By Alex Kozora
As usual, here is your All-22 primer following the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-9 victory versus the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon.
– Individually, the Steelers’ offense seemed to play well. Ben Roethlisberger, fumble aside, he had another solid game statistically. It was his third straight game completing 70% of his passes. Antonio Brown’s streak was kept alive while Le’Veon Bell averaged 5.5 YPC.
Of course, collectively, it’s an offense that scored ten points with its only touchdown coming via Michael Palmer. How does that discrepancy occur? Especially against a Jacksonville defense that hadn’t allowed less than 33 points in a game this year.
– Again, looking at the whole, the red zone offense struggled. Like Dave Bryan pointed out, the Steelers passed on all 11 plays in the red zone. What coverages did Jacksonville use to bottle up receivers? What route concepts did the Steelers try to use? Was it an extension of the running game or did they attempt to get relatively vertical? It’ll be interesting to see how it played out.
– Although I typically don’t paint with this broad of a brush, the Steelers didn’t seem to have success out of empty set. That isn’t just a play call issue either; why aren’t receivers getting open? It’s a Jacksonville secondary that was allowing the most yards per game through the air. And one without its #1 cornerback. It’s disappointing. Where was Markus Wheaton all game? Did the early drop cause him to lose focus?
– Ramon Foster seemed to handle Sen’Derrick Marks well after getting beat once early in the game. Overall, the offensive line gave Roethlisberger plenty of time. Even on some sacks. Overall, we’ll grade their performance against a pretty talented Jags defensive line.
– Stephon Tuitt saw a small uptick in snaps. Twelve, up from three in Week Four. What did he do with them? Did he play at a level that will lead him to earn more?
– I’m hoping to see Steve McLendon dominate Luke Bowanko. Not sure I saw the penetration and pressure I was expecting to see working against a 7th round rookie.
– I didn’t see Dick LeBeau attack the Jacksonville interior line as much as I would have liked to. A little tame for my tastes after seemingly being more aggressive against the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brett Keisel’s deflection late in the game came via Double “A” gap pressure that confused the line and created a free lane for #99. Maybe I get the wrong impression but I didn’t see it enough from LeBeau.
– Let’s take a close look at Jason Worilds. Why isn’t he winning as much as he should. James Harrison has grabbed the headlines since his signing but he isn’t getting paid nearly $10 million like 93. Worilds is on pace for just six sacks in 2014.
– Mike Mitchell should probably get some love after this game. Couple of key tackles in open space that prevented long plays. The reason why Ryan Clark was shown the door and the reason why Mitchell was signed. No Jacksonville receiver had a reception of longer than 17 yards and I’m nearly positive that came on a back shoulder fade.
– Cortez Allen has looked shy when attempting to tackle and he had another attempt that was way too high. He is, however, doing a great job playing the ball in the air. Multiple breakups. I’ve been debating whether or not he has strong enough hands to separate player from ball. Starting to believe yes.
– We’ll get to see the understated play of two valuable corners: William Gay and Brice McCain. McCain is still a low tier corner but man, isn’t it nice to see him instead of Antwon Blake?
– After a shoddy last two weeks, I’m paying special attention to Troy Polamalu’s angles to the football. There was some vintage Troy last week and for what it’s worth, he’s on pace to have the most tackles in his career. But the angles worry me.
– It appeared B.W. Webb replaced Shamarko Thomas at gunner following the latter’s hamstring injury. We’ll update you with any other changes on the coverage/return units. Time of year where things start shifting.