Ben saying that he did it to keep Ogbah from hitting another Pittsburgh teammate after the pick was equally as lame.
– Jesse James is not Heath Miller and never will be. But, 6 catches on 8 targets and two TDs isn’t a bad day at all. In fact, it’s pretty darn good.
Watt’s was a rookie mistake, coming in late on a pile that a QB was at the bottom of. The only guy he made contact with was Cam Heyward.
Steelers Special Teams
– Punt Return Team went for the block much of the day and netted a block for a TD return early.
Punt Team was it’s usual inconsistent self. I blame most of that on Jordan Berry. When he has room to boot it, he rarely kicks it well. When he’s in range to drop it inside the other team’s 20, he does so consistently. A 39 yard punt from your own 21 is less than inspiring. But, a 59 yard punt that outpaces the coverage and results in a 25 yard return is just as bad. He should be going for both hang time and distance. Danny Smith’s punt team needs balance.
Kickoff team was also fine this week, mainly on the strength of Chris Boswell’s 3 touchback kicks. They also covered a kick that landed at the 3 and was only returned to the 14.
Shooting themselves in the foot
Three punts that can be at least partly attributed to the team putting itself behind the chains may not seem like a big deal. Until you consider that the team only had 10 drives total on the day. Mike Tomlin was correct when he said that those kinds of penalties result in situations that “are reflected in the total number of plays and the point total.”
– The Vikings pass defense was not as strong Monday, but was effective nonetheless.
– Where the Vikings looked outstanding at home in their dome was in the Red Zone where New Orléans, a 66% success rate team in 2016, went 1 for 5.
– Vikings run game looked great. The Vikings pass game also looked strong. Conversely, the Saints defense looked consistently overmatched.
– Dalvin Cook looks great running with the ball, especially at the 2nd level. But, I don’t expect him to have as much room to work with this week in Pittsburgh.
Keys to winning the game for Pittsburgh:
They better clean that up and I mean now. You can’t go out with that little focus every week and expect to win consistently on ability alone.
2) Get Le’Veon Bell involved early and keep him in the mix. Last week he was a non-factor. The opportunities that having a defensive spy dedicated to our running back on each play, and the opposing front 7 playing tentative for fear of overrunning the play of the most patient player in the NFL, were non-existent. Establishing Bell as a threat HAS to be a priority this week.
3) The Steelers defense has to continue to mix coverages and apply pressure from different angles. In short they have to remain unpredictable as a pass defense.
4) A lot was made of the Steelers time of possession last week. Eliminating silly offensive penalties and not getting behind the chains should resolve that issue. I’m not concerned though because I expect that was a point of emphasis all week in practice.
5) Throw the ball long to Martavis Bryant and do it early. Ian pointed out to all of us here at SCB that the Steelers did not throw deep last week until their 5th drive. Through 7 drives, the Steelers threw deep only 3 times. That has to be established early to give Antonio Brown more room to operate without facing double and triple teams.
- Note: There has been a lot made of the Steelers going with 4 wideouts and a tight end last week for 9 snaps. Ben Roethlisberger even made it a point to say that we’d be seeing more of that.
I wouldn’t count on seeing it a lot. To do that they’d have to pull their $12 million running back. The same guy they want to get 30 touches per game.