The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Indianapolis Colts 26-24 Sunday night at Heinz Field in their second preseason game of the 2012 season. Below are my offensive notes from the game.
The first big run by Jonathan Dwyer was a result of great blocking by the offensive line. Willie Colon had a great block out at the second level. Fullback Will Johnson also had a great lead block on the run. The next run by Chris Rainey also featured great blocking by the left side of the line. Rainey, however, did fumble on the play after a hard hit but thankfully Emmanuel Sanders was there to fall on it.
I am not sure what Ben Roethlisberger saw on the interception that was intended for Antonio Brown and thankfully Johnson was there to save an easy pick-6.
Marcus Gilbert false start.
Great protection on first completed pass to Brown and great block in pass pro by Baron Batch on the next play. Leonard Pope just got enough his man on the bubble screen pass to Brown for the touchdown. Brown had a nice cutback on the run and B. Batch took out two players near the goal-line for the score.
Gilbert reached inside on first pressure he allowed and am guessing he thought a twist inside was coming. He was too late to the edge then.
On the fourth drive there was a safety blitz on the 3rd down. Dwyer did a great job stepping up and picking up the linebacker but Maurkice Pouncey was late coming off original block to pick up the safety.
The big run by Dwyer on the first play of the 5th drive was a result of great blocking by Johnson, Mike Adams and Ramon Foster on the left side of the line. Two plays later Adams allowed an inside pressure of Charlie Batch by allowing hands inside of him.
First real mistake by David DeCastro was the first play of 6th drive as he false started. On the first down run by B. Batch, Adams once again allowed hands inside his frame for a run fail. On the second down play, both Pope and right tackle Trai Essex allowed easy pressures of C. Batch. Foster was the only lineman on the play with solid pass pro at left guard. C. Batch still got the ball out to B. Batch who took a big hit, but bounced up.
On the first play after the punt block, Kelvin Beachum was flagged for holding on his first play in the game at left guard. On the 3rd and goal play it was Johnson and B. Batch that allowed the pressure from the left that resulted in the C. Batch scramble.
On the first play of the eighth drive, Beachum missed a block down inside that resulted in a negative run by Rainey.
On the first play of the ninth drive, Beachum pulled to the right and missed his man on play action and it resulted in a sack of C. Batch. On the third play of the drive it was a free play, but B. Batch still picked up the blitzing linebacker and C. Batch connected with David Gilreath for a big play down the right sideline after it looked like his defender initially stopped thinking the play might be dead. On the next catch by Gilreath, it was once again B. Batch that picked up the blitzing linebacker to the left that allowed C. Batch the time to make the throw. On the sack that soon followed, Essex was put on skates after a phantom reach inside, while Adams allowed blindside pressure after once again allowing a bull rush inside his frame. Right guard John Malecki also allowed pressure on a swim move.
On the cut block penalty charged to Rainey, the whole offensive line got off the ball late like they didn\’t know the snap count. I think Malecki snapped the ball thinking a Colts defender had jumped in the neutral zone. Although Rainey missed the cut, it was a bad call as the player he was blocking was not engaged. It was not a chop block. Jerrod Johnson really settled in on the next two plays with solid throws to both Gilreath and Justin Peelle. On the throw to Peelle, Beachum was walked back right on top of the quarterback. The next play both Adams and Essex allowed pressures. Adams was beat with a hand under his neck and spun off of. The next play Essex allowed pressure, while Beachum was flagged for holding his man. On the pass to Toney Clemons, Adams again allowed pressure with a hand up around his neck.
On the last drive, the catch by Gilreath was great as the ball was outside and high from Johnson to him. Also on that play, new running back Jason Ford did a great job stepping up and picking up an inside blitzer. On the next big run by Ford, it was left guard Ryan Lee leading the way as he pulled right through the hole and blasted the linebacker. I loved the bootleg run by Johnson a few plays later and Peelle had a great peel back block on the run that will get cheers in the tight end room. I also loved the second bootleg run by Johnson as well and he kept the clock running by not going out of bounds.
We will see how things shake out when I grade the offensive line, but I thought the starting five overall played well with Gilbert at left tackle and Foster at right tackle. I also thought Doug Legursky and Ryan Lee showed very well in addition. Lee really should get some snaps with the second team at left guard over Beachum. Adams is fine in run blocking, but still has problems in pass protection thanks mostly to not using his hands well. Beachum did not have a good game, nor did Essex.
Gilreath now takes the lead for the race for the 5th receiver spot. B. Batch did not tear up the stat sheet, but he does all of the other things really well. He is good in pass pro and downfield blocking. W. Johnson overall had a good night at fullback, while Jamie McCoy showed me nothing during the game. Brown is a star, while Sanders did not stick out tonight with his effort. Peelle really wants to make this team, but it might be too late.