I wrote an article a couple of weeks back pretty much knocking Pittsburgh Steelers second-year starting safety Sean Davis and saying that he wasn’t playing up to the level that he needed to. Two weeks on since then, he has begun to play at another level, and I wrote an article earlier this week eating crow.
So here’s the complementary film study to show some of the things he has been doing since then—or more accurately, in the last game—that has seen him make a bigger impact on the game than he had been, while limiting his mistakes.
The strong safety did spend some time in the box in this one, especially in the first half. And early example of that came late in the first. On the play, he just stayed patient in his gap, letting the play come to him, and he made it when given the opportunity, tackling Joe Mixon for a one-yard gain.
Although Giovani Bernard was already losing the ball, Davis made a quick-reacting play late in the first half as Andy Dalton looked for him toward the numbers, giving him a good shot that had a seemingly good chance of breaking up any potential reception anyway.
He had another big hate late in the third on Mixon following a successful reception that did pop the ball loose, this time producing a fumble. The hit sent him staggering backward, losing the handle, though he was able to regain possession and picked up two more yards.
He did bit on the play action on the next play, releasing the tight end, whom Dalton was able to find for a seven-yard gain. If only Ben Roethlisberger could get the safeties to bite this hard on play action when he attempts it.
The highlight of the game for him, however, came just three plays later. On third and four, Dalton looked for his rookie wide receiver—the other rookie wide receiver—down the field, but Davis read the throw and broke on it, deflecting the pass and enabling it to be intercepted by William Gay.
Coming off a touchdown-saving near-interception the week before, the former second-round pick is starting to pick things up this year in terms of making an impact on the game. Surprisingly, they haven’t been using him to blitz much this year as they had last season, though.