Below is the week 12 offensive line breakdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Cleveland Browns Sunday.
The Steelers ran 22 times in the game with two plays being flagged for holding. One was on Heath Miller, the other on Mike Adams. One hold negated a short run for a first down while the other negated an 8 yard run. Keep in mind that those two plays are included in the scores. Also keep in mind that the running backs fumbled on 4 of those other 20 running plays and lost 3 of them. 3 of those fumbles happened 3 or more yards down the field. One of the runs was a 1 yard touchdown by Chris Rainey, where the line actually blocked OK, just the tight end didn\’t. Rainey had no business being in the game as the red zone back at that point anyways. So where am I going with this intro? Outside of Doug Legursky, I thought the run blocking was what it was just below average. The 4 penalties? Yes, they hurt. Keep in mind that there were in essence only 15 running plays when you remove the penalty plays, the fumbles, and the touchdown.
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Legursky is much better suited to play center than guard and even he said that after the game. I have mentioned it in previous grading of his games as well. He is a center that give you some snaps in a pinch at guard. He is poor with his angles and on a few double teams the Browns lineman just submarined underneath. Legursky had problems holding blocks long enough at the point of attack as well. The same goes for Ramon Foster on two of his demerits. One other demerit for Foster was on a pull to the left where his man made the tackle. Adams and Max Starks both had minor demerits as each missed a blocked downs inside when the guard next to them was on the move.
Maurkice Pouncey had a great all-around game in my opinion. A modest pressure, a miss out in space on a screen and a run demerit is all I could find on him. Legursky of course allowed the lone sack as Phil Taylor swam easily past him to the outside. That sack resulted in Adams getting hurt as well. Legursky also allowed another deep pressure and of course had the hold in his demerit column. Outside of the sack, pressure, and the hold, he was fine in his 41 pass protection plays.
Starks also was fine in pass protection with just 2 pressures allowed. Overall I thought he played a pretty even game with solid technique and ability to switch on the stunts. He did not seem phased much by not having Willie Colon inside of him. Foster and his pressures might have been miscommunication issues as he was helping when a defender split he and his help. That is where I charged both him and Adams with a pressure on one play. Foster was also beat to the inside on another. Adams was not bad in pass protection and rookie Kelvin Beachum settled down after his first play holding call to only allow one pressure in his 16 passing play snaps. I would like to see him keep his butt down better and his back straighter though when he drops. Overall I thought he did a good job on Jabaal Sheard in the game but his real test will come Sunday against Paul Kruger, who got the best of Adams a few short weeks ago. Beachum is not afraid to use his hands and I worry what that might lead to against the Baltimore Ravens. He can use them, he just needs to keep them inside his frame. Remember the preseason penalty problems he had on the other side? 20 snaps is all he played and it is not enough to get a good gauge on him, so I default until the Ravens game until we have more tape. Right now I say cross your fingers.
The Steelers lost this game not because of the blocking, but because of the quarterback and running back play. Outside of fumbling, the backs also pressed the double teams too hard on a few runs in my opinion. Once again, the run blocking was not great in this game, but was certainly sustainable enough. The pass protection for Batch was more than enough and his bad decisions and lack of arm strength hurt.