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Monday, October 14, 2013

Post-Jets thoughts

The Steelers finally played something close to a complete game and came away with a dominating 19-6 win over the Jets.

That improves Pittsburgh's record to 16-2 against rookie quarterbacks with Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator.

Geno Smith, the latest rookie victim, made some plays in this game. The Steelers had three sacks, but could have just as easily had five or six sacks had Smith not scrambled out of trouble.

The Steelers also could have had four or five turnovers if they had just caught the ones Smith threw to them.

@ After a slow start - three and outs on the first two possessions - the offense started clicking. Ben Roethlisberger was just 1 for his first 4. He then connected on 14 of his next 15 passes, with the lone incompletion being a drop by Antonio Brown in the end zone.

The Steelers also scored on five of six possessions after those first two three-and-outs against  a defense that entered the game as one of just two allowing fewer than 300 yards this season.

Had Brown caught that pass he dropped, the offensive output would have looked even better. As it was, it was a solid effort against a good defense on the road.

@ After watching the Jets play the Falcons last week, I thought the Steelers could have some success with screens and misdirections. I also thought Heath Miller could play a big factor.

Check, check and check.

My favorite was the opening play of the team's third possession. The Steelers lined up Brown in the backfield as the running back behind Le'Veon Bell. At the snap, everyone went left and Roethlisberger faked a pitch to Brown.

Meanwhile, Bell slipped out of the backfield to the right and Roethlisberger tossed him the ball. Dawan Landry stayed at home and stopped Bell for a 12-yard gain, but it jump-started the Pittsburgh offense. And if Bell gets past Landry, he could have run to Connecticut.

@ I don't think it's a coincidence that the Steelers scored 19 points in their first two games without Miller and have scored 69 in the three games since.

That's not bad considering the defense and special teams have yet to set the offense up with many short fields.

In fact, other than a Brown punt return against Cincinnati, the Steelers have started their other 60 possessions on their own side of the 50. That's right, 1 for 61.

Miller is getting more comfortable on his reconstructed knee. The offense is only going to get better.

And the defense and special teams are sure to benefit from that improved play.

@ I thought the running backs really showed up well in this game in pass protection. Jonathan Dwyer did a nice job once again and Bell showed some chops there as well.

That will be critical this week at home against Baltimore.

The Ravens are struggling offensively in a big way, but they do have pass rushers.

How much has Baltimore struggled? The game opened at pick 'em and has already moved to the Steelers being favored by 1 1/2 points.

@ Kelvin Beachum was OK at left tackle. Not great, but serviceable.

He's not going to give any push in the running game, but he's better in pass pro than Mike Adams.

With Levi Brown possibly out for the season after suffering a triceps injury in warmups and David Johnson suffering what Mike Tomlin said could be a significant wrist injury, perhaps the Steelers need to look at using Mike Adams - who is a solid run blocker - as a tight end as they planned early on with Beachum.


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not saying much but this is the best they've looked all year. Glad to see some of their roster decisions equating to a win.

RIP Levi Brown

marc said...

didn't get a chance to see the game...soccer playoffs. a few questions.

how did bell run...stats don't look good?

how did heyward play?

how did gay/allen look in coverage?

thanks.

adamg said...

BR and Clark did a lot of talking last week, but they were able to back that up with solid performances. I'm not a BR fan, but he deserves credit for trusting the game plan and playing within it, not doing so much freelancing trying to win the game by himself.

I thought the young players took a big step forward, too. They seem to be thinking less about what to do and just doing it.

Cowher was excellent on the broadcast, as well, explaining what the offense was doing and why.

adamg said...

marc,

Bell ran hard, but not many holes. Haley did put him in space to catch a few passes as an alternative.

Heyward was noticeable. I thought he played well. Hood did too when Kiesel went out.

No big mistakes by either CB and Allen tackled a lot better.

Noel said...

marc:

Bell ran okay but looked to be injured a bit late in the game; Jones and Dwyer carried after that. He looked comfortable out there and seemed to protect well the few times I watched for that.

Heyward played very well I thought. Got pushed aside a few times against the run but his pressure led directly to the interception by Clark. Ziggy looked okay too.

I didn't notice Gay much which is probably a good sign. Someone else will have to evaluate those guys; they didn't stand out for me.

Bonus comment: Polamalu had a monster hit that you will want to check out. All credit to Hill for hanging on to that ball; I'm not sure he'll feel it was worth it today!

marc said...

i see the jets averaged over 4 yards per carry, but only ran the ball 20 times. seems they should have ran the ball more often.

Noel said...

They didn't get into any rhythm on the ground and then they were down and had to throw more.

Another positive note from the game was Vince Williams made some nice plays against the run.

marc said...

wow, what a hit by #43. looked like the WR landed out of bounds too.

nice to see miller make that catch down the middle.

gregw said...

Coach Cowher was awesome in the booth, demonstrating what an incredible grasp he has of the game. I loved how he called out Simms on several occasions when Simms said dumb things. Would love to see more of that (put Coach Cowher in the booth with Boomer)! Announcers get away with way too much inanity.

Anonymous said...

"Heyward played very well I thought. Got pushed aside a few times against the run but his pressure led directly to the interception by Clark."

Noel: Heyward didn't get anywhere near Geno Smith on the Clark interception.

Anonymous said...

Heyward got a ton of pressure on Smith on the potential INT that Clark dropped. Ball floated and hit Clark right in the chest.

DaveN said...

Great stats on H. Miller - with & without - Dale. Makes me wish the drafted Eifert over Jones even more.

Dale Lolley said...

Weren't many running lanes, Marc. Jets load up with nine or even 10 at line of scrimmage. They sell out to stop the run at the risk of giving up stuff in the passing game.

Heyward was fine. So was Hood, actually.

Gay and Allen didn't get a lot of work. Jets don't have great receivers and don't thrown to the outside a lot. Gay did have the recognition on Clark's interception. Told Ryan all the receivers were going deep, which allowed Ryan to play the QB's eyes.

Dale Lolley said...

Could also argue that the uptick in the offense has come after Brown went to Haley and said he wanted the ball more. He's got 30 catches in the past three games. But Miller has been active in those three games as well. I asked AB if Miller's availability opens things up. He said absolutely because teams have to respect Miller over the middle.

Steve-O said...

I'm wondering where Reggie Dunn is, the Steelers are woefully lacking in the kick return game. I realize injuries at tight end and O-line made a kick return specialist a luxury but the deeper they go into the season, the more important good field position becomes. Particularly when the season gets cold and those kickoffs don't sail out of the end zone so easily.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the officials made a mistake at the end of the first half? Troy crushed the receiver and it appears he got one foot and a hand in bounds which would make him down in the field of play. The Jets were out of timeouts so I figured there would be some sort of run-off and end the half. Instead they are allowed to kick a field goal. I guess that officals said the receiver went out of bounds?

Noel said...

Oops, got the plays mixed up. Thanks for the correction. Either way I was quite happy to see the way the D-line played.

Anyone else think they were hallucinating for a second when Ben escaped that pressure in the end zone early on? Not many QBs get out of that one.

adamg said...

That was an amazing escape to prevent the safety there. I thought BR was down, but out he popped to get a pass away. In retrospect, that was probably one turning point in the game.

Nate said...

Bell was about as good as he could have been. That's a tough Jets defense, and there wasn't much there. He did try to bounce outside once in the first half, and was stuffed by the defense. He should have just taken the 2 or 3 yards that the play would have gotten as originally drawn up.

I thought Bell was pretty good in pass protection, too.

Is it just me or was Vince Williams really good in this game? He made a couple minor mistakes, but he looked like an NFL-caliber starting linebacker.

Dale Lolley said...

His hand and one foot came down in bounds and then he was knocked out of bounds. I believe that was why the clock was stopped.

Williams played his best game

marc said...

dale, after seeing the replay of #43's hit, the refs can't have it both ways.

if the WR was rule to have landed in bounds, then he should have been ruled down by contact, based on #43's hit.

if the WR was ruled to have gone out of bounds, then it's not a catch.

i didn't see the game, but if your explanation is accurate, then i believe that's a very poor call.

Dan said...

Dale,

Any idea why we're not seeing more of Moye? It would seem ideal to have him in more often, especially in the redzone. He's a huge target of the type Ben is always asking for. It seems like Brown and Moye should be on the field at all times, with a Cotchery & Sanders rotation for WR3.

Dale Lolley said...

Moye on the field at all times? Based on what? One regular season catch?

I gotta agree with the coaches on this one. He's the fifth receiver.

As for the Hill catch, his hand hit down and then his elbow out of bounds, stopping the clock. It was pretty quick, almost simultaneous, so I can see why they called what they called.

Dan said...

"Moye on the field at all times? Based on what? One regular season catch?"

Based on the fact that he's a fast, 6'5" receiver who seems to have good hands. Ben has been begging for a tall receiver for years. Moye's height gives him a tool that Sanders and Cotchery simply don't have.

Yeah, Moye has only had one catch this year- a TD catch - but that's a function of him being not being on the field.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Moye has show THAT much that he needs to be on the field at all times.

That said, this season has been an embarrassment for the FO and coaches when it comes to player evaluation...so they deserve some second guessing.

Cut Dwyer to mak Redman the starter and now redman isn't even active? Adams is the starter then he's terrible and isn't even active? Levi Brown is the veteran who can help us...yet gets hurt in warm ups?
Cortez Allen is so good we don't need Kennan Lewis?

Terrible player evaluations so far.

marc said...

i just can't believe they reviewed that play and ruled it a catch AND the clock stops because he goes out of bounds. i agree, dale, in real time that's a tough call. but slow it down and it's just impossible to have both. he either makes the catch and is down (in bounds) before he goes out or he hits simultaneously in/out of bounds which means it is not a catch.

kyle said...

marc,

It's a catch and the clock stops because he has to maintain possession through the hit. He has to catch it, touch in bounds, get hit, eventually end up out of bounds, and still have the ball in his hands. If he had hit in bounds and as he was rolling out of bounds the ball came out it would have been incomplete. If he has to keep the ball then he gets the clock stoppage. It happens all the time just not in the final five of a half where the clock matters.

DD said...

It is pretty clear tome that Big Money is the heart of this O. Without him, it doesn't live. Our FO better be targeting a big time TE here with an early pick moving forward cuz Heath only has so many yrs left and it is clear as day how much he means to this team. Be tough to replace (if even possible) but they have to think about it.

Troy's hit on the Jets WR was a thing of beauty! I was sure he would get flagged for that as it seems every hard hit is automatically flagged even if it is a perfectly legal hit within even the new boundaries of the "law", which this clearly was. Fun to rewatch it!!

Nice feeling to be on the right side of a win today. 0-4 sure makes one appreciate that much more than I realized!!

Dale Lolley said...

What does Moye bring to the table that Heath Miller doesn't? Nothing.
Saying he should be on the field for every play is ridiculous. Why? Because he had some catches against some scrubs in a preseason game?

Nothing against Moye. Nice kid. Glad he made the roster. But his routes aren't very good right now and he plays no special teams.

Just because he's tall doesn't mean he's a starter. IF that were the case, Talib Zanna would be trying out for the NFL.

As for the team's roster moves, Dwyer was released because his attitude needed an adjustment as much as anything else. Period. Late for meetings. 30 pounds overweight.

They didn't trust him. That's all it was about.

Adams was inactive because they wanted him to sit and watch. They had another alternative. They thought he needed that to help him gain some focus.

It's unfortunate that Brown got hurt. But they gave up nothing to get him.

Dan said...

"What does Moye bring to the table that Heath Miller doesn't? Nothing."

I'm certainly not saying that Moye has anything over Miller. Miller has demonstrated how important he is to this offense.

However, since you brought up TEs, what does Paulson bring to the table that Moye doesn't? Given Paulsons' appallingly poor blocking, I wouldn't even be totally shocked if Moye could out block him. Yet we continue to trot out the dregs of our TE pool over Moye. Heck, once Spaeth is back they'll probably dress 5 TEs and bench Cotchery as well.

Maybe "every play" is hyperbolic, but I would not hesitate to rotate Moye in instead of Sanders. TD this week aside, Sanders has been a disappointment this year. Why not give Moye some shots? How precise do go patterns have to be?

Dale Lolley said...

Patterns have to be pretty damn precise in the NFL - unless you like seeing a lot of interceptions.

Trust me, Paulson's a better blocker than Moye. Moye weighs 200 pounds soaking wet.

Steve said...

Dan,

Sanders is on pace right now for 74 catches and 963 yards. I'm not saying he's become a great wr, but I don't really see why Moye needs to be taking snaps away from him.

Anonymous said...

I think Moye could be a help in the redzone. Not saying he should jump Sanders on the depth chart but with all our tiny receivers we have struggled in the RZ for years. Having Miller and Moye there could really help turn some FGs into touchdowns.

Of course it would be nice if we could use a high pick on a WR with some size. Besides Limas. That guy had personal issues the FO totally overlooked, no wonder he dropped so far.