More Steelers Jaguars 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 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Up and down opening defensive series. LaMarr Woodley had key sack to stall the drive. At first I thought Mike Tomlin should have challenged the sideline catch by Jason Hill, but slowing it down, it would have been tough to over-turn.
Great first series by the offense, good tempo, good blocking and good execution. Mike Wallace held block just long enough for Rashard Mendenhall to bounce outside for touchdown run.
Defense comes back and delivers 3 and out as Brett Keisel gets his first sack.
First deep ball to Wallace forced by Ben Roethlisberger and should have been picked. Nice play design and protection on Wallace touchdown and not sure why Rashean Mathis gave Wallace a free release there. Good rhythm again on drive despite forced ball to start. Too early to go for the kill, but got away with it and up 14-0.
Another great defensive series as Jaguars go 3 and out. I did not like the punt reverse call. Too soon for trickery the way Antonio Brown has been returning punts.
Great trap block by Trai Essex to start drive on the long Mendenhall run. Heath Miller, Jonathan Scott, Hines Ward and Emmanuel Sanders all had great blocks on the counter pike run.
Mendenhall should have been spelled after long run as first play after resulted in lost yards. Should have been a touchdown to Ward on next play and then Roethlisberger missed an easy touchdown to Brown. Two golden chances to go up 21-0.
Next offensive series after Jaguars field goal started with another miss deep to a wide open Sanders. Redman had a nice blitz pickup on play. Roethlisberger followed it up though with deep ball to Wallace. Back to back penalties on Maurkice Pouncey and Scott killed the drive. Shaun Suisham miss was ugly wide left. I am starting to worry more about him.
Another great defensive series followed and included a James Farrior sack.
Roethlisberger almost gave up an easy pick 6 to Mathis late in first half and followed it up with another miss to a wide open Wallace deep. He followed that up with another almost pick to a wide open Sanders. Not a great drive for him.
Steelers offense featured 16 runs and 18 passes on non-penalty plays. Great balance in first half and they should have been up much bigger headed into halftime. Roethlisberger misses were big factor.
Ben opened second half with a big 3rd down completion to Ward, but followed it up with another deep miss to Sanders.
Big missed tackle by Lawrence Timmons on Blaine Gabbert scramble on Jaguars 1st possession of second half for a 1st down and thankfully called back for holding. Defense held, but Ryan Mundy roughing call changed game complexion. If you are going after the block, you better block it. Jaguars drive continued and another missed tackle by Timmons on 3rd & 2 kept drive alive. Timmons was bulldozed by the fullback on another 3rd down run and Larry Foote got trapped inside. Ziggy Hood missed sack on 4th & 2 and Gabbert converted with the scramble. Good pressure still by front 7.
Ike Taylor had great coverage on the Hill touchdown as Foote was a hair late getting to Gabbert. Great throw and catch and the Jaguars are down only 7.
Ben misses an open Miller on 3rd & 10 on answering drive.
Good reaction by Hood on next defensive series and he almost had a pick. Jaguars held again.
Delay of game on 3rd & 2 of next offensive series was uncalled for and Max Starks allows sack on next play and drive stalls.
Defense gets yet another 3 and out.
Line really starts running out of gas here and the sack fumble on this drive could have been big had Essex not recovered. Daniel Sepulveda followed with his worst punt of the game.
Defense answers yet again and Jaguars forced to settle for a long field goal with 4:22 left. Not sure why Jack Del Rio doesn\’t go for it here. Nothing to lose as the the 3 points were pretty useless right here.
Steelers get ball and can run out the clock with a nice drive. 3rd & 4 coming out of the two-minute warning was a bad play call. Should have stayed on ground or gone with a quick slant. Sepulveda gets off a good punt.
Big sack by Keisel on final drive as defense sealed the win.
Ben was 11 of 18 in 1st half and only 1 of 5 in 2nd half. Steelers were just 2 of 7 on 3rd downs in 2nd half.
Keisel is your game MVP, no question. Front 3 really played a nice game even after Chris Hoke exited. Woodley had a nice game as did James Farrior. Foote and Timmons did not have bad games, but it was certainly not their best. Secondary played well for the most and never really tested deep.
The offensive line was not bad as a whole. Some breakdowns, but I have seen much worse. Starks gave up the two sacks, but overall good run and pass blocking for the most part. Losing Doug Legursky was big, but Essex answered the bell.
Roethlisberger seemed greedy and his misses were the difference in the game. Wide receivers blocked well and were getting opened. David Johnson had some crushing blocks and Miller played well per usual. All 3 backs ran hard and played well. Redman is really good in pass protection.
This game was not as close as the scoreboard said as the offense just could not connect when it needed to. The plays were there, just not made at key points. Left a lot of points on the field.