Film Room: David DeCastro Bounces Back, Dominates On Counter Runs

I was pretty critical of David DeCastro’s work in pass protection last week, though I think it was justified. He got pretty well manhandled on outside rushes against the Jaguars, and by multiple different defenders, which culminated in him drawing a hold that negated a touchdown.

This week, his play all around was much better, including in pass protection, but I think we all know what the highlights were—pull blocking. This has become a staple play again in the Steelers’ rushing offense since he was drafted, and he has been dominating in that role for most of the season, with Sunday’s game being perhaps the best yet in that regard.

Take, for example, the 11-yard run for James Conner early in the first quarter. He and Jesse James led on the counter play around left end, DeCastro getting a quick seal on Derrick Johnson to help the running back get to the edge. Needless to say, James earns a lot of credit here as well, perhaps more so.

Later in the first quarter, running out of the 22 personnel, including a tackle-eligible, the Steelers had two tight ends off to the left side on the open side of the field. DeCastro pulled and sealed off Dee Ford, which helped open the middle of the field for 13 yards behind Roosevelt Nix for Le’Veon Bell.

Some time later in the game, with the Steelers needing six yards on second and six, DeCastro was crucial once again in getting the runner to the perimeter. Near midfield, the right guard pulled left was blew up the safety, knocking him to the ground. When Reed Sorenson tried to get up and back into the play, he was run into by his teammate, Reggie Ragland. Ripple effect of a big block.

Later on the same drive, they were able to hit on the play again, this time sealing Ford off once again. James had a hard time keeping a lid on Ragland, but with Vance McDonald coming through, the latter was able to pick him up, while Martavis Bryant helped block down the field for a 17-yard run that nearly scored.

There were a number of things of course that DeCastro did well in the game, but this is what he is best-known for, and is also what he did best in the game. It was a strong—and I would argue an important—bounce back game as he looks to make the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Charles Mullins

    We need a Sorensen low light film. I felt bad for the kid.

  • Dshoff

    DeCastro sure looked good on the pulls in this game. So did Nix. He is just POUNDING people. Is there a spot for fullback for probowl, or just the general running back designation. Nix deserves pro bowl votes, if FB is a spot.

  • nutty32

    Derek Johnson, too. Rendered useless all day, all night.

  • razaard2

    I understand why so many people dislike James. Even when he does a tremendous job, like on the first gif, he does it in arguably the least flashy way possible. He is never mauling anyone, but he gets to the right spot and right leverage and occupies the exact spot that opens a huge window for the runner.
    Vance on the other hand just comes and pancakes someone like on the other gif. Both did great jobs tho

  • Matthew Marczi

    I *think* there still is a spot. Wonder how much longer that will last though.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Both of them did a nice job this week.