Steelers Versus Browns – First Half Notes And Observations – Week 17

By Matthew Marczi

  • In the last game of the year, Jarvis Jones—somewhat quietly—played perhaps his best game of the year. On the first drive alone, he sniffed out a screen pass to drop the receiver for a two-yard loss and then bailed out of coverage to force Jason Campbell to throw the ball away on third down. There were some encouraging signs heading into next season.
  • Surely the slippery conditions played a role, but Ben Roethlisberger’s deep ball was not good all game.
  • He always makes up for it in other ways though, like when he escaped pressure, climbed the pocket, and then hit Antonio Brown for 24 yards on the first drive.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who called Jerricho Cotchery’s double-digit touchdowns this offseason.
  • I’m joking, of course. The Steelers better not be counting on a repeat performance from the old veteran. Some of those touchdowns need to find their way back to Heath Miller, and perhaps Matt Spaeth.
  • Unknown Browns running back Edwin Baker found a big crease down the middle early in the game. How did that happen? Al Woods at nose tackle got pushed off the line to the left while Lawrence Timmons covered right. Vince Williams penetrated, but with the space provided by Woods being blocked, it was easy to evade contact. Another explosive play against the Steelers defense.
  • He and Cameron Heyward got nice penetration a couple plays later for a two-yard loss, however.
  • It was nice to see old man Brett Keisel come up with a big play in perhaps his last game, earning himself a strip sack as a parting gift. I imagine some of the frustration that he vented on Twitter over the San Diego officiating was spurred on by that realization of finality.
  • Who was Ben Roethlisberger throwing to, and why? A poor interception, especially following a turnover.
  • Even though Jones managed to check the receiver on that fourth down play, he still got away with one when the receiver dropped it.
  • Whether or not Marcus Gilbert was anticipating help—and his body language suggests as much—he still gave up his ground too easily.
  • What a great effort by Timmons on third and two, tracking Baker out of the backfield and wrapping him up for no gain on a third down check down pass to force a punt.
  • Nice pull by Ramon Foster on the second play of the ensuing drive, behind which Le’Veon Bell burst through for about a dozen yards.
  • Bell really did some grown-man running in this game. Pro Football Focus had him at 3.0 yards after contact per carry. And he averaged 4.5 yards per carry in this game, so that’s two-thirds of his yardage coming after contact.
  • Well, not quite, of course, as the yards per carry doesn’t take into account yardage after contact from behind the line of scrimmage. For example, on Bell’s touchdown, he was contact three yards in the backfield before punching it in from five yards out, so that was eight yards after contact on a five-yard run.
  • Another great tackle for no gain by Timmons in coverage. If there was one area of his game in which he at least approached consistency this year, it would be coverage.

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

    Terrible blocking by Gilbert on that one play, like mentioned don’t care if he was expecting help, that’s BS he got beat physically and he gave up his ground way way to easily

    Foster is quietly our 2nd best OLineman behind DeCastro…but you wouldn’t know it by the lack of respect he gets from people

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Good signs for the future and, steeltown, you are correct again…. Foster was a great signing. Yes, great! They got him for a reasonable price, as he has always been a backup, who inevitably got to play when injuries occurred. Not only has he played for years, but been relatively good, consistent, while not spectacular. Guess what,….. a good team needs plenty of players like this, because you will never have superstars all over the place.

    Lots of other guys looking better as well, from rookies to others that got a chance. A few more required in some key places such as CB and safety for the future.

  • steeltown

    Think about the carousel around him and Decastro.. they had 3 different Centers play between them and obvisouly the Tackle position has been up in the air for yrs… they were the rocks in the middle this year