2016 Season Blog.

Pats Vs. Pitt.

3rd Quarter.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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The Most Important Drive of the Game.


The Pats essentially go three and out, with a Holding call on Solder, and are forced to punt. "I think the Steelers are a good defensive team and they give you some different looks," BB said. "I thought we had our moments. There were times when we pass blocked well. There were times where we ran the ball well and had good blocking. We also had good running from LeGarrette and we had some run-after-catch plays, like the screen pass by James was a good run, but also there were two very good blocks on that play from Thuney and  Andrews.

"We had a couple of breakdowns in protection where we got called for a penalty or didn't have time to hold the ball. There were also times that we were able to extend the play. We made our share of plays. They made a few against us so I think there were a lot of good things there but not perfect; still things that we can work on and improve on like there are every week."

1st and 10 Steelers lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 3-4 with a Chung in the box. They are playing run from start to finish on this play. They gave the ball to Bell, and turned it into a scrum, and the giant scrum-circle of players were pushed past the 30.

2nd and 3, the Steelers lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 3-4. They ran a reverse, and most of the defense flowed to Bell. Brown ran all the way across the field untouched.

1st and 10, Steelers lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel with Hightower and Ninkovich on the line. Ninkovich got dragged all the way outside, from the side, by the ORT. He Held him inside long enough for Bell to run past him.

That sure looked like a Hold to me. "Tough," BB said about Bell. "He's an excellent receiver. He's got great, short-space quickness. He breaks a lot of tackles, and makes a lot of people miss where they really can't get their hands on him to tackle him. It seems like you hit him and you have him stopped, but it's four or five yards later until he's on the ground. He's one of the best backs in the league.

"To be able to play against players not in our division is good. He's a really good player. Between him and Brown, we tried to do as much as we could on those two all day. They still were productive, but we put as much coverage and as much defense on them as we could. They're hard to stop." Chung popped Bell out of bounds after ten.

1st and 10, the Steeler lined up in a Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel. Anthony Johnson got the best jump right off the snap. He was a full step ahead of everyone else. But he got cut by the ORG. Then he jumped up and dived into Bell from the side, just as Branch tossed the OC aside and crushed Bell from the other side.

The undermanned D-line came through again. "We played the run well anyway, in terms of average per carry and that type of thing," BB said. "We did pretty well with the people we had in there; it just meant there was a little more duty for them. A.J. [Anthony Johnson] gave us some plays in there although his role is a little bit more in the passing game than the running game." They needed Johnson to step up, as well as Branch and Brown, and they did. But the Steelers were still able to kick a field goal. Pats-14. Steeler-13. Ugly Referring-4.

The Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback, with the game slipping grossly out of their hands (uglyly isn't a word, right?). Brady handed the ball to Blount. Andrews and Thuney won right off the snap. Andrews turned the NT and sealed him inside. Thuney blast off into Timmons, and turned and pushed him five yards sideways to the Strongside of the field.

Blount slashed right through the hole that Timmons was filling when Thuney dominated him, and went untouched for 5-yard. Tuitt grabbed him just enough to slow him down, or he could have been running for a while. Blount tossed him aside, but it allowed Mitchell to reach him, and three other defenders helped him down.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a Singleback. Blount ran straight downhill to the left again. He flew behind Solder and Gronk at full speed, with Edelman trying to block Burns 10-yards down field. Edelman knocked him back 10-yards, and Blount took off down the sideline over midfield. He cut back and made Burns miss at the 45. He was taken down by two defenders five yards later.

That was pure power blocking by the entire offence, and great downhill running by Blount. "He gave us a couple big runs there to settle things down where it just wasn't a pass-rush game for them all day," BB said about Blount. "They had some good pressure early in the third quarter and got us in some long-yardage situations with holding penalties, and having the quarterback force the ball out quickly. His runs were able to settle us down. I thought our offensive line along with the receivers and the tight ends had some good blocks. We ran behind Bennett and Rob a lot."

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback and ran Blount again, but he looked a little pooped out. They subbed out Blount on 2nd and 9, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun, trips-R. Brady hit Edelman dragging outside underneath Gronk.

3rd and 7, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun, with trips-R. White chipped on Chickillo. Brady fired in rhythm to Gronk tearing down the seam. "It was just a play where there was a split safety and I just had a little bender to go right up the middle," Gronk said. "A little seam route that bended between the split safety, and I just had a good look. And Tom threw the ball perfectly, right on the money for me to make the play and I just had to run, give a little move and run full speed. Just good execution overall." Gay tried to jump on his back inside the Five to stop him, as if.

Gronk scored so easy that it should be a crime. "When we did get down there that was a big plus for us," BB said. "We were able to put the ball in the end zone three times. Then we were able to hit Rob Gronkowski on the middle read for a big play from a little further out. The big point is a lot of guys stepped up." That drive was really the key to the game, even though Gostkowski missed the extra point. Pats-20. Steelers-13. Ugly Referring-4.

It was so important to regain control of this game, after the Steelers dominated them for about a quarter and almost tied the game at 14-13. "It was just good execution," BB said. "I thought we ran the ball great on that drive. We really got the hat on hat and gave LeGarrette Blount the space to run. He's just so deceptive with his quickness and he's a big back, but he's got great agility.

"He makes yards after contact and gets guys in space. He does a great job attacking the creases there. He had a great day today. Then finally it got to that third down with Gronkowski and he just ran through the middle of the defense. Looks like they lost track of him for a little bit. He made a great catch. It was a big score for us. Then we had another on the next drive, which was good. Our execution could definitely be better. If it was, we could have scored more points." That was the most important drive of the game.

Gostkowski missed the field goal, and now it is getting serious. "I certainly get where you're coming from," BB said. "I don't think that's the case here. I can't speak for other teams. I think Joe [Judge] is very knowledgeable about the techniques of kicking. I know when I became a special teams coach and coached special teams for many years as an assistant coach and I continue to be involved with it as a head coach, but for many years as an assistant coach that's one of the things I had to learn.

"I had to learn how to coach those individual specialists; the snappers, the kickers, the punters, the returners. I don't think it's any different than coaching any other position. Things you don't know you need to learn and the things you do know you need to be able to teach to the players, however you've acquired that information. And some of that certainly comes from the players, especially when you coach good players at the position that you're coaching.

"You can learn a lot from them just like I learned a lot from many of the players that I coached going back to people like Dave Jennings as a punter or Carl Banks or Lawrence Taylor or Pepper, guys like that as linebackers for the Giants. However you acquire that information you acquire it. You have to be able to convey it and teach it to the players and recognize technique or judgment. I mean look, there's a whole host of things that go into performance but all of the things that are related to those, but you know, be able to figure out which ones are the most important, which ones need to be corrected and so forth, but I think Joe is very knowledgeable in that, as was Scott O'Brien.

"I've had a lot of experience with that myself. But that's what coaching is. If you don't know it then you've got to find out. Nobody knows everything. I mean no coach knows everything about every position. Maybe if a guy has played it for a decade he might be well-versed in that position but I'd say for the most of the rest of us that haven't done that, things you don't know you've got to learn. You've got to find out. You've got to figure it out." The pooch kickoffs are clearly affecting him.

It is time to stop changing his kicking rhythm on kickoffs. "I think they're definitely different," BB said about the two types of kicks Gostkowski is now forced to do. "I don't think there's any question about that. It would be like a golfer. You've got to be able to hit a sand wedge, you've got to be able to hit a five iron, you've got to be able to drive, you've got to be able to putt. That's what kickers and punters do. There's plus-50 punts, there's field goals, there's kickoffs, there's back up punts, there's punts against a heavy rush, there's punts against a six-man box where both of the gunners are getting double teamed.

"And just like golf there are wind conditions and not wind conditions and so forth. It's not like they're standing out there on the driving range and banging the ball away every time. Especially on place kicks, you're dealing with a center and a holder and timing on the play so it's not like you're just placing the ball down there on a tee and kicking it like you are a golf ball or a kickoff. Yeah, they're definitely different.

"Whether it's a punter or kicker you're talking about, they have to master different skills, different kicks, different types of kicks, different things that are specific to their position just like every other player and every other athlete for the most part has to do. If you're a basketball player you can't just shoot free throws. You've got to be able to make some other shots, too. That's part of the position. Being able to do the things that are required of that position, and yeah, they're not all the same. But I don't think they're all the same for anybody." This has to be fixed.

The Steelers drive back down field and end of the 3rd quarter. Some guy named Hamilton had the big plays. But they are only able to kick a field, as the Pats D held again. Pats-20. Steeler-16. Ugly Referring-4.

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