Film Room: Tyson Alualu Holding Down The Fort

The Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to bring in a player of the caliber of somebody like Tyson Alualu this offseason for precisely the sort of scenario that they have been dealing with for most of the season, with a starter down along the line. Of course, they also want to be able to rotate more. But they saw what the defense looked like last year without Cameron Heyward.

And so they brought in Alualu, and he has been a starter for most of the season so far. He might even continue to start on Sunday, if Tuitt doesn’t return to practice from his back injury. With the bye week coming up, they may be more inclined toward caution.

The former Jaguars first-rounder hasn’t exactly blown things up in the passing game, but he has done well overall, and has held up against the run. the Steelers opened the game in their 3-4 with Alualu in Tuitt’s spot, and he was able to shake the tackle to make the stop.

A bit later on the same drive, the defense as a whole really played the run well, filling the gaps and closing lanes as they opened, but it ended up being Alualu coming off his block that produced the tackle after a one-yard gain.

Into the second quarter as the Bengals were driving, Pittsburgh was in the nickel defense at the 10. Cincinnati double-teamed him, but he held his own. The running back ran into his own linemen, knocking one off the block, which freed him and helped chase the runner into Heyward for a stop.

At the start of the third quarter, he did a good job of penetrating, but Bud Dupree got washed out, and took him out as well. The rest of the defense, however, was in position to make the play for another run stop for just a yard.

On the next play, third and nine, he had a pass-rushing situation on his hands. With Dupree running up the arc, he erred in attempting to spin back to the inside, which opened up an escape lane for Andy Dalton to scramble, nearing picking up the first down.

He did finally get his first sack of the season, though Dupree is owed an assist. Still, Alualu did cleanly beat the right tackle and was there for the cleanup.

He has proven to be very good as a backup, and serviceable as a starter, which is exactly what the Steelers were looking for at that price tag. And so far they have had to get the most out of their investment.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Michael James

    Good work!
    What I take away from this: Alualu has been playing solid football (albeit not tearing it up in the pass rush department) and Dupree still has ways to go becoming the standout OLB he was supposed to turn into this season.

  • Lil Smitty

    Alualu has earned his contract this year and it isn’t even at it halfway complete.

  • WilliamSekinger

    How long did they sign him for? He’s playing so well, I’m afraid we might not be able to afford him after his contract ends.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Good timing on this – nice article

  • AndyR34

    I think it was a two-year deal, IIRC.

  • Bradys_Dad

    He’s playing so well that there’s no need to rush Tuitt back with a bye coming next week. Give Tuitt another week + to heal and then he’s ready for the stretch. Tyson was and is a fantastic, if not quiet off-season pick-up.

  • steeltown

    FA in 2019

  • MC

    Man I’ve seen multiple times in this game Dupree getting put to the ground by a tight end! He plays with a terrible base.
    As for Tyson. Best FA depth pickup in yeeaaarrs. The way he handled the double team was impressive, that’s the Polynesian tree trunk legs doing their thing.

  • Nick Sabatella

    What an awesome singing he has been