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I really feel for the defense....


Statick
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(Posting in Pure Football today, due to TATF going batty)

First off, major props to TG for getting his 1000th catch and making it into Canton.

With the exception of one play (the game winning TD run for the Steelers) our defense really put forth a great effort today on the road at Heinz Field. I really feel for those guys.

As for the offense, Mike Mularkey and this dink-and-dunk offense has got to do better to move the ball more efficiently and score TDs instead of FGs. Why Mularkey won't stretch the field with a few downfield throws I'll never figure it out. The Steelers knew we weren't going to throw it for more than 20 or so yards with any frequency and loaded up the box and played man to man press coverage. That stopped our run game and made Ryan have to throw some hellified timing routes just to make yardage. Matt really messed up when he went to the well once-too-often with the long out throw to Roddy that got picked off. Luckily for him, the Steelers missed that FG.

The only positive we had in that overtime was that we won the toss. I am totally surprised at Ovie and Baker pretty much destroying that OT drive, both getting hit for holding penalties.

Yes, this loss hurt, but given that we were playing against one of the Top 3 defenses in the league, I can't feel too bad and linger on it.

I'm really looking forward to our next game.

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First I just wanna say this board still sucks big time on gameday. I've just been able to get back on for the first time since before the game started. Please fix the server!

Here is my honest assessment of the game. It's a tough loss to swallow considering how many positive things we can take away from this game. I know people are all over Matt Ryan for that interception at the end of regulation but that interception had nothing to do with a percieved lack of arm strength on Ryan's part and everything to do with it just being a great play by Polamalu. Sometimes instead of trying to lay senseless blame at the QB's feet it's better to give the defensive player some credit. That interception would have only happened with a few players and unfornately for us Polamalu happens to be one of those players.

Overall I thought Ryan played realatively well when you consider that he had absolutely no help from the running game and that everytime he dropped back to pass he was under heavy pressure. Sure he had a few throws get away from him early in the 1st quarter but after that he was really on his game. There were also a few drops that hurt his numbers.

We cannot expect to get absolutely nothing from the running game all year and expect to be playoff contenders. It is very, very rare that a poor running team makes the playoffs and has success once the playoffs start.

Again a lot of blame should be placed on Mike Mularkey for his at times horrible playcalling. What's the best offense against a team that is constanting getting up the field and in the backfield on every play? If you guessed screen you would be correct. How many screens did the Falcons run today? None that I saw of.

The defense overall did very well expect for the lack of pressure on Dixon. It was unreal how many times Dixon dropped back to pass and had forever to throw the ball. It's no wonder to several plays their were wide open receivers for the Steelers without a Falcon defender even in the picture. But I was happy that the defense was able to keep the Steelers out of the endzone except for that last play. The defense on that last play was horrible.

The special teams weren't so special at times. The kickoff returns by Weems and Norwood were really good but outside of that the special teams was disappointing. I still don't trust Matt Bryant furthur than I can chunk him.

It's only 1 game and minor things like coaching can be improved but they better improve in a hurry or we can kiss the division goodbye. The article written by Pat Yasinkas on his blog is so totally wrong and a major overraction on his part. But he works for ESPN and has been dry humping the Saints since the middle of last season so I expect no less from him. And I can just imagine the tonuge lashing Matt Ryan is getting on the local talk shows. And it's amazing to me that people think Dennis Dixon played better than Ryan today. Dixon should have easily had 3 or 4 interceptions today. The Steelers running game and defense won them that game. Not Dixon. The Falcons lack or running game, bad o-line and horrible play calling lost them this game. Not Ryan.

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Just some quick thoughts; take 'em or leave 'em...

Congrats to Gonzo for getting his 1000+ career receptions. Of course, it took us a while to get it to him.

Michael Turner does not seem very explosive. Maybe it was the line, but then again Norwood looked pretty decent.

Matt Ryan's intercepted pass was a really poor throw that Troy made a really good play on. I wish Matt would learn not to stare down receivers.

Who's fault is it that teams are constantly able to read our snap count? Ryan? MM? The Steelers defense was able to jump us like the Cards did in the playoffs in '08.

I really felt like we should have done more when we were down there at their endzone in the 4th. 3 points is good, but a little confidence could have gone a long way there.

Did our defense really fail us that bad for the last play of the game? It's not necessarily an excuse, but there was a pretty blatent hold to "seal" the block off the edge by the Pitt offense. I think we would have allowed points anyway, even if we had stopped that particular run.

Speaking of which, what happened on the punt in OT? Koenen's kick was shooooort. That was the time that we needed one of his booming deep kicks. I think that was a complete team fail in OT.

Overall, it was the first game and in hostile territory. I hope we can bounce back and put this game far behind us. The defense should rally around their performance and build on the positives.

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Well someone needs to tell Matt Ryan that preseason is over. Heck someone needs to tell Mularkey and the entire coaching staff. Open it up for pete's sake! Other than a few throws Ryan looked awful in preseason and everyone kept saying it's over reactive to get worried. After this game we should all be worried. He looked like a rookie at times. I know the offense is predictable and simplistic, but Ryan was off by a lot on many of those throws. I have no idea what's going on in his head, but this was a real set back. The team looked almost flat, I saw no passion or emotion as I did from the steelers. If I am Blank and Dimitroff I am lighting up the coaching staff today.

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This game was a frustrating, Jekyll and Hyde experience for me:

Felt great about the way our D played--

Felt not so great about out O being unable to score a touchdown--

Felt great about Tony G getting (finally) his 1000th catch--

Felt not so great about Matt Ryan's interception late in the 4th quarter--

Felt great that Roddy had an outstanding game--

Felt not so great about our inability to run the ball--

Felt great that (we got lucky) and the Steelers kicker missed key kicks--

Felt not so great that Matt Bryant missed a kick as well--

My summary comments, FWIW are these:

Great teams who have the ball with nearly 2 minutes left in a tie game will march down the field and score points/find a way to win the game. Period. When it's crunch time, great teams don't throw interceptions, get called for holding penalties in OT, or kick their shortest punt of the game during OT. These errors tend to negate the positives that were achieved during the rest of the game. While we showed moments of greatness yesterday, the combination of these mistakes took us out of a position to win the game and gave the momentum (and ultimately the victory) to the Steelers.

Coach Mike Smith described it as a breakdown in all three phases as the game.

"It was hard-fought for the first 60 minutes," Smith said. "I don't think it was really hard-fought in overtime. In all three phases, we didn't do the things that are characteristic of what our football team is all about. … I did think that the guys fought hard, but we made all kinds of mistakes in overtime and we've definitely got some things to work on."

Can we learn from this game, make the adjustments necessary to RISE UP, win our division, and become a great team?

I believe we can and will do so, and I'm sure that the team will put this loss behind them so they can focus on the next game, but in the short term that doesn't erase the memory of an opportunity lost.

I'm looking forward to being in the GA Dome for the home-opener victory celebration vs. Arizona this Sunday!

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Great posts from all. Two things I got out of your comments...

- What is the deal with the snap count? At one point, a buddy of mine who I was watching the game with (he's a Bears fan, but pulls for the Falcons) asked that exact question after someone jumped the snap. The only thing I was thinking of is that we were going on silent counts, but still, you have to make that adjustment during the game.

- Where were the screen passes? You've got a guy like Turner who wants to get more involved in the passing game and another in Norwood who is already dynamic in it and we threw 0 screen passes. Not sure I agree with that.

All in all though, I have mixed feelings about this game as well. Excitement and dissapointment. If you told me before it started that we would win the toss in overtime of a 9-9 game, I would've sworn we would drive down the field and put it in. Especially since (with the exception of the INT) the passing game was going relatively well in the 4th quarter. 5 years ago, this was a game we would've lost 27-10.

Bad mistakes at key times were the reason we lost this game. With the exception of some offensive playcalling, we didn't really get outcoached and we definitely didn't get manhandled or outplayed on the field. Those mistakes are correctable and we'll have to do it against an ARZ team that almost got a wake up call in Week #1.

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(Posting in Pure Football today, due to TATF going batty)

First off, major props to TG for getting his 1000th catch and making it into Canton.

With the exception of one play (the game winning TD run for the Steelers) our defense really put forth a great effort today on the road at Heinz Field. I really feel for those guys.

As for the offense, Mike Mularkey and this dink-and-dunk offense has got to do better to move the ball more efficiently and score TDs instead of FGs. Why Mularkey won't stretch the field with a few downfield throws I'll never figure it out. The Steelers knew we weren't going to throw it for more than 20 or so yards with any frequency and loaded up the box and played man to man press coverage. That stopped our run game and made Ryan have to throw some hellified timing routes just to make yardage. Matt really messed up when he went to the well once-too-often with the long out throw to Roddy that got picked off. Luckily for him, the Steelers missed that FG.

The only positive we had in that overtime was that we won the toss. I am totally surprised at Ovie and Baker pretty much destroying that OT drive, both getting hit for holding penalties.

Yes, this loss hurt, but given that we were playing against one of the Top 3 defenses in the league, I can't feel too bad and linger on it.

I'm really looking forward to our next game.

Good post it was one game defense played well minus the 50 yard run which looked like their was some holding going on,not saying the Birds would have won,but it was holding and it was pretty obvious.

Falcons will be fine how knows they might had needed this wake up call for the rest of the season. I know they can play much better than that.

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How did Norwood look good? He had 2 carries for 8 yards. We definately needed to give him more touches.

As as I mentioned early the best play against a fast defense that is all over the QB on ever play is a screen and we didn't run the first screen pass the whole game.

Yes Ryan was off on some of his throws but that was mostly early in the game. After about the 3rd offensive series Ryan was very sharp on his throws. He had at least 3 drops that I counted. 2 by Norwood on dump off passes and 1 by Roddy. 2 of the drops happened on 3rd down which ended drives.

Also where was the deep passes? We only had like 3 passes over 20 yards in the game.

Ryan is being held back by the horrible play by the o-line and the bad play calling.

Oh and if you don't think coaching can make a huge difference in a QB's performance just check out John Elway. His numbers when Dan Reeves were coach were mearly avery at best. After Reeves was fired Elway put up great numbers.

In 10 years under Reeves Elway had a 54.7 completion percentage with 158 touchdowns and 157 interceptions.

In 6 years after Reeves was fired Elway had a 60.0 completeion percentage with 142 touchdowns and only 69 interceptions.

Oh and Ryan was 27 of 44 for 252 yards. That was not a bad game against a top 5 defense. It wasn't the **** Rams we were playing for crying out loud!

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How did Norwood look good? He had 2 carries for 8 yards. We definately needed to give him more touches.

In his defense, he made a phenominal shoe string catch to get a first down. But then in your defense, he did drop a key pass late in the game because he was worried about getting drilled.

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(Posting in Pure Football today, due to TATF going batty)

First off, major props to TG for getting his 1000th catch and making it into Canton.

With the exception of one play (the game winning TD run for the Steelers) our defense really put forth a great effort today on the road at Heinz Field. I really feel for those guys.

As for the offense, Mike Mularkey and this dink-and-dunk offense has got to do better to move the ball more efficiently and score TDs instead of FGs. Why Mularkey won't stretch the field with a few downfield throws I'll never figure it out. The Steelers knew we weren't going to throw it for more than 20 or so yards with any frequency and loaded up the box and played man to man press coverage. That stopped our run game and made Ryan have to throw some hellified timing routes just to make yardage. Matt really messed up when he went to the well once-too-often with the long out throw to Roddy that got picked off. Luckily for him, the Steelers missed that FG.

The only positive we had in that overtime was that we won the toss. I am totally surprised at Ovie and Baker pretty much destroying that OT drive, both getting hit for holding penalties.

Yes, this loss hurt, but given that we were playing against one of the Top 3 defenses in the league, I can't feel too bad and linger on it.

I'm really looking forward to our next game.

Nice post Statick. I have to say it is quite refreshing getting out of TATF for a while. I don't want to sound like a broken record because most of my thoughts are scattered through TATF, but my concern is the offense as well.

I'm not calling for MM's head, beacause firing a coordinator midseason would not do is any good. It is just frustrating to watch our guys NOT being utilized correctly. Obv I am a fan, and he is a coach. This is just based on my opinion, and what I see every game. Like I have read about 847568935768 times in TAFT, I just don't understand why we don't run screens, it doesn't make any sense. Especially when we have the Steelers were blitzing all day long. But, it is what it is. I'm over the loss, and I think we will be ok.

I was impressed with the defense as well. If our defense and offense can fire on all cylinders at the same time each game, we will be a force this year. I am looking forward to AZ.

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