Below is the week 13 offensive line breakdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers win over the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday.
When you consider that the Steelers had a rookie seventh-round draft pick making his first career start at right tackle and an all-pro center making his first career start at left guard, you have to be impressed with what you saw as far as offensive line play went Sunday against the Ravens.
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Legursky is much better suited to play center tha
Let\’s start with Kelvin Beachum, who did an amazing job on linebacker Paul Kruger in this game. Beachum did give up a sack to Arthur Jones after failing to use his help in the form of Isaac Redman well enough. Even that sack was timed at 3 seconds worth of protection, though. Kruger did register a sack of Charlie Batch in this game as well, but it was a coverage sack as Beachum had run Kruger well around the pocket for over 4 seconds worth of protection. As I have mentioned previously, Beachum uses his hands well, but at times too well, which resulted in penalties in the preseason. He kept his hands inside very well in this game and got in a few deadly first punches in addition. His foot work was solid as was the width. He kept a very nice base and dropped anchor well when he needed to. Beachum has a very unique build as he looks like a cross between a tackle and a guard. He has a long torso and that helps him. Him being undersized was never a factor in this game. Run blocking wise he had just a few demerits, but was never really overwhelmed, more than he just failed to hold his blocks a few times. His angle play will improve the more work he gets, but overall I thought it was a solid performance. Before I finish on him I want to point out that he never gave up on the play that was challenged as being a fumble. After Batch threw the ball incomplete it was Beachum that was trying to make a play on the recovery just in case. That is the kind of stuff you want to see from young players.
Maurkice Pouncey struggled with some of his pulls and angles in the run blocking department, but that was to be expected. He was bull rushed a few times into the pocket and charged with pressures as a result. He missed Terrell Suggs bad on one pull to the right, but neatly squeezed through a closed hole on another one to get his body on a body. On one of the allowed pressures he was beat outside and then spun back inside on. He was never overwhelmed on run blocks, but was slid off of a few times. He worked double teams very well, but he did have the lone penalty of the offensive line late in the game. One thing that stuck out about Pouncey in this game is how healthy he appears to be and per usual, his head is on swivel looking to provide help in pass protection when free.
As far as Doug Legursky goes, I have said several times that he is a much better center than he is a guard. Legursky will struggle at times at the center position when a big body is lined up directly over the top of him and he was whipped a few times when this happened. He allowed two quarterback hits in the game and a few pressures, but I thought his run blocking was solid overall, even though he was part of several double team blocks. He, along with Beachum, were the two best Steelers linemen on Sunday in the run game department.
Max Starks is always reliable and continued his fine season on Sunday. Where Starks normally struggles the most in the run blocking department is when he is asked to block down inside when the guard pulls and this showed up once again on Sunday. It really has never been his strength. He has to try and do a better job and controlling the backside on power runs to the right. It was not an awful day overall for him as a run blocker though. Pass protection wise I thought Starks was great. There were times when Suggs, Kruger and Haloti Ngata looked like they wanted no part of the Steelers left tackle and were only going through the motions. Starks is normally kryptonite to Suggs and that trend continued on Sunday for the most part. He too looks very healthy right now and he remains the only Steelers offensive player that has played every snap this season.
Ramon Foster had a bit of an off game in the run blocking department and that included a miss or two at the second level. He and Legursky were split for one pressure and he didn\’t handle a switch well on another. This by no means was a bad game Foster, it just wasn\’t one of his best. He did have a nice bury on a pull to the left, which he needs to be applauded for. He seemed to communicate with Beachum very well in this game and helped him out several times when protection was slid that way. A bit lethargic in this game? Maybe a little, or maybe he was just concentrating too much in helping the rookie beside him.
While the Steelers did not rack up the run yardage in this game, they did have about a 50% successful run play rate. Keep in mind that Emmanuel Sanders was responsible for a few run fails all by himself and fullback Will Johnson got tagged with a few in addition. Sometimes run fails come from outside the line and there were more than a few of those on Sunday.
One thing that I did notice in this game was that there was not too much second level action going on in this game than usual. Hopefully that gets back to normal when Willie Colon returns this week. Overall I was happy with this performance, especially in the pass protection phase of it.