The Pittsburgh Steelers signed veteran wide receiver Lance Moore to replace their own veteran slot receiver, who left in the offseason for a higher pay grade. But he has been forced to bide his time behind first-year wide receiver Justin Brown due to his superior blocking ability.
That factor went out the window after the Steelers fell behind big in the last game against the Cleveland Browns, entering the second half with a 21-3 deficit. While Brown got a few more second-half snaps, it was primarily Moore the rest of the way, who was targeted six time by Ben Roethlisberger as the offense took to the air in the hopes of clawing its way back into the game.
If the Steelers do indeed play rookie Martavis Bryant and deactivate Brown for tonight’s game against the Houston Texans, then it stands to reason that he could be taking on a bigger role in the offense—perhaps the role we’d all assumed he would take when the team first signed him.
Should that be the case, however, Moore and Roethlisberger will have to do better, as the two only completed one connection in six targets, albeit for 26 yards and concluding across the goal line.
Only one of those six targets came in the first half, and it came with just 23 seconds to play as the Steelers hoped to put up some points and cut into that lead before halftime. It didn’t work.
Roethlisberger threw to Moore about 20 yards down the field, who did a nice job to come back to and attack the ball in the air, but the cornerback got a hand in late and helped influence the incompletion.
Roethlisberger went Moore’s way against midway through the third quarter on another deep ball, but this time it was actually necessary, as it was a third and 17 situation. Moore lined up in the slot on the right side, but curled to the sideline, to where the ball was delivered.
In real time, with standard camera views, it just looked like an unfortunate drop, but upon replay, you can see that the ball hit off the defender’s hand first before ricocheting off the receiver’s chest for an incompletion.
Later, in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger had Moore coming across the middle of the field on a second and one play. The pass only traveled a few yards down the field, but the receiver had the ball bounce right off his chest. Not that there is any excuse for that, but it’s likely that the shadows on the field had a role to play in this. It’s a common occurrence in baseball as the shadows cross home plate.
One play before Roethlisberger and Moore finally hooked up for a touchdown, the quarterback looked his way, against across the middle of the field, heading into the shadows. While that may have played its role, this time the defensive back appeared to have gotten his hand in there to help break up the play.