Film Room: Breaking Down Burns And Sensabaugh’s Breakdowns

Yes, the bottom line was that the Pittsburgh Steelers got the victory yesterday. It’s the NFL and winning, no matter what the teams look like on paper, is freaking hard to do. Although I like to focus on something positive coming off a win, it’s hard to ignore all that went wrong Sunday night. Defensively, the Steelers can still look like the league’s worst secondary and the chunk plays they’ve allowed is laughable.

So that’s what we’re going to look at first in our Monday film room breakdown. The long touchdowns allowed by Artie Burns and Coty Sensabaugh.

First, Artie Burns.

This one is really simple. Steelers are in a Cover 3. Day one install sort of stuff. Three deep, four under zone coverage. Here’s how it should look pre-snap. In this case, it’s five under with Keith Butler sending only three.

Packers run one of their favorite concepts. Post/wheel with the original #1 (outside receiver) on the post and the original #2 (slot) on the wheel.

It’s a simple concept of pattern matching or really, just staying in your zone. The slot receiver becomes the “new #1” and coming down the left sideline, Burns has to match him. Mike Mitchell is responsible for the post, now the “new #2” down the middle of the field.

But Burns, sigh, never gets off the post and the wheel is left unattended down the sideline. Easy throw and catch for a touchdown.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is on Burns. Not on Mitchell. Not on T.J. Watt. They do their job. It’s squarely on Burns and another mental lapse from him. He’s getting awfully hard to trust in the secondary. Yes, he’s a second year guy but a second year guy with a lot of playing time. Stuff like this is just unacceptable.

And yeah, Mike Tomlin not a happy camper. Good ‘ol F-bomb thrown in there with what, to me, looks like he’s saying “Looks like the F***** film.” Which would jive with the idea of it being a concept the Packers run a lot and should be something the secondary expects and adjusts to without issue.

Sensabaugh wasn’t sparkling either. Davante Adams killed him on this double-move on third and three coming out of the half.

Runs to a depth of five yards, fakes like he’s going to chop down for the quick reception and that’s enough to get Sensabaugh to bite. Once the corner commits, Adams explodes upfield and Sensabaugh is completely caught. Well-thrown ball, no chance for the corner to catch up and Adams does the rest.

Once again, the Steelers collectively (Mitchell, Sensabaugh) do a poor job of making a tackle in the open field to prevent a good play from being a great one. Gives them no chance to get their red zone defense on the field. Easy points.

The Steelers’ secondary doesn’t have to be great. But they have to be a lot better than this. It’s all about keeping the ball in front of you, forcing teams to go on lengthy drives, and rely on your strong red zone defense to keep teams to field goals.

Chunk plays like this have to stop. Immediately. Or the Steelers won’t go where they want to go.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Wil Masisak

    One CB who can’t play Zone, one CB who can’t play man, one CB who can’t chase down a slow RB in the open field, and safeties who can’t tackle in the open field. It’s sort of a miracle they’ve played as well as they have to this point.

  • Todd

    Remember when everyone thought the secondary was fixed or improved? Yeah, good times!

  • Rich Stafford

    I don’t mind Coty guessing wrong, it happens. Burns is proving he may not have the footall IQ to play NFL style defensive concepts. Or high school.

  • capehouse

    That’s now 3 long TDs allowed coming out for the 2nd half 3 weeks in a row. All 3 to Coty Sensabaugh’s side. My question has to do with the one Burns allowed though, and it’s comparison to the TD allowed against the Colts. Both plays were cover-3 and throws to the #2 receiver, but against the Colts Sensabaugh comes up to cover the flat and Chester Rogers breaks free uncovered on Sensabaugh’s deep 1/3. That play you blamed Mitchell for not picking up the #2, and gave a pass to Sensabaugh for sticking with the #1 receiver in the flat. Burns does the same thing and sticks to the #1 receiver and no one picks up the #2 receiver. It seems like the same thing but you have 2 different explanations. Is it cover 3 or not?

  • falconsaftey43

    And yet, most of the fan base is bashing Tomlin for not getting his team ready. Players need to make plays, period. Secondary has to stop these explosive TDs.

  • PittShawnC

    Thank you for the breakdown of Cobb’s TD, that play was driving me nuts

  • gdeuce

    Burns didn’t stay in his zone, and went into Mitchell’s zone

  • capehouse

    And Coty covered the flat and just ignored his deep 1/3 on the Colts TD. How is that cover 3?

  • pittfan

    Artie is the new Blake.

  • BlackAndGold97

    Please Joe Haden, come back soon and fully healed. Burns was supposed to have a break out year covering AB in training camp all summer. So far, have not seen much improvement.

  • CP72

    Artie is supremely talented, but lacks football IQ. He’s more Cortez Allen.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yes, both cover 3. Neither with any special calls (like Rip/Liz). First one the outside WR runs a curl, the inside guy runs a seam. No other WRs to that side. That’s pretty straight forward. CB has the outside Curl, Safety has the inside Seam. Second one the outside WR runs a post, inside a wheel, TE runs a flat. Here CB should see that combo and pass #1 to the safety and take #2. Otherwise there is no way to cover it.

    Cover 3 the CB and Safety have to read the 1 and 2 WR. Typically the read is on the release of #2. If #2 immediately releases inside, CB has #1. If #2 immediately releases outside, CB has the deep third, passing off any inside breaking route from #1 to the safety (because you know #2 went outside so you’re not putting two guys on the safety). If #2 releases vertically, CB has #1.

  • gdeuce

    Coty was still playing his 3rd, there were no receivers in his area, Burns should not be in the same vicinity as Mitchell

  • capehouse

    The Colts TD had Hilton covering the flat too, after he released from the #2. If that’s cover 3 why is Coty covering the flat and not his deep 1/3?

  • Steel Realist PAul

    So, when Haden comes back, the team has one corner. Does it make sense to move Gay to RCB for a game or so to let Burns see what he’s doing wrong? Allen and Sutton really don’t seem like options to play a starting position, especially as we move into the post-season.

  • capehouse

    When the Colts Chester Rogers catches that ball he’s right on the numbers. Is that not Coty’s deep 1/3 to cover?

  • falconsaftey43

    So this gets into the Rip/Liz call. Most teams will make this call so that the slot CB or LB with flat responsibilities will carry #2 down the seam (makes it a lot easier on the safety). But for whatever reason, the Steelers don’t always do this. This leaves #2 free down the seam for only the safety to defend. No one did anything wrong assignment wise on that play, Mitchel just couldn’t get to the seam throw. Coty is covering the deep 1/3 on that ply by taking the curl. It’s pattern matching, if 1 and 2 both go vertical against cover 3, the CB has #1 in man coverage basically.

  • capehouse

    It doesn’t make any sense to me if you have 2 guys covering the flat on the same play.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I’m not trying to bash the guy unnecessarily.. but, is he? Supremely talented?

    He’s fast.. where is the supreme talent? He can’t tackle most plays, he doesn’t make splash plays, ever.. I’m seriously asking, not trying to argue.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Yes. Read #2 to #1.Typically you will know within the first 5 yards whether you will be passing off #1 based on #2s release. This is one of the simplest and first zone principles he should’ve learned LONG before he became a Steeler. Bad eye discipline on his part, to go along with being a terrible tackler. What does he do well at this point?

  • CP72

    Fair enough….maybe looks the part is a better description.

  • CountryClub

    The blown coverages are bad enough. But all of these missed tackle on those same plays is vomit inducing.

  • NCSteel

    Good stuff 43, so it seems with Burns, either he forgot altogether or just got it backwards.
    If this were last year, I would say, “hey, give the guy a break” but Alex is right, he’s had a lot of playing time and a lot of film room and study time (I assume) to still be making that kind of mistake.
    If I were Coach, I be crappin’ jacks and nails every time I trotted him
    out there. Not much you can do I guess but continue to teach.
    Slowly. Over and over.
    Slowly. Over and over.
    Slowly….

  • falconsaftey43

    Which is why you see most teams make the Rip/Liz call to have the inside defender (slot CB or LB) carry #2 down the seam, so that the seam is double covered by that and the safety. But when the call isn’t made, the inside defender has curl flat and with #2 running vertical he can help cover #1’s curl route. But the outside CB also has to cover the #1’s curl route because if #2 runs a curl or out or something like that (not vertical) the slot defender will cover #2 leaving #1 open.

  • Sdale

    Just based off of last years playoffs and some of the plays this year, I can’t trust Gay on the outside either. He will be more technically and assignment sound, but he’s just lost too much speed to keep up…although he probably couldn’t be as bad as Burns, and you would put another good tackler out there.

  • NCSteel

    I hope Artie is taking notes.
    Thats gotta be a lonely feeling and Mitchells gotta be thinking “oh geez, whats he doin’.”

    With Sensabaugh, man, don’t get over excited and bite, keep him in front of you and tackle the catch.
    He’ll see that again before Haden gets back I am sure.

    In fact, I’m betting we see that from the Bengals or Pats in the next few weeks.

    Alex, speaking of seeing it again, hey brother, it would be interesting to breakdown the same plays once they see them again in the next few weeks and whether or not they have learned their assignments.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    It’s pretty clear Sensabaugh is a gambler and likes to jump routes. He’s been beaten because of this multiple times since entering the lineup. It’s not uncommon that this would happen. We saw Joe Haden give up a big pass play earlier this year doing the same thing. It happens. He may be a little too apt to trust his instincts break on a ball, but at least it’s an honest mistake. And one that comes with reward potential. Lest we forget about the pick he made against Tennessee… I will say, however, that teams have really noticed this about him and are starting to exploit this tendancy. They’re setting him up. He has to realize this and fix it.

    As for Artie, he is making pi$$ poor mental mistakes and completely blowing assignments. There’s no excuse to be made and no risk/reward potential. He’s simply bot executing our there on the field. I’d attack him as much as possible if I were an opposing OC. Hopefully he’ll be better when they match up in man against better teams. He sure looks lost in zone.

  • Rick McClelland

    Artie Burns has Hoover syndrome and is literally sucking the life out of that defense.
    He had one big tackle in the game and pretty much thought that was the last time he needed to tackle all night. After that, he thought just touching them would be enough to put them on the ground.
    The whole joking and laughing on the sideline after he gave up a big play, was enough for me.
    He is not first round material and he needs to go.

  • Iulo

    exactly… Coty is also only a backup.. a good one by the way.
    But your starter on the other side is making such bad reads.
    I would like to see Sutton there, just to put some pressure… not really expecting him to get many snaps or even becoming a starter on this year but at least to give Artie a break.. so he can see what’s wrong… like in the first training camp when he was being beaten by AB all the time.

  • LHW

    I would say this poor play appears to be a predictable pattern. This is not an isolated example. This falls on the coaching. If they guy in there can’t do it – then get someone who can. Or change the scheme to accommodate the skill set.

  • Cavallonator

    Isn’t sutton supposed to be the total opposite of Artie? “Smart” and a really good man coverage guy? Wonder if he gets any shots. The thing is Artie has some really good flashes, but he can’t make a tackle and obviously gets totally lost out there. Brady will destroy this guy.

  • Brian Miller

    Really just highlights how many sins Haden has been covering up for us. On the plus side, Davis played pretty well…

  • John Westbrook

    Another Shamarko Thomas.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Exactly. I’m not talking long term. Just to have someone stand with Burns on the sideline and point out to him how the dam position is supposed to be played, especially positionally.

  • Chris92021

    Coty is a backup. He gambles and loses. I can deal with it for a couple of more weeks.

    Burns however is flat out awful. His football IQ is well below average. We gambled on supremely fast guys who are athletic in the first round since 2014 (Shazier, Dupree, Burns, and now Watt). Shazier has panned out when he’s healthy, Dupree is still overrunning everything, too early to make a call on Watt but so far, so good. But Burns? My goodness, he misses more assignments than a drunk frat boy in class. With Haden out, Burns’s mistakes are even further magnified. And he celebrates when he makes a tackle 12 yards downfield like it’s some big accomplishment. I hope Cam Heyward takes that young man to the side and rips into him. Burns might be a good kid with a lot on his plate in his personal life but strictly football wise, he is hurting this team, plain and simple.

  • J Jones

    Packers receiving corp is nice. Man for man they are light years better than our corners as of now

  • Stevie D

    Steelers can’t not beat good team with good QB with that secondary “Artie Burns”. The only chances they’ve against the Patriots is scoring 50 points.

  • The Tony

    The third down penalty with hands to the face hurt too

  • WilliamSekinger

    If Coty wasn’t beaten so badly, he might have been in position to at least tackle the receiver and take the penalty, but he’s not even in a good enough position to do that.
    I can’t even begin to comment on Artie…bad, just plain training camp bad.

  • The Tony

    Take it easy. There is no shot that Burns is going to be gone.

  • WilliamSekinger

    It seemed fixed because the pressure was getting home every game. This game the pressure didn’t start getting home until the 3rd quarter whether by design or not.

  • The Tony

    I kept wondering why in the first half we were barely sending numbers to confuse Hundley. Butler gets way too content with three or four man blitzes

  • Artie has become such a consistent liability that I sincerely hope Tomlin will look hard toward benching him for Sutton IF Sutton seems up-to-speed re schematics, concepts, coverage skills, and tackling. For any team to be elite or a serious SB contender, it simply can NOT have a glaring defensive weakness, and that’s exactly what Burns has become.

  • capehouse

    Researching the cover 3 this morning I’ve also read an explanation that the inside slot defender can’t be out leveraged by the flat and has to carry the #2 on a wheel route in these instances. I’m not completely convinced that Watt played it right despite what Alex says. At the very least I think Watt should have interrupted #2’s route a bit better. Looking at the play above you have Watt covering the flat and Shazier, VW and Sean Davis all in basically the same area while the wheel route goes uncovered.

  • Iulo

    by the way…. what is the status on the Haden injury?
    do we still have hopes he returns for the playoffs?

  • WilliamSekinger

    So, the worst part of the Burns debacle was directly after he gave up that long TD he’s caught by the cameras on the sidelines joking, laughing, and fist pumping with his teammates…WTF?!?
    I understand corners have to have short memories, but come on!

  • PaeperCup

    Ugh, that first play….It’s the right defense to that play, as long as you do your job.

  • John Noh

    Anyone else cheesed that Artie was laughing and yukking it up on the sidelines after getting torched? I wanted him to be sullen, if not Paxton Lynch-like crying after that disaster.

  • disqus_WrRvUyG2DA

    Just man up!!! You don’t have this confusion of who is supposed to cover who when just play man to man. To be honest I thought the packers defense looked better. The steelers are going to look like fools again when they play the pats if they play this defense.

  • SwagDaddy330

    They did exactly that last year in the AFC Championship – adjusted the scheme to accommodate the skill set – and everyone bitched that they played zone.

    The coaches jobs are to prepare the players for the games. They did that. One guy going rogue on a play does not fall on the coaches.

  • Av232

    So who would you put in, coach? Old number 22? Or the rookie that just came off IR? We have a terrific coaching staff. Standing over their shoulders calling for their jobs because a player made a mistake is ludacris.

  • falconsaftey43

    different teams will do it differently. To me, looks like it is most likely Burn’s fault. That’s the how I was taught it should go. But can’t know for certain without know the Steeler’s rules.

  • falconsaftey43

    And if Alex’s lip reading is right, it certainly seems like that post wheel is something they specifically covered on film….so yeah if coaches tell you how to do something and then you mess it up, it’s not really the coaches fault. Also not the coaches fault (at this point in the season) that they don’t have a better option to play at CB. They drafted a guy in Sutton who has been hurt, they signed a FA who is starting now (and getting burnt) and signed another FA who was starting but is hurt. Stuff happens.

  • William Weaver

    Luckily the NFL is near void of quality QB’s. Better play ball control/keep away from Brady or be ready to put up 50!

  • Doug Andrews

    Burns sure make you shake your head while dropping some F bombs. These mental lapses are a problem for a second year guy. What I’m having a problem with is the lack of INTs and pass breakups. If Artie made some splash plays I might and it’s a big might could live with the dumb mistakes. To his credit he does do a good job of settling down during the games but the breakdowns are getting to be a major concern.

  • Wil Masisak

    See, I think that’s the exact wrong approach to beating the Pats. They’re going to score, anyway- why increase the relative value of each of their scores by trying to keep the score down? Our offense functions best when they let it all hang out– their defense is no match for our offense’s ability to make plays. Play offense to score, and make them earn every yard on O, even if it means giving up some big plays. Can’t play scared of them or they will choke the life out of you.

  • srdan

    Poor play from a 9-2 team.

    Stop it!

  • srdan

    To me he looks like he is getting better at tacking.

    Say waht you want on that play above but that post he is covering as good as you can. Too bad that isn’t his responsibility. He is talented for sure. As a man corner. Asking him to play zone is where he struggles.

  • ThatGuy

    Yep, glad he enjoys being smoked at least once per game, usually more.

  • srdan

    I think you gotta give his tackling more credit than that. Over the last few games he has stepped it up. That 1v1 tackle last night vs Nelson is as hard as it gets. Yes, nelson got the first down, but that was a quality play.

  • srdan

    Do you mean like the Lions? Or the Titans?

  • srdan

    Meh, i get what you’re saying. But I’d rather a corner with no memory. I don’t like him smiling like that either, but if the alternative is a corner wtih a paxton lynch like crying, I don’t want that. I need him on the next play.

  • hdogg48

    After seeing Burns and Sensebach get cluelessly torched
    yesterday by a backup, I’m wondering if Colbert wishes
    he had picked up the phone and beat the Chiefs to Revis.

    He may have lost a step, but blown coverages is
    not what will keep him out of the HOF.

    Just pathetic DB play by the Steelers yesterday.
    If I’m Lake I get BOTH of them in the film room
    and get on them like a short coat in the Winter.

    Unacceptable play for NFL calibre CBs. There are Junior College
    and Div 2 corners out there that are capable of better coverage.
    Why not give Sutton and Allen at least a few snaps?
    Those two (Burns and Sensabaugh) need surgery to get
    their heads removed from their azz es.

  • Kevin Artis

    These are breaks downs that should not be happening this late in the season. Could we possibly bench Burns if he keeps having lapses like this? I doubt it. But I remember how bad Ike Taylor looked during the Broncos (Tebow) game and we should of benched him or gave him help.
    Maybe Burns needs help over on that side.

  • ThatGuy

    A lot of comments about Brady in here and rightfully so, but I am not even confident Burns and co. will stop AJ Green next week.

  • nutty32

    LoL – remember PFF tried to tell us that Artie was a top 3 corner in the league; ah fun times. Collinsworth shilling further PFF b.s. pitching the Packer LT as the best pass protector in the league while Cam just rag dolled him all night.

  • nutty32

    They’re clearly better. I just saw Cockrell get abused all Thanksgiving night.

  • Alex Roarty

    Excuse the hot take here, but it seems fair to wonder if the Steelers erred when they picked Coty over Cockrell.

    RC had big-time limitations. But he never got beat back-to-back as Coty has the last two weeks. Anyone have confidence it won’t happen again (and again)?

    Cockrell was a solid corner for the Steelers, despite the prevailing sentiment. I’m sure the Steelers had good reasons for picking CS — special teams and wanting to play more man coverage, I imagine — but if you can’t trust him to prevent 60 yard touchdowns, what good is he?

  • nutty32

    Dungy was saying he saw the same sloppy play when he visited Steeler practice during the week. Rodney Harrison is convinced the Steelers are arrogant and not putting 100% in each and every day.

  • srdan

    PFF is a data point. All data has anomalies. You can apply it to Artie or Bakkari. Artie in my opinion is the epitome of this. Look at how well he covered that post. Too bad it wasn’t his responsibility. He is hard to trust all game, but all game he plays at a high level. It’s an odd situation.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    You didn’t see guys run right around him multiple times last night? I know he made one or two, but he’s really weak in this area; like not NFL-level capabilities.

  • nutty32

    Context matters in football – I’d venture to say Artie’s individual play hasn’t changed that much throughout the entire season.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Heh.. Rodney Harrison

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Hard to say if either are starter quality, but Sensabaugh is only 2 games in starting on this defense, so maybe he’ll settle down some with these couple big plays given up.

  • srdan

    I did. But I’m seeing a more aggressive tackle technique. That tells me he is coachable. And all I said is that he is improving, don’t you agree?

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Well said. Strictly as a player, he’s pretty awful and hurting his team every game.

  • nutty32

    Guess you didn’t see the Giants v. Wash game thanksgiving nite.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Oh, I’m not arguing. I don’t do that..

    Um, actually, no. It seems like if he comes up hard to attack a screen or pass to the flat, he’s in his best situation. He’s made plays in that situation specifically, even going back to last year. But if the play is coming TO him, he’s a train wreck – seriously.

    He’s either getting blocked off of the field by a WR, or like last night when he squared up, the player just runs right around him.

    Frankly, srdan, I’m concerned. You mentioned him being coachable. But it really looks like he’s missing basic coverage stuff on a regular basis and he’s just played way too much football for that to be the case.

    And there’s no return. He’s not grabbing INTs or anything special while making all of these costly errors, ya know?

  • nutty32

    Let’s give McCarthy/Hundley some credit. Clearly played his best game and decision making was sharp until later in the game when the pressure got to him.

  • srdan

    Agreed on all fronts. And anyone that says they aren’t concerned aren’t watching close enough. But the same thing that gives me heartburn, gives me hope. This team is built to play NE. All signs point to it. 92 sitting, no man coverage with a lot of practice for it(by reports), drafting man guys. To me it all smells of a team that is operating at 80% getting ready for what really matters. Heck, I appreciate it. Back to burns. If you ask him to play zone, he struggles to recognize defenses. Same thing that is happening to Marcus Peters this year. You put him in man, and he excels. Just look at the play from last night, he covered that post route like Deion. Problem is, it’s not his man. But in man, put him on Hogan vs the Pats, and I’ll take my chances.

    I could be totally off, and this team is playing to their strengths already, and this is their ceiling, that would stink.

    I agree on the lack of splash from him. He has a couple fumble recoveries I think, but that is a dubious stat.

    I just recognize it like this. We had Blake, McCain and Cockrell. Artie is better than that. I don’t rank where people get drafted. I hold him and hilton to the same standard. And today, our secondary is a lot better than a few years ago, or even 12 months ago.

  • treeher

    No. An average high school QB could have hit those passes. And as Tomlin says, it was on the the f*** film.

  • Jack Hambert

    It’s like picking between Honda and Toyota. Neither is a BMW.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Hm.. the built for NE talk, I guess we’ll have to see. And if that’s the case, do you use it in week 15 for home field, or wait until post-season, so they can’t prepare?

    I think Artie is bigger and faster than anyone we’ve had since Ike, but I can’t say he’s more effective than any of the players between then and now. Don’t get me wrong, if he can use his athletic ability moving forward and learn from theses mistakes, he’s a better candidate than Blake and the like.

    But when you draft a guy in the first, you expect more than ‘just better than Blake’.

    Hilton and Haden additions have been excellent, same with Davis, generally speaking. But that right side is scary right now.

  • hdogg48

    Brandon Cooks gotta be drooling at the prospect of
    lining up opposite Burns or Sensabach.

    That’s why the Pats got him..to beat up on chumps like
    those two on the deep ball.

    Even a guy that nobody ever heard of like Hogan torched
    them for two WIDE OPEN looks in last year’s AFC Championship
    beat down.

    With AVERAGE coverage they may have a shot..with what
    I’ve seen the last 2 weeks, Brady got a good shot at hanging
    40 on us. Why not return to Blitzburgh and put Tom Terrific
    down a few times….HARD…that’s how the Giants, Ratbirds
    and Broncos did it.

  • JohnB

    This is where i see the achillies heel of Lakes coaching. I think hes lacking in mentally training his guys. These guys are getting lulled and tricked to easily. Cortez is the prime example.

  • steelburg

    The Sutton idea is a good one. Long term I don’t see Sutton replacing Burns but benching him for a game or 2 to light a fire under his a** would be the route I would go. Sutton can’t be any worse right now.

  • nutty32

    I dunno just having the poise to stand in against an nfl pass rush with 3 or so seconds to make a decision before getting smashed in the mouth seems difficult & not many can do it consistently.

  • Brantley Stockton

    Agreed. You can’t play that any better, Nelson was just able to stretch for it.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Giving up a “Wheel Route TD” in Cover 3 is literally like Middle School breakdown stuff.

    Honestly, if that were to have happened at my High School, we’d have been lambasted.

    If Artie Burns isn’t made an example of in the film room by the staff, something is terribly wrong. Burns should honestly be scolded like he’s a 12 year old. And the players should let him have it.

    I think Mike Mitchell was so stunned, as you see in the clip at what a terrible lapse Burns was making, that he was late to adjust to try to Superman the play away. Remember the comment by Mitchell about having to babysit so much last year?! Well, THIS is the shi* he was talking about.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I have to play against Green in a fantasy league where I have to win to get in. I’m freaking terrified now.

  • Darth Blount 47

    He might be back for New England, is the rumor. If not, likely week 16.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Go back and watch again. Burns fails to engage properly and then gets run over and has to try to grab his legs like a 7 year old does to his 15 year old brother in the backyard.

  • capehouse

    wheel route is a zone coverage beater.

  • John Hinton

    Great article Alex. Thank you!

  • Intense Camel

    Our only chance is man coverage and a lot of blitzing. No sense in dropping 8 if guys can’t even hold their zone responsibilities.

  • Intense Camel

    CS jumped a route and got an interception. CS>RC

  • William Weaver

    Hence the reason for saying put up 50..

  • Intense Camel

    I saw that too. Great initial hit but didn’t finish. If he goes all the way through him then no first down. The fact that we’re ecstatic over that just shows how bad his tackling has been.

  • Intense Camel

    He did last year. Not sure why he isn’t now.

  • Chris92021

    Sadly Darth, a lot of people will look at that and think it was Mitchell’s fault because all they see is the 23 from the back, chasing another receiver into the end zone.

    Yep, I hope Coach Tomlin, Butler, Lake, and the captains on defense just blast into Burns. That play shows the lack of focus that is needed at this level.

  • Chris92021

    Just watch the Thanksgiving night game when Cockrell screwed up time and again against Washington. We made the right move in getting Coty.

  • razaard2

    I wish our offense was as good as you think it is. We had like one big offensive game in the entire season so far.
    I think the best way to defend Brady is keeping him in the bench

  • razaard2

    A corner route sometimes sneak behind the CB in cover 3. The safety sees it so he is the one who can make a play.
    The wheel route tho develops right in front of the CB. He HAS to identify that pattern, it shouldn’t work against cover 3 (post wheel is good against cover 2 usually)

  • SfSteeler

    it doesnt matter to us cause we can make any average QB look like a star…that and coach said it, the film…Stafford killed us on wheel routs and if we dont fix it were gonna get Burns by it!

  • SfSteeler

    jekell and hyde team all year long

  • foremania

    What’s ironic about last night, and Artie’s breakdown in particular, is that it makes me all the more certain that the way to play defense vs. NE is heavy man with very little zone coverage. “Why haven’t they already?” Because there’s no reason to put much of that on tape for NE to dissect prior to Week 15.
    Fortunately for Artie, man requires no thinking — shadow the guy in front of you. Check the tape above: obviously he wrongly abandons his zone, but looking past that, Artie actually does cover Jordy Nelson very well downfield on the play. Haden, Artie, Hilton, Davis, Shazier, and Watt all cover well enough to allow for effective man coverage concepts. At the very least, man coverage with that group figures to be more effective than zone coverage requiring zone handoffs and “thinking” where a mental lapse could lead to a big play.
    Just my two cents.
    Edit: I don’t mean to suggest that the Steelers can simply flip a switch and be a shut-down man coverage defense, or that they’re perfect chameleons…just that all hope is not lost for this defense just yet.

  • SfSteeler

    butting into youz guys convo here…the D philosophy we play aint easy and he started last year with zone and now more man concepts this year…so, maybe that is his sophomore slump…

  • Scott Miller

    Not a big fan of 3 guys covering TE #82 (see 3rd picture down). Burns made wrong move but bad scheme/personnel contributed to the problem. In addition, if burns makes right move that post is wide open (not for auto TD, but for 20 yds

  • Ike Evans

    I was just thinking this

  • Joe

    This team may be 9-2 but their record is no indication of who they really are. It is inconceivable to be in week 12 of the season and continue to witness the same breakdowns in communication, assignments, missed tackles and dropped passes. It is ridiculous! There is a lack of discipline, focus, attention to details and accountability. The inability to defeat inferior teams is nothing new. This falls on the coaching staff. They are a poorly coached team. This is a cancer that requires major surgery but unfortunately Rooney doesn’t have the stones for it.

    My heart wants nothing more than to defeat the Patriots next month and again in the AFC Championship game! However, my head tells me otherwise. I have zero confidence in this coaching staff to resolve the problems that have plagued this team all year before they face the Patriots. By the way, they will need to improve upon yesterday’s performance to beat the Bengals and Ravens.

  • Joe

    If I gave up a big play, I would NOT be joking and laughing on the sideline. That is very troubling to me!

  • Joe

    He lacks functional strength. Too soft!

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Scheme for sure seems to be part of it. But like Alex said, some of these concepts are way before NFL, and should be down by now. He’s making the same mistakes again and again.

  • Wil Masisak

    I think that’s hyperbole, but mostly I’m nixing the idea hat you have to play close to the vest. Last night the Steelers offense would not have left enough time for Aaron Zrodgers nor Tom Brady to put up 50. 3 and outs and or not converting chunk plays, not converting 3rd downs— this is the formula for 50.

  • Mark

    Disappointed in Lake and DB’s. This will hold us back from being able to beat New England. We are horrible at playing man to man off the WR (like 5 or 7 yards). We only play man to man well when we play press coverage.

    I still say that Mitchell takes the worse angles known to man. On the TD, why is he still in the middle of the field when there is nobody close to the middle of the field.

    Butler also hurts us by rushing 3 and playing an 8 man zone. Just man up the 5 WRs and play a 3 man zone behind them. Our zones have way too many holes in it.

  • Wil Masisak

    And the best way to keep him on the bench is to put the ball in Ben’s hands and not pound Bell into a stacked box.

  • joewalsh

    Artie Burns needs to ride the pine for a bit. Re Focus, cause he has lapses every game.

  • John Pennington

    Time to bench Burns until he gets his head in the game.The team can no longer trust him to do his job.Sitting him down will do him and the team some good.Getting easily beat and has no idea who he suppose to cover.Bench him now.See if Sutton can do better.

  • Steve

    Brady will come with this in a few weeks and Burn Burns again.
    Artie needs sat next time this happen.

  • Ed Smith

    Stepped up? The man doesn’t know how to lock in on hips wrap arms and drive through the ball carrier. THAT is how you tackle, not this “try and grab a much bigger guy around the shoulder pads and get tossed aside like a rag doll” technique Artie Burns consistently displays. Pitiful, embarrassing for an NFL player

    And don’t get me started on his lack of “above the neck” abilities…

  • Ed Smith

    Your bar is pretty darn low… when ones starting point is SO LOW, anything looks like an improvement!

  • LHW

    A guy that is not on the team yet? This has been going on for years. The Steelers secondary is a fiasco year after year. That puts it on the coaches and management. It is not my job nor am I paid to coach. Hayden is a great start for sure, but the secondary is still an issue. Hopefully they work this out for next year.