If you are among those pulling for eighth-year veteran outside linebacker Arthur Moats to reclaim his spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster this year, then tonight was a good one for you—even if it comes with a bit of a caveat. The seemingly fifth-string edge rusher recorded an interception and three sacks against the Giants, with other additional pressures.
While I admittedly did not pay attention to what if any snaps he logged on special teams, which will be an important piece of his resume to stick with the team in 2017, his final stat line is undeniable. In addition to the aforementioned, Moats also recorded six total tackles.
A great deal of his production, it has to be mentioned, did come against the Giants’ third-team personnel, opponents that an eighth-year veteran with starting experience such as himself should be able to handle in the manner in which he did.
But as I noted during my broadcast coverage, you can only beat the man that is lined up across from you, and one the ones patrolling the sidelines. While he may have been expected to have this type of performance against opponents that bottom of their roster, he did have that performance.
His first sack of the game did come up against New York’s first-string offense of the game (with many notable actual starters not participating). Rushing off the defense’s left side, on second and goal, the veteran eventually fended off some tough handfighting and a bit of holding from the right tackle to pick up a cleanup hustle sack that helped keep the Giants from scoring.
Early in the second half the former Bill picked off the former Jet on a pass that was clear miscommunication with the receiver. Geno Smith was throwing to the sideline while his receiver was heading downfield, and it’s not clear who was the offender.
He recorded a pair of sacks on the Giants’ opening drive of the fourth quarter as well, this time working off the right side. The veteran has experience starting at both sides over the course of the past three seasons for the Steelers, by the way.
He showed coverage duties initially on the first sack of the drive, ultimately working into the backfield fighting against the left tackle. With L.T. Walton also providing pressure from the opposite side, Moats was eventually able to clean up once again and bring the quarterback down.
His third and final sack was clearly the best of the three, as he cleanly beat the right tackle around the edge and got to the quarterback in a hurry, bringing him down to force a third and long that would result in a turnover on downs two plays later.
It was a good showing for Moats, whose competition for the 53-man roster, rookie seventh-round pick Keion Adams, is currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Hopefully in the near future we will see more action from both of them against a higher level of competition—and more work on special teams.