Friday, 11 September 2009

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!

So the pro season kicked off last night.

If you don't want to know the result, well, tough.

Pittsburgh took the game in OT, leaving Tennessee ruing two missed field goals in the first half (one was blocked, but we'll count both as missed against the kicker - the first was a terrible snap, but it isn't sure how much this contributed to the push across the face).

The main things of note were - Tennessee moved to a rush four cover 2 scheme in the second half, which the bobbleheads were correct in noting allowed Ben R to hold the ball and pick open receivers. There's nothing inherently wrong with going rush 4 cloud, but the vanilla "run straight forward" bull rush did absolutely nothing against the (let's face it) not very good Steelers line. Pump fakes pulled safeties left and right, and a couple of gaping holes in zones allowed Holmes and Ward to rack up killer amounts of yardage.

Mewelde Moore was the best back for the Steelers, mainly because he's a useful pass blocker with an uncanny knack of slipping open under or over the linebackers in zone coverage to keep the chains moving. Mendenhall had 4 carries for 6 yards, and I don't remember his name being called even that often. His abortion of a run where he missed the handoff mesh point and smashed into his QB on his first carry was his most memorable move. The abominable failure to move the chains on 3rd and short will kill this team unless it is fixed, or unless there is some kind of radical scheme/plan change, where draw plays are brought in to exploit the quality passing game. In fact, the play action to draw action (fake hand off, fake pass, draw play) you see from the Colts would be pretty useful, as Ben R holds the ball for so damn long anyway.

Kenny Britt looked pretty solid for a rookie wide out, which is positive news for the Titans.

Oh... and the Madden curse killed Troy. Some games I think the announcers focus on him because of his unique appearance, but last night he definitely deserved the hype, seemingly being involved in every play for the first half dozen drives. His highlight reel moment was a one handed catch reminiscent of the Braylon Edwards take at Michigan or the freak "catch of the year" at a 1AA school last year - up, stretch, grab the end of the ball, tuck it in, get up, get moving. Astonishing. For me, his closing speed and grit were more impressive, but I'm a fat guy, so there. Unfortunately Alge Crumpler is also a fat guy, and having him fall on your knee whilst you're trying to recover a blocked kick, and then another buffet muncher dropping on your body, well, that looked like it hurt. Strained MCL, and Pittsburgh struggled much more with Johnson's speed in the the 3rd and 4th quarters in Troy's absence.

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