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One Winning Drive: Gone in 15 Yards

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http://blogs.extremeravens.com/ravens/2009...n-15-yards_156/

 

Let’s start the way we have to… What a season. What a freaking season. We might not be happy to say it today, but Ravens fans cannot walk away from the run these Ravens made with any regrets.

 

But that is plenty of sappiness. Real football talk to follow.

 

The Ravens were simply one-upped tonight. They were in this game until the bitter end - six minutes to play, even - and it is hard to complain about a game that stayed so close for so long. A game that was winnable in so many ways until that six minute mark.

 

The Blame Game:

 

Darren Stone: 40%. Steep, I know, but deserving. Stone cost the Ravens upwards of 30 yards of field position on the most crucial drive of the game. Instead of starting near their own 45 yard line, the Ravens started all the way at their own 14. And instead of needing to game between 20 and 30 yards to get into field goal range, they suddenly needed more than 50 yards. It changed everything. All because Stone wanted to get a lick in that didn’t faze his man anyway. When the Ravens hit the field, Flacco and the entire unit were pressured to pass and get big yardage. And that pressure is a big part of why Troy Polamalu wound up in the endzone just minutes later.

 

Wide Receiving Corps: 25%. The blame here is for a few reasons. First and foremost, for their inability to get open. Flacco was rushed often, sure. But just as often Joe Cool had mountains of time in the pocket and no one to throw to. Good teams, good receivers, can use time to get open. The Ravens were not able to do that. Part of it should be a credit to the Steelers pass defense. Part of it falls on the Ravens receivers.

 

But in addition to their inability to get open, the receivers deserve some blame for just being lazy. There were multiple times - multiple - where Ravens runners were taken down by defenders that should have been blocked. Hines Ward may be hated, but he does his job as a blocker. To Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason: you need to run, and hit your defender. Don’t just assume he is going to let you block him.

 

Cam Cameron: 25%. Cam has done wonderful things for the Ravens this season. His development of Joe Flacco is just the tip of the iceberg. His playcalling in recent games has slipped, however. The Ravens were running plays that took far too long to develop - the kind of plays that never stood a chance against a solid Pittsburgh defense. Additionally, the run game was effective but too often abandoned. Le’Ron McClain was not busting out as he has in the past, but both Willis McGahee (hoping he is okay) and Ray Rice were having success getting around the corner on the Steelers. The Ravens needed to use that more. What was most disappointing about Cameron’s play-calling, though, was the timing. The Ravens wasted too many time outs and too much of their game clock waiting for Cam to find his perfect play. How are Flacco or the offensive line supposed to make adjustments to the defensive scheme with just moments to snap the ball? They simply cannot.

 

Joe Flacco: 10%. Joe Cool was still Joe Cool. But the game finally caught up to him. His passes actually had more zip than normal, especially downfield, but his accuracy was off. The Steelers were able to confuse Flacco and force misreads and mistakes. Ultimately, Joe made several mistakes that seriously cost the Ravens.

 

Mythbusting:

 

Myth: Willie Parker would change the game. Actuality: The Ravens defense handled Fast Willie and he was never a factor in the game. In fact, as predicted earlier, the Steelers’ desire to put the ball in Parker’s hands may have actually cost them some points. Sure they needed to at least pretend like a running team, but using Parker on swings and play-fakes would have been far more dangerous to a battered Ravens defense.

 

Myth: Flacco’s inexperience would be trounced by Roethlisberger’s veteran guile. Actuality: I would not say it was Flacco’s inexperience that cost him the game or many plays. The Ravens offense had plenty of issues as a unit and Flacco hardly deserves the blame. Flacco had this team in a position to win with just minutes left. Roethlisberger, for all his veteran guile, took some costly sacks. Just like Flacco. Neither quarterback won or lost the game for their team.

 

Myth: You can beat the Ravens deep. Actuality: Ok, so the Steelers almost got the Ravens here thanks to that guy with the weird name (I know, I know… it’s Lemony Snicket or something). But much like in previous games, the Ravens were hurt most by mid-range passes and missed tackles. Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington were both benefactors of poor corner coverage on broken plays. But throwing deep was rarely an option for the Steelers and that is a huge part of what kept the Ravens in the game. Underneath, an offense actually has to execute to score. Over the top, anything can happen - mostly for the Ravens good.

 

Other Thoughts:

 

* The Ravens defense was hardly on its best game, but who can blame them. By the middle of the second quarter, the Ravens defensive secondary was ready to start Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason as necessary.

* In the trenches, the Ravens defensive line had their typical success in pressuring Big Ben and flushing him from the pocket. At the same time, they had their typical issue wrapping the massive quarterback up. A number of Ravens missed big tackles. As the Rex Ryan era ends in Baltimore (the move to New York seems imminent now), we might just see a defense more focused on making the play, not creating a highlight.

* Want to talk about heart? Let’s talk Terrell Suggs. Two sacks, both meaningful, while playing with a harnessed right arm. Wrapping up instead of going for the big hit paid off. It took Suggs a quarter to figure out how to move and play with the harness, but he did it.

* And the Emmy goes to… Mitch Berger. He was on the ground before Tori Smith even hit him. He also deserves kudos for his monster tackle on Jim Leonhard (cut back, Jimmy!). But it was his massive flop that cost the Ravens three points. Walt Anderson and crew did a great job all game, until that moment. At the worst, I expected a five-yard running into the kicker. I was wrong.

* Speaking of officials: thank you for staying out of the way. With the exception of the above roughing call above, they did a fine job. The only other call that almost bothered me was the holding call on Jared Gaither, negating a nice gain. Was it holding? Sure. Had they been calling holding all game? No. Meanwhile, the Santonio Holmes touchdown review was technically correct - but might not have been in the spirit of the rule. That’s a replay world, though.

* Sam Koch had a bit of an off day. It took Koch about a half to figure out what he was doing. In the second half, the Ravens were winning the field position battle in part thanks to a rejuvenated offense, but also thanks to Koch’s kicks.

 

Gameballs:

 

Offense: Willis McGahee, RB. Willis had a nice comeback day. While his running was fine (nothing special, but fine) and his scores kept things close, it was his blocking that had me on my feet. I have been on McGahee’s back all season for lack of effort, but today it was all on the field.

 

Defense: Terrell Suggs, LB. As previously mentioned, Suggs had a great day. A pair of sacks and a ton of effort.

 

Special Teams: Jim Leonhard. Leonhard’s big punt return set-up the Ravens first scoring drive and changed the game. He dropped an earlier punt but recovered nicely on the play and through the rest of the game.

 

… back later in the week with grades, end of season awards, flash-forward and overall reviews. Stay tuned.

 

http://blogs.extremeravens.com/ravens/2009...n-15-yards_156/

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One stupid play doesn't have even close to 40% impact on a game, that is absolutely absurd. His 40% should go straight to Flacco, who couldn't make a play to save his life.

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One stupid play doesn't have even close to 40% impact on a game, that is absolutely absurd. His 40% should go straight to Flacco, who couldn't make a play to save his life.

 

We'll just disagree.

 

I value 30 yards of field position in the final minutes of a two point game a whole lot more than a few passes. Even if those passes could go for more than 30 yards. Because there's 22 men on the field on every snap that can alter the outcome in millions of unseen, unknown ways.

 

Darren Stone changed a game all by himself.

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One stupid play doesn't have even close to 40% impact on a game, that is absolutely absurd. His 40% should go straight to Flacco, who couldn't make a play to save his life.

 

Flacco couldn't make a play because he didn't have anyone open. Often as not, there was absolutely nowhere to throw the ball. When your QB is sitting back there for 7-8 seconds while your line picks up a blitz, looking from side to side on the field and not seeing anyone open, there is not much he can do. I put a lot of blame for this on Cam for deciding to call that goddamned stop route to Mason and Clayton so many times, i was wondering when someone would pick up that it was coming. Look at Flacco's first two picks: both were that same little "run two yards past the first down marker and turn around" route. Against a good defense, running the play that often is going to lead to the cornerback jumping it (1st pick) the safety coming underneath (the 2nd) or the guy just not being open (every other time they ran it today).

 

And as for the penalty, how many times do we see how stupid penalties like that have a huge impact on games? JJ in the first game, even back to Orlando Brown in the 2003 playoff game against the Titans. In this game, the personal foul on the Steeler's OL is what brought us back into the game. It pushed them back, made them punt, and allowed Leonhard to get a good return, and set up our first. In all likelihood, that doesn't happen without the penalty. On Stone's penalty, your offense late in the game is going to be so much different if you only have 30 yards to get into field goal range than if you need 55. You worry about running because you don't want to kill too much time in case you have to punt. You press because you feel like you absolutely have to make a play. And most importantly, in a game that is as predicated on emotion and momentum as football is, the feeling of hope and confidence is so much stronger without that penalty. That is why that penalty had such a huge impact on the game.

 

 

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My comments on the blamegame (not necessarily in order of importance):

 

1. The Darren Stone brainfart was huge. I didnt even see it on replay or otherwise. But his bonehead play prevented us from starting near the 40 yd line and needing to go only 20-25 yards to have a FG shot. We had the momentum and he gave it right back to the Steelers. Talk about pressure on a rookie QB.

 

2. Our secondary's tackling (sans Leonard) was atrocius. Unlike the Steeler's, our CBs and safeties like to tackle the helmet and/or ball. Yes, we occasionally get a turnover but often it results in a busted play - see Santonio Holmes 65 yd TD.

 

3. Our WR corps disappeared. I'll put some of the blame on Flacco but our receiving corps is weak, compared to other teams. We deperately need a WR playmaker - an Anquan Boldin type - via draft or free agency. An aging Mason, Clayton and Demetrius Williams (even if healthy in 09) isnt going to cut it. Even if it means giving up an LB (e.g. Bart Scott), we need to get a playmaker on offense.

 

4. Our TE's disappeared, too. Todd Heap is either Mr Softy or is still injured. He can no longer break tackles (as before) and misses balls thta he used to secure. We need to fortify this position in the offseason.

 

5. The playcalling seemed too obvious and predictable. As Flacco improves, Cam will have more confidence in the rookie and the playbook can open up more. Meanwhile, the playcalling yesterday seemed to vanilla.

 

 

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Thanks, Cleetz! I'm trying... sorry for the mid-season lagggg.

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Whenever they showed the camera angle from behind Flacco I almost never saw anyone open. Flacco wasnt great, but he really didnt have much help either. With some time the receivers have to find a way to get open. Plus the only receiver who seems to go up and fight for the ball is Heap, and he had to stay in and block most of the game.

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I agree with someone who posted (here or in another thread) that part of the problem was staying in a max protect all game. We needed the help at times... but no reason we couldn't get Heap, Willis or someone on a little stunt/fake blocking scheme and underneath.

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I agree with someone who posted (here or in another thread) that part of the problem was staying in a max protect all game. We needed the help at times... but no reason we couldn't get Heap, Willis or someone on a little stunt/fake blocking scheme and underneath.

 

The offensive scheme was pretty vanilla and predictable the entire game.

 

Apparently 95% of the plays in Cam's playbook Sunday night were a deep pass to the sideline and a run up the middle.

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Overall OK analysis. However a couple major flaws:

 

Myth: Flacco’s inexperience would be trounced by Roethlisberger’s veteran guile. Actuality: I would not say it was Flacco’s inexperience that cost him the game or many plays. The Ravens offense had plenty of issues as a unit and Flacco hardly deserves the blame. Flacco had this team in a position to win with just minutes left. Roethlisberger, for all his veteran guile, took some costly sacks. Just like Flacco. Neither quarterback won or lost the game for their team.

 

I'd say the QB who put up an 84.8 rating, threw no interceptions and made the play of the game to turn a sack into a long TD had just a wee bit more of an impact over the QB who put up a 18.2 rating and tossed three picks, including the game sealer. Particularly on a day when QB number 1 enjoys no run support. Seriously, you're claiming the QB performances were a wash here? Wow. You're implying Flacco's inexperience didn't rear its ugly head finally? Double wow.

 

Don't forget, Ben had about 100 yards worth of dropped passes. If Sweed doesn't have butterfingers, Ben's passing ends this game at halftime.

 

P.S. Saying Flacco was responsible for having his team in a position to win at the end is like saying the weather is responsible for most divorces. Steeler receiver goofs in the first half, combined with the possum gameplan the Steelers came out with in the second had a lot more to do with the Ravens being in this one than Mr. Threepicks.

 

Speaking of officials: thank you for staying out of the way. With the exception of the above roughing call above, they did a fine job. The only other call that almost bothered me was the holding call on Jared Gaither, negating a nice gain. Was it holding? Sure. Had they been calling holding all game? No. Meanwhile, the Santonio Holmes touchdown review was technically correct - but might not have been in the spirit of the rule. That’s a replay world, though.

 

You naturally mentioned the Berger dive earlier, yet ignored an equally egregious call -- the god-awful pass interference on the Steelers' McFadden that gave the Ravens their first TD. Only the most flag-happy dude drops that one.

 

And as for the obvious hold on Gaither, you're saying the officials should've held onto the flag because, after all, they'd been letting the Ravens' OL get away with it all game? Wow.

 

The officials did their part -- including the ridiculous personal foul on the Steelers' Kemoeatu for pushing away a guy who had a handful of his facemask. That one was about as damaging to the Steelers as the Ravens' guy who got called late you're all cursing out now. If not for the call, that shank punt doesn't sting half as much.

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And special mention to this bit:

 

Meanwhile, the Santonio Holmes touchdown review was technically correct - but might not have been in the spirit of the rule. That’s a replay world, though.

 

Really? I suppose you were all so cool and detached about rule interpretation after the Holmes call at the end of the second game in Baltimore this season.

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And special mention to this bit:

 

 

 

Really? I suppose you were all so cool and detached about rule interpretation after the Holmes call at the end of the second game in Baltimore this season.

 

Or maybe it's because of the Holmes call at the end of the other game that he is so 'cool and detached' about this one. You become less empathetic about these kinds of things after they happen to you enough times. That's why every fan ends up agreeing that "the officials are terrible, but that's just part of the game. You win some, you lose some." Getting upset about the refs has almost become cliche at this point. You expect that some will go your way, and some will go the other way, but you cross your fingers that it doesn't cost you a championship when it happens.

 

Talk to Seattle fans about that one. They'll tell you all about it.

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If you are looking for a bone-head play that changed the game it would have to be Stone.

 

Can't blame it Joe. No he didn't have a good game but as pointed out, the WRs did not help him at all. Ben did a great job of getting free a few time from what looked to be sure sacks but it was the WRS and TE that helped him out. As pointed out the Holmes play. Then there was the TE Miller making something happen when Ben looked dead.

 

Ben did a good job getting out of there but the WR & TE getting open so Ben could see them did a even better job.

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1. My claim is that it wasnt experience that separated Ben and Joe.

 

2. My claim is that if a crew isn't calling the holding all day, it shouldn't arbitrarily decide when to - both teams were guilty often.

 

3. The PI call you hate was a classic case of face guarding.

 

4. The Holmes call in week 15 followed neither the spirit nor the letter of the law. But another poster got it right - it is because of the first call that the second gets less attention.

 

5. The call on Kemoeatu was legit. Happens every game - last punch gets the flag.

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1. My claim is that it wasnt experience that separated Ben and Joe.

 

2. My claim is that if a crew isn't calling the holding all day, it shouldn't arbitrarily decide when to - both teams were guilty often.

 

3. The PI call you hate was a classic case of face guarding.

 

4. The Holmes call in week 15 followed neither the spirit nor the letter of the law. But another poster got it right - it is because of the first call that the second gets less attention.

 

5. The call on Kemoeatu was legit. Happens every game - last punch gets the flag.

 

1. Then what exactly DID separate Ben and Joe?

 

2. Finally, the holding on Harrison got so ridiculous even the most glaucomic ref was embarrassed into dropping the flag. Harrison has been a special case -- of all players on the field he's been held the most this year.

 

3. I'm talking about the first PI call, the second was faceguarding and I have no problem with it. Considering McFadden was BEHIND the WR when the flag was thrown, faceguarding's a pretty unlikely occurrence here. That was just an awful call.

 

4. Au contraire -- side-view replays clearly show the ball breaking the plane of the end zone (in fact CBS showed the replay during the Championship game in case you missed it), meaning that Holmes need only maintain possession -- in or out of the end zone -- for it to have been a legit TD. Again, one of those rules which seems wrong but that's the rule. Just like Steeler fans would have had to live with the call in the championship game should it have made the difference.

 

I personally felt it was wrong -- Holmes took a good 2 or 3 steps, football moves if you will, and seemed like a case of the ground causing a fumble. The official chose to interpret it otherwise. Oh well.

 

My point was, though, there are entire threads here devoted to teeth-gritting about the call and supposed "conspiracies" to help the Steelers in Week 15. I wonder if there would have been any should the situation have been reversed?

 

5. Yeah, last punch sure. But the same ref who saw what Kemo did somehow misses the faceful of mask? Hmmm.

 

The Ravens enjoyed the benefit of a personal foul call almost as harmful to the Steelers as the Stone call was. Just saying.

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1. Then what exactly DID separate Ben and Joe?

 

2. Finally, the holding on Harrison got so ridiculous even the most glaucomic ref was embarrassed into dropping the flag. Harrison has been a special case -- of all players on the field he's been held the most this year.

 

3. I'm talking about the first PI call, the second was faceguarding and I have no problem with it. Considering McFadden was BEHIND the WR when the flag was thrown, faceguarding's a pretty unlikely occurrence here. That was just an awful call.

 

4. Au contraire -- side-view replays clearly show the ball breaking the plane of the end zone (in fact CBS showed the replay during the Championship game in case you missed it), meaning that Holmes need only maintain possession -- in or out of the end zone -- for it to have been a legit TD. Again, one of those rules which seems wrong but that's the rule. Just like Steeler fans would have had to live with the call in the championship game should it have made the difference.

 

I personally felt it was wrong -- Holmes took a good 2 or 3 steps, football moves if you will, and seemed like a case of the ground causing a fumble. The official chose to interpret it otherwise. Oh well.

 

My point was, though, there are entire threads here devoted to teeth-gritting about the call and supposed "conspiracies" to help the Steelers in Week 15. I wonder if there would have been any should the situation have been reversed?

 

5. Yeah, last punch sure. But the same ref who saw what Kemo did somehow misses the faceful of mask? Hmmm.

 

The Ravens enjoyed the benefit of a personal foul call almost as harmful to the Steelers as the Stone call was. Just saying.

 

1. Ben's receivers got open. Joe's didn't. Flacco made some bad throws, but only later in the game when he was forced to (remember his first INT was tipped by his own receiver). Flacco never looked fazed to me. He looked collected until the final drive or two, but 'inexperience' didn't look like the root of his problems.

 

2. Oh... now the truth comes out. Harrison's been held allllll year. He's a "special case?" Give me a break. Who's begging for flags now? Suggs and Pryce get held like beasts every game too. Ed Reed gets held on every punt he tries to block. My point is that in some games officials call holding. In some games they don't. Suggs was tackled from behind on two plays in the game as well. The refs just weren't calling it. My point overall is more that Holding is a ridiculous penalty - it's never called fairly or appropriately. So deciding to call it then just proved that more.

 

3. I must not remember the first call then. I do remember watching both plays and believing, at the time, they were both legit. But I can't argue specifics post-game without rewatching the play.

 

4. I still have never seen a replay that shows, CONCLUSIVELY, that the ball made it to the endzone. Even in the replays on CBS I see a white line, I see Holmes' hands... but when the ball is in Holmes' hands? Where is the tip of the ball? It's all a blur. Even "zoomed up." I'm not complaining about the rule, I'm complaining about replay.

 

As for in the AFCC, again, in the spirit of the rule? Probably not. But by the letter of the law, it wasn't a catch. But when you watch the play at full-speed, not in slow motion, it looks more and more like a drop than a catch. The Ravens have been on the wrong side of that one plenty of times as well.

 

5. Again, last punch rule. It happens every game. Everyone knows it. Two guys are shoving back and forth (for whatever reason) and one guy gives one last shove... he gets the flag. Call it the Hines Ward effect. Ward holds his blocks just a second or two beyond the whistle... the opponent gets pissy and gives a shove... there goes a flag.

 

 

---

I really don't see what you are arguing. I am not claiming that the call on Stone was a bad call. I'm claiming that Stone is a moron and cost his team the game.

 

Regardless of what happened up to that point, it was a two point game and he cost his team 30 yards of field position by trying to be the "bigger man." We can call that the Corey Ivy effect (kind of the opposite of the Hines Ward effect).

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1. Ben's receivers got open. Joe's didn't. Flacco made some bad throws, but only later in the game when he was forced to (remember his first INT was tipped by his own receiver). Flacco never looked fazed to me. He looked collected until the final drive or two, but 'inexperience' didn't look like the root of his problems.

 

2. Oh... now the truth comes out. Harrison's been held allllll year. He's a "special case?" Give me a break. Who's begging for flags now? Suggs and Pryce get held like beasts every game too. Ed Reed gets held on every punt he tries to block. My point is that in some games officials call holding. In some games they don't. Suggs was tackled from behind on two plays in the game as well. The refs just weren't calling it. My point overall is more that Holding is a ridiculous penalty - it's never called fairly or appropriately. So deciding to call it then just proved that more.

 

3. I must not remember the first call then. I do remember watching both plays and believing, at the time, they were both legit. But I can't argue specifics post-game without rewatching the play.

 

4. I still have never seen a replay that shows, CONCLUSIVELY, that the ball made it to the endzone. Even in the replays on CBS I see a white line, I see Holmes' hands... but when the ball is in Holmes' hands? Where is the tip of the ball? It's all a blur. Even "zoomed up." I'm not complaining about the rule, I'm complaining about replay.

 

As for in the AFCC, again, in the spirit of the rule? Probably not. But by the letter of the law, it wasn't a catch. But when you watch the play at full-speed, not in slow motion, it looks more and more like a drop than a catch. The Ravens have been on the wrong side of that one plenty of times as well.

 

5. Again, last punch rule. It happens every game. Everyone knows it. Two guys are shoving back and forth (for whatever reason) and one guy gives one last shove... he gets the flag. Call it the Hines Ward effect. Ward holds his blocks just a second or two beyond the whistle... the opponent gets pissy and gives a shove... there goes a flag.

 

 

---

I really don't see what you are arguing. I am not claiming that the call on Stone was a bad call. I'm claiming that Stone is a moron and cost his team the game.

 

Regardless of what happened up to that point, it was a two point game and he cost his team 30 yards of field position by trying to be the "bigger man." We can call that the Corey Ivy effect (kind of the opposite of the Hines Ward effect).

 

1. I have to wonder sometimes if you really watched the game. Flacco's first pick happened when Townsend stepped in front of the receiver, there was no tip. Townsend -- and please read carefully -- baited him, which is what you do to an INEXPERIENCED young QB. How you claim it is possible for a rookie QB's experience level, in a conference championship game, to NOT be an issue is a bit puzzling.

 

2. Yes, Harrison is a special case -- it was Harrison after all who caused the Ravens to come up with that unbalanced line in the first place. And yes, Harrison does get held more than any other player I've seen, including those on the Steelers. Here's a little piece for you by the way, taken off another site:

 

NFL Recognizes Holding of James Harrison as Official Statistic

 

The sack only became officially recognized in pro football in 1982, but the NFL announced today that holds on James Harrison is now also an official statistic. The decision was made following the regular season and, although it was only made public today, will be retroactive to the Divisional Playoff round.

 

The NFL’s Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Craig Aiello, broke the news in a press release this afternoon. The text of the release follows:

 

As the season wore on, it became clearer and clearer to offensive lineman and their coaches that the only way to stop Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison was to blatantly hold him. Steelers fans have been clamoring for the league to take action, and we have done so.

 

Starting with the Divisional playoff round, we will now begin tracking the number of times James Harrison is held without a flag being thrown, and this will be recorded in the league’s official records. We’re making this move because it’s the right thing to do, and we know the fans will appreciate that we have recognized their concerns.

 

After the briefing, Ailleo confirmed that they will work in conjunction with the Alias Sports Statistics Bureau to iron out any grey areas that might exist over what constitutes a hold, and what does not. He quickly added, “Really, we don’t expect much work on that front because the holds on James Harrison are always quite obvious.”

 

Satirical perhaps, but then again, satire must have an underlying reality to exist. Dig?

 

4. Well then, grab your trusty game DVD -- pause at the point where they flash back to Holmes's catch. The ball, from side view, at one point is clearly in the MIDDLE of the white line, meaning it has satisfied one of the two requirements for constituting a touchdown (the other being the WR maintaining possession to completed catch.

 

I compliment your objectivity on the call that went against the Steelers though.

 

5. Can't argue the second-guy-always-gets-busted thing. Nice job finding a way to bring Ward into it though -- what was that about "oh... now the truth comes out?" or whatever?

 

I'm not arguing Stone cost you big. I'm just pointing out the Steelers had a personal foul that hurt them almost as much. If they hadn't won, it'd be Kemo who'd be in Stone's place.

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1. I have to wonder sometimes if you really watched the game. Flacco's first pick happened when Townsend stepped in front of the receiver, there was no tip. Townsend -- and please read carefully -- baited him, which is what you do to an INEXPERIENCED young QB. How you claim it is possible for a rookie QB's experience level, in a conference championship game, to NOT be an issue is a bit puzzling.

 

Correction - found the replay. You're right. Bad pass. Bad decision. But still not agreeing on inexperience. Played a role? Certainly. But Flacco was never overwhelmed.

 

Well then, grab your trusty game DVD -- pause at the point where they flash back to Holmes's catch. The ball, from side view, at one point is clearly in the MIDDLE of the white line, meaning it has satisfied one of the two requirements for constituting a touchdown (the other being the WR maintaining possession to completed catch.

 

I simply have to disagree. I have seen the replay as many times as anyone, I can never see the ball clearly. The TIP might... MIGHT... be on that white line... but there is nothing conclusive.

 

... And the Ward comment. Come on? I mean, Kudos to Ward for being great at what he does. But he is a master at baiting opponents into penalties. I have often said, I have no idea what he says or does to our guys when he's blocking them or standing next to them that gets them so riled up... but it must be REALLY good. Ward is known for holding his blocks a second too long, pushing and shoving just a bit after the whistle... but its never flag-worthy. And again, kudos to him for knowing the rule. But then our guy pushes back and... voila... flag!

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I have to disagree with you dc. While Flacco was not rattled per say, on his first two interceptions you can definitely see he rushed his decision making in anticipation of the blitz. He looked a little skittish when he knew the blitz was coming from the back side. The good thing is that he knew the blitz was coming, but the bad thing is he threw into bad windows. If you look at the second INT, Clayton was wide open underneath over the middle, essentially a check down. It wouldn't have been a large gain, but it was what we needed at the time only down two points. Flacco did not even look at him. While Polamalu made an excellent play on the ball not many safeties could make, the defender covering Mason certainly had a beat on the ball and would have at least broken the pass up.

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Yeah, but Polamalu's pick is also made with 5-6 minutes remaining in a game when you need to drive upwards of 50 yards. Which goes back to Stone's penalty and field position.

 

If Ben were in a similar spot, maybe he doesn't make the same throw. But feeling "skittish" when down on a final drive with a lot of yardage ahead of you isn't necessarily a sign of inexperience. I can bet you plenty of guys, including Steelers, were skiddish.

 

 

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Yeah, but Polamalu's pick is also made with 5-6 minutes remaining in a game when you need to drive upwards of 50 yards. Which goes back to Stone's penalty and field position.

 

If Ben were in a similar spot, maybe he doesn't make the same throw. But feeling "skittish" when down on a final drive with a lot of yardage ahead of you isn't necessarily a sign of inexperience. I can bet you plenty of guys, including Steelers, were skiddish.

 

I do not disagree with you at all. However, with one timeout, down two, and only about 4-5 minutes left, you have to think that we are in four down territory. A check down to Clayton would have gotten the first down, or close to it. It was the only time all day we had a receiver underneath as a check down for the blitz, essentially what the Steelers offense did the whole day. The Heap crossing route a few plays earlier was also the type of pattern we should have been running.

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Correction - found the replay. You're right. Bad pass. Bad decision. But still not agreeing on inexperience. Played a role? Certainly. But Flacco was never overwhelmed.

 

 

 

I simply have to disagree. I have seen the replay as many times as anyone, I can never see the ball clearly. The TIP might... MIGHT... be on that white line... but there is nothing conclusive.

 

... And the Ward comment. Come on? I mean, Kudos to Ward for being great at what he does. But he is a master at baiting opponents into penalties. I have often said, I have no idea what he says or does to our guys when he's blocking them or standing next to them that gets them so riled up... but it must be REALLY good. Ward is known for holding his blocks a second too long, pushing and shoving just a bit after the whistle... but its never flag-worthy. And again, kudos to him for knowing the rule. But then our guy pushes back and... voila... flag!

 

1. Whether he was "overwhelmed" or not isn't the point. It was about his inexperience, which clearly showed in the game.

You can be calm and collected, and still make bad decisions.

 

2. I guess we'll never agree on the Holmes catch. Trust me, the one replay clearly shows the ball inside the middle of the white line.

 

3. Wait, aren't you the main proponent of the -- what was it you always like to say? -- oh yeah the "last punch rule"? You're not complaining about Ward and any penalties he might provoke are you? Because he's really just following your blueprint for success -- right?

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2. I guess we'll never agree on the Holmes catch. Trust me, the one replay clearly shows the ball inside the middle of the white line.

 

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