to 6-2 on the season, and they only lost two more games all season, giving them a 12-4 record—which was still not good enough to win the division. Funny how differently different seasons play out…

The questions covered a large range of topics, some of which are rather dated, such as whether Hines Ward (who was out for the Patriots game) should be asked to relinquish his No. 1 spot, and whether the “emotional” win over the Patriots was setting the Steelers up for a letdown vs. the Ravens.

One question which caught my eye was one to the effect of who the readers would suggest playing at linebacker for the next game, given that James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, and James Harrison were all expected to miss the game the following week. The Patriots game was pretty much the beginning of the end for LaMarr Woodley, as I detailed in last week’s post. He sacked Tom Brady, leapt into the air, kicked his legs out to the side, and apparently pulled a hamstring doing so.

He played in only two more games that season before being put on IR, and during those two games recorded exactly two tackles and one assist. That’s it.

That particular question garnered a lot of comments, especially about some of the younger guys like Cam Heyward, who was pretty universally dissed.

As I read through those comments of old I was shocked to discover I had suggested a “retribution package” to deal with the cut blocking issue. Well, I didn’t actually suggest it so much as wonder if it was possible. But you also have to understand that I was at that Ravens game at the beginning of the season—the disastrous game the Steelers lost by a whole lot, and which prompted Warren Sapp to call the Steelers defense, “old, slow, and over.” Oh yes, I took the Ravens cut-blocking personally…

One question which feels very current was whether the Steelers should make a change at the kicker position. Shaun Suisham had a bad kickoff in the Patriots game and had been uneven during the season. This time, of course, the question is not whether he is a good kicker but whether the team is better off with a younger, cheaper kicker.

But the question I chose was this one, because it’s so interesting to view the comments in hindsight:

1. Seven weeks into the season, the Steelers led the NFL in passing defense. But many, yours truly included, were skeptical of the defense being as good as the stats suggested because of the mediocre quarterbacks they’d faced. After disarming the Patriots’ passing attack for the better part of Sunday, now do you believe?

The hindsight of which I speak is this—that “old, slow and over” Steelers’ defense allowed the fewest points, passing yards, and total yards in the 2011 NFL season. Without James Harrison for four games, LaMarr Woodley for six, Potsie for two, and with various other injuries.

So what were they (we) saying, without the benefit of hindsight?

PixburghArn opined:

I always believed. This game just made me that much more comfortable. Though I have to admit, the Patriots recievers don’t strike fear in my heart. Those tightends are good but they can be contained. So I want to see them against a better set of receivers. This week they have a big complete receiver and one that can stretch the field. This will be interesting.

From SteelBydesign:

I believe that the pass defense is probably better than it has been the past few years, because I can’t believe I’m saying this but William Gay is improving, and Cortez Allen made some great plays against the Patriots… HOWEVER the scheme we used against the Pats was great for the Pats, but if we used the same scheme this week Ray Rice would destroy us.

Michael Uhlhorn apparently doesn’t mind worrying about tomorrow, since the Steelers weren’t even scheduled to play the Packers:

I believe that they are having a great year, but I’m still worried about what Aaron Rodgers can do to us

A visiting Ravens fan, AV23, agreed:

I believe that they are having a great year, but I’m still worried about what Aaron Rodgers can do to us

As much as I hate you guys I think everybody is worried what Rodgers can do to them. He’s on another level right now and he’s a nightmare for any defense.

tannofsteel84 laid out a plan I think we would have all signed up for, had it come to pass:

I believe it. We have found a remedy to the short passes and we have the CBs to execute. What makes it even [scarier] is the future of the CB position. With [Cortez] Allen already getting playing time, he looks sure to takes Ike’s role as the #1 CB when Ike slows down. [Keenan] Lewis looks good as a #2 and [Curtis] Brown will be a great #3. So it won’t hurt to keep McFadden and Gay on as #4 and #5 corners as vet backups. Our corner backs could become a strength of this defense.

SteelheadOH and Varmint were a couple of the few doubters:

I believe the sample set is larger and that the quality of this defense is getting clearer. I also believe they aren’t out of the woods yet.

(Varmint)

Yes and no. We stopped the Pats because they are now one-dimensional team. Take away the pass and the Pats got nuthin’. Also, Ben abused the Pats linebackers and secondary. Teams with a viable running game won’t be so “easy” to stop. Teams with good pass protection in the middle of the field won’t allow us to hold the ball for 40 minutes. I believe the Steelers defense can do it again. I don’t believe we can do it every game.

I expect Desroko is still screaming:

Yes. I feel like I’ve been screaming for years about the DBs giving a 10 yard cushion to spread offense receivers. For once, I was right about something.

And my favorite comment, by a commentor who shall remain nameless (even though it isn’t anyone around here, as far as I know):

I still feel the second corner, albeit Gay or any other member of the depth chart, presents a liability. A more solvent player across from Ike would make the unit lights out. As it stands, they’re solid but susceptible.

You have to admire his concern for the financial health of the players…

That’s all for today…

3 comments

  • Hey gang,

    Just checking in to say HI. And….

    GO STEELERS!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Hey fever, how’s it going?

    Like

    • Kitchen remodel…….yes I was smart enough to let my Rebecca pick out what she wanted and I took on the task of being the general contractor to get it done for about half the price of the original contractor that was recommended to me to do the whole project. been pretty busy lately with everything else going on.

      As a tease, you should expect a BTSC HOF shirt sometime this summer, I guess they let anybody in as I got in as well.

      Oh and I have an idea for an article I would like to see if you believe is worthy of publishing here, IF it meets the high standards this site sets. Of course will email it and ask for suggestion when I get around to it.

      Like

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