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Week Six Steelers Vs Cardinals Second Half Notes And Observations

The Pittsburgh Steelers secured their second consecutive victory without Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday, employing two quarterbacks in order to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, among the most talented teams in the league. Below are my notes and observations from the first half of the game.

  • The Steelers started the second half with the ball, and just a jump-start from a good return by Dri Archer, taking the ball out to the 39-yard line for the longest return of his career. This time, Jordan Todman actually hit his block.
  • On the first play of the half, Martavis Bryant took the ball on an end around for eight yards behind a Heath Miller.
  • The Steelers began picking up yards in chunks, with a nine-yard run from Le’Veon Bell and a 10-yard scramble from Mike Vick, but the drive stalled at the 30, where Chris Boswell hit his second field goal, this time from 48 yards out.
  • The Steelers got in business quickly, however, as James Harrison forced wide receiver John Brown to cough up the ball, his first forced fumble since 2012. Mike Mitchell recovered at the 32.
  • Vick injured his hamstring on a scramble late on the previous drive and was replaced by the anointed one, Landry Jones. On his first play, he masterfully handed off the ball to Bell, who was so inspired by the perfect exchange that he hit a hole off the right side for a 22-yard gain down to the 10-yard line.
  • After a two-yard run on first and goal from Bell, Jones fired off the first pass of his NFL career, an incompletion to Bryant over everybody’s heads. On third and goal, however, he came back to Bryant in the back of the end zone, who made a leaping reception, getting his butt down in the end zone for the score. Welcome back, Martavis.
  • Jones’ two-point conversion pass attempt was intercepted by Patrick Peterson after getting a good jam on Antonio Brown at the goal line, delaying the receiver getting to the intended spot.
  • But the Cardinals continued to hamstring themselves with penalties, this drive screeching to a halt after a hold. What followed was an incomplete pass and then a sack from Harrison on third down, thus single-handedly ending two consecutive drives.
  • The Steelers took over at the 41, with Jones’ first pass of the drive falling incomplete deep to Brown on a ball behind the veteran receiver. But the young quarterback responded by hitting Bryant for a 23-yard gain on third and 13, dropping it in between two levels of defenders.
  • The drive stalled at the 33-yard line when Jones and Brown failed to hook up again on third and four, with Brown visibly frustrated with Jones’ poor throw. But Boswell came on to hit a 51-yard field goal.
  • The Cardinals got one back on their ensuing drive, however, which was spearheaded by a 42-yard reception from John Brown in front of Antwon Blake on an underthrown ball.
  • Blake was nearly beaten for a touchdown on the following play, but Michael Floyd was just out of bounds in the end zone on a would-be reception.
  • Arizona was able to get it to third and two, but Arthur Moats stopped running back David Johnson for a two-yard loss after clearing through the blocking attempts of a pair of wide receivers.
  • Jones and Brown finally did hook up on the following drive, with the quarterback delivering a nice back shoulder throw and the receiver doing well to adjust to the ball for a 23-yard reception.
  • Later in the drive, Jones checked into a pass play on third and short to hit Miller for a five-yard gain and move the chains, bringing the Steelers into field goal range.
  • The Steelers were able to get all the way to the eight-yard line before the drive stalled. A questionable run called on third and six was stopped for a loss before Boswell hit his fourth field goal of the day.
  • Stephon Tuitt injured his knee on the first play of the Cardinals’ next drive, replaced by L.T. Walton.
  • Ross Cockrell drew a pass interference call on the second play of the drive, and later had a second pass interference call deep down the field offset by a hold.
  • After a 19-yard pass to Brown in front of Blake down to the 20, Carson Palmer looked for the lead, taking a shot into the end zone, but Mitchell read the play, picking the ball off for his first interception as a Steeler.
  • Two plays later, Bryant broke the game open by taking a simple slant pattern 88 yards for his second touchdown of the game, weaving through the secondary with his deceptive speed.
  • The Cardinals mounted a responding 10-play drive that culminated in an incomplete pass in the end zone from the nine-yard line with 13 seconds remaining.
  • It is worth noting that Steve McLendon logged every snap on that drive as a defensive tackle in Tuitt’s absence.
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