More Steelers Cardinals Observations

I have gone back through the game to do my initial breakdown and start some charting. Here are my expanded observations not mentioned in the game recap of the Steelers week 7 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

What can you say about Mike Wallace that has not already been said and seen on tape? It amazes me how teams continue to give him free releases and fail to bracket over the top with a safety at times. The long touchdown Sunday was classic miscommunication it seemed and blown assignments mixed with Richard Marshall biting on play action. The Cardinals should have taken a timeout there as it was obvious the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.

Steve McLendon had a great first start at nose tackle, but was not without faults. He did allow himself to get turned a few times, but overall looked good at the point of attack. His quickness is very noticeable at times.

James Farrior was no match for LaRod Stephens-Howling on the long touchdown after a short pass and catch, but Farrior did provide a few tipped passes with one leading to an early interception. He was his usual self against the run and that is adequate.

Speaking of the early interception, that was good to see, but Troy Polamalu dropped another easy one and the normally opportunistic safety has had quite a few of those this year.

Not sure how Adrian Wilson is still playing with that injury of his, but he exploded through Hines Ward on an early run stop.

The early touchdown to Heath Miller had Clark Haggans head spinning after Hines Ward barely rubbed him off and Wilson gave him no help. Easiest 6 points you will see all year perhaps. Miller really had a hell of a game and a nice grab in the 3rd quarter to boot.

Will Allen had a great block on an early Antonio Brown punt return.

Chris Kemoeatu has to stop with those stupid penalties. He loves to try to pick players off of a top of a pile. His pass protection was pretty shoddy as well through the first few looks and we shall see how he grades out in my final offensive line breakdown.

Daniel Sepulveda had 2 of 3 punts down inside the 20 despite is under 40 yard average and none were returned.

Ridiculous early catch by Larry Fitzgerald with Ike Taylor having great coverage. Sometimes players just make plays. Taylor was flagged a few times, one was really questionable and he got the blame for a Polamalu one as well. Overall he did what he has done all season. I will take it.

LaMarr Woodley is on fire right now with 2 sacks and what should have been another on the safety. Had to be an assignment error to let him come untouched on that play. Woodley was even held on one of his sacks and still got it done. Amazing game.

It was good to see Ben Roethlisberger use his running backs as dump offs instead of forcing the ball elsewhere.

Weslye Saunders blocking improves by the week.

Brett Keisel was not as dominate as last week, but he still seemed to push the pocket well. He did get turned a few times in the running as did linebacker Larry Foote when taking on a fullback. We are still not perfect against the run.

Kevin Kolb missed a wide open Rob Housler for a 40 yard touchdown with Polamalu fooled by a double move. Not the best game for Troy.

Stevenson Sylvester and Chris Carter had a great special teams day that does not show in the stats. That is the way young linebackers help the team.

Ryan Clark really offered good run support.

Much better game from Lawrence Timmons especially from a pressure standpoint. He also managed 3 tackles this week.

On one of the Taylor penalties they missed an easy holding of Ziggy Hood. Hood however was blown off the ball on the short touchdown run as his legs just slid out from underneath him.

Hate to see Jerricho Cotchery with the easy drop as he does not get too many snaps as it is.

The Cardinals really started to bring the pressure via the blitz late in the half.

Not sure where Maurkice Pouncey was headed on that late first half drive. Needs to stay focused and stay out of the scraps.

Not the best game by the offensive line as far as both run and pass blocking went. Rashard Mendenhall will surely catch the hell this week, but there were just not many clean lanes or creases early on.

Glad to see Shaun Suisham nail all of those kicks. I have been worried about him and still am back at Heinz.

Did I mention that Kemoeatu had a rough game?

People hate those bubble screens, but they serve a purpose and a few hit this week as well. Brown followed one up with an amazing one handed catch deep in the Cardinals end.

Brown was not the only young receiver to step up as Emmanuel Sanders also had a complete game. Brown also provided 200 plus yards via his receiving and return yards.

You can thank former Steeleres defensive end Nick Eason for setting up the safety as his hold negated a nice return and backed the Cardinals up deep in their own end.

The Cardinals defense was gassed after that and the entire 4th quarter and that is when the running lanes opened a bit.

William Gay does not get enough credit as a corner blitzer and he has been great in coverage this season overall.

Great coverage by Ryan Mundy on the two point conversion.

We saw Cortez Allen get some looks in the dime this week. Carter also got a few snaps on defense and there was indeed a Corbin Bryant sighting. No Curtis Brown however except on special teams where he continues to contribute.

  • John B.

    I’ve noticed that Gay has gotten better at tackling. He’ll be put to the test this week though.

  • Lee M.

    The 95 yarder was a great play, but Wallace also blew 2 other plays earlier: he failed to recognize a back shoulder pass, and badly misjudged a terrific lob pass down the sideline.
    At 280 pounds, mcclendon is too small to play 3-4 NT.
    The Stephen-howlings TD was made possible by Polamalu falling down for no discernable reason.
    Brown should now be over Sanders on the depth chart.
    Ward should be limited to red zone and some third down situations, but the Steelers are slow to “demote” a long time star.
    Inside or outside, Timmons has not played well in a single game this season.
    With a torn big toe ligament requiring surgery, Legursky could miss most or even all of the rest of this season. If healthy, i would play Legursky over kemo.
    Very good job on run defense in Arizona.

  • Smheart78

    I saw that hold on Hood as well. It was blatantly obvious from the TV as he was well on his way to the QB. How all the refs missed this is beyond me. Same disappointment with Cotchery, I was expecting a bigger contribution from him at this point.


    With a topnotch receiver like Wallace and the growth of Sanders and Brown, it’s not surprising that the Steelers are becoming a more pass friendly offense. Hell, if I was Ben R., I would love to
    have all those great targets in front of me.

    Also, in my humble opinion, Ben’s emergence over the years as a top QB have somewhat negated the Steelers’ need to grind it out on the ground as in the past.

    Even Mendenhall alluded to that fact a few weeks ago, when he mentioned the running game wasn’t necessarily the top priority anymore in the offensive scheme.

    Finally, I enjoy seeing all the RBs in play. Why not mix up and put Mendy/Red in the same backfield more often? Or use the fullback more often to open up some holes? Sure can’t hurt.

  • Davidrussellg

    Kemoeatu is a lump that needs to go away. He is so stupid it’s not even funny.I mean how many times is he gonna pile on a bunch of guys after the play is over and get flagged for it??
    Maybe someone on our coaching team needs glasses.

  • Joel Miller

    William Gay and his tackling have never really been a problem. The real thing that he has been doing this year is solid coverage which we haven’t had from him since his stint as the nickel corner before he was legitimately picked on the past 2 seasons. Nice to see him doing so well with what I had written down as his weak area.

  • Dgh57

    Great game from Big Ben!! He racked up 361 yards behind a BAD O-Line! It scares me to think what he would put up if he had a couple of Pro Bowlers in front of him especially at the tackle position with the weapons he has to throw to!

    On some plays they should use more of some combination of 2 of the 3 RBs we have at the same time(Mendenhall-Redman- Moore). Teams would never know for sure who was getting the ball on run or pass plays!

  • Lee

    Chris Kemoeatu has been horrible for two seasons now. It’s not an accident that the Steelers best running games are when he’s out of the lineup. He commits stupid penalties, is horrible in pass protection, doesn’t sustain his blocks in the running game and is no longer able to do the one thing that he was actually decent at, pulling.

    That being said, the Steelers need to run to the left way more often. I bet they run to the right 90% of the time. Way too predictable.

    I’d rather run behind Starks than any other lineman on the team. Even if he is beside Kemoeatu.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I thought there was a chance he might not even make the team this year but with all of our injuries plus letting Essex, Starks, and Adams go we had to keep someone…my guess is he will be in for a battle for his roster spot next year.

  • I was at the game. I called that Wallace td when he walked out and Marshall was on him. Kemo cost us points with his penalty. Keenan Lewis shut down his side of the field. The 2 passes he gave up came late and there was no YAC. Allen looked good in coverage as well. I feel good about the secondary this week if they go to the dime