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Game Rewind: Steelers vs Chargers Game Notes

Your weekly game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 win over the San Diego Chargers.

First Half

– Kick return unit. The front five: Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Ross Ventrone, Terence Garvin, Shamarko Thomas. Robert Golden right behind with Matt Spaeth, Will Johnson, and Roosevelt Nix forming the wedge. Jordan Todman served as Dri Archer’s upback.

– Great arm throw by Mike Vick with a defending falling into him. 26 yard gain to Heath Miller.

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– Third and three fade to Antonio Brown out of the slot is the same play they ran in Week One against New England. This one, unfortunately, fell incomplete.

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– Punt coverage: Venrtone/Thomas the gunners. Golden the upback. Will Allen and Matt Spaeth the wings. On the line: Williams-Garvin-Greg Warren-Johnson-Spence.

– Love the leverage and subsequent power generated by Jarvis Jones on this bull rush of left tackle. Put him on his butt.

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– Nickel blitz and Philip Rivers knows where to go with the ball. Throws to the blitz side, three receivers with two defenders to match, and it’s a big gain for Danny Woodhead.  But if you remember the play, nice hustle by Jarvis to chase it down. Really one of his best games as a Steeler.

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– Nice two-gapping by Cameron Heyward to stack, fill his lane. Too bad no one could wrap Melvin Gordon up.

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– This run by DeAngelo Williams felt more like a ladder drill than anything else. Absolutely love the quick feet and high knees plus the vision to pick his way through the lane.

– Can’t max protect with eight and still allow immediate pressure like this up the middle. Missed stunt by Cody Wallace and Vick got killed.

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– Split zone with a great cut block by Heath Miller to spring Le’Veon Bell.

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– Will Allen’s injury. Left ankle turning into the ground. Dirt kicking up which isn’t a good look for the field – there were reports pre-game the grass was patchy.

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– Punt coverage: Antwon Blake was a jammer by himself to one side with Ventrone/Thomas double-viced to the other. On the line: Golden-DHB-Johnson-Williams-Garvin-Bud Dupree-Spence.

– Vertical release by the Y (Miller) to create a rub/separation for AB on this crosser. 39 yard gain. Have seen this concept several times under Todd Haley.

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– Great play by David DeCastro. Strong punch to knock the DL upfield on this screen, cuts the linebacker in the open field.

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– Nix replaced Allen as the left wing on punt returns.

– Something poetic about Chris Boswell standing next to Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. New kid trying to fit in.

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Mike Mitchell totally flailing on his attempted jam of Antonio Gates.

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– 11 personnel, eight men within five yards of the line with a ninth, the “deep” safety ten yards deep. If you’re Vick, you have to check out to a pass. Run predictably fails, a two yard loss.

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– Speaking of him, he can help himself by making an easier throw on 3rd and 6. Actually the same concept as the AB 39 yarder, vertical release by the Y and a drag by #1. Brown again gets separation but Vick chooses to throw the difficult comeback to Markus Wheaton. That may be his first read, and it isn’t an awful decision, but a high degree of difficulty for a QB of his caliber.

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The pass is incomplete and the Steelers have to punt.

– Nice play by Shamarko Thomas running down this punt. Evades both jammers, jumps inside, contains Jacoby Jones, and dives in to make the tackle.

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– All the coaches on the Steelers’ sideline were furious over Jordan Todman’s block in the back. Cost Brown a 35 yard return.

– Vick just missing all over the place. Deep when he should go short, short when he should go deep. Same vert/drag concept, the third time in a quarter-and-a-half, with Vick hitting AB instead of Miller down the seam.

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Easy to second guess, sure, but definitely some yards left on the field.

– Counter OF fails with Miller and DeCastro winding up on the ground.

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– Chargers’ defensive line usually didn’t adjust to any trades/motions the Steelers would run. Help put the Steelers in some positive blocking schemes and some bad run fits by San Diego.

– Bell absolutely schooling Brandon Flowers in the hole. Made him look silly.

– Despite getting overextended, Nix has the strength to stick and drive Eric Weddle back and back and back. Finishes with a pancake.

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– Been pretty hard on Cody Wallace but did a nice job burying the stunting linebacker into the ground.

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– Tuitt works off D.J. Fluker, makes the tackle.

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– Try to find Le’Veon Bell. Good luck. He somehow turns it into a 32 yard gain.

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Nose tackle Sean Lissemore (#98) got fooled by Bell’s eyes so much that we ran the wrong way. Could have filled the gap but spun away from where Bell wound up going. Love the eye manipulation.

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– Outside of the one step/screen game, a lot of the passing concepts given to Vick were the same. Running the same three or four concepts. That is a little disheartening after 11 days off.

– Nice open field tackle on Woodhead by Sean Spence.

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Second Half

– I just enjoy the physicality Nix plays with. Nearly knocks over this blocker on the opening kick return. Pancake on another late in the game.

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– It’s not that Antwon Blake can’t tackle. His issues, which I haven’t been able to fully define, comes from his footwork. Struggling to get out of his pedal. Doesn’t let him close quickly enough and the receivers can turn upfield, screwing up his angle to the ball.

– Tuitt, again, doing the right guard dirty. Swims over the top.

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– Vince Williams good for knocking a fool down on special teams each week. Pancakes rookie Kyle Emmanuel on this punt coverage. And then buckled his chinstrap while running downfield. Ha.

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– Watch Lawrence Timmons neatly shed the center in space, get on top of the screen and make the tackle. Timmons struggled to wrap up but did a great job working off blocks and staying clean the entire game.

– Get jiggy with it.

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– Looked like Mike Mitchell’s mini-freakout, bolting to the line, was him communicating a check that the front seven wouldn’t respond to/acknowledge when Mitchell tried to make it at his free safety spot.

– If Nix doesn’t move laterally here against Keenan Allen, and winds up making the tackle, there is a lot of green in front of him. Might have saved the game.

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– Tuitt can shed and penetrate. Can alos hold the POA against double-teams.

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– Archer forced two missed tackles returning kicks Monday. That’s a solid day.

– Markus Wheaton’s 72 yard TD. Steelers ran a comeback the play before on the previous drive that was nearly picked. Worked off it with a double-move, faking the comeback and going over the top. Well called and well executed.

– If you’re going to play your DBs on the same level on third and short, you’re going to get picked. Have to play with different levels or banjo call and switch.

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– Dash concept on DHB’s leaping grab on the final drive. Drop back initially and then sprint out.

– Steelers showing some funky splits again, this time on the right side. Wide splits between guard/tackle and tackle/tight end. Maybe it’s to force the LOLB to an extremely wide technique, minimizing his ability to get after the QB.

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