Following each game in the 2022 Steelers season I will be giving you my 10 takes. These aren’t going to be hot takes and meant to shock the world. This will be instant reactions to the game written while still in that period just following the game when the emotions are high and the ideas are fresh. Included will be thoughts, observations, queries and reasons that caused me to yell at the television.
Game 13 – Baltimore Ravens
1. Owned – The run defense was deplorable. There should be tape made from the performance of the Ravens offensive line, tight ends and fullback to teach others how to block properly in the run game. The Steelers knew they were going to run and it just didn’t matter. The lack of ability for ANYONE on the defense to get off of block and make a play was shocking. J.K. Dobbins hasn’t played in two months and averaged eight years per carry. Embarrassing.
2. A Tale of Two Trubiskies – I have to admit. His first drive had me feeling pretty good. Yes, he still throws everything off his back foot but he looked good. He was able to drive the offense up and down the field repeatedly the whole game. If he didn’t have lovey-dovey eyes and stare down Pat Freiermuth TWICE he could have been a hero. His deep ball looked good; he used all the receivers and got the ball out quickly. Take away the picks and he had a great game in relief.
3. Spyllane? – With the athleticism of the Baltimore quarterbacks using a defender to spy and limit their running opportunities is expected. The Steelers decided to deploy Robert Spillane as their spy. Ultimately it didn’t make that much of an impact on this game once Tyler Huntley got injured. However, my question is why him? You want to match speed and athleticism there. Devin Bush is much faster and more athletic. It was an odd choice in my opinion.
4. Planned Punt Goes Poorly – After a great final punt last week Pressley Harvin got off a stinker this week. His 17 yard punt is a new career low. Yes, he must get off a better punt but the snap altered the plan. The snap was low and to the right. It looked like the plan was to punt to the left side of the field. Harvin had to make the low catch, readjust back to his left and get off the punt. Was it just a bad snap? Christian Kuntz has been excellent with his snaps. Did he not get the correct play call and snapped it to the wrong side? It looked like there may have been a disconnect between the punter and snapper.
5. Sims Like They Found a Slot – Pickett has struggled to use his slot receivers this season. With Trubisky taking over he was more willing or perhaps more effective at finding the other options. Steven Sims had his most targets and receptions this season. Gunner Olszewski also had a reception. I like Sims. I think he has the shiftiness to make more plays in the passing game. When he has the ball in his hands he reminds me a little of Antonio Brown. He runs low to the ground, has good acceleration and good change of direction. Will we see more of him going forward? I hope so.
6. Two Receiver Routes – This is another one of those quirky staples in the Matt Canada offense. Keep seven or eight players in to max protect and send only two receivers out on deep routes. I can tell you this. It doesn’t work. A lot of these plays recently have ended up with Pickett scrambling or throwing the ball away. Trubisky threw it and it ended up being his third interception. The success rate for this style of play has been very low. Giving your quarterback minimal options just don’t make sense. Get rid of it.
7. Joint Possession? – A play happens and the ball is fumbled. Bodies dive into a pile. Many things happen within this pile. The player who comes out with the ball gives his team possession. Nay-nay say the referees. A player from each team has two hands on the ball. Therefore, joint possession. Offense keeps the ball. This decision sounds like something your elementary school gym teacher would come up with. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this before and I think its garbage.
8. Warren Wins – Jaylen Warren has been a peach of a find. He had another fantastic blitz pickup early in the game knocking the blitzer backwards. I really like what he is capable of doing as receiver. He has caught 20 of 23 targets this year and can create after the catch. He has the quickness to make guys miss and the contact balance to break tackles. One-on-one versus linebackers he has the advantage. I would love to see more angle routes out of the backfield and let him create.
9. Casually Contested – George Pickens making contested catches is fascinating to watch. He makes the plays so casually. He seems completely unstressed by the scenario and wins with body positioning and strong hands. After the catch he looks like a bully in the ball yard playing keep away. Holding the ball out of reach of the defender’s ineffective swipes. Trubisky made some nice throws on deep balls to Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Could that spark Pickett to take more chances? We shall see.
10. Quarterback Zach? – Okay, I was not wishing for and injury to anyone. However, getting the confirmation that Zach Gentry is the emergency quarterback got me curious. I don’t want him playing there full time but it would be fun to see. What they could do is use him on QB sneaks like other teams do. They would motion the tight end and he gets under center to run the play. At his size he could just take the snap and reach over the line. C’mon Canada. Find something fun to do with Gentry.