Game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 30-9 beatdown over the Cleveland Browns.
– Kick return unit. Front five: Arthur Moats, Sean Spence, Vince Williams, Bud Dupree, and Anthony Chickillo. Robert Golden the next man right behind. Jesse James, Will Johnson, and Roosevelt Nix apart of the wedge with Jordan Todman the upback for Jacoby Jones.
– Nix has played well as a fullback but has consistently had the issue of dropping his head on contact. Doesn’t let him stick to blocks and has tendency to fall off. Drops eyes and gets blown up here.
– Miscommunication between Alejandro Villanueva and Ramon Foster. Neither takes on the LDE who busts in free to blow this run up.
– Punt coverage: Antwon Blake and Darrius Heyward-Bey the gunners. Golden your upback. Nix and Will Allen as wings. On the line: Williams-Moats-Greg Warren-Johnson-Sean Spence.
– Don’t talk about punters much but based on the way the coverage unit was running, bearing to the right, I think Jordan Berry misplaced this ball. Lands outside the left hash.
– This is the best throw Landry Jones has made all year. Feels pressure, climbs the pocket, protects the football while getting swiped, eyes downfield, makes the throw, completes the pass.
– Another issue between Villy and Foster. Neither work to the linebacker on this zone run, who comes in free into the backfield. Contributed to the Steelers’ rushing woes.
– On play where Jones got hurt, he missed an open Antonio Brown for an easy six.
– Kick coverage from left to right: Ross Cockrell-Golden-Nix-Chickillo-Williams-Chris Boswell–Jarvis Jones-Blake-Spence-DHB-Brandon Boykin.
– Steelers do a great job taking away the deep and intermediate routes on this bootleg. Force the underneath throw and rally to the ball – that’s the goal. Executed well.
– Ryan Shazier has to get off this block from rookie running back Duke Johnson. Can’t get schooled like that. Did make up for it later in the game, which we’ll show later on in this article.
– Third down conversion to AB, who took a five yard drag into a first down on third and forever. Designed to go to him the whole way. Like their drag/screen without the screen element. Good blocks downfield helped spring him, too. Except for Martavis Bryant – he was pretty lazy about it. DHB is the best blocking WR, followed by Markus Wheaton in another tier, and then Bryant/Brown in the bottom tier.
– Kudos to the OL across the board for giving Ben Roethlisberger a really clean pocket on this deep throw to Bryant, the first hookup between those two of the day. That’s what I like to see.
– Wheaton with a nice pivot route and diving catch for the football. His tape isn’t bad. Just not seeing the ball very much.
– Unless there is some sort of crazy gap fill I’m not aware of, Spence really lost here. Looks like his eyes are glued to Johnny Manziel. Never flows down the line on this zone run to the offenses’ left, totally out of position. Said his biggest issue has been false steps off the ball and the issues still perk up from time to time. I like Spence but frankly, I’d be rotating in Vince Williams. Spence does everything ok. Williams does some things really well.
– Punt return unit: Blake and Boykin jammers. Others in that group: Cockrell, DHB, Nix, Spence, Williams, Dupree, Golden, and Johnson.
– Shazier with eyes in the backfield. Doesn’t get wide and take the tight end releasing out of the backfield.
– Big Ben squeezing through the offensive line and completes this pass downfield to Heath Miller.
– 2nd and 10, empty set. Browns play off coverage. Like last week, throw quick in the slot, this time to Miller. Easiest gain of eight the Steelers had all day.
– Nice job in the open field by Ramon Foster, throwing a block on this screen.
– Don’t talk about Chris Hubbard very often but he did offer a nice down block here.
– 4th and goal failed conversion was a run-pass option. Ben’s choice the whole way. Can’t put a ton of blame on Todd Haley here, try as you might.
– Pretty positive Joe Thomas tripped over his left guard on the Jarvis Jones “sack.” Wasn’t Thomas getting pancaked by JJ.
– Looks like Shazier is responsible for #3 here. Eyes in the backfield and doesn’t do a great job squeezing this throw. He’s a good athlete but average instinctually in coverage.
– David DeCastro might have had his worst day run blocking all season long. Had trouble sticking to his blocks. Fell off too often.
– Standard Cover 3 beater. If I had to gameplan against the Steelers, I’d run this a lot. Bootleg to the boundary. #1 on a clearout with a backside crosser and maybe someone leaking into the flat, basically creating a Sail concept. Burns the Steelers time and time again.
– Great job by the secondary for sticking to their receivers. How it looked after 6-7 seconds. Blanketed. Manziel gets sacked. Scrambling QBs are less effective in the red zone when the receivers can’t stress the defense vertically and defenders don’t have to respect it.
– Shazier got stoned by Duke Johnson earlier but blew through him here, and once more later in the game, getting a sack on this play. That’s a good bounce-back.
– Nice job by Lawrence Timmons to scrape, work off the pulling guard’s block, and make the tackle.
– Rough second half for Cody Wallace. Hands too high here and gets rag-dolled by Paul Kruger on this stunt. Yuck.
– Next play. Falls off his block in the run game, allows the tackle.
– Antonio Brown’s touchown. Cover 0 versus empty. Safeties playing very, very shallow. No chance for the corner to stop AB. Have to wonder what the Browns’ are thinking asking their CB to win that matchup against a backup corner.
– Back to Dr. Wallace. Rookie Danny Shelton swimming over and blowing up this run.