Steelers Versus Chiefs – Second Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

Below is a list of random notes and observations from the second half during the third preseason game for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Kansas City Chiefs.

  • Unfortunate for Maurkice Pouncey to rack up a couple of penalties to start the second half. He looked much better in the first half in comparison to the first two preseason games.
  • Drew Butler needs to get more hangtime if he is going to continue to outkick his coverage, as he did for much of last season.
  • Jason Worilds landed awkwardly after tripping over Baron Batch after the latter was blocked in the back on a punt return, and Worilds was slow to get up. However, he was back in on defense on the next play and nearly intercepted the first pass, but the referees evidently ruled the reception a ‘tie’ between he and the receiver, and ties go to the offense.
  • If people want to give Jarvis Jones the reputation of having a ‘knack’ for the ball, then what does Troy Polamalu have? When healthy, he catches seven interceptions a year. Great awareness to pick up the fumble after Brett Keisel gets a hand on the ball and pops it out.
  • Nice pull by Ramon Foster and David Paulson on the next play to get Felix Jones through the first line of defense for seven yards.
  • Two plays later, Paulson lets his man make the tackle on what looked like could have been a nice play.
  • Two plays later, another nice run for Jones is negated by a holding penalty on Pouncey. Yes, it was a hold, but not one that is always called.
  • The Steelers could not dig themselves out of that penalty. A long shot to Emmanuel Sanders, however, could have worked if Bruce Gradkowski was about to lead Sanders to an open spot on the field rather than virtually down the seam.
  • One thing Jarvis Jones does have a knack for is rushing from an inside position. He got a nice bull rush on a running back to help force a throwaway. Cameron Heyward logged a quarterback hit on the play.
  • In the second preseason game, Al Woods played nose tackle, but slid to left defensive end in the nickel. In the third preseason game, Brian Arnfelt was the left defensive end.
  • Derek Moye dropped a quick screen, but I liked his awareness to fall on the ball even though it was most certainly a forward pass.
  • You have to like the fortitude and aggressiveness of Gradkowski on third and long situations. He could not connect with Sanders on the first attempt, but on third and 15 following an illegal hands to the face penalty on Kelvin Beachum, he let one loose for tight end Michael Palmer for a big gainer. That was Palmer’s first and only target this preseason.
  • How about that aggressiveness on third and one? A 34-yard touchdown to rookie Markus Wheaton, who got beneath double coverage to easily reel in the beautiful ball placed right into his bread basket by Gradkowski. Just enough height and velocity to beat the defense.
  • You may not want to hear this, but Guy Whimper actually looked pretty good at right tackle in this game. In fact, the whole right side of the offensive line, including John Malecki at center and Joe Long at right tackle, had a pretty good showing, for the most part.
  • Long had some mishaps in pass protection, allowing a sack (negated by penalty), a hit, and a hurry, but he looked good run blocking. He may have been the best run-blocking lineman of the night.
  • Would it be blasphemous to suggest the Steelers might carry nine in-house linemen?
  • Josh Victorian needed to make that tackle. He was the only one with a chance. The Chiefs set up a great wall of blockers to their left and buried Ross Ventrone to the right.
  • Would you feel better if I told you that there was not a single roster lock on the kick coverage unit that allowed the touchdown—other than Shaun Suisham? J.D. Woods and Ryan Steed have already been released. Others that I can make out: Jamie McCoy, Brian Rolle, Vince Williams, Ventrone, and Victorian on the left. The right side is harder to make out, but Woods and Steed are two. Justin Brown, Palmer, and Marshall McFadden appear to be the other three. Okay, maybe McFadden is a lock, but that’s just about it. Brown is battling Moye for the fifth receiver, and one of Rolle and Williams figure to have a good shot of being the fourth inside linebacker. Maybe both make it. But for now, they’re bubble guys.
  • The point is, this is not the kick coverage team that you will see in the regular season. Take solace in that.
  • I’m going to put the blame on Gradkowski’s first sack on him. He held the ball for too long and had Brown wide open in the middle of the field. Two rushers eventually came off their blocks to get to the quarterback, but the ball should have been gone.
  • Derek Moye adding elusiveness to his height will make him hard to keep off the roster. However, Brown plays on teams and can run block.
  • Great job by Joe Long to collapse the left side of the defense. Throw in a block by Palmer and Alvester Alexander has a 14-yard gain.
  • Gradkowski and Wheaton nearly hooking up for another long touchdown if not for just barely being out of bounds—that is a nice sight to see.
  • Long got a reprieve on the next play. He was taken off-guard by a bull rush from Frank Zombo, who got to the quarterback for the sack. However, he pulled Gradkowski’s helmet off, drawing a penalty. Meanwhile, Guy Whimper was blocking his man down the field. Huh?
  • It is hard to fault Moye for not coming down with the pass near the goal line. If that was a back shoulder throw, it would have been first and goal at worst.
  • Jarvis Jones never makes the interception if Victorian does not interfere with the pass, so it is meaningless to point out that Jones’ interception was ‘negated’ by the penalty. In fact, it was enabled by the penalty. Still, every other nice thing said about the play holds true.
  • It sure looks like he landed on the ball.
  • Cameron Heyward beat somebody who is no longer on the Chiefs’ roster like a rag doll on the next play and registered a nice hit.
  • Shamarko Thomas almost had a third and two converted right in front of him, but he did a great job defending the fourth and two pass.
  • Joe Long showed some good speed to get far outside to throw a block for a wide receiver screen that went for a first down.
  • After Jones left the game, Alan Baxter filled in for him and Chris Carter was still in on the right side. However, on the next drive, Carter was off the field and inside linebacker Terence Garvin was playing in his spot, and finished the game there. What does that mean? I really don’t know. Could Carter’s roster spot actually be in jeopardy, even after the Adrian Robinson trade?
  • If you do not think that Vince Williams breaking up a pass on a crossing route over the middle is notable, then you have not been reading this site.
  • Good on Reggie Dunn giving the Steelers a chance to take the lead with a nice return out to the 36 after the Chiefs tied it late in the game.
  • I question Gradkowski’s decision-making on the ensuing drive, however. They had good field position and timeouts, yet he came out slinging inaccurately as if Bruce Arians was still here.
  • On the second pass, which was almost intercepted, Long gave up a hit on the quarterback.
  • What a great series of blitzes by the Steelers to close regulation.
  • Ben Roethlisberger made sure to make the second half highlights despite not playing by asking the Chiefs if they were sure they wanted to receive the ball after they won the coin toss in overtime.
  • Hebron Fangupo got some playing time. Alameda Ta’amu did not.
  • Chase Daniel really was a gnat in overtime with his scrambles. The game could have ended differently if Woods was able to tackle him on that first third and five. Maybe his escape on that play encouraged him to continue taking off.
  • Daniel was looking to run the whole way on third and 16. Woods stunting to the right gave him the lane he needed with Williams also blitzing off the left side.
  • It seemed like everybody released Rico Richardson until he was by himself with Robert Golden yards away in the end zone. It did appear to be his responsibility, however.
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