Good Monday to you Steelers’ fans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers head into their much needed BYE week following a terrific 24-17 win in Los Angeles over the Chargers. The Steelers’ defense hounded Philip Rivers from the onset forcing him into an interception and fumble (backwards lateral) in the first quarter. He ended his night with a pick to Cam Sutton with under a minute left. Here are my thoughts on what transpired last night.
An Almost Perfect Gameplan
-Randy Fichtner and the Steelers’ offensive personnel put together a good gameplan and the players executed it well in support of rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges. The running game wasn’t perfect early on but it was getting the job done behind a yeoman’s effort by James Conner.
-I say “almost perfect” because with about eight minutes left (up 24-3) and Benny Snell picking up three and four yards a pop, Fichtner called a pass play and Hodges took one of his very few shots downfield and it was intercepted. There is no way that should have happened. It was Todd Haley all over again. Instead of doing what was working Fichtner had to try and prove he was smarter than everyone else. It was a major mistake in an otherwise solid plan.
-James Conner and Benny Snell were the definitions of workhorses last night. Conner had a total of 23 touches, most of which were in the first half for 119 yards and two scores. Snell, seeing significant action with Jaylen Samuels out, carried 17 times for 75 yards and seemed to get stronger with each and every carry. For one game, this was a great outing by these two. But make no mistake, Conner was banged up by the early third quarter. I’m not sure he can take that pounding every week.
Tweet of the Day… And now you know where I got today’s title for Quick Hitters.
Rivers has always been a trash talker and after a game where he got punched in the mouth all night, he decides to pick on the smallest guy in the field.
No one's impressed, Phil. Bitch move. https://t.co/8lIBA5yJsB
— Ben Anderson (@BenAnderson58) October 14, 2019
-Let’s be perfectly clear here; when he’s cleared, Mason Rudolph will take the reins of the offense. This is in no way disrespectful of Hodges because he managed the game extremely well, but anyone suggesting there’s a “QB controversy” doesn’t know what they are watching. Hodges did an excellent job of getting the ball to his outlets which were mostly throws to Conner. His only two shots down the field resulted in an incompletion on a badly thrown ball and an interception. The kid has tremendous confidence and that will serve him well in his career.
-Stephon Tuitt was forced to leave the game last night in the first half with what has been called a “pectoral” injury. Rarely are these type of injuries minor but I remain hopeful. Tuitt has been a force this season and his absence was obvious last night.
-I will not be surprised at all to hear about an injury to Conner. He took some serious shots that included at least one to his head and several others to his legs. He was totally absent in the fourth quarter.
-T.J. Watt was not on the field for the final series and looked very banged up after a night of being chipped and double-teamed a lot. Hope he isn’t seriously dinged up.
-It wasn’t terrible last night. But… On the play where Desmond King fumbled the punt it was a clear violation against Justin Layne for not giving King the chance for a clean catch on a fair catch signal. The officials huddled and got it right. Sort of… Layne should have been flagged for the interference but wasn’t.
Players of the Game
-Offense. You have to start with Conner and Snell but kudos to that offensive line who finally looked a bit more like themselves powering the ground game to 124 yards. It was a modest 3.4 yards per carry but it’s a start at a more consistent ground game.
-Defense. Devin Bush and Cam Sutton both had really good nights. Bush had a few too many missed tackles for my liking but his overall play continues to rise week to week. Sutton has been a guy the Steelers can now rely on to be a decent cover corner especially in the slot. Don’t forget Tyson Alualu either. He played really well with three tackles and a batted ball that resulted in Bush’s pick six.
The Steelers do not typically travel players on Injured Reserve and that’s the reason Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t there. Sure seems like an exception should have been made with a rookie making his first start. Furthermore, why is Mason Rudolph flying across the country despite not being cleared in concussion protocol? Typically flying isn’t good for people with these issues… Is Vince Williams a bit of a liability in pass coverage? Yes, he is. But he’s a guy this defense desperately needs on the field. He plays with such fire and aggression that it becomes part of everyone else on the unit… Beautiful punt by Jordan Berry to pin the Chargers deep to start their final drive… I do not understand why Fichtner didn’t roll Hodges out more often.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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