Monday, November 1, 2010

Nightmare on Bourbon Street: Steelers Lose


The Steelers were wearing their away white jerseys for the first time this year, after Tennessee, Tampa, and Miami foolishly made them wear their home blacks. The Steelers are 5-0 in the home blacks this year.

The Steelers win the toss and take the ball.

The Steelers run their first successful screen pass since 1979 and Mendenhall picks up 9. Rashard moves the sticks on a pitch play, but the drive stalls out in the next set of downs when Flozell whiffs on a block, forcing Ben to throw before Moore looks for the ball. Punt.

The Saints start things off with some dink-and-dunk passes and pick up a first down. LeBeau starts to dial things up and move the linebackers around and Brees can't find anything. Punt.

Redman starts things off with a nice run of 11 yards around the left end. The Steelers get stuck in another 3rd and long and line up in 5-wide and the Saints show pressure so Ben makes the smart move and calls timeout. Out of the timeout, the Steelers line up with 2 blockers but the Saints bring more guys, and Ben gets swarmed.

Tomlin makes a dumb decision to challenge a fumble on the punt return, costing the Steelers their second timeout and a challenge. Lance Moore was down by contact. Saints ball.

The Saints come out with more passing, getting 9 on a screen pass then no gain on a swing pass that Woodley blows up. The Saints try their first run of the game on 3rd and inches and James Farrior absolutely stones Ivory in the hole. Sean Payton isn't phased and goes for it on 4th and 1, running to the other side and picking it up. The defense steps up and lays some big hits from Timmons and Polamalu, forcing the Saints to punt again.

Mewelde Moore gets a turn to tote the rock and rips off a big run up the middle. Arians goes back to the WR screen for 1, run the ball for 1, go 5-wide on 3rd and 8 offense that he loves so much. Ben underthrows Hines with 3 guys in his face.

Sepulveda is able to flip the field a bit and the defense responds by forcing a 3-and out. The Steelers are finally able to set up a punt return and Manny hits a seam and barely gets brought down from behind after a 38-yard return to set up the Steelers at the Saints 44.

Ben goes play-action and looks downfield but everything is covered so he checks it down to David Johnson for a 9-yard gain.

Second Quarter

Mendenhall gets the call on the first play and moves the chains. After a few more runs with a screen to Mendenhall mixed in, the Steelers find themselves in their first 3rd and manageable at the Saints 12. Ben is able to step up away from pressure and find EL YEAH wide open inside the 5. 

El dives for the end zone and it's called a touchdown, but Payton challenges and wins, giving the Steelers the ball an inch from the end zone. Redman gets stacked up in the backfield on first down then Mendenhall comes up just short on 2nd down. The Steelers try the same run over right tackle on 3rd down and Rashard gets stacked up again when David Johnson whiffs on a block that would have sealed the corner. Tomlin calls on Reed to put the first points of the game on the board.


The defense forces a 3rd and 6, but Brees is able to stand in with only a 4-man rush and hit an out-route for a first down. The defense really came to play tonight. Ike brings down Colston just short of the sticks on 3rd down, forcing another punt.

Ben gets some time to throw and finds Mike Wallace open across the middle. Wallace takes a pop but holds on to the ball to get the Steelers out of the shadow of their end zone. The drive stalls out when New Orleans starts to bring pressure and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sacks Ben on 3rd and long.

Lance Moore, who got pounded on an earlier kick return by Stevenson Sylvester, calls a fair catch on the punt with no one within 20 yards on him.

Harrison comes inside on a stunt and just annihilates Drew Brees.

Two Minute Warning

Brees tries to sling it downfield but Ike Taylor steps in front of the ball and pulls down the interception, giving the Steelers great field position at the 35. 

Ben steps up and barely underthrows El in the end zone. On a free play, Ben hits Wallace on the sideline and he makes a move upfield to get some extra yards and a first down. Hines gets called for a pass interference call for pushing off when Ben tries to hit him down the seam. Weak call. If Hines was 2 inches taller, Darren Sharper would have hit him helmet-to-helmet. Three incompletions later, Reed gets called on to try a 51-yarder. He hooks it to the left, giving the Saints great field position with 1:11 left and 1 timeout.

Brees goes to work and starts slinging it around the field, not even being phased by a holding penalty, easily moving the Saints into field goal range. The Steelers catch a break when Ladell Betts drops a 3rd down pass, forcing a field goal. 


Third Quarter

Jason Worlids makes a touchdown-saving tackle near midfield on the opening kickoff.

Brees goes right back to work picking the Steelers defense apart, moving the Saints down the field into the red zone. Brees converts a 3rd down with a play-action pass to the full back, getting the Saints inside the 5. Troy takes a pass interference call to prevent a touchdown, giving the Saints the ball on the 1. The defense steps up and shuts it down at the goal line, with Chris Hoke and Lawrence Timmons making tackles in the backfield to push the Saints back to the 6. Field goal.


Sanders fumbles on the kick return when he's hit from behind, but Isaac Redman is on the spot and is able to fall on the ball, keeping possession for the Steelers.

Ben gets some time on second down and is able to find El for 9 to set up 3rd and short. Redman converts to move the sticks. A holding call sets the next drive back, and Ben is almost able to convert it by hitting El on a slant to set up 4th and 4. The Steelers opt to go for it with the ball on the 40, but Manny Sanders can't come up with the pass. Turnover on downs. 

The defense has two good downs, but Brees is able to step up away from pressure and hit Meachem for a first down across the 50. The Steelers force another 3rd down but Brees goes to Shockey to move the chains again. What a boring quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Saints convert another 3rd down to move inside the 20. Brees hits Colston on an out-route in front of B-Mac and Colston is able to get the ball inside the pylon. 



Ben comes out going to work, hitting Spaeth and Ward to move out across midfield. A quick-hitter to Wallace sets up a 2nd and 1 from just inside the 40. They run the same play Mendenhall took for a TD in overtime against the Falcons and it produces the same result as RAISE SOME goes 38 yards untouched to paydirt.



The Steelers force another 3rd down, but Brees gets time to throw and finds Robert Meachem wide open down the left sideline for a 50-yard gain to get all the way down to the Steelers 25. Brees moves the Saints into 3rd and 4. B-Mac makes a huge defensive play coming on a corner blitz knocking the ball out and LaMarr Woodley falls on it to give the Steelers the ball back with 8 minutes to go.


Ben gets things rollng with a pass to Spaeth to get it out across the 40. Two plays later, Ben hits Heath down the seam. Heath starts rumbling but the ball gets knocked out of his hands and Darren Sharper recovers for the Saints.

Brees comes right back with some quick throws to get across midfield. The Saints catch a break when Harrison is called for roughing the passer, moving the ball down to the 20. The Saints run a pick play to free up Lance Moore and convert a 3rd down inside the 10. Then Brees goes play-action and hits Moore over the middle for the score.

Moore took a whack from Polamalu and held onto the ball. Gotta give credit to Moore for hanging on.


The Steelers are behind the 8-ball down by 10 with 2:31 to play. It gets worse when Ben gets sacked on first down. Heath gets his second grab of the game to get it back to 3rd and manageable.

Two Minute Warning

Ben hits Manny on an out-route to move the chains and keep things rolling. Ben steps up in the pocket, trying to make something happen and floats one out to Wallace on the sideline. The pass gets picked off and that's all she wrote.

Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Rashard Mendenhall
Defensive Game Ball: Lawrence Timmons

Honorable Mentions:
Ike Taylor
Bryant McFadden
James Harrison
Casey Hampton

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Missed Opportunities

It's really all this game came down to. The Steelers had their opportunities to make things happen and just didn't convert. First and goal from the 1 and they settle for 3. David Johnson missed a block that would have got Rashard in. Flozell missed a block on a big 3rd down that caused a sack. The O-line struggled with DE stunts all game. Manny Sanders couldn't come up with the 4th down pass. The pass may or may not have been intended for Hines, who was streaking open down the sideline behind Sanders. The Defense created 2 turnovers. The offense didn't get points off of either.

Final Thoughts
  • Stat of the Game: Saints 1-for-7 on 3rd Down conversions in the first half. 6-for-8 in the second half. That makes all the difference in the world.
  • Brees threw for 305, but he also attempted 44 passes and they only ran the ball 21 times.
  • Good game by the run defense holding the Saints ground game in tact.
  • Much like the Baltimore game, 0 points off of 2 turnovers.
  • Brees completed passes to 9 different receivers tonight. Wow.
  • Decent job by the Steelers running the ball today. Mendenhall had a solid 71 yards on 15 carries. 
  • New Orleans had the ball 10 more minutes than the Steelers did. If you give Drew Brees that much more time on offense, he's going to beat you.
  • I had no problem whatsoever with the holding call against Jonathan Scott, but I don't see how that's different than what happens to James Harrison every play. If you're going to call it on one team, you have to call it on the other team.
  • The Steelers are going to be an angry team going into Cincinnati next week.
  • I said before the Miami game that we would be in good shape if we could go 2-2 through the Gauntlet of the schedule. We're 1-1 right now and still in good shape.
  • If we're going to lose, it's better to lose to an NFC team because it doesn't hurt us in playoff tiebreakers.
  • Great defensive gameplan by the Saints, it was reminiscent of the one the Eagles ran against us in 2008. Blitz, blitz, and blitz some more.
  • Lawrence Timmons, what a player. He needs to go to the Pro Bowl. Led the team with 12 tackles tonight. He was everywhere.
  • Great game by Ike Taylor as well, nice to see him come down with an INT as well.
  • Bring on the Bengals.

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