December 19, 2007

Gentlemen, Please Sack This Man...

"We've got punched two weeks in a row and, hopefully, we can respond...This will be a great challenge for us. Short week, and our backs are kind of against the wall. We need to get our 10th win and seal up this thing."
- Brett Keisel
Thursday games - can't live with 'em, the NFL can't live without 'em. In an attempt to extort our money, under the guise of "bringing us more action," the NFL has so graciously scheduled our Steelers to do battle with the St. Louis Rams just a mere four days after we were run over by the Jaguars for 224 yards.

For what it's worth - my feeling on this is that both teams are in the same boat. The Steelers may have gotten trounced this past Sunday (physically, but not on the scoreboard) and the one before, but the 3-11 Rams have been trounced all season long. And we may have some guys nursing injuries, but at least 8-10 of the Rams key players have not been their normal, healthy selves for much of the 2007 season. So short week or not, I don't really want to hear excuses...

But I digress. The Rams. 3-11. I want to say that's kind of deceiving, but I'm really not so sure. The thing is - they have some great talent. Their biggest challenge this season, as previously mentioned, has been injuries. Franchise QB Marc Bulger has missed 4 games, stud RB Steven Jackson has missed 4 games, the X-Factor Dante Hall is done for the year after missing some games, their O-line is down 3 starters, and not to mention some Defensive injuries (Tinoisamoa principally) have kind of held them back. It seems like it's just been one of those seasons for the Rams. But the reason I think 3-11 might actually be kind of deceiving is the Rams Offense really hasn't gotten going like we all know it can. So I guess my concern is - have the Rams been sleeping, just waiting for a game like this to awaken?

Answer that question however you like. Either way, the reality is here's how this matchup looks for us:

Passing Yards: StL - 3146 (#15) | Pit - 2911 (#24)
Rushing Yards: StL - 1362 (#21) | Pit - 1952 (#3)
Total Yards: StL - 4508 (#22) | Pit - 4863 (#15)
Points Scored: StL - 220 (#29) | Pit - 331 (#8)

Pass Yards Allowed: StL - 3256 (#19) | Pit - 2661 (#4)
Rush Yards Allowed: StL - 1556 (#19) | Pit - 1168 (#3)
Total Yards Allowed: StL - 4812 (#18) | Pit - 3829 (#1)[God knows how...]
Points Allowed: StL - StL - 349 (#27) | Pit - 218 (#1)

Having said that, here's the deal. Nothing surprising about the Rams. They have top tier Offensive talent (albeit a depleted line) that hasn't had a chance to get any steam yet this year, and a middle of the pack Defense (at best) that sports a solid secondary and a Middle Linebacker that's bound to be in our backfield a good amount. None of that changes the fact that no matter who the opponent, the Steelers need to show some balls. Hit somebody. Get a pass rush. Run the football (well). Pass efficiently. Utilize play action and the TEs. Maybe a gadget play or two if the game so permits. Ain't nothing revolutionary about it. Just be careful not to turn the ball over, give up too many 3rd down conversions, big kick returns (fingers crossed), or sacks (not holding my breath though). Am I wrong?

But honestly, as of 5 weeks ago, who thought we'd be afraid of the Rams right now? Yep, me neither...

PS - We'll be doing the weekly Gameday bitch Discussion Session tomorrow night. So come join our merry band of assholes and share our joy...hopefully not our pain. Plus we'll no doubt have a lenghty discussion about how Britney Spears' 16-year old sister has been impregnated.

PPS - For the first time in my life, I'm a Bungles fan this weekend...beat the Browns to a pulp...please...

Steelers Not Excited to Play Again Soon [Associated Press]
Steelers May Find Home Away from Home [Associated Press]
Steelers vs. Rams - Early Look [Behind The Steel Curtain]
2007 Rams Stats [Pro-Football-Reference]
More Rams Stats [ESPN]
Smith is Dropped As Starter at Safety [Post-Gazette]
Rams Rush to Get Ready for Steelers [St. Louis Post Dispatch]

Ballhype: hype it up!


domski43 said...

Go Bengals! (this week)

I would really like to see the steelers start getting a consistent pass rush over the next few weeks. I'm not sure if Lebeau is just holding his cards for the playoffs. When i think about it i have not seen a lot of our dbs and safeties being sent on blitzes as often over the past few weeks. I'm not sure if this is because we dont trust our cornerbacks/safeties..sorry saftey=(anthony smith) to be left on an island or we have assumed we will make the playoffs and let it all fly for the playoffs??? I'm lead to believe this because we have not seen a lot of trick plays on offense or defense all year, except for the critical 2 point conversion toss by wilson last week.

what does steelers nation think?

its time to dust off the old terrible towel for playoffs (i only wave mine at playoff time)

tecmo said...

Damn NFL Network.

Looks like I'll be firing up the ol Sopcast for the game.

Cotter said...

Yeah right Tec, you're just going to be watching Battlestar Galactica anyhow, don't lie...

Tobiathan said...

If we don't win this one i WILL be watching Battlestar

I'm with Doms as usual: we need a pass-rush. I was whining in the last article about the ansence of effective pressure on opposing QBs.

I'm personally convinced that the officials let our opponents hold our guys regularly while penalyzing the shit outta our boys every time we touch a QB. How many roughing-the-passer's have we had this year?

I hate referees. In case anybody wondered...

Tobiathan said...

It sure would be nice if Stinkinnati beat the Brown-stains, but i'm thinking they'd be just as happy to lose on purpose just to screw us up....

Who knew we'd be worrying about effing CLEVELAND at this point?

I'm still pissed that we lost to NE. I'm such a whiner....

Tis is the part of the season, though, where guts start to count. We've seen 'r Stillers stumble some. Now it's time for them to become a competitive team again.

I think Troy will be even more effective tonight, and Willie should excel on this surface. Ben does well in domes(Indy '05!). Our O-line needs a big game. The defense will answer a lot of questions.

I still hold two things:

A- Max Starks should play DL. I dunno why i'm so insistent. Call it a gut feeling, but i suspect that this guy could be a monster in the middle. Especially rotating with Chris and Casey.

B- Sit Anthoony Smith, or put him in Nickel-D. Start Tyrone Carter, who's less of a gambler and more level-headed. I think Smith needs a reality-check and some time to reflect n his mistakes. If he's truly a competitor he'll be better gfor it.

Just my immediate thoughts. I'm aftraid to dig too deeply into this game. I'm just gonna relax and enjoy it as best i can...