Below is the week 11 offensive line breakdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.
I think it was pretty obvious to anyone that watched the game that this was not a great performance over all by the Steelers offensive line. There were several demerits handed out in both the pass and run blocking departments with pass protection being the worst of the two. Quarterback Byron Leftwich was sacked 3 times in the game and pressured several other times. The hits allowed on Leftwich also added up and they really made a bigger impact than the pressures did as Leftwich handled the pressure reasonably well for the most part.
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Left tackle Mike Adams had a brutal game. Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger really took it to the rookie as Adams had problems several times getting his hands and feet to work in unison. Kruger was able to knock down the hands of Adams several times, and either beat the tackle around the edge, or bull rushed him while he was off balance on a few occasions. Adams also was not smooth in the run blocking department as he failed to hold blocks a few times or wasn\’t in control on a few others.
It was also a rough game for Willie Colon in both areas in addition. Problems with stunts and handoffs was the main problem and failing to pick up a safety on a blitz late in the game allowed Leftwich to take a brutal blindside shot. His leverage and footwork overall was fine I thought, but his timing, angles, and ability to take the switch on a few of his demerits stunk. At the second level Colon was not in control and missed badly a few times on run plays. He also was not in control on a few others as his man was allowed to flash in the hole to force the running back to change direction and on a few of those to come across face to still make the stop on the other side. On one of his pulls to the right Terrell Suggs submarined his legs out from underneath him which in turn blew up the play. Colon also was guilty for a hold that negated a nice run.
It wasn\’t an awful game for Ramon Foster, who actually had quite a few nice lead blocks on several runs. If we were scoring on effectiveness of his good blocks, Foster very well might have scored the highest. Some minor run fails for not being in control of his man, who would flash in and out of the hole and a few minor pressures were allowed as well. Foster didn\’t score as well as his last several games, but I thought his overall performance was above the line.
Maurkice Pouncey and Max Starks were the bright spots Sunday night, but even they were not without sins. Pouncey was not fluid at the second level and whiffed a few times on some linebackers that got in on stops. Pass protection wise I thought he was fine overall and he did well helping and sliding protection. He did allow a couple of pressures and a hit in the game and also had a bad snap.
Starks was fine for the most part in the run blocking department and I noted a very nice effort at the second level on the run by Jonathan Dwyer deep in the Ravens end on a second down play. He did give up a pressures and a sack in the game, but overall I thought he was the best lineman for the Steelers in the game. His technique was fine and he moved consistently well to the edge. Although it might not have felt like it while watching the game live, this was one of his more complete games this season. He was able to keep Suggs fairly quiet when lined up on his side and that speaks volumes.