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Steelers Versus Jets: An All-22 Primer

By Alex Kozora

An All-22 primer of the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 loss to the New York Jets Sunday afternoon.

– Although the four turnovers are a big factor in the loss, it can’t be used as the sole excuse. To do so would just be lazy analysis. The offense sputtered even when discounting the turnovers.

Specifically, with the wide receiver grouping. How did a unit playing so well struggle so mightily against a depleted secondary?

I want to check out the different coverages the Jets employed. Guessing there was a lot of two high looks with CBs playing trail underneath. Or quarters coverage with the Jets letting the Steelers have the underneath routes.

Still, it baffles me that a bunch of ragtag corners cobbled together in the last handful of weeks could shut down a passing attack this potent.

– The running game continues to be ugly but the Jets have another stout front seven. A lack of success running is not surprising.

I want to check out Le’Veon Bell in pass protection. While he seemed to do well when he actually protected, there may have been two or three instances where he released into his route when he should have been picking up the blitz. The team’s first sack is a possible example of that.

– Although it usually came against even fronts, are the Steelers’ lineman getting to the second level in the run game? That’s how the running game typically goes stale. Linebackers roaming free and filling lanes.

Considering ILB DeMario Davis led the Jets with 12 tackles, that may have been the issue.

– How many of the Steelers’ screens, which there were an unusually high amount of even for a Todd Haley led offense, were packaged plays? Or two way pass options as we’ve seen sprinkled throughout this offense in 2014? Something worth charting.

– The offensive line gave up another sack on a stunt. Though it seemed to be an execution issue more than it was a recognition issue. Kelvin Beachum was leveraged by the penetrator on a T/E stunt. Been an issue that’s starting to pop up after the Steelers had done a terrific job of defending them for the first several weeks.

Stephon Tuitt had to face a power scheme and we know he was washed against double-teams once or twice. Want to watch him over the course of a game. Especially when he strings together multiple plays and starts to get winded. How does he hold up? Still square to the ball, capable of shedding?

– How is Cam Heyward looking as a pass rusher? He’s got four sacks in 2014 – including one Sunday – but I haven’t been able to get a great look at his pass rushing skillset in the past few weeks. Is he winning with active hands or power with a bull rush?

– We’ll probably have the number by the time this article goes up but it felt like Steve McLendon did not play many snaps. I get he wasn’t playing a zone scheme but if the count was low, it’d still be disappointing.

James Harrison vs D’Brickashaw Ferguson will be a fun matchup to watch. Appears Ferguson got the better of it. Like what Harrison did in the run game though, especially when matched up against tight ends.

Arthur Moats showed an excellent motor early in the game. But I wish there was more to his game as a pass rusher. But two sacks in over 250 snaps isn’t very inspiring. He isn’t a pass rusher who beats himself and takes himself out of plays but doesn’t create a ton of splash as an edge rusher, either.

Sean Spence appeared to be a bright spot on defense. Thought he filled lanes well and had a big stick on the opening kickoff.

Vince Williams played in nickel packages. Was he getting enough depth in his zone drops? How does he look fluid in his turn/pedal? Always been strange the team elected to give him nickel reps.

– Although he’s shown his value and been relatively valuable depth, Brice McCain is not a good cornerback. Click and close is poor and he’s vulnerable to getting beat deep, as we’ve seen in recent weeks. There’s a reason why he’s a street free agent.

Will Allen and Mike Mitchell frequently blitzed or rotated into the box. Guessing there was a frequent amount of single high safety being played. We’ll see who, if anyone, bit on the couple of big plays the Jets got.

– Where were the coverage breakdowns on Percy Harvin’s crossers? Or was it simply a product of him finding soft spots in zone?

– Are coverage units really removing a defender to counter the Dri Archer window dressing on kick returns? Or is the backside man just playing a little bit wider and the difference is negligible? Feel like it’s the latter. LeGarrette Blount is not going to throw the football.

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