Good Tuesday to you Steelers’ fans.
In a battle of 0-3 teams on Monday Night Football the Pittsburgh Steelers proved that not all 0-3 records are the same. The defense hounded Andy Dalton all night sacking him eight times and limited everything else en route to 27-3 win at Heinz Field. Amazingly the Steelers are now just a game behind Baltimore and Cleveland with the Ravens coming to Heinz Field on Sunday. What follows are my thoughts on the game from both sides of the ball.
-Credit where credit is due… Randy Fichtner designed a very creative and dynamic gameplan last night. He was able to get both James Conner and Jaylen Samuels (who amazingly had ZERO touches last week) heavily involved in the offense by using the wildcat formation as well as a lot of jet motion. Mason Rudolph was not required to do any heavy lifting and was accurate when he needed to throw the ball downfield.
-Keep in mind, this same gameplan will not work going forward. Elements of it? Yes, but the offense must continue evolving.
-I loved the fact that the Steelers showed faith in Diontae Johnson who fumbled away his first touch of the night. He’s becoming a very dependable receiver and someone who Rudolph has confidence in.
-There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Jaylen Samuels should ever go without a touch in a game again. He is too versatile and he moves the chains. That’s all I need to say on this.
-A very nice debut for Nick Vannett who made a couple of nice catches and blocked pretty well. In fact, it was his last-second chip block that allowed Rudolph to find Johnson for a score.
-Not getting that early first down on third and fourth and one is inexcusable. Both times an edge rusher made the play (while untouched) from the back side.
-The next big thing on Randy Fichtner’s to do list is to find how to get JuJu Smith-Schuster open. That isn’t all on Fichtner though. We need consistent threats from the number two guy whoever that is.
Tweet of the Day… Some numbers you don’t see every day.
Jaylen Samuels is the second player with 3 completions, 3 rushes and 3 catches in a game since the 1970 merger, joining Terrelle Pryor in 2016. pic.twitter.com/g8lVPUh1T8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 1, 2019
-The big concern I had with Devin Bush was him getting swallowed up by bigger on-coming linemen in the running game. While the Bengals’ O-Line is nothing to write home about, Bush had his best game in this regard. He was much better at stacking and shedding and using his speed to make plays. So fun to watch.
-Can you see the difference in the defense in the second half when they aren’t on the field all night? Cam Heyward was still making plays deep into the fourth quarter and that’s not something we could say the first three weeks. This is exactly why it is so important for the offense to stay on the field.
-A really quiet night from Minkah Fitzpatrick and I couldn’t be more excited. Why? Because since he’s been back there, the issues in coverage have been much less frequent and there’s confidence back there that we hadn’t seen in a long time.
-T.J. Watt has added a number of new moves to his pass rushing arsenal and they were on full display last night. Watt is a perfect example of a guy who could easily rest on his natural abilities but has instead worked hard to become even better.
-Kudos to Bud Dupree whose strip sack of Andy Dalton was one of the biggest moments of the game. This is exactly the type of performance we’ve all been waiting for.
-Steven Nelson is doing a really nice job so far through four games. The pass interference call against him last night about as ticky-tack as it gets. He’s been a very pleasant surprise.
A Few Other Things….
-Speaking of pass interference, what a horrible offensive pass interference call against Johnny Holton in the first quarter. The fact that Al Riveron in New York upheld the call is even more reason why I hate replay review altogether.
-I like the passion in which Booger McFarland has for calling the game but he goes to the well way too often with the same takes, nicknames or cliches.
-Chris Boswell is still perfect on the season. Pretty incredible after last year huh?
Now that it’s October that means it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness month. We are offering a new shirt here at SCB and for each one sold we are giving $5 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh. There’s a good chance you’ve been affected by breast cancer in your family so please consider this and get a great shirt too. Here’s the link.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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