Game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
– Kick coverage unit from left to right: Shamarko Thomas–Robert Golden–Roosevelt Nix–Terence Garvin–Vince Williams–Chris Boswell–Sean Spence–Will Johnson–Antwon Blake–Darrius Heyward-Bey–Brandon Boykin.
Nix is taking Ross Ventrone’s spot.
– First play of the game. Sean Spence does a great job of walling #2, bumping him off his stem. Tight window. Ross Cockrell has to do a better job to play the catch point. Pass shouldn’t be completed. Or attempted, really, but that’s who Carson Palmer is.
– Penetration Steve McLendon gets looks like it causes Chris Johnson to lose his focus on the handoff, fumbling the exchange. FF by #90, even if it doesn’t show up in the box score.
– Punt return unit: Blake a jammer to one side with Shamarko Thomas/Boykin paired to the other. Garvin, DHB, Nix, Williams, Johnson, Bud Dupree, and Spence round it out.
– Don’t think the blockers on the return unit did a good job of getting their head around and finding a blocker on Antonio Brown’s first return.
– Swing pass to Brown to the short side with four defenders and only three blockers? Predictable loss.
– Next play. 3rd and long. Deep out from the far hash. Just not a timing/accuracy route Mike Vick can make. Surprised he was asked to do it. Nearly picked.
– Same play. Poor stunt recognition/pickup by Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster.
– Punt unit: Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin, replacing Ross Ventrone, at gunner. Robert Golden the upback with Matt Spaeth and Roosevelt Nix the wings. On the line: Vince Williams, Terence Garvin, Greg Warren, Will Johnson, and Sean Spence.
– As we pointed out in our scouting reports, the Cardinals liked to crack their receivers on safeties, forcing the CB to replace and come up to defend the run. We get that here on the goal line with Larry Fitzgerald on the safety. Blake is unblocked and makes a nice tackle to hold the Cardinals out of the end zone.
– He then gave it up shortly after. Has to jam Michael Floyd on the line. Can’t allow free releases inside the five.
– Kick return unit: Front five: Arthur Moats, Spence, Thomas, Garvin, Williams. Golden right behind. Spaeth/Johnson/Nix the next three with Jordan Todman the upman for Dri Archer.
– Cardinals blow their coverage, Steelers missed chance for an easy six. Vick didn’t progress to Brown in time.
– Strong cut block by Roosevelt Nix on this Counter OF. Helps spring Le’Veon Bell.
– Lawrence Timmons had the fantastic one-handed INT but credit starts with Vince Williams for playing the pocket on the throw, creating the deflection and the turnover.
– Ran same Sprint 339 play I broke down last week. Well covered but gets Vick moving and he runs for 8.
– Ramon Foster late getting off his chip on the combo block. Late to the second level, not used to having to block a safety playing linebacker. Blown up for a loss.
– Steelers should have no problem spilling this run back inside. No way you can let the back hit the edge and pick up the first down, as what happens.
– Poor cut block by the BST. Cam Heyward fights it off with ease and makes the TFL.
– James Harrison shows his bend, whipping left tackle Jared Veldheer.
– G Lead with the PSG David DeCastro pulling. Missed cut block by Nix, forcing DeCastro to pick up his man, only thing standing in the way of turning this 9 yard gain into a touchdown.
– You can tell how close Ramon Foster and Kelvin Beachum were. There was the report Foster stayed at Beachum’s house Sunday night. When the injury happened, Foster was frantically motioning the trainers over before he even got to his feet.
– Marcus Gilbert still tends to double-over in pass protection. Waist bender. Played well but worried Justin Houston will beat him up this weekend.
– First play of Alejandro Villanueva’s career. Sprints downfield to help Markus Wheaton up. That type of dude.
– We talk about it all the time but the hustle Stephon Tuitt has is so unique. Larry Fitzgerald with the long catch and run but watch the bottom of the screen. Tuitt streaking downfield, taking an angle on the off chance Fitz eludes everyone, and sprints until the whistle. Talent, IQ, and heart. All the makings of an All-Pro player.
– Arthur Moats: crowd surfer.
– Nice job by Robert Golden to fight through the wide receiver’s crack block and make the tackle. Supported the run very well Sunday, which isn’t surprising to those who have watched him in his career.
– Vince Williams good technique to keep his inside arm/hand free, shed the trap block, and make the tackle.
– Do wish the Steelers would have given Vick some intermediate routes to pair with vertical concepts. Three verts here and there just isn’t anywhere for Vick to go with the football.
– No idea how Vick missed this throw that badly. Put a Mr. Yuck sticker on this play.
– Play Vick got hurt on. Completely oblivious to his checkdown Le’Veon Bell, wide open for at least a 15 yard gain. Maybe more given all the matchups he wins in space. Runs around and gets himself hurt at the end.
– Marcus Gilbert doing a nice job of setting his hips an sealing #51 the linebacker. Creates lane for Bell and a 22 yard pickup.
– Ball out by Landry Jones before Martavis Bryant ever turns his head around. Throwing WRs open. That’s NFL level stuff.
– Poor technique by Antwon Blake off the line. Punches with wrong hands, unable to open up his hips off the line. Nice recovery to get back in phase, though.
– Arthur Moats got the glory, making the tackle on third and short in what David Todd called the “hit of the year,” but also have to give credit to Cockrell. Sets the edge and sacrifices his body against Jermaine Gresham, forcing the back inside.
– Overall, Steelers’ spilit zone runs (zone block one way, TE pulling across) were effective. Heath Miller did a nice job.
– Third and three vs the blitz. Jones knows where he wants the ball to go and gets it out hot to Miller to move the sticks.
– Dart scheme, pulling backside tackle. That’s the 6’9 Villanueva.
– Anthony Chickillo didn’t start on special teams units but mixed in as the game went on. R2 on kick coverage and some work on the punt return unit.
– Nice open field tackle by Blake on Larry Fitzgerald.
– Third and eight. Two high shell by the safeties. Blake playing trail technique. Underneath to the inside hip. Needs to be able to take away any breaking route (out/dig). Dig route run and Blake loses separation, allowing the catch. Can’t have that.
Lucky Jones didn’t get hurt here. Wasn’t an intentional low blow though. Cardinal got tripped by Ramon Foster.