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A Few Thoughts about the Steelers Game, in no particular order


Virgil
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For months, fans, radio announcers, and players have all talked about the Bills home opener as being the place to be.  Being at the game today, the fans did not disappoint.  The lots filled up early, traffic was heavy, and the music was loud.  In all my years attending games, that was easily the most electric of a tail gate experience as I can remember seeing.  The weather held off, the Bills are Super Bowl favorites, and they were favored by almost a touchdown.  All that was left was to take care of business...

 

1 - Stadium Experience - I've attended Bills games since the early 90's, attended multiple playoff games, and witnessed huge comebacks.  I write that to give context when I saw that this was the loudest Bills game I've ever been to.  I literally couldn't hear the announcers or the people talking beside me when it was at it's loudest.  At kick-off, there wasn't a single fan trying to find their seats as the stadium was 100% full and rockin.  All of the pre-game hype and ticket prices for this game lived up to the billing.  The rain never came, the wind was rarely a factor, but the food selection was terrible.  I can only speak for the visitors side on the lower deck, but the only food options were pizza and hot dogs.  This is the first Bills game I've ever attended where I couldn't get an italian sausage inside the stadium. 

 

2 - Defensive Line - Of everything going on in the game, I watched the defensive line rotation as closely as possible.  The rotation of the defensive ends appeared to go by series.  Groot was out there for the first two, rotated on the other side by Hughes and Addison.  Groot and Addison appeared to be the most effective.  Oliver played a hell of a game, disrupting the inside and getting pressure quite a few times.  Addison showed good speed on the strip sack and Groot didn't hit home, but got good pressure against a quick pass release and chased a few runs down from behind.  Granted, against a weak offensive line, I expected a bit more production, but the loss of this game cannot be put on the core guys up front.  Harris didn't get anything going on the ground and Frazier did start sending some more guys in the second half.  I'm still not a fan of having so many active lineman, especially when it means keeping Groot off the field.  I can't say I noticed Obada on the field at all.

 

3 - Edmunds - As a player I'm usually pretty hard on, I thought Edmunds had a great game.  He was quick, decisive, and in the backfield on quite a few runs.  His coverage over the middle was strong too.  On the one somewhere deep pass down the middle, the TE slipped and appeared down, only to get up and then sneak down the seem for a catch.  Overall, for those looking for a positive sign that Edmunds might turn it on this year, today was a good first step.

 

4 - I take a walk outside, I'm surrounded by some kids at play
I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear
Mm, and twisted thoughts that spin 'round my head
I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning, how quick the sun can drop away

 

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5 - Allen - When you get paid the second most of NFL quarterbacks, the expectations go through the roof.  Call it sugar high Allen or whatever you want, but Allen was not on his game today and you could see it in his body language.  The pressure was there from Watt and Gordon sometimes, but that was not an excuse for some of the missed throws and poor decisions.  He missed Sanders on a wide open deep ball, but also made some questionable throws downfield to guys double/triple covered.  While playing man in the first half, the Steelers relaxed into zone in the second.  On a few drives, there were receivers being covered on one side of the field by a linebacker in zone, but Allen never looked their way for the easy first downs, as he seemed locked in on his guy.  While not trying to take away from the Steelers defense, the opportunity was there for Allen to deliver and he just wasn't the player we saw most of last year.

 

6 - Wide Receivers - When I think of a stubborn coach, I always think of Mike Martz and his compulsion to prove what he could and couldn't do.  I say that because I feel like Sanders is being force fed down our throats as an offensive weapon.  While he worked downfield on a few plays, he overall acted in the same role as Beasley.  In the red zone, we had Diggs, Beasley, and Sanders out there and I couldn't figure it out.  In the first half, I only counted a few plays where Davis was even out on the field.  The fact that he was on the bench, Kumerow didn't see the field in the red zone, led me to believe that we ran a very stubborn game plan.  The Steelers secondary is one of their biggest weaknesses, and we never really pushed the ball downfield.  It was either a deep shot or something underneath.  The deeper crossing routes were nowhere to be seen and the usage of our 2020 TD receiving leader was abysmal. 

 

7 - Refs - Each official has a specific assignment on the field.  The head ref watches the quarterback, the line judge watches the line of scrimmage.  On deep plays, the deep side judge watches the receivers and plays downfield.  On the pass interference call, please help me understand why the female ref threw the flag from 20 yards behind the play when there was another ref right next to the play and didn't throw a flag?  In watching the replay on the big screen, I did not see pass interference, so I definitely don't know how she saw it from where she was standing.  That was a game changing play (so was the blocked punt), and McD was furious about it.  Even after the Steelers scored a touchdown, McD was in her ear about it until the white hat came over.  The officiating wasn't terrible overall, but it did feel like some of those holds were one sided.  I also argue the hold against Tre.  While contact was made, it felt like hand fighting and didn't affect the play.  Ben through a bad pass and Tre broke on it.  Another call that hurt us badly.

 

8 - Dawkins - For all the focus on Watt, and rightfully so, Dawkins got abused by Gordon on the other side.  Two of his holds were survival holds and he wasn't able to get any push as they tried to power run to his side.  I don't know if he's not fully recovered and in shape from his bout from COVID, but that was not a good look for him and we will need better protection from him on Allen's blindside.

 

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9 - Special Teams - One play shouldn't define a unit, but when it leads to a touchdown, it's hard to not give this unit a failing grade.  McKenzie had a great opening kick off that we squandered into a field goal and Bass is just money.  Haak booted his first punt into the end zone and settled down after that.  On the blocked punt however, our line just crumbled to the Steelers.  I don't know what the miss was, but it seemed like we just got dominated and the game was over from there.  Be prepared for that highlight every time we punt for a few weeks.

 

10 - Coaching - Can someone please get a hold of 2020 McD and tell him we need him back as a coach, because 2019 McD is going to get us in trouble.  If you are going to be cautious, then at least be consistent with it.  The decision to punt on our out 40 in the first half, but then go for it in the second half from further out made zero sense to me.  Allen even tried to keep the offense on the field and was overturned.  The trick play on 4th and one was a travesty and should never be ran again.  Overall, this team was not ready for this game and McD was out-coached by Tomlin.  Daboll had some terrible play calls and didn't seem to know how to use his guys out there.  He was getting great runs out of Motor from the shotgun, and then proceeded to try again later in power formations.  Yes, Allen didn't execute well and that blocked punt was a killer, but I put this loss on our McD and Daboll as much as anyone else.  It was embarrassing and the fans deserved better. 

 

 

One week down and it's not what everyone wanted to see, but it is only one week.  If Allen needs to have a bounceback game, what better team to face than the Dolphins next.  It's frustrating to kill the hype train at our first regular season home game in over 18 months and when the fans showed up like they did, but it's a long 17 game season and there were a lot of positive take aways from today.  I look forward to a new week and a strong season from this team.  We will find out rhythm and get this party started, it's just going to be a little later than we thought.

 

Go Bills!

Edited by Virgil
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A disappointing loss. A disappointing showing in nearly all phases of the game. The Steelers are a tough team. They tackle tough and differently than The Bills do. They lift their opponent off the ground and then slam them into the turf. 
 

McDermott better get this team to play tougher, or it’s going to be a disappointing season. 

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7 hours ago, Virgil said:

 

 

7 - Refs - Each official has a specific assignment on the field.  The head ref watches the quarterback, the line judge watches the line of scrimmage.  On deep plays, the deep side judge watches the receivers and plays downfield.  On the pass interference call, please help me understand why the female ref threw the flag from 20 yards behind the play when there was another ref right next to the play and didn't throw a flag?  In watching the replay on the big screen, I did not see pass interference, so I definitely don't know how she saw it from where she was standing.  That was a game changing play (so was the blocked punt), and McD was furious about it.  Even after the Steelers scored a touchdown, McD was in her ear about it until the white hat came over.  The officiating wasn't terrible overall, but it did feel like some of those holds were one sided.  I also argue the hold against Tre.  While contact was made, it felt like hand fighting and didn't affect the play.  Ben through a bad pass and Tre broke on it.  Another call that hurt us badly.

 

 

 I'll have to watch it again, but I believe she also blew two blatant offsides on the Steelers DL.

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This is a NAILED review. I feel exactly the same way about everything you mentioned, @Virgil

(Nice "Black" reference for #4. I love that you sneak in all my favorite bands in the game write-ups.)

 

I mentioned Sugar-High Josh in the chatboard just a few minutes ago before reading this.....he was definitely off. And the Steelers D played their guts out. 

 

Dumb penalties, dumb mistakes. Week 1, can't over-react yet. If they lose to Miami, cliff-diving time!

Edited by Seasons1992
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I love reading your perspective, @Virgil. The points I most agreed with were about coaching...
 

 led me to believe that we ran a very stubborn game plan

I agree with this. Daboll :palmface:He needs to stop the "cute" plays, especially in 4th down situations.  And I agree, we need 2020 McDermott back. What we saw yesterday cannot continue or this season will be a bust.


 

I don't think Dion Dawkins is back to 100% after his covid illness.

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I may just be trying to make myself feel better, but I'm of the mindset that if Mosely didn't go down in last year's home opener, the Bills lose that game to a shitty team. As the year progressed, so did Josh's confidence, and consequently the confidence of the receivers. 

 

Head-scratching plays notwithstanding, the ridiculous 4th and 1 mistake, the drop by Emmanual, the fake hold on Tre and the blocked punt/TD were the four biggest contributors to the loss. The Steelers Dline destroyed the Bills Oline all game, rarely blitzing, and if can't fix this, it'll be a very long season.

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3 hours ago, IDBillzFan said:

I may just be trying to make myself feel better, but I'm of the mindset that if Mosely didn't go down in last year's home opener, the Bills lose that game to a shitty team. As the year progressed, so did Josh's confidence, and consequently the confidence of the receivers. 

 

Head-scratching plays notwithstanding, the ridiculous 4th and 1 mistake, the drop by Emmanual, the fake hold on Tre and the blocked punt/TD were the four biggest contributors to the loss. The Steelers Dline destroyed the Bills Oline all game, rarely blitzing, and if can't fix this, it'll be a very long season.

Bills dared Steelers to rush with the consistent 5 wide grouping

no chipping allowed of the DEs

 

so much for play action - Josh's forte

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11 hours ago, IDBillzFan said:

Head-scratching plays notwithstanding, the ridiculous 4th and 1 mistake, the drop by Emmanual, the fake hold on Tre and the blocked punt/TD were the four biggest contributors to the loss. The Steelers Dline destroyed the Bills Oline all game, rarely blitzing, and if can't fix this, it'll be a very long season.

 

...and Josh missing a wide open TD to Sanders.   But yet, despite all that cluster&#%$, we still only lost by 7 to a perpetual playoff team.  Very few teams can match what the Steelers' DL can bring, so I'm still confident the Bills can get on track quickly.   Maybe a punch in the mouth is just what they needed after a whole offseason of reading about how great they were going to be.

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8 hours ago, KD in CA said:

 

...and Josh missing a wide open TD to Sanders.   But yet, despite all that cluster&#%$, we still only lost by 7 to a perpetual playoff team.  Very few teams can match what the Steelers' DL can bring, so I'm still confident the Bills can get on track quickly.   Maybe a punch in the mouth is just what they needed after a whole offseason of reading about how great they were going to be.

maybe Dabol needs a literal face punching to get the point across

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On 9/13/2021 at 12:25 AM, Virgil said:

7 - Refs - Each official has a specific assignment on the field.  The head ref watches the quarterback, the line judge watches the line of scrimmage.  On deep plays, the deep side judge watches the receivers and plays downfield.  On the pass interference call, please help me understand why the female ref threw the flag from 20 yards behind the play when there was another ref right next to the play and didn't throw a flag?  In watching the replay on the big screen, I did not see pass interference, so I definitely don't know how she saw it from where she was standing.  That was a game changing play (so was the blocked punt), and McD was furious about it.  Even after the Steelers scored a touchdown, McD was in her ear about it until the white hat came over.  The officiating wasn't terrible overall, but it did feel like some of those holds were one sided.  I also argue the hold against Tre.  While contact was made, it felt like hand fighting and didn't affect the play.  Ben through a bad pass and Tre broke on it.  Another call that hurt us badly.

 

I just want some damned consistency from the refs. The Squeelers got away with several egregious holds. On one of their big offensive plays, I saw at least two that were not called.

 

Either call them all or let the players play. I wish the refs would stop picking and choosing when to enforce the rules. I generally don't subscribe to the theory that the refs are influencing games to benefit gamblers, but damn it's hard not to when the rules are only being enforced in game-changing situations.

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