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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Post-San Francisco thoughts

I thought the Steelers would come away with a relatively easy victory Sunday against the 49ers. I didn't, however, think it would be as easy as it wound up being.

The key, at least to me, was the defense's ability to do a nice job against the run again.

After limiting the Patriots to 80 rushing yards last week, the Steelers gave up 111 on 31 attempts Sunday. But that doesn't tell the true story.

Nearly half of those rushing yards - 51 - came on eight carries by quarterback Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco's running backs had 60 yards on 23 carries.

We didn't see as many missed tackles as we saw last week, too.

Yes, the 49ers finished with just over 400 yards of total offense, but that number was just over 100 yards and three points in the first half and two third quarter possessions resulted in no scores for the 49ers, as well.

* The Steelers defensive backs came with an attitude in this one as well.

Mike Mitchell had a hit on Carlos Hyde early that some were calling dirty on Twitter. I didn't see that as being the case, as Hyde was still up and fighting for yards when Mitchell came in and hit him on his leg.

Hyde later left with a head injury and did not return.

But the defensive backs were aggressive and that aggressiveness led to some pass breakups, something we didn't see last week at New England.

* Ben Roethlisberger not only wasn't sacked Sunday, he wasn't touched.

There wasn't a lot of running room in this game - though the run game did produce 84 yards - but Roethlisberger had all day to sit back and scan the field. And he made the 49ers pay time and again.

* With all due respect to J.J. Watt or Tom Brady or anyone else, Antonio Brown is the best player in the NFL regardless of position.

Opponents know he's getting the ball. And yet he's constantly open.

Roethlisberger attempted 11 passes to Brown Sunday. He caught nine of them for 195 pounds and a touchdown.

* What does a team do a day after scoring 43 points? How about bench the NFL's second-leading rusher?

The Steelers offensive line is playing really well and so has DeAngelo Williams.

But LeVeon Bell comes back Monday.

That can't be comforting to any opponents.

* Ryan Shazier had 15 tackles, three for a loss, a sack, a fumble and a fumble recovery. And he's still just scratching the surface of what he can do.

The Steelers didn't use Shazier as a spy on Kaepernick. They didn't have to.

He played a short zone and used his speed to run Kaepernick or whoever was carrying the ball, again and again.

Yes. Kaepernick averaged 6.4 yards per rushing attempt. But if Shazier doesn't tackle him on some of those rushing attempts, he might still be running.

Shazier is going to be a special, special player.

* Yes, there is some concern about Josh Scobee's misses. He banged a PAT off the upright Sunday, giving him three misses in two games.

He's got to be better then that. Then again, the Steelers shouldn't be settling for field goals or kicking PATs with this offense.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The defense was the surprise today, they looked dominant at times or at least when they needed to be. It's hard to believe that the offense is as good as they are without Bell or Bryant, hopefully it means only better times ahead.

As a bonus, the Ravens lost to the Raiders and play the Bengals next week.

Anonymous said...

"He's got to be better then that. Then again, the Steelers shouldn't be settling for field goals or kicking PATs with this offense."

And that's what it comes down to. Of course, in a tight game we need an extra point to tie I will be scared!

adamg said...

The DL was really getting upfield and getting pressure and penetration. Heyward, McLendon, Tuitt all played well. Maybe a big part of the problem vs NE was just that they'd played so little as a group during preseason.

Anonymous said...

Shazier had the best game by a Steelers ILB since Farrior in 2004

Lance Stalnaker said...

So the sky is not falling? Who would have thought. This team is going to be special. The D will continue to improve individually as the young guys gain experience, and as a group. The O might be the best in the NFL, scary thing about today is the Leveon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and Markice Pouncy did not play...think about that one for a minute...I am a self admitted Buckeye homer, but I told all the doubters Shazier was the perfect LB for today's NFL with all the running QB's and athletic TE's. The kid has great ball instincts and the rarest combo of speed and quickness I have ever seen in a LB, the sky is the limit for him. I keep hearing as good as the O is the D just has to be mid tier, they might just be top ten by the end of this year, let's just hope we have a healthy group come December, if we do, they can beat anyone in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Yea but what was that shoulder injury for Shazier towards the end of the game?

John Kang said...

It's been so long since we blew someone out, man that felt good. It will be scary when we get Bell back, and wow when Bryant returns (though Heyward-Bey stretched the field pretty well). The d's penetration was impressive, too; I can't remember so many run stuffs in a single game since the last SB victory

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 8:22, try and remember a game Timmons had in 08 against the redskins. He was flat out dominating the qb and rb like they were his bitches. But yeah he was on a much more dominant cast than Shazier

Dale Lolley said...

Shazier is fine. Just a stinger. And at that point, the game was over, so they kept him out.

Steve-O said...

Agree with the comments on Shazier, he has picked up the torch from Polamalu who also blossomed in his 2nd year. Can't say the same for Jarvis Jones. He's playing okay, but nowhere near his draft status.

Tom said...

Tuitt's first sack to start the game was a sight for sore eyes..a Steelers 3-4 DE manhandling the tackle in one on one and finishing the play. That was a thing of beauty. Also, don't look now but Bud Dupree has 2 sacks in his first two games. I am a Jarvis Jones fan but if I'm Colbert Bud is making it a lot easier to decline Jarvis' option at the end of this year and save $7-$8 mil in cap space.

Anonymous said...

The New Jarvis hasn't had much chance to play up to his draft status. He's only playing part time, and in week 1 he played a team that was basically impossible to sack. If Brady held the ball as long as Kaepernick, Jarvis could have had 3 sacks, the way he was abusing Solder.

If he gets more snaps and plays teams that are possible to sack, he'll get there.

ibygeorge said...

I was at the game. Shazier was everywhere, he's not there yet, but all I could could think of was Polamalu II. When it's 3rd down for the Steelers, it's usually 3rd and AB time. That guy can deliver. The goal line stand that the defense pulled off for I think it was 8 plays and no score, was mighty impressive. Dale, when was the last time Ben was lifted from the game and the backup came in for scrub work?

ibygeorge said...

I was at the game. Shazier was everywhere, he's not there yet, but all I could could think of was Polamalu II. When it's 3rd down for the Steelers, it's usually 3rd and AB time. That guy can deliver. The goal line stand that the defense pulled off for I think it was 8 plays and no score, was mighty impressive. Dale, when was the last time Ben was lifted from the game and the backup came in for scrub work?

Marc said...

I didn't see the game. hope to catch it on nfl network. with shazier running wild, dline must have done a good job. that's good to hear. sounds like all around, team stepped it up from last week.

to anon 2:52, snap counts from week one for Dupree and jj are 31 and 33 respectively. week 2 not available yet, but I'm betting they are pretty similar.

did boykin play at all?

Anonymous said...

Marc: Idk how many snaps he played but Boykin made a really nice pass deflection at one point during the game in the end zone. So he was involved in some capacity in the base defense yesterday.

Dale Lolley said...

That's counting special teams plays for Dupree and Jarvis.

Boykin played a little in the fourth quarter, spelling Blake.

As for Jarvis, I've said it before and I'll say it again. He's Clark Haggans. He'll never wow you with his speed or agility, but he's a solid NFL player. He'll never live up to his draft status. There are too many people who expect every first-round pick to be a star.

Qwikdoc said...

Why is Josh Scobee still on this team? Three misses in two weeks. It's not like he missed from 55 yards. There are kickers out there who can do better than that.
Jay Feely is available. Why not bring him in? Kickers don't have to learn a system and their contract is not guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a big fan of Timmons but man did Shazier look way better than he ever has.

Hope the secondary can improve. Sky is the limit for the offense

Marc said...

on the plus side for scobee, 7 of 11 kickoffs for touchbacks and average starting position for teams after kickoff is the 19 yard line. I think he will come around.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the steelers pick up Jarvis' option unless he blows it up this year, unlikely, but he will certainly be resigned by them at a lower rate. Likely visiting other teams but will make every effort to keep him reasonably. And if he does leave, like Dale said, he's a Haggans, no huge loss, but better to keep the team and young players u coached up together

Qwikdoc said...

@Marc And what if he doesn't? Do we wait until he blows a game winning field goal against Baltimore or Cincinnati before we get somebody else? He's a professional kicker. His job is to make field goals and extra points. He gets a pass when he misses 50+ yard tries but not 30 and 40 yarders. Three misses in two weeks is not acceptable.

DD said...

I comment when things go south so only fair to do so when things are positive as well (not that Dale or anyone else cares). The offense looked fantastic. Can't tell you how many texts I received from non-Steeler fan friends that basically said, "this is without arguably the best RB and one of Ben's fav weapons?!?!? That O is going to give DC's nightmares when they are back." Fact is, it already should! Sky is the limit. Defense also showed promising signs as well! Granted against an avg team and not so smart QB but still. And Shazier....forget it. That was his coming out party. Welcome to the NFL #50!!! Bet that dude is sore as hell today!

Overall, that was the most fun I have had watching a Steelers game since the Indy game last yr. Well done boys. Keep up the great work!!

Marc said...

qwikdoc, I agree, it's a tough situation. how do you give him a chance to come around without sacrificing the team's success? I wouldn't give him much longer, a couple games maybe. if he doesn't show improvement, then yes, find another solution, if one is available.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to the oline for stonewalling the Bucs pass rush. The big passing plays happened because Ben had all day AND a clean pocket to step into.

We will have much more pressure against the Rams this week but Bell can help there.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 49ers pass rush.

finnsteeler said...

Ben also doesn't know which team's rushers they were since none got close enough for him to see the logo.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:48 ...

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

"Forget it, he's rolling."

Anonymous said...

clark haggans was a 5th rounder. for clark haggans to be...well, clark haggans...is great. for jarvis jones to be a clark haggans is just a huge dissapointment. and to be honest jarvis doesn't deserve to be bunched in with the clark haggans of the world yet.

and no, i don't think it's unreasonable for fans to expect the #15 pick to be an above average player.

Marc said...

I agree with anon3:35pm. at #15 overall pick, the expectation is higher. to be fair, he's only played in 23 games (season and a half), so jury is still out.

I don't think you can call a player a "bust" if they are productive, but you can call them a "disappointment" if they don't reach their expectations. I would reserve judgement on jj until year end, but he's trending towards disappointment right now.

Anonymous said...

He wasn't the 15th pick, he was the 17th overall pick. :P

Joe Jones said...

If Garret Hartley or whatever is healthy in a week or so, and Scobee keeps missing,
would the steelers just take the traded pick as a loss and cut ties with Scobee for their first option?

marc said...

Well, now that changes everything.

Joe Jones said...

And I agree but I'd say it's more so that Jarvis Jones was drafted as an elite pass rusher who was decent overall.

I think people just want to see him stand out in that category for that reason in particular.

Joe Jones said...

Still finding him on the sideline a lot is scary.

His style reminds me of Polamalu, but Polamalu is special because Polamalu is the only player who played that style and had a 12 year career.

Anonymous said...

Colbert sprinted in their 5th round card for Haggans, so I guess that's fair. He didn't? Nevermind then.

Yeah there's a level of expectation that comes the 17th overall pick. But more than that, they were arrogant and smug about it. Which makes those expectations even greater. Like it was a slam dunk, and everyone else was idiots, laughing at anyone who knocked him down their boards because of a complete absence of NFL level athleticism. They thought he was a top 5, top 10 talent.

Every year the bar keeps getting lower and lower for the guy. To the point where if he gets within the same zipcode of a QB it's celebrated. Harrison should be pleased to know his kid's participation trophies have been placed in a good home.

Anonymous said...

I agree that too many people expect every 1st round draft pick to be a star, but I think Jarvis has a ceiling much higher than Haggans. From the early returns so far this year, I expect him to get more for us than Clark did.

Nothing against Clark. Decent player, and he sure as hell stepped up in that Super Bowl.

drinkyourmilkshake said...

I have reservations about Jarvis just like everyone.... But to point to duprees success is unfair. Jarvis was asked to do something completely different in his rookie year. Has he succeeded, not yet, but he has never lined up as a situational linebacker. He has always been asked to play the full compliments of a 3-4 Steelers lb.

drinkyourmilkshake said...

I have reservations about Jarvis just like everyone.... But to point to duprees success is unfair. Jarvis was asked to do something completely different in his rookie year. Has he succeeded, not yet, but he has never lined up as a situational linebacker. He has always been asked to play the full compliments of a 3-4 Steelers lb.

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