Last week in practice, Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert banged knees with left guard Ramon Foster, causing him to miss the team’s match up with the New Orleans Saints, and his second start of the year.
That placed third-year tackle Mike Adams into the starting lineup, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the run. While the veteran signal caller often found the pocket collapsing around him against the Saints, nowhere did the pressure come as consistently as it did around right tackle.
You could see on the first play of the game that there would be problems, actually, which was a deep incompletion to Markus Wheaton. While there was no imminent pressure on the play, he allowed Junior Galette to get outside of him without much problem. Once the help left, Galette pushed the edge, and Adams stopped his slide, bending at the waist instead of mirroring with his feet.
Adams was also among several linemen who gave up pressure on the third and six play at the end of the Steelers’ opening drive that resulted in a high pass and incompletion. Once he lost the initial punch, Adams’ feet were too slow to catch up to the edge rush.
On second and 14, on the Steelers’ second drive of the first quarter, Galette got past Adams again, pushing him back on a bull rush as the right tackle hung on. It forced Roethlisberger to flee the pocket and throw a deep incompletion. It would seem he would have otherwise had all day to throw. Instead, the quarterback threw wide of his running back on third and 14 as the offense settled for a field goal.
The Steelers’ first drive of the second half ended in an ugly turnover as Roethlisberger looked for Wheaton cutting to the right sideline at the first down marker. Adams did a poor job of holding Cameron Jordan at bay, allowing him to raise up and bat the ball down, intercepting it and returning it to the 15.
During the middle of the second drive of the third quarter, Galette got around the edge after poking inside. Adams held, but a flag wasn’t called. The pressure forced Roethlisberger to scramble for eight yards.
Two plays later, Adams hoped to rest on the chip assist by the running back to his outside, but that only allowed Galette to dig in to his chest and beat him inside. The rusher popped Roethlisberger in the pocket as Adams sprawled to the ground. fortunately, the pass was completed for a first down, but it surrendered a hit on the quarterback.
Of course, Adams ended the game finally giving up a sack, though it resulted in a loss of close to zero. It was, however, a second and 20 play with under five minutes to play, down by 19 points. Roethlisberger felt the pressure coming around the edge, but thought he could step up into the pocket, not realizing Adams had been beaten inside. Jordan eventually chased him down at the line of scrimmage.