Friday, October 29, 2010

A couple of thoughts

• Lousaka Polite was asked the other day why the steelers are so good on defense. He gave a thoughtful response that their players are no better than anyone elses overall. Their schemes are good but they're not doing anything revolutionary. They just do it really well. They are well coached and follow their assignments. I found that to be a really good assessment and the fins could learn from that.

• Not to go back the fumble but Mike Beradino pointed out that the line judge who signalled TD - and missed the fumble altogether - is the same guy who last year missed the fumble on Sharpers TD return for the Saints against the dolphins. I guess there is nothing like making essentially the same mistake twice.

• I've heard a people suggest there's a bias against Miami. I generally discount that but I find it interesting that over the last few years when there's been a controversial call in a game that gets national attention the NFL will often make a rule change to ensure it doesn't happen again. And yet thus time they didn't.

• the Tuesday Morning QB this week wondered why it is that a player who covers the ball with his hands and has a knee on the ground is not considered down and therefore is awarded possession of a fumble - and instead a scrum ensues. Good thought.

• the fins have one rushing TD and 9 - can that be right?? - total TDs. Brandon Marshall has just one. Why isn't there more offense???

• Marshall has 42 catches which I never woulda guessed. Except for one catch where he went up high and caught it over the shoulder against the jets, there hasn't been anything memorable from him. Which I find surprising.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking back

Okay. It's Tuesday. Time to stop focusing on the blown call by the officials and consider that it should have never come to that.

I talked earlier about how the fins settled for field goals early on. But this sort of thing went on throughout and was especially noticeable later.

First take a look at the series that started with 5:32 left in the third. Miami started at their own 29 and marched to the Pittsburgh 27. First down is an incompletion to ricky. Second is a run to Ricky that gains 8. Third down Miami goes shotgun (??!!!) and it's an incompletion to Marshall.

It's 4th and 2 at the 19 and in comes Carpenter. That made the score 20-19 in favor of the Steelers. A TD here probably would have salted the game.

Then on Miami's next series, 14:39 to play, the fins get the ball at their own 41. Brown gets a 5 yard gain followed by a 4 yard gain that truly believe was mis-spotted (it should have been a first), followed by another run to Ronnie that was also mis-spotted for no gain.

It's 4th and one at midfield. And the dolphins punt.

And finally it's the series that gave Miami it's short-lived lead. Miami was in a 4th and 2 at the 22 and went for the field goal.

My point is that once in a while you have to - have to - take a chance in these situations!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

An explanation....sort of...

Mike Pereira, former official and now a commentator on officiating said of Sunday's call: 
 
This was a very unusual play. The ruling differs in the field of play if the ruling was down by contact vs. a play in the end zone, when the ruling is a touchdown. In the field of play, had this play happened, Miami would have lost the challenge since there wasn't indisputable visual evidence to determine who recovered the ball. The down by contact ruling would have stood in that case.
 
In this case, the officials ruled touchdown and since the ball was loose before it broke the plane, the touchdown ruling was reversed and the ball is returned to the spot of the fumble. Since the ruling changed from a touchdown to the ball being returned to the spot of the fumble, an aspect of the play was changed and therefore, Miami won the challenge

Which essentially begs the response "hunh?" 

The call was blown, and there's no accountability.

Elections!

This item has nothing to do with football.

But I'd like to remind everyone to do what half the world dreams of: VOTE!

Next Tuesday is the mid-term election.  Get out there and cast your vote and be heard.

And please, please take some time between now and then to familiarize yourself with the candidates and issues.  Don't just vote for someone because they have a (D) or an (R) next to their name, or because of some slick TV ad you might have seen - but which may have been factually inaccurate.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chad Henne

The guy still makes too many mistakes and is slow on reads and locks in on receivers.

Statistically he had a good day but at the end of the game - when Dierdorf suggested it was time for Chad to step up - he essentially failed.

He had a first down to work with at about the 20. A little over two minutes and no timeouts.

The first play was a run that I thought was a reasonable play call with poor execution.

Then they tried to go hurryup to get in another play before the 2 minute warning. They should have let the clock run down.

He hurried it under pressure and Hartline couldn't handle it.

So it's 3rd down and about 8 after the warning. Henne looks deep first and then checks down to Polite. I like Lousaka but to expect him to get 8 is too much. He gets 3.

It's 4th and 5 and the game is on the line. This had disaster written all over it. The steelers blitz. The fins have an ineffective playcall where most receivers are short of the first down.

Henne scrambles out and gets hit as he's throwing. The ball flutters to Harrison who doesn't make the catch - but whatever it's a turnover in any case.

Henne and the fins come up empty. And the fins are 0-3 at home.

A week or so ago I said I wasn't in favor of a QB change. But based on today's performance I think it's time to start warming up Thigpen. Get him more reps in practice because in a week or two I'll be calling for the team to bench Henne for Thigpen

Adventures in officiating

3rd and goal at the 2. Little time left, Miami leading by 2. Rothlisberger calls his own number and dives to the goal line.

Clemons hits him and the ball pops out. But Ben is lunging for the goal line and the official rules TD.

Sparano throws the challenge flag because it's his only option. Ya gotta take a shot.

But as the play was happening, I said to my friends that the officials essentially ruled the play dead when it was ruled a TD and didn't follow the play to conclusion. They *should have* continued to watch the action and ruled on the recovery. So here comes Alama-Francis out with the ball, but they didn't ever rule he had it.

In effect when Sparano threw the flag it was either going to be a TD or Pittsburgh ball at the spot of the foul.

And sure enough that's exactly what happened. It was clearly a fumble, but there was no ruling on the recovery. So the Steelers got one more shot at the one.

At the end of the day the officials blew the call by simply not letting the play conclude.

Wanker of the week

Say what you will about how this game came down to the end, and how it may have been a weird officiating call (more on that later) that ultimately lost the game.  Or how Chad Henne sucked on that last drive.

But lets be honest.  This game was lost in the opening minutes.  Pittsburgh fumbled the opening kickoff, and Miami took over at the Pittsburgh 22.  The playcalls went run, incomplete pass to a back, incomplete pass to a back.  And they settled for a field goal.

Then, on Pittsburgh's next drive, Rothlisberger fumbled and Miami took over on the Pittsburgh 13.  The Dolphins ran 3 times to Ricky, and SETTLED for a field goal.

Tow possessions deep very early, and Miami gets 6 points.  You HAVE TO go for the touchdowns, and play like you want, no expect, to win the game.  Taking 3 points is not having that desire, sorry.

And there were assorted other occasions where the Fins had routes that went short of the first down marker.

Plus the decision to go for one to make it a one-point deficit, rather than a tie hurt them in the end.

And let's see...who is running the offense?  Why that would be Dan Henning.

So for all of these things, Dan Henning, you are the wanker of the week.

I know you've been coaching since football was invented, but grow a pair, would ya?