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Steelers Versus Packers – Second Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

  • The fake punt was such a huge momentum shift that it’s hard to quantify. It may have been an even greater momentum shift than the blocked fumble that led to a touchdown on the next play due to the way the Steelers were able to come back quickly from it and then some on consecutive plays.
  • When your season is on the line—if there’s even a line left—and you have nothing left to lose, however, it’s a good time to break out the gadgets, though I’m glad that Mike Tomlin was able to admit after the game that there was some trepidation to running the play.
  • Nice moment for David Paulson as well.
  • I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Ben Roethlisberger accelerate like that, even when he does run. No, it wasn’t impressive, generally speaking, but it was impressive for Roethlisberger.
  • Stevenson Sylvester had the biggest moment of his career wiped out by offsetting penalties, then proceeded to get sucked inside on a nine-yard fullback run on third and six on the Packers’ first drive of the half.
  • I do like the job that the defensive line did of keeping Matt Flynn from taking off. On multiple occasions, the defensive ends kept in front of Flynn to discourage him to take off, even though they knew they wouldn’t be able to get to him.
  • Seems to me that Le’Veon Bell got antsy when he was nearly tackled at the goal line, which perhaps made him stay up longer than he should have. That resulted in Nick Perry coming in and hitting him to knock the ball loose.
  • Great play by Vince Williams to drop Eddie Lacy for a loss on first and goal. He shows lots of flashes, but he needs to be consistent if he wants to be the answer next season.
  • Unfortunately for Steve McLendon, his blocked field goal ended up costing the Steelers four points rather than saving them three after Ryan Clark unwisely lateraled the ball, which led to Ziggy Hood inadvertently battling the loose ball forward.
  • But regardless, it was the officials missing the Steelers’ possession of the football, and I expect that to be a challengeable aspect of plays such as that during reviews as early as next season.
  • Great block by Cody Wallace on the next play for the offense, which helped Bell atone for his sin on a 25-yard run up the middle, leaping a defender in the process.
  • Wallace has a bit of a dirty streak. It actually drew a penalty as a Packer defender retaliated a play later.
  • Matt Spaeth has one reception this season and has already matched the total number of touchdowns produced by the rest of the tight end group.
  • In a bit of karmic justice, Quentin Quarless ran into Flynn on the Packers’ next play, making the pass hang up in the air and allowing Cortez Allen to get there first, using his height to tip the ball up and intercept it, returning it for a touchdown.
  • Sylvester and Chris Carter at outside linebacker…I don’t think that’s how they drew it up.
  • Roethlisberger hung a pass low just as the Steelers were starting to build momentum and it was picked off. They just got done forcing a punt after returning an interception for a touchdown, which came right off the heels of a barnstorming touchdown drive. The Packers scored a field goal off that turnover to make it a seven-point game.
  • The offense struggled after that, going three and out on the following drive with a short McBriar punt. The Packers marched down the field once again to tie the game on a fullback carry.
  • Naturally, Felix Jones fumbled the kickoff return after that and was tackled on the 11-yard line.
  • The Steelers looked like they might start to have something going, but then Brown dropped a pass and a missed block by Marcus Gilbert kept Heath Miller short of the first down. The Steelers went for it anyway and got it on a conversion to Will Johnson, but then a drop on a low throw to Bell forced them to punt anyway.
  • The defense helped Brett Keisel have what will probably be the last big drive of his career though. Pressure allowed Keisel to close in for a sack, and then Troy Polamalu stripped the ball out, which allowed Keisel to recover the fumble. Otherwise he struggled for much of the game. He unfortunately didn’t look much like himself.
  • The Steelers failed the capitalize on the short field position, however, until the Packers jumped offsides on a field goal attempt in a major display of lack of discipline.
  • I’m not quite sure why the Packers didn’t just let Bell score on first down after that, instead of making them use their last timeout. That would’ve come in handy on the ensuing drive, like, say, on the 10-second runoff penalty.
  • The 70-yard kickoff return was nearly a backbreaker, and Quarless had a big reception down to the five. James Starks got down to the one with almost 40 seconds left. It looked really bad right at that moment, but the false start killed it all. The Packers were only able to run one play in the last 40 seconds of the game. how crucial was that?
  • Mike Tomlin’s decision not to take a knee after the free first down is another nice talking point in the game management conversation. I’m not sure which side of the argument the subsequent long return supported.
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