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Steelers Versus Bengals I – Second Half Notes And Observations


By Matthew Marczi

  • Kion Wilson was back out with the defense to start the second half, but he would not see much time after the first drive.
  • LaMarr Woodley showed great backside pursuit on a run going the opposite way after Jarvis Jones and Lawrence Timmons were blocked out of the play.
  • Both Woodley and Jones were able to rush Andy Dalton’s throw on third down to force an incompletion. Probably their best tandem work of the night.
  • The more I watch many of these running plays, the more I believe the problem is not the play calling, but simply the execution. On their first run of the second half, both David Paulson and Mike Adams failed on their blocks on what should easily have been a positive run.
  • The tripping call on Marcus Gilbert could have been the biggest momentum swing of the game. Instead of having first and ten in the 31-yard line, just on the cusp of field goal range, the Steelers were pushed back into third and 20, deep in their own end.
  • Ben Roethlisberger could have converted that third and 20, and possibly scored a touchdown, had he seen Antonio Brown flash open after eluding the initial pressure. There was nobody within ten yards of him by the time Roethlisberger looped back around to his left past the pass rush.
  • There was a miscommunication between Wilson and William Gay on the Bengals’ next drive. My guess is that the Steelers were in zone coverage and Wilson was unaware of it. Gay was passing off Jermaine Gresham to him, but instead Wilson pursued the receiver at the line and Gresham was left wide open for a big gain.
  • To exacerbate the problem, Ryan Clark proceeded to miss the initial tackle to allow an extra dozen yards or so.
  • I do not believe the Steelers stopped a single short-yardage carry on the night.
  • Wilson fell, and then took a bad angle, on Giovani Bernard’s touchdown reception. That was the last snap he played on defense.
  • Shamarko Thomas forces yet another fair catch.
  • Felix Jones should not be left in to pass protect too often, for Roethlisberger’s sake.
  • Ziggy Hood came up with a couple of run stops during the game, which is good to see. On one occasion it appeared that he’d been beaten on a double team, but he was able to come off the block to tackle the runner after just a yard.
  • Vince Williams had a better game than I expected he had upon initial viewing. By no means was he great, but he did not make as many mistakes as it seemed initially. He was even able to make a play or two, and I believe he will be able to contribute in that fashion with greater comfort in the defense.
  • Conversely, it was Kion Wilson who appeared to be making the mistakes, which could explain why he did not see any snaps following the Bengals’ second touchdown in which he slipped in coverage.
  • At this point, it would not surprise me if the Steelers went with Williams as the starter this week. If not this week, it may be just a matter of time.
  • Brett Keisel’s pass deflection more likely than not saved a touchdown. A.J. Green was open in the back of the end zone and Williams likely had very little if any chance of defending a pass his way.
  • The pass protection really seemed as though it improved throughout the night, and the Steelers have not been penalized much throughout the first two games so far. Just some small positives to take away.
  • It is really hard to fault Jerricho Cotchery for not coming down with the pass that was ultimately intercepted. He was nearly at full extension just to get his finger tips on the ball. Roethlisberger knows he needs to throw a better ball in that situation.
  • A completed pass there puts the Steelers in the red zone with just under five minutes to play, down 20-10 and very much in the game.
  • Instead, the Bengals played keep away on the next drive and ran out most of what was remaining on the clock.
  • That is partially due to the rushing defense once again coming up short in the critical situations, allowing an eight-yard run on third and six that could have given the Steelers the ball back with nearly four minutes remaining.
  • The unnecessary roughness penalty two plays later did not help any either. The Bengals would have been in another third and long situation otherwise.
  • When it comes to butt blocking, David DeCastro has a lot to learn from Jonathan Scott.
  • Not that it bore any relevance whatsoever in a two-score game, but there was clearly one second remaining on the clock when Roethlisberger spiked the ball.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steeltown

    I really think the Offense left a lot on the field.. the OL played better in this game, yes the run game was below avg again and yes Ben was sacked twice and hit quite a few times, but there were plays to be made. Ben was overthrowing guys and there was a dropped pass or two and obviously the Paulson fumble. But it was atleast a little encouraging being that Cinci has one of the better DLines in the League.

    More Will Johnson and more Wheaton should help.. and maybe more Beachum and less Gilbert…

  • Jay Jaber

    i cant wait until they start to use wheaton more i think he will be the deference on offense

  • Bill Eltringham

    Is it just me or does the middle of the defense seem really soft. I know the rookie lb’s are sharing time but is Mclendon occupying enough space? #missingHampton?

  • steeltown

    McLendon has been playing well, good lateral movement and quickness, he had a great game against Tennessee, was only avg vs Cincinnati

  • Chad H

    I would also like to see Moye on inside routes with Wheaton on the outside. I think Moye could pick up some needed 1st downs. Looks like he has good hands.
    Moye vs the Vikings crappy ILBs could be fun for us.

  • Jay Jaber

    def i think moye is a nice target for ben and he fights for every yard he doesnt go down right away and hes going to be bens go to guy in the red zone along with heeeeaaaath

  • Jay Jaber

    he had a hamstring injury i think thats why

  • DAYSNWAYS

    give me some Will Johnson

  • Matthew Marczi

    Lawrence Timmons has gotten off to a slow start, but I fully expect him to get things turned around. Same thing with Ryan Clark. As you said the young ILBs will take some time, but yeah, I definitely think McLendon was hindered by that hamstring this week. I saw him get handled a few times one on one with too much ease. Al Woods honestly hasn’t looked too good so far either, in my opinion. A lot of their opponents’ best rushing series’ came with Woods in the game or in the nickel.

  • cencalsteeler

    Nice points. In general, defenses seem to come into the season firing on all cylinders. I believe offenses need more time to find their groove. As long as we continue to see improvement from week to week, I’m o.k. with that. We are young up front and mistakes are going to happen. Like you stated, we should start seeing them become more comfortable with each other and the wins shall come (hopefully).

  • Buccos9

    Not only is David Paulson overmatched physically, I have seen him on a few bubble screens come running into the picture late as the receiver who caught the ball is being tackled by the man that I assume Paulson should have been blocking. I don’t know if this is a concentration issue or he is just slow.

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