Steelers Versus Vikings – Second Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

  • Le’Veon Bell runs with vision, turning two-yard gains into six-yard gains, or three-yard losses in to two-yard gains by reading his blockers and knowing where and when to make a cut.
  • David Johnson did a good job of holding off Jared Allen on the bomb to Antonio  Brown that drew a pass interference call in the end zone.
  • The tight ends once again did a nice job of blocking on Bell’s second touchdown. Heath Miller and Johnson look to be a good one-two punch as blockers, at least until Matt Spaeth gets back.
  • Another Cortez Allen missed tackle, allowing a short pass to nearly go for a first down. Really uncharacteristic game for the young corner, who had three total on the night.
  • I don’t think it’s entirely obvious how disruptive Troy Polamalu really is on rushing downs. He almost always seems to be the first person in the backfield disrupting something. He often takes it upon himself to neutralize the fullback in order to free up the inside linebackers to make the play. On this play, he stalled Adrian Peterson long enough for Ike Taylor and LaMarr Woodley swarm around him for a loss.
  • On the 51-yard pass to Jerome Simpson, it looks like the Vikings were able to take advantage of some soft cover-3—or else Taylor just lost track of Simpson. Either way, Polamalu and Woodley ended up drifting into the same area and nearly colliding, while Robert Golden took a poor angle that resulted in an extra 15 yards or so.
  • Lawrence Timmons overpursued on Peterson’s second touchdown, letting him walk in from eight yards out. Meanwhile, Ryan Clark was oblivious to the fact that it was a handoff.
  • Markus Wheaton ran the play once designated for Jerricho Cotchery, lined up next to Ben Roethlisberger before running a route. This time it converted a third and four.
  • Miscommunication between Roethlisberger and Emmanuel Sanders on the interception. Roethlisberger assumed Sanders would continue his route on the broken play, but Sanders sat instead.
  • Greg Jennings got Cortez Allen to turn his hips outside and that was all it took to beat him for an easy touchdown.
  • Fernando Velasco gets outside to throw a block on a screen pass to Bell that goes for about 19 yards. I don’t think Maurkice Pouncey would have done that any better.
  • I have not mentioned Mike Adams’s name yet for the second half notes section, because he was able to settle down nicely, actually. This time, however, he was fooled on a cross and let Chad Greenway charge him as he waited for Jared Allen, then bounced off him for the sack.
  • Markus Wheaton made another nice catch on third down to move the chains, this time climbing the ladder for the reception. Hopefully a sign of things to come.
  • Still, there is no hurry to usurp Cotchery, who had maybe his biggest game as a Steeler with a touchdown and over 100 yards.
  • After the missed field goal, much like last week, it really began to feel as though the Steelers were going to come back and win, but, of course, that was not to be. They were driving well on the ensuing drive. They had first and ten from the 12-yard line. On second down, Markus Wheaton could not hold on to a tough but catchable ball that, if thrown properly, could very well have gone for a touchdown. Instead, they eventually had to settle for a field goal to come within a touchdown of a tie, a little more deflated.
  • The Steelers were able to get the ball back with 1:44 left starting on their own 22 with a chance to tie. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger and the Steelers have not had a great track record in these situations since their last Super Bowl victory.
  • Cotchery’s 39-yard reception on first down was made possible courtesy of an over-anxious defensive back going for the ball rather than the receiver.
  • Because they had no timeouts, the Steelers twice spiked the ball. It ultimately worked out by converting on third and three twice, but I’m not sure the time saved on the spikes were worth the loss of plays.
  • Mike Adams had settled down in the second half—that is until the last two plays. On second and goal following a third spike, Adams was preoccupied with watching to see if the linebacker was going to come that he allowed Allen to run right past him. Allen knocked Roethlisberger down as he threw the ball out of the back of the end zone.
  • On third down, Adams and Beachum were fooled on a late tackle/end stunt, with the tackle pulling Roethlisberger down from behind, knocking the ball loose for a fumble.
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