Steelers Versus Browns – First Half Notes And Observations – Week 17

By Matthew Marczi

  • In the last game of the year, Jarvis Jones—somewhat quietly—played perhaps his best game of the year. On the first drive alone, he sniffed out a screen pass to drop the receiver for a two-yard loss and then bailed out of coverage to force Jason Campbell to throw the ball away on third down. There were some encouraging signs heading into next season.
  • Surely the slippery conditions played a role, but Ben Roethlisberger’s deep ball was not good all game.
  • He always makes up for it in other ways though, like when he escaped pressure, climbed the pocket, and then hit Antonio Brown for 24 yards on the first drive.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who called Jerricho Cotchery’s double-digit touchdowns this offseason.
  • I’m joking, of course. The Steelers better not be counting on a repeat performance from the old veteran. Some of those touchdowns need to find their way back to Heath Miller, and perhaps Matt Spaeth.
  • Unknown Browns running back Edwin Baker found a big crease down the middle early in the game. How did that happen? Al Woods at nose tackle got pushed off the line to the left while Lawrence Timmons covered right. Vince Williams penetrated, but with the space provided by Woods being blocked, it was easy to evade contact. Another explosive play against the Steelers defense.
  • He and Cameron Heyward got nice penetration a couple plays later for a two-yard loss, however.
  • It was nice to see old man Brett Keisel come up with a big play in perhaps his last game, earning himself a strip sack as a parting gift. I imagine some of the frustration that he vented on Twitter over the San Diego officiating was spurred on by that realization of finality.
  • Who was Ben Roethlisberger throwing to, and why? A poor interception, especially following a turnover.
  • Even though Jones managed to check the receiver on that fourth down play, he still got away with one when the receiver dropped it.
  • Whether or not Marcus Gilbert was anticipating help—and his body language suggests as much—he still gave up his ground too easily.
  • What a great effort by Timmons on third and two, tracking Baker out of the backfield and wrapping him up for no gain on a third down check down pass to force a punt.
  • Nice pull by Ramon Foster on the second play of the ensuing drive, behind which Le’Veon Bell burst through for about a dozen yards.
  • Bell really did some grown-man running in this game. Pro Football Focus had him at 3.0 yards after contact per carry. And he averaged 4.5 yards per carry in this game, so that’s two-thirds of his yardage coming after contact.
  • Well, not quite, of course, as the yards per carry doesn’t take into account yardage after contact from behind the line of scrimmage. For example, on Bell’s touchdown, he was contact three yards in the backfield before punching it in from five yards out, so that was eight yards after contact on a five-yard run.
  • Another great tackle for no gain by Timmons in coverage. If there was one area of his game in which he at least approached consistency this year, it would be coverage.
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