The week 17 offensive line breakdown report for the Pittsburgh Steelers win this past Sunday against the Cleveland Browns is now complete and overall it was a very solid game for the offensive line as everyone scored 90% or higher. The Browns really did not get that much consistent pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and there front 4 were very inconsistent at defending at the point of attack. Here are the scores and a recap of each lineman.
LG Chris Kemoeatu – Surprise, surprise! Look who graded out the best this week. Kemoeatu really had a good game in both the pass protection and run blocking departments against the Browns and once again had no penalties or noticeable mental lapses in the game. For a first time in a while I saw Kemoeatu really use his hands well and that included a few good first punches and a head slap of Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin. I charged Kemoeatu a half a sack as it is unclear if it was a miscommunication between him and Pouncey or if it was just a numbers nightmare. He also was responsible for one other deep pressure. Run blocking wise Kemoeatu was solid and always finished. I only had 2 demerits on him and they were not awful. A few times in pass protection he did get swatted and almost lost his balance, but he did recover. He did not play every snap in the game as Trai Essex stole a series from him. This was his best game since week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens.
LT Max Starks – A very solid game by Starks on Sunday as he allowed just 2 pressures and a quarterback hit against the Browns. He remains assignment sound and pretty much controlled Jayme Mitchell and Auston English. The Steelers did not run too much to the left side again and I only have him down for a few miscues. It was a second straight good game for him and he remains solid with his footwork and hand use. He will tend to allow himself to be driven back at times deeper than he intends, but he seems to be able to throw down the anchor at the last moment.
RG Ramon Foster – Foster has been the most consistent lineman over the last several weeks and he had another great game in pass protection as he only allowed 1 pressure by my count. His run blocking demerits mostly came from not winning a few one on one battles, but they were not bad. He showed again he can effectively trap block to the left, but failed on one of those per my notes. The Steelers running backs had a few nice runs to his side in this game. He was forced out for several plays late after getting dinged up, but he did return to finish the game.
LG/RG Trai Essex – Essex saw time at both left and right guard and performed well. I only have him down for one blemish on a run block and he protected well on the five pass plays he was in for. Just 14 snaps for him on Sunday.
C Maurkice Pouncey – Pouncey looked like his left ankle was nagging him in this game and he looked for from the normal nimble center he is when healthy. I charged him the other half of the sack that Kemoeatu was charged with, but it is hard to tell if it really was his fault or not on the play. Outside of that just 1 pressure allowed. The run blocking is where most of his demerits came from as he was not able to leverage well at both the point of attack and a few times at the second level. He struggled a few times getting off his first block as well. 91% is a fine score, but he would have scored much higher had he been 100%.
RT Marcus Gilbert – It is hard to remember a time when the bottom dweller finished at 90%, but that is where Gilbert lands this week. He allowed 3 pressures in pass protection and 1 sack against the Browns. His run blocking was not overly bad, but he did have his hands full at the point of attack a few times. It was not a bad performance by any means, just not a complete one.
Skill Positions – Heath Miller and David Johnson both had strong games in the run blocking department as did Jerricho Cotchery and the ageless Hines Ward. Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace need some prodding from Ward again. Rookie John Clay had an adequate pickup in pass protection as well.