Week Two: Steelers Vs 49ers Second Half Notes And Observations

The Pittsburgh Steelers secured their first victory of the season in convincing fashion on Sunday, putting up 43 points in their home opener against the San Francisco 49ers while recording five sacks and a turnover, holding the road team to just three points leading into the fourth quarter. Below are my notes and observations from the first half of the game.

  • For the third time of the game, the Steelers’ kick coverage unit successfully pinned the 49ers down inside their own 20-yard line. Roosevelt Nix notably took out one of the returner’s wedge blockers.
  • The first drive got off to a promising start for the defense, with Ryan Shazier penetrating to make a tackle for loss on first down. He had another later on the drive that was negated by an offensive penalty.
  • On second and long, Arthur Moats looped inside as he and Stephon Tuitt combined for the sack, forcing a third and 31, and an eventual punt.
  • The Steelers’ first play of the half, a screen to Antonio Brown, was dropped for a loss after Kelvin Beachum was tied up getting to the edge.
  • The next two plays combined for two yards as Pittsburgh opened the second half with twin three-and-outs after finishing the first half with four touchdown drives.
  • On the 49ers’ first play back with the ball, Shazier helped induce a fumble on a quarterback scramble, but the offense recovered.
  • The 49ers proceeded to embark on a long drive that wound up scoring no points, resolved with an incomplete pass on fourth and goal after the fullback was unable to hold on to a pass through the ground.
  • Notable on the drive was Antwon Blake popping the ball out on one play to force an incompletion.
  • The Steelers originally forced a fourth and one at the three-yard line, which the 49ers came very close to converting. The officials gave them the benefit of the doubt, but it was very close.
  • On first and goal, Jarvis Jones made an excellent play to cross the face of the tight end, getting a hold of the back’s foot as teammates piled on to make a gang tackle.
  • On third and goal, Steve McLendon, shed the block of the center to wrestle the back down for a one-yard gain.
  • Lawrence Timmons put the pressure on Bruce Miller on fourth down, taking him to the ground and preventing him from holding on to the ball through the completion of the catch.
  • With the Steelers taking over at their own two-yard line, DeAngelo Williams follow Nix through a hole for four yards to gain some clearance. The offense, however, still went three-and-out.
  • For his part, Jordan Berry boomed a 62-yarder out of his own end zone, and with the gunners setting the perimeter, Will Allen knifed through to make the special teams tackle after a four-yard gain, establishing a 58-yard net and flipping the field, putting San Francisco at its own 36.
  • On first down, however, the Steelers were caught on a Y cross over the middle, with Vernon Davis completing an easy 43-yard gain through the breakdown in coverage.
  • On the following play, Allen was flagged for unnecessary roughness as he put a hit on the tight end going up in the air to make the catch, though the penalty may actually have been on Shazier.
  • That gave the 49ers first and goal at the six-yard line, but after a pass deflection from Brandon Boykin, a delay of game, and a sack by Bud Dupree, they were backed up to the 14.
  • On fourth and goal, Anquan Boldin jarred Boykin at the top of his route, causing the defender to slip, with the receiver making the grab for the scoring at the left sideline. The officials upheld the call on the field in spite of the receiver still in the processing securing the ball after his right foot had already left the playing surface.
  • After two failed drives, however, Ben Roethlisberger was eager to match the damage. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Williams broke of a 16-yard run, his longest of the day.
  • Later, on an eventual third and two, Roethlisberger connected with Markus Wheaton for a 48-yard gain, rolling out of pressuring and firing a strike on the move to his right.
  • Williams followed a trap block off right guard on first and goal for a seven-yard gain, and completed the drive with a one-yard second-effort touchdown on the following play.
  • The 49ers quickly responded with a 75-yard touchdown, with the right side stressing the deep safety and forcing Allen into coverage, as he was just a tick slow in getting in front of the play.
  • Blake was beaten over the top for the two-point conversion.
  • Roethlisberger was still not satisfied with buckling down, however. On third and three, with a free play on an offside call, he fired overhead to hit Brown for a 56-yarder.
  • Beachum did an excellent job to get out in front on a 10-yard run from Williams on the following play to set up first and goal. Roethlisberger to Brown for seven in the far left corner finished up the drive.
  • Due to the extended nature of several of the 49ers’ drives, and the Steelers’ commanding lead, Ross Cockrell logged a healthy number of snaps, with a large portion of that coming on the final drive, where he was targeted three times, giving up three receptions, though one was in zone coverage and after about six seconds.
  • The 49ers ultimately ran out of downs after Dupree was able to tackle Kaepernick at the one-yard line, with the Steelers able to run out the clock.
  • In the backfield, it was Jordan Todman, who scraped off the pile at the line of scrimmage, stepping through a pair of tacklers for an 11-yard gain, securing the first down at the two-minute warning and allowing the offense to run out the clock.
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