Series we’re bringing back to Steelers Depot that we began last year. A snapshot of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season, a look at the singular best and worst play from each player on the roster. If I wanted to sum up a players season in 30 seconds, these are the plays I would look at.
Circling around to defensive end Tyson Alualu.
Best Play: Hustle & Tackle Against Patriots
No, Alualu didn’t make this play alone. But I love the heart and hustle. 3rd and 4 in a crucial moment, and crucial game, against the New England Patriots in Week 15. Quick screen to the left side. Alualu chases the ball hard and helps clean up the tackle, preventing the receiver from falling forward and potentially – probably? – picking up the first down.
Like the attention to detail too, him trying to rip the ball out at the end. To play along the Steelers’ defensive line, you have to be a high effort player. That’s Stephon Tuitt, that’s Cam Heyward, and Javon Hargrave has become that after watching those around him. Alualu is cut from a similar cloth and plays like these make me smile. Needed plays like these to upset the Patriots.
These are the things a rookie like Isaiah Buggs will have to show if he wants to carve out playing time. Hustle to the ball, have a motor that doesn’t quit, something that was of concern in Tom Mead’s article this morning.
Worst Play: Pancaked Vs Jacksonville
To be fair, the defense had to immediately come on the field after a Ben Roethlisberger interception. So there may have been some tired legs. And it feels like a stunt gone wrong. Perhaps some miscommunication about Alualu needing to slant his gap while Daniel McCullers loops around (a bad idea but that’s a different discussion).
Results are, uh, poor. RT Jeremy Parnell makes quick work of Alualu, burying him into the ground. Big runway for Leonard Fournette for an 11 yard gain as the Jags ran all over Pittsburgh. Going through some of my videos of Alualu, he’s struggled the last two years facing his old team. Parnell is a strong and physical tackle but this is ugly stuff that helps create a big play for the offense. Gotta stay on your feet to compete.