Below is the week 16 offensive line breakdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday.
Not a great showing in this game from the group as a whole as they allowed four sacks and several pressures in the game. The run blocking also was not up to standard as they had trouble controlling the interior of the line.
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It should be noted that David DeCastro injured his hamstring on the Steelers third possession but he played through it just the same and it really did not look like it bothered him too much. Angles, angles, angles. I think DeCastro learned this in this game. While he looked good on the move with his pulls to the left, he struggled in his run and pass blocking when Geno Atkins, Pat Sims or Domata Peko would attack the gaps. DeCastro allowed two sacks in the game and it would have been three if not for a defensive holding penalty. He also allowed three pressures in the game and his ability to control the point of attack was not consistent. DeCastro is good in space, as advertised and he will grow from this game.
Kelvin Beachum struggled out in space at times and also at holding his blocks. He also has to do a better job at controlling the backside when DeCastro pulls. He and DeCastro did not look comfortable working together on stunts. Beachum is a high effort player, however, but I think eventually he will be kicked inside to perhaps left guard if Ramon Foster does not return. He can play right tackle in a pinch and could wind up being the ultimate five position swing linemen as soon as next season. Overall his pass protection was not bad, but he had a very poor attempt at a cut block in the game that resulted in one of his three pressures allowed. He can turn his man outside well and I like the way he keeps his feet wide and uses his base. He remains good with his hands but just needs to protect the edge better with his kick slide.
Maurkice Pouncey was fine in pass protection but helped Max Starks out too much on one play which led to his sack allowed as he actually knocked Starks off of his block. Run blocking wise Pouncey struggled holding his blocks several times and allowed his man to come across face to flash in the running lane. Pouncey did look good in space, however.
Foster was the most consistent of the group. Pass protection wise he had one sack and one pressure allowed and was flagged once for holding. The sack he allowed came through the B-gap. Run blocking wise I thought he anchored and drove well and he also had the pancake block of the game on one of the nice runs where he finished his block nicely. Foster has been the Steelers most consistent blocker all season and even looked OK on his few pulls to the right in this game.
Starks struggled with some hands inside his frame a few times which resulted in a few pressures. Like Beachum, he also had a poor attempt at a cut block which led to a deflected pass and a demerit. In addition to a hit allowed he was also flagged for a false start deep in the Steelers own end. Starks remains a consistent run blocker but still struggles at times out in space. This is not new. He and Foster also struggled a few times with some tackle end stunts as they did not switch well.