"Nut-Up or Shut-Up II:" Steelers Must Crush "Ginger Spice" and Co. Tomorrow

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Messages to All Units and Coach Tomlin

Defense:

Defense, you did a fine job last weekend.  You forced 4 Turnovers and kept the Chiefs out of the End Zone.  However, you did all of this against a Tyler Palko led unit.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a stellar effort to save the Offense’s “bacon” that night.  However, this should be the kind of day put up against every opponent that isn’t an Offensive Juggernaut.  Letting teams gash you on the ground on 1st and 2nd Downs is downright unacceptable!  Allowing teams to pick you apart because of 3rd and Manageable situations is simply pathetic!  Heed Sensei John Kreese’s advice tomorrow against Andy Dalton and: “Sweep the Leg.”

This type of crap cannot happen on dying quail passes, Image Courtesy of mysanantonio.com

You take away “Ginger Spice’s” running game with Benson and Scott and you can tee-off against him.  Sure he may be able to go to A.J. Green, but the guys in the Defensive Backfield have been doing a nice job as of late, and I’m sure Ike can do at least a passable job against Green.  As for the pass rush, let me just say this: Forcing no pressure and getting 0 sacks in your last meeting was a downright joke!  Yet even with no pressure, your unit won the game and saved the day with 2 key turnovers.  Deebo, Worilds, and Woodley must do something to disrupt Dalton’s timing, because he can make all the throws and he will be hungry to avenge last month’s defeat.

So Defense, how about you go out there tomorrow and prove all of the naysayers wrong?  You know the jagoffs that call you boys “Old, Slow, Ineffective.”  Moreover, how about you stop all of this media-fluffing over Andy Dalton.  This is a guy that has only beat one +.500 team (6-5 Tennessee) this season and had a pathetic 15-30 2 INT day against you guys in your last meeting.  Apparently, he is the new hot-shot QB that nobody can stop.  I know that I don’t buy it.  The guy’s got skills, don’t get me wrong, but Dick LeBeau Coached are 13-1 against Rookie QB’s and the only one that beat you played against your 2nd and 3rd stringers.  All I can say is that Defenses that win titles certainly don’t lose games to Rookie QB’s playing at Heinz Field in December games.  You agree, Dickie?

Offense:

Offense, what can I say?  Ben, keep doing what your doing big guy.  You are an absolute warrior who is unfazed by pain and crappy play-calling from the sidelines.  You’re a bit like Dalton from “Road House.”  You’re a relentless competitor that simply won’t quit.  Even though you are injured, a solid day is still needed from you.  I’m wholeheartedly sure that you won’t disappoint us though.

O-Line, all I will say is don’t let the $100+ Million Man get the tar beat out of him like in the last matchup.  Just find any and all ways to keep him off his back and he will pick apart the Cincinnati secondary.  Cincinnati has a terrific Front 4 Rotation, I get it.  But Ben can’t pull his Houdini magic on every play.

WR’s and TE’s please just catch the ball.  Wally, you’re reminding me of Clifford Franklin from “The Replacements,” only you aren’t funny.  Cincinnati could be missing their Top 2 Corners tomorrow (Hall is for sure a no go), and it’s up to you guys: Wally, A.B., Manny, Hines, Jerricho, Heath, Johnson, and Weslye to really make them pay.  Just catch what is thrown in your direction and all will be well.

 

But you, Bruce Arians, have I got a bit to say to you.  For the sake of brevity I won’t go into the ridiculousness of last week’s play-calling so let me say one thing.  Victory tomorrow rests with you.  What should have been an easy and cake-walk win last weekend (and also against Cincinnati) turned into nail-biters with your ridiculous play-calling after the 1st Quarter.  The talent that you have at the skill positions the bar-none the best in terms of athletic ability that this franchise has ever had.  It would be nice to see drives finished and the play-calling step up a notch when your team has the ball in the Red Zone.  1 TD in the final 3.5 Quarters of play will not cut it like it did the last time you played Cincinnati.  The Bengals will be hell-bent on not spotting you 14 points off the bat like they did last game.

Will this be the week it all comes together? Please make it so Brucey, Image Courtesy of steelers.com

In the passing game, get the ball out of Ben’s hands quickly on short drops or in the Shotgun and pick on the Bengals’ 2nd and 3rd teamers.  Cincinnati’s pass rush sacked Ben 5 times during the last game, and with Ben’s thumb smarting you need to give him every sort of advantage because the O-Line is shoddy as always.  Get the screen game going if they play zone and off-man and have Ben get the ball to his playmakers in space.  They move up, then hit them with a bomb with Wally.

Cincinnati has a fine Run Defense, and that’s good for them.  But you should use your pass-catchers and Ben’s ability to throw to open up the run game.  If Mendy and Redman can face 6 in the box or less, they can eat up yardage and Redman has shown a knack for running really well out of the Shotgun formation.  Please at least consider using the quick passing to set up the run this week, because running straight at an opposition’s strengths is never a good idea.

Special Teams:

All I’ve got to say to the coverage units is this: Don’t make big mistakes.  Just cover kicks and punts well like you did in the last meeting and everything will be fine.  It certainly wouldn’t hurt if you could cause a turnover (Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, and Jason Worilds I am looking at you), but hey just cover everything like you have all season: effectively.

Suisham and Kapinos, just perform when your number is called.  Hopefully you aren’t needed to play awesome games and be the heroes, but if your number is called you might need to step up your games.

Manny and A.B..  Tomorrow would be a great time for a KR and/or PR for a TD.  Both of you did so well last year, and A.B. you’ve had a couple of “so-close” ones this season.  Games like this are decided on big plays, so if you can find a way to go above and beyond a take one to the house, this would be the time to do it.

Coach Tomlin:

Coach Tomlin,  I’m 100% behind you and have faith that you will have your boys ready to play.  Despite your age, you’re a veteran Coach with a Super Bowl win and 2 appearances under your belt.  Thus, I need not explain the magnitude of this game to you and your ball-club.  You’re at home, and you and your team can dash the dreams of your upstart opponent in one foul swoop.  Just get them ready to play and all should be fine.

 

Conclusion

Sure, your 8-3 record is nice and sparkly, but you’ve either lost games that you should have won (Houston and Baltimore 2nd), or simply played patty-cake with inferior foes (Indy., K.C.).  It’s December now, you know the season where Tony Romo starts to play like a pre-pubescent 11 year old girl, and Philip Rivers actually wins games.  There can be no excuses made for shoddy play, and the only thing that should be par for the course for your squad is winning.

So what’s it going to be Steelers?  You going to turtle and take it up the tail-pipe like you did in 2009?  Or are you going to respond in a similar fashion to ‘08, where you dispatch opponents not on your level with ease?  I got faith that the Bye Week’s rust caused last Sunday’s performance and you’ll be focused on the task at hand.  Now it’s time to “Nut-Up.”  Otherwise you could be watching the Playoffs at home come January.

 

Follow me on Twitter (@DominicDiTolla)

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