|Did inside info from coaching staff help Arizona beat Pittsburgh?|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 01 October 2007 12:16|
Not many in the NFL know more about the Pittsburgh Steelers, or their offense, than Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant head coach Russ Grimm. While Bruce Arians now is the offensive coordinator, Whisenhunt and Grimm have considerable knowledge of Pittsburgh's system after spending six seasons in it.
That background was evident as the Steelers' offense, good enough to allow them to win each of their first three games by at least a three-TD margin, shut down for long stretches of an unexpected 21-14 loss Sunday, Pittsburgh's first defeat under Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin, of course, is the man who beat out Whisenhunt and Grimm for his job.
``I think coach Whis knew some of the weak points of our offense,'' said wide receiver Santonio Holmes, whose two TD catches meant he wasn't one of those deficiencies. ``He was sending guys left and right, bringing pressure as much as he could to try to disrupt our offense. They did a pretty good job of it.''
For all that Whisenhunt and Grimm knew and implemented, however, the Steelers (3-1) did a pretty good job of beating themselves.
There were special teams breakdowns, including Pittsburgh native Steve Breaston's 73-yard punt return touchdown. And 11 penalties. And the absence of a running game - o 77 yards, 37 by Willie Parker - and two interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger, who had only one previously.
``We just couldn't get it going. We made a lot of mistakes,'' Roethlisberger said. ``We killed ourselves.''
Rod Marinelli thinks his Lions have the chance to become one of the NFL's top teams. The Lions are 3-1 after Sunday's 37-27 win over Chicago, matching their win total from last season, and the second-year coach doesn't think they are overachieving.
``If we can clean a few things up, we have a chance to be an elite team,'' he said Monday. ``I mean one of the best teams in the league - the top echelon.''
Marinelli preaches endlessly about focus and conditioning, and he thinks it is paying off this year.
``Last year, we lost 10 games in the last two minutes, and this year we've won three games that came down to the last two minutes,'' he said. ``That's not about talent. That's about doing things the right way at the end of games when the other team is gassed.''
But Marinelli knows future success will require better protection of Jon Kitna, who was sacked six times by Chicago, boosting his total to 18.
``The pass protection has to be better - we have to start winning more of the one-on-one battles,'' Marinelli said. ``Every guy has to do his job and pass block. If we have to do other things to help the protection, we will do it.''
The Ravens have lost two games this season because of their failure to score touchdowns after they get inside the 20-yard line.
Baltimore gained plenty of yardage, held onto the football for nine more minutes and got inside the 20 on four different occasions at Cleveland. Yet the Ravens scored only one touchdown in a 27-13 loss Sunday.
``That was the oddest looking stat sheet I think I've ever seen,'' coach Brian Billick said Monday.
Baltimore rolled up 418 yards to 303 for the Browns. The Ravens got 26 first downs, 104 yards rushing from Willis McGahee and never once punted.
But Baltimore (2-2) already has only one fewer loss than last year because of its inability to push the ball into the end zone. The same malady occurred in the opener in Cincinnati, when the Ravens failed to score in the final minute after having a first-and-goal at the 6.
``From the 20 to the 20, we're the best team in the NFL,'' quarterback Steve McNair said.