Good Monday to you Steelers fans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2020 regular season with a loss to Cleveland yesterday by the score of 24-22. Considering the Steelers were playing with many substitute players and for literally nothing in terms of playoff positioning, it was a good showing for Mason Rudolph among others. Let’s get to the good and bad from yesterday.
-Mason Rudolph acquitted himself well Sunday. 315 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception is nothing to sneeze at. He looked much more comfortable and confident than he did a year ago. He threw several balls that I’m not sure he could have last year and for the most part he made solid decisions. There were some hiccups that I’ll comment on below.
-Excellent challenge by Mike Tomlin in the first half. He doesn’t win many of them but this one was easy and shouldn’t have been even necessary. Donavan Peoples-Jones caught a ball on the Steelers’ sideline. It was clear he got a foot down but his elbow landed out of bounds well before anything else hit in fair territory.
-Early on it looked like the Steelers’ sack streak may be in jeopardy. Never fear however because the Steelers got sacks from Alex’s Highsmith, Chris Wormley, Stephon Tuitt and Jayrone Elliott. That’s 71 straight games with at least one sack.
-The Steelers running game actually looked better at times. They rushed for 85 yards on 20 carries so I’ll take the “over 4 yards per carry” the way this team has been.
-Kudos to Matthew Wright who was three for three on his field goals and one for one on his PATs. I don’t have a lot of faith in the kid from 50 or beyond but he’s done exactly what has been asked.
-Really good days by the big three. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool all has serious contributions on Sunday.
-Chris Wormley had nice performance yesterday with a sack and tackle for loss. I think he plays too high often but I’ll take that from him.
-Alex Highsmith is already playing solidly. Imagine this kid with a full offseason to get even better.
-I liked the infusion of Josh Dobbs. It showed some creativity that we hadn’t seen from the offensive staff. I’m not sure that remains with Ben Roethlisberger back under center next week though.
-I do not know what was said and it isn’t my business but after the game yesterday Myles Garrett sought out and found Mason Rudolph. It was not a long conversation but I was glad to see it happen. Garrett will always be enemy number one for many Steelers’ fans and that’s quite understandable but it doesn’t mean that people can’t find some middle ground and settle things from their past.
Tweet of the Day… Did we ever get an explanation on this?
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) January 3, 2021
-Offensive Holding is a joke. It needs to be removed as a penalty because it is never called. By the fourth quarter there were offensive linemen literally tackling defensive linemen.
-Rudolph’s one turnover came on a brutal interception. He was being heavily pressured and threw the ball up for grabs. This was a situation where he should have taken the sack and lived to fight another day. His overall pocket presence was sketchy at times but that’s one he has to do better with.
-Alejandro Villanueva has been a wonderful story. A former Army Ranger who served twice in Afghanistan made himself into an NFL starting lineman. His play this season has been average at best and yesterday was a real struggle as well. I do not see him back next season.
-There is no doubt the Steelers will see a lot of Nick Chubb next week. Granted, without T.J. Watt and Can Heyward, there were bound to be some problems and there were early on.
-How many more times this year and will Randy Fichtner call a draw to Benny Snell on second and long? I swear I’ve seen it ten times already.
-I mentioned the use of Josh Dobbs as a positive above but I did have one issue. I did not understand why they deployed him immediately after Mason Rudolph made big plays downfield. Talk about sapping a guy’s energy and momentum.
The Steelers will host the Browns in the last game of the six-game postseason weekend on Sunday Night Football. The positive is that they get a tad more rest than other teams. The negative is that they could end up playing on Saturday in the divisional round. That’s a pretty quick turnaround. If the games go according to seed, they’d play in Buffalo. All that aside, playoff football is not the same as it is in the regular season. The stakes are higher and some players rise while others don’t. Getting the Browns is the best possible matchup for the Steelers but they cannot overlook them. Survive and advance. Period.
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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