Steelers Vs Packers Second Half Notes And Observations

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Green Bay Packers by the score of 24-21 on Sunday, but they certainly lost more than they gained due to injury. Below are my notes and observations upon review of the first half of the game.

  • Third-year quarterback Landry Jones began the second half as most seem to expect that he would, with an interception on an underthrown deep ball. But he ended the game in a much different way.
  • With Cam Thomas lining up at left defensive end, Ethan Hemer manned the other side, bumping L.T. Walton with the return of Daniel McCullers.
  • Speaking of McCullers, his teammates were taking too long in bringing a ball carrier down on the Packers’ first play of the second half, so he decided to just tackle the entire pile of players for no gain. Shayon Green didn’t seem overly happy about that.
  • Antwon Blake made a great jump on a route later on that drive, managing to break up the pass, but he was beside himself for not coming up with the interception.
  • On the following play, Bud Dupree managed to get to the quarterback on a third and 15 play, but the sack was negated by an offside penalty on Thomas. It’s important to understand, however, that this play likely doesn’t happen if not for the offside in the first place, since the quarterback knows he has a free play, and it took time that the quarterback would normally have the ball out for Dupree to get there.
  • It’s also worth noting that Thomas has made major strides in his get off at the snap, so if an offside penalty in the preseason is a side effect of that, I’ll take it.
  • When the Steelers checked into the nickel, Walton came in at left end, with Thomas at right.
  • Rookie cornerback Doran Grant looked pretty comfortable as a gunner after the Steelers’ second drive of the half died unceremoniously. The team is set at gunner, for now, but it’s always good to know that you have depth.
  • It’s easy to critique Landry Jones for everything that isn’t perfect. Maybe his deep ball to Sammie Coates made the receiver hang up for a bit to get the ball, but he still made the connection that resulted in a 54-yard gain. It happens to the elite quarterbacks too.
  • On the following play, Chris Hubbard was quickly shed by the nose tackle, who blew up Jawon Chisholm at the line of scrimmage.
  • Wide receiver Shakim Phillips could have done more to attack the back shoulder throw in his direction a play later. The cornerback played it well, but he could have made it so that the defender had no chance. On the next play, he let a pass slip out of his grip.
  • Roosevelt Nix is still making special teams plays. Could there be a spot for him on the practice squad if this continues to be a habit?
  • Dupree may have been unblocked on his sack, but he did an excellent job to stay with the quarterback, not letting him slip away or get rid of the ball.
  • Hubbard was responsible for a sack in the last game for not picking up a stunt. The same was true for this game, only this time it was working with the left guard, the spot he usually plays, at center.
  • The next sack was a little less obvious. The right guard seems to let his man through, with Hubbard coming out, as though he was responsible for a pull block. He seemed to have been given blame after the play by his teammates as well.
  • Terence Garvin continues to play well, making stops on second and third down to force a three and out on the Packers’ next drive.
  • Coates dropped two passes on the next drive. This guy is going to be frustrating.
  • So would Phillips, but he’s not making the team, and may still be on the outside looking in for a practice squad spot.
  • As he has done for the past two preseasons, Jordan Dangerfield continues to show off his love of hitting, but he has not shown that he can be trusted in coverage.
  • Both Coates and Phillips make some tough catches, but they can’t be trusted on the field if they miss too many of the easy ones.
  • But I have yet to see such unreliability from Tyler Muphy, who has only been strictly a wide receiver for a couple of weeks now. His escaping from two defenders near the goal line on a 21-yard touchdown was very impressive, although he could have really helped his cause if he came down with the difficult two-point conversion pass.
  • Cornerback Kevin Fogg may have saved a touchdown on special teams on the following kickoff.
  • And the much maligned Gerod Holliman forced a wide receiver out of bounds for a one-yard gain on the next play.
  • After the Steelers induced a grounding penalty, Walton showed off his hustle to chase down a screen pass on third and long.
  • On third and six, Jones pump faked, scrambled away from pressure up the pocket, and found Murphy freeing himself from coverage to make himself available, winning the sideline for a 25-yard gain.
  • Jones completed another third down to Phillips, who finished off the drive with an impressive catch over the defender’s head for a 20-yard touchdown. But with him being so up and down, it’s difficult to say whether or not he is one of the 10 best practice squad candidates.
  • Jones’ ensuing two-point attempt was poor and underthrown to the far left corner, as he threw off his base.
  • On the first play, new linebacker L.J. Fort defended a low pass, adding a sack on a blitz off the left edge on fourth and one.
  • Grant made an excellent pass defense in between those two plays, and Dangerfield, of course, made another big hit to keep it to fourth and one. That stop allowed the Steelers to take a few knees and conclude their first preseason victory.
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