Steelers vs Saints Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations upon reviewing the action of the first half from the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints game this past Sunday.

  • On the Saint’s first series, Cameron Heyward made the stop on a running play on first down and then deflected Drew Brees’ pass on third down to force a three and out. Unfortunately the offense failed to capitalize at all.
  • On the third play of the Steelers’ opening drive, Mike Adams allowed defensive end Cameron Jordan too much penetration. Jordan was able to get off his feet and extend his arm to swat down Ben Roethlisberger’s pass and cradle it himself for the turnover that gave the Saints the ball at the 15-yard line.
  • Two plays later, it was an 11-yard Nick Toon touchdown that both Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu played poorly.
  • After that, the offense finally started to get things in gear with some quick passes to Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller.
  • The officials missed a hold by Adams on Roethlisberger’s eight-yard scramble for a first down.
  • After two more connections to Bell and Miller, Antonio Brown’s 16-yard reception, and an ensuing defensive penalty, made it first and goal on the one.
  • Bell capitalized with his second rushing touchdown in as many weeks as he took the ball wide around left end, beating a linebacker and safety to the pylon for the score. That was after throwing a stiff arm in the backfield to get free.
  • It all seemed to be going well. The Saints were penalized on the ensuing kickoff, forcing them to start on the 11-yard line. Then on first down, Jason Worilds bottled up a screen o the right for a loss of a yard.
  • But then on second down, William Gay was caught by a late shift from Kenny Stills, who used his overadjusting aggressiveness to get behind him for 21 yards.
  • Still not so bad, though, as after two more plays, the Saints were facing third and 10 on the 31.
  • But then Taylor was burned on a double move that he tried to attack rather than retreating as Stills went the distance for 69 yards and a touchdown that made it 28-13.
  • For its part, the offense played the rest of the game well, but there was too much ground left to cover. The Steelers outscored the Saints 19-7 in the last 16+ minutes and still lost by three.
  • On the first play after the long score, Markus Wheaton picked off the linebacker to free Bell, with the nearest defender capable of making a tackle 18 yards down the field. It turned into the longest passing play of his career on a 48-yard gain, but he could’ve been gone if Brown had just finished off the block on the safety.
  • Instead of getting into the end zone, the Steelers settled for a 47-yard field goal on fourth and 14 from the 30-yard line. Let me remind you that they lost by three.
  • After taking a sack from Worilds for a loss of seven, Brees absorbed a hit from Polamalu and still completed an 18-yard pass for a first down in front of a diving Taylor to keep the possession on schedule.
  • On third and three, Vince Williams came in on a late blitz and hammered Brees for a loss of 10, but Antwon Blake was flagged for holding.
  • From the 37-yard line, Stephon Tuitt was in error playing inside with James Harrison taking a wide angle on a run play to the left. Polamalu also missed a tackle, which resulted in a 31-yard run.
  • One play later, Blake was beaten from three yards out with a touchdown pass to Colston on the fifth touchdown pass from Brees. That gave the Saints a 35-16 lead with about 10 minutes to play.
  • The Steelers turned the ball over on downs on an eight-play drive when a short pass to Wheaton on fourth and 10 came up a yard short.
  • The defense forced a three and out to get the ball back while draining about two minutes off the clock, which began with a four-yard loss thanks to Heyward on first down.
  • Down 19, with six minutes left, the Steelers got the ball back on the five-yard line.
  • It took 15 plays and three and a half minutes, but they got into the end zone. The longest play of the drive was the first one, a 16-yard screen to Wheaton.
  • Browns got in front of Keenan Lewis at the goal line for the four-yard score, his 10th of the season. The quarterback and receiver connected again for the two-point conversion.
  • With only one timeout left, the Steelers forced a three and out to get the ball back, down 11, with 1:02 to play. On the two-yard line.
  • The first three plays of the drive went to Bell for a total of 77 yards. 15 more yards came via personal foul, placing the ball on the six. Then a roughing the passer penalty put the ball on the three. Roethlisberger found Brown as time expired for the touchdown.
  • It was Brown’s 11th touchdown of the season. He is just the ninth player in team history with 11 receiving touchdowns in a season, and needs just one more to tie the team record with four games to play.
  • Despite there being literally no chance whatsoever to win or tie the game, given that there was no time left and they were down by five, the Steelers went for a two-point conversion again, because a three-point loss looks better than a four-point loss I guess
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