Steelers Colts Week 3 Offensive Line Breakdown Report

Below is the offensive line report and breakdown for the Steelers week 3 Sunday night game against the Indianapolis Colts. As I always this grading is done on a play-by-play basis and a good or bad is given on every play. I always caution that it is impossible to know what the assignment on every play is, but I take what the tape gives me to make the best educated guesses as to what they are. This week the run game struggled, but the skill positions were just as guilty as the offensive line was. There were also quite a few times when there were good running lanes open inside and running back Rashard Mendenhall decided to not trust them and instead tried to bounce it outside. He really needs to just start hitting the hole harder. I thought I was going to find much worse run blocking from the offensive line, but that simply was not always the case. They were not dominate mind you and at times looked slow off of the snap, but I have seen worse. The second level blocking really was not where it should be and I must admit that Colts linebacker Pat Angerer was all around the ball all night and really did a good job fighting off blockers and getting inside to plug a hole or get outside to stop a good run from being great.

C Maurkice Pouncey 71 65 6 92% 0 0 0
LG Chris Kemoeatu 71 64 7 90% 0 1 0
RT/LT Marcus Gilbert 47 41 6 87% 1 0 0
RG Doug Legursky 55 45 10 82% 0 4 0
RG Ramon Foster 16 13 3 81% 0 2 0
RT Trai Essex 27 21 6 78% 0 1 0
LT Jonathan Scott 68 51 17 75% 2 1 1
RT/LT Marcus Gilbert 21 18 3 86% N/A N/A N/A
C Maurkice Pouncey 26 22 4 85% N/A N/A N/A
LG Chris Kemoeatu 26 22 4 85%      
RG Ramon Foster 5 4 1 80% N/A N/A N/A
LT Jonathan Scott 23 18 5 78% N/A N/A N/A
RG Doug Legursky 21 16 5 76% N/A N/A N/A
RT Trai Essex 8 6 2 75% N/A N/A N/A
C Maurkice Pouncey 45 43 2 96% 0 0 0
LG Chris Kemoeatu 45 42 3 93% 0 1 0
RT/LT Marcus Gilbert 26 23 3 88% 1 0 0
RG Doug Legursky 34 29 5 85% 0 4 0
RG Ramon Foster 11 9 2 82% 0 2 0
RT Trai Essex 19 15 4 79% 0 1 0
LT Jonathan Scott 45 33 12 73% 2 1 1

Maurkice Pouncey – Pouncey really had a good game against the Colts and their four man front. He was pretty flawless in pass protection and the night mostly consisted of helping or receiving help. Outside of a few failed blocking assignments in the run game I thought he did a good job moving his designated man. He seemed to move much better in open space compared to the previous two games and fared well when asked to block one on one. The Colts did not blitz much on the night inside and they did not need to the way Dwight Freeney was causing havoc.

Chris Kemoeatu – At times Sunday night, Kemoeatu still seemed to be bothered by his bad knee, but he never missed a snap. He allowed one pass protection pressure by my count and helped both right and left when needed. When asked to pull on run plays he did not show the short area quickness and seemed to be a step slow to the hole. He still usually found his mark for the most part and overall I thought he played well after having the Seahawks game off.

Marcus Gilbert – Gilbert was forced out of the game with a shoulder injury after about 44 snaps and overall played well. The early sack is charged to him, but it could just as easy be charged to Ben Roethlisberger as he ran Robert Mathis around the pocket. Gilbert will learn to stay on these blocks now regardless and must be aware that Roethlisberger is always a threat to extend the play. He showed great footwork and played his angles well against Mathis for most of the night. He had a few run games misses, but certainly seems like he is getting accustomed to the speed of the game. Gilbert came back late in the game at left tackle for a few run plays and it showed his grit to play hurt. He needs to get better at sealing off the inside when asked.

Doug Legursky – Some of the best run blocks Legursky had on the night was when he pulled left. He still struggles to hold his blocks at the second level at times and slips off easy. He gave up 4 pressures by my count in pass protection and the last one happened on the play that he injured his shoulder on. He still struggles at times at the point of attack in turning his man one on one.

Jonathan Scott – The night started off pretty good for Scott, but went down hill quickly after the first holding call. He never had much of an answer for the Freeney spin move and Freeney even had him turned backwards and running into Roethlisberger on one play. Freeney went inside, outside and over Scott several times. Scott is not mobile at all out in space in the run game and is not a dominate run blocker. Not telling you anything new there. An ankle injury forced him out of the game late and it ended a rough night for him. On a few plays the Steelers actually had Heath Miller blocking Freeney instead of Scott. Scott allowed 2 sacks on the night, 1 quarterback hit and one deep pressure by my count. He was also flagged 3 times on the night. It was his single worst game in a Steelers uniform in my opinion and could have been worse had Freeney not lost his feet a few times.

Ramon Foster – Foster came off the bench when Legursky left the game and he played alright. He did allow 2 pressures in 11 pass blocking plays. One I remember was an inside beat. Hard to judge his performance on just 16 plays, but he will get the nod at right guard next week against Houston should Legursky not be ready.

Trai Essex – Essex came in at right tackle when Gilbert left and had his problems with the speedy Mathis. Luckily Roethlisberger was getting the ball out quick on a few passing plays and on a few others Essex was the beneficiary of a few bad angles. Mathis usually decided to just try to run around the outside or spin inside of him most of the night instead of taking him on one on one. The refs missed a blatant holding call on Essex that might have taken the Steelers out of field goal range. That field goal ended up tying the game at 13 so he should consider himself lucky. He also benefited from some running back help in addition and he is not the most agile run blocker out in space either.

Skill Positions – Lost in the poor running game was the bad blocking by the skill positions Sunday night. Both Miller and Hines Ward missed several key run blocks on the night and Miller also allowed 2 pressures by my count. David Johnson also was not without fault. Ward and Miller though were the obvious ones and might have been able to spring some longer runs on a few plays had they either stayed on their blocks or got to their man. I thought Weslye Saunders blocked well while in the game as did Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman.

  • burgh_fan

    Obviously this is just completely hypothetical but if Colon had not gotten injured and Scott had the same game against the Colts as he did (minus the injury) do you think the Steelers would have considered putting Gilbert in over him next week?

  • SteelersDepot


  • Steve Duncan

    Personally, I think you were too complimentary to Scott. Every time I paid attention to him, he was getting pushed around or ran around and either reaching for dear life, or barely even trying.

    But then, I hated the signing the first time I saw him play, and I hated that they went into the season with him as a starter, so maybe I am jaded.

  • Orion’s_Belt

    Dave Bryan: nobody will like this crazy question: If pouncey is so athletic, why not move him to LT against fast guys, ie: Suggs, Freeney and Legursky play center. I”m thinking outside the box here, man.

  • Thomas

    I think against a fast gap shooting team they should probably just block downhill instead of trying to pull a lot of guys, the guy pulling either leaves an entry point wide open (see Jason Taylor in the Jets game last year) or gets beaten to the spot by a defender and cutting the runner off. (see tons of plays last week) I know we probably don”t have the lineman for it right now but I would to see the steelers go to more of a Texans/Redskins/Shanahan zone running game and just let the back pick a hole and run downhill. Those teams have shown it’s pretty much idiot proof with a slew of different running backs taken off the scrap heap over the years and they’ve looked like superstars (see Arion Foster), when you get it going and makes people really respect the play action game, you end up using a lot more 2 tights or heavier personnel but I think it’d be an improvement, would get to use more double teams etc less dancing. If that whole system makes Rex Grossman and Matt Shaub and others who were previously afterthoughts look pretty good imagine what Ben would look like commanding it, his skills are totally suited to it then any of them, it would be Elway-esque.

  • burghball

    Maybe it’s just me.. But after watching Jon Scott get beat repeatedly – to the right, left, under and over.. Why didn’t we make an adjustment and maybe think about setting D. Johnson over there to help him? Yeah – we loose one our more skilled players with Johnson in the game, but I’m thinking more of Ben’s long time health than anything.. Wasn’t pretty obvious that Scott could not handle Freeney alone?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Its a interesting scenario…being I have never played football I am not sure the transition but the idea is intrigueing to me at least.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    bg…I think that the way Scott progressed last year they thought they could get away with it till Gilbert got his sea legs. This is the one time where I feel the Steelers failed in the off season by not having a true back up at the position ready. IMO…Gilbert wasnt viable at the time and the releasing of Starks and Adams seemed more cap desperate than really thinking out the situation.

  • Man532

    I rewatched the game list night and J. Scott is absolute horrible as professional lineman. We all have bad days on the job, but his footwork, punch, drive, everything needs a major overhaul. I would like to see what Jamon brings to the table. He must have pics of Kugs with monkey’s. J. Scott couldn’t stop grass from growing with a lawn mower.

    Legursky is definitely not the answer at Right Guard, we would get better run blocking with Foster was RG and can be helped by Pouncey on pass protection for 1 sec and then released to help someone else.

    Jamon M., Kemo, Ponce, Foster, Gilgert

  • ponhaas

    come on dave 90% of all running plays were bad ,so how are the grades so good for running plays. this was a line effort .

  • SteelersDepot

    Perhaps you should re-watch the game again. All it takes is 1 bad effort by 1 player on a run to end bad. Also as I mentioned, Miller & Ward had rough days & Mendenhall was not slamming it up in there. HTH

  • Bleebo77

    Thanks for all the good analysis, Dave. A couple questions about the Steelers O-line. First, are they kicking themselves for not scooping up McKinnie or Gurode? I usually appreciate how the Steelers build from within, but the rival Ravens got 2/5 of their O-line just before the season and seem to look great. Did we whiff?Second, is there any prohibition against the Steelers executing a trade during the season for an O-lineman, offering either future picks or current players? I know that’s totally out of character for the team, so I don’t expect it (and there are cap issues, too)… but they won’t find much quality off the street at this point, so instead of just pulling guys off the couch, maybe it’d be worth a mid-round pick to get a guy with a proven record who would be an upgrade, esp. since the season is relatively young. Or is there a position of depth where we could offer a current player and a lower round pick?

  • Steeler Stan

    I was thinking that but I didn’t want to say anything because it would come off so crazy. Our left tackle situation is obviously awful so I can’t say that Pouncy wouldn’t be an improvement. I also think Legursky pretty well sucks as a guard so moving him to the only position where he doesn’t suck also makes some sense. However, I do think that once you move Pouncy there you have to leave him for at least the rest of the year.

  • Steeler Stan

    I’d like to know what’s keeping us from signing Flozell at this point. If Gilbert is good enough to even be adequate at LT he needs to be there with Flozell at RT.

  • Hiddenaway

    Well, you guys heard Tomlin’s presser. The Steelers are going to stubbornly go with the bunch of schlubs that they have and hope for the best. They are not interested in Starks or Adams. Scott is their LT for the year and Essex is his backup. it’s painful and we don’t want to admit it, but this is the Steelers offensive line. This could be the line this week: Essex, Kemo, Pouncey, Foster, Gilbert. The only solace here is that not every blind side end is as good as Freeney. In fact 90% of them aren’t.

    The Steelers will address this issue as they do every year, in the 2012 draft, where I expect them to draft a LT and CB in the first two rounds.

  • Bgap1330

    Great Idea man but I have yet seen anyone say anything about Turner, I work at Abilene Christian and watched this kid play. He’s Pretty Good, I say bring him up and give him a chance ??

  • You Know I have read a lot of good comments about the moving of O-Line players and the fact that the Steelers like to promote from with in yet I have read nothing about the fact that they have a pretty good lineman in Turner, why hasn’t anyone said anything about moving him up, I watched him play while he was at Abilene Christian and he played WELL while he was here, and played well enough to make the practice squad ???

  • Dave

    Salary cap, for one thing.