Week Seven Steelers Vs Chiefs First Half Notes And Observations

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell short in their comeback attempt Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, ultimately losing the first start of Landry Jones’ career by a score of 23-13. Below are my notes and observations from the first half of the game.

  • The Steelers wanted to get Jones on track early, giving him a quick inside slant to throw to Martavis Bryant on the first play from scrimmage, which the receiver was able to carry upfield for 19 yards.
  • The second play of the game saw Jones targeting Bryant more than 40 yards down the field as the receiver tried to hug the sideline and secure the ball, but he could not get his hands under it.
  • Following a false start on Marcus Gilbert on second down, the right tackle was slow to get to Justin Houston on an attempted screen pass to Bryant on third and 13, allowing the outside linebacker to bat the pass down.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers had an immediate opportunity to get the ball back on third and five, but the Chiefs were able to burn them on their exotic coverage looks. They hoped to get Cameron Heyward off the line in time to cover Charcandrick West out of the backfield, but Alex Smith hit the back immediately, and he picked up12 yards. Heyward never had a chance to get there.
  • After a nine-yard run by West, on which he turned Lawrence Timmons inside-out, he was able to churn out two yards through Arthur Moats on second and one for the first down.
  • After an end around had gotten the Chiefs within the 20-yard line, however, the offense faltered. Antwon Blake put a hit on the receiver and was able to knock the ball out on first down. Ross Cockrell did a good job of blanketing the receiver over the middle and tackling the catch for seven yards. On third down, West dropped the pass behind the line of scrimmage, but Robert Golden was well-positioned to drop him for a loss.
  • Following a successful field goal conversion, Dri Archer returned the ensuing kickoff from five yards deep and brought it out to the 33-yard line, showing off his speed and doing well to follow his blockers.
  • Jones’ first pass of the series targeted Antonio Brown deep over the middle, but it was broken up well by the cornerback. However, Jones went back to Brown, on third down, who snagged a hard pass out of the air for a 21-yard gain.
  • After a three-yard run on second and four from Le’Veon Bell gave the Steelers a short-yardage situation, Mike Tomlin put in DeAngelo Williams, who for some reason was anointed the short-yardage back for the game, even though he has no particular attributes that warrant such a role. Still, he did convert on third and one, and later on fourth and one, but he also failed to convert twice, and also dropped a pass on third and two.
  • That third down pass came on the six-yard line at the end of that drive, which forced the Steelers to settle for a field goal. Had he brought in the ball, it likely would have gone for a touchdown, or at least sets up first and goal at the two.
  • On the first play of the Chiefs’ next possession, the secondary allowed a free release on a crossing route through the middle, on which perhaps William Gay should have been the one to pick up the receiver, on a play that went for 25 yards.
  • On the following play, Bud Dupree was able to get free for a tackle for loss after a blitz forced the right tackle off of a double team that the tight end blocking the outside linebacker was anticipating.
  • Tight end Travis Kelce was able to find early success against the secondary, particularly on this drive, picking up three catches for 47 yards, but the defense clamped down on him as the game evolved.
  • One of those receptions came on third and eight from the 25 with Moats in coverage as he picked up 17 yards inside the 10-yard line. But after a rush on third and goal from the four, the Chiefs again settled for a field goal.
  • On the first play of the ensuing drive following a touchback, Bell was able to follow a lead block by Roosevelt Nix up the middle for a 21-yard gain.
  • As the drive went on, so did Bell, picking up six yards, and then seven, until he put the Steelers in a fourth-and-one at the 32-yard line. In came Williams, who was stuffed for no gain and a turnover on downs.
  • The Chiefs responded with a field goal, made possible by a nine-yard Chris Conley reception against Cockrell early on third and four.
  • On the next play, a trifecta of missed tackles by Blake, Jarvis Jones, and then Timmons freed up the receiver to turn a short gain into a 40-yarder up the left sideline, down at the 13.
  • It was fortunate that the defense clamped down yet again in the red zone, stopping Kelce for no gain on first down, with Dupree batting down a pass on second down. On third and 10, Brandon Boykin had his receiver blanketed, immediately making the tackle after a four-yard gain, with James Harrison forcing an early throw.
  • In spite of the fact that the Steelers took over with 55 seconds to play, the half ended with a missed 54-yard field goal attempt from the Chiefs after a Jones interception by Derrick Johnson that was returned 18 yards to the Steelers’ 40. The linebacker had the play read well, and Jones could not put enough air under it to get the ball to Bryant.
  • After a nine-yard reception brought the Chiefs to the 31, Heyward came up with a big sack for a loss of five yards on second down to extend the range of the ultimate field goal attempt.
  • On third down, the receiver dropped what would have been a six-yard gain for a first down with about 11 seconds left from the 29-yard line.
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