Steelers vs Bills Film Review: David DeCastro

The Pittsburgh Steelers did not ask their starting offensive line to do too much in the second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. It helps that the first two drives were relatively short, aided by a long reception in the first case and a short field in the second, but even considering that, the offensive line had it pretty easy.

The first-team offense stuck with the no huddle for the duration of their three possessions, with most of the action out of that coming in the form of screens and short passes, generally plays that require only a short period of blocking.

There was one stretch of three consecutive carries by Le’Veon Bell, however, that came on the second drive in which David DeCastro featured prominently, and it’s worth taking a look at each of these plays, during which the Steelers seemed determined to gain a first down on the ground.

Following an offside penalty that gave the Steelers a first down at the Buffalo 26-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger moved up from the shotgun to under center and handed the ball off to Bell. Off the snap, DeCastro was engaged in a double team with center Maurkice Pouncey, but once the center took control of the situation, he took notice of the charging Brandon Spikes.

Though he got a shoulder into the linebacker, Spikes’ momentum jarred him back just a bit. With Bell looking for a way out of traffic, DeCastro led Spikes up field and helped clear a way for the back to gain six yards.

On second down, DeCastro ran ahead in advance of the play to attempt to cut block Spikes, which was only partially successful in slowing the linebacker’s progress. When Pouncey got tied up and fell to the ground, freeing Kyle Williams, there wasn’t much room for Bell to run, so he simply pushed ahead to get what he could. Spikes arrived late to help clean up the play.

Now facing third and two, Roethlisberger handed it off to Bell for the third straight play, and for the third straight time, DeCastro engaged Spikes at the second level. The right guard was able to catch the linebacker’s inside shoulder and dip him around the circumference of the ball carrier, but fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham was nearby to make the tackle after three yards—still enough for the first down.

As previously mentioned, because of the quick passes, there wasn’t much to say about the pass protection, especially regarding the interior offensive line. It should be noted, however, that this was a change from last season’s game, in which the interior struggled.

Even though the Bills defended this play well, it may be the best bet at getting a glimpse of DeCastro doing something meaningful in pass protection from this previous game.

It was just a one-yard completion to Heath Miller, but the right guard had a nice little battle with Marcell Dareus. DeCastro got his hands up quickly, which Dareus was able to counter, but DeCastro was able to guide the defensive tackle safely out of the play—not that there was time for anything else to happen.

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

    Buffalo has a very good defence so that was a good indication of how the running will perform against good teams. It seems there’s still work to do

  • JAMESH

    Glad I was able to witness one of the best blocking WR corps in the history of the NFL for several years. Those days are long gone. DeCastro makes the ProBowl this year.

  • dkoy85

    It would have been nice to see them try to get into a rhythm splitting running and passing to see how the run game would stack up against a good front, but I was happy to see the no huddle run effectively. It’s hard to gauge the running performance on such a small sample size- nonetheless Buffalo seemed to win in the trenches against the run overall.

  • Fritz Baughman

    Buffalo has a really good defense? They were 28th in the league last season in rush defense. That means only four teams were worse in that category.

  • JAMESH

    What are you, a mathematician?

  • steeltown

    In which category? yds per game maybe they were not so good, but rushing TDs allowed they were tied for 6th I believe, also they were tops in passing yds per game but not so good when just looking at passing TDs allowed.. meaning the rankings are skewed there’s too many factors at play

    BUF has a very solid defensive front

  • JAMESH

    That’s a joke, Fritz.

  • keth naab

    Buffalo’s defensive line is talented. The rest of their defense sorely lacks.

  • Fritz Baughman

    Rushing defense they were very poor – ranked 28th in the NFL. However, and on the contrary Buffalo had an awesome pass rush (57 sacks) which Mario Williams clearly attributed to.

  • steeltown

    Yea but do you see what im getting at, 28th in yds allowed and 6th in TDs allowed doesn’t mean they are ranked 28th in general, just in ydg allowed (one category) and as you mentioned 57 sacks is no joke they just gave up a lot of yardage, yet didn’t allow many RBs to actually score

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Thanks for pointing that out Fritz. So then the Steelers run game must really be pathetic. Or they have improved. If you watch most of their gAmes last year you would conclude thAt the D was good and the offense killed them. Anyway I do believe the steelers will improve Lot throughout the year.

  • Gautama Om

    True but they were also 4th best in pass defense, right behind the Seahawks, Saints, and Texans.

  • JAMESH

    In the GIFs above, watch the WRs not block.