For those few who still seem to be in the corner of third-year offensive tackle Mike Adams, the common hope that they all share tends to be the remembrance of a few strong blocks in the running game during his rookie season.
However, these days, that seems to have been more of a fluke than anything else. In fact, he had much greater issues in the running game than in pass protection when he started in place of Marcus Gilbert on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
While he had his struggles there, failing to pass off properly on stunts and getting reverse pancaked a time or two, what really showed up upon further review was just how poor he looked at times as a run blocker.
On an early run on the Steelers’ opening drive, for example, the line all shifted left off a run up the left side, but it was Adams who fell off his block, allowing Carlos Dunlap to get the initial hit that helped bring down Le’Veon Bell after a five-yard gain. Once the defensive end got Adams going forward, he swam off his back and penetrated the pocket.
On the very next play, he was slow to reach out on a second-level block on linebacker Rey Maualuga, allowing him to come off the edge and make the tackle on Bell for no gain to set up a third and long situation.
After the Steelers gained a first down inside the red zone, they tried to run off left end out of 11 personnel, but Adams’ poor ability to stick on a block on the move assured that the play would be held to minimal gain. Once again, it was Dunlap who freed himself from Adams’ grasp to pitch in on the tackle.
On the second play of the Steelers’ following drive, it was Adams to blame once again for the botched rushing attempt, which this time went for a loss of three yards. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins pushed his way past the right tackle’s outside shoulder with speed and power, shoving him out of the way and bringing down the back in the backfield.
Midway through the third quarter, Adams was flagged for the team’s only offensive penalty all game, a holding call on Dunlap. The defensive end quickly beat him inside off the snap and chased Bell to the perimeter, causing Adams to hold to prevent him from reaching. The worst part, of course, is that the play went for zero yards as it was.
In the fourth quarter, just the next play after a 53-yard run, Adams was responsible for making sure that Josh Harris’ first career carry was held to a gain of one when he left Dunlap push him back and then scrape off the block to make the tackle.