Good Tuesday to you Steelers’ fans.
It’s not how you start, it’s how you “Phinish.” I guess that’s the best way to describe Mason Rudolph and the Pittsburgh Steelers after they fell behind 14-0 to the winless Miami Dolphins. As bad as things looked and as awful as Rudolph was in the early portions of the first half, things started to turn as the first half ended and Rudolph and company never looked back in a 27-14 win.
As I do following each game here are my thoughts in no particular order on the Steelers’ win.
James Conner step right up. I said yesterday he would need a minimum of 20 touches and he didn’t disappoint… Minkah Fitzpatrick had two picks against his former team… T.J.Watt is putting himself among the top edge rushers in the league with another excellent performance as well.
Tweet of the Day… This is a fair take by the Hall of Famer. Mark Barron trying to strip the ball rather than make the tackle at the goal line was embarrassing.
I want defensive players to go after the ball but when the ball carrier is on the 2 yard line come on and keep them out of the end zone. @steelers
— Rod Woodson (@RodWoodson26) October 29, 2019
Wide Receiver Input
Whether it was Diontae Johnson or JuJu Smith-Schuster or James Washington, the Steelers’ receiving corps had a terrific night catching the ball and blocking downfield. JuJu and Johnson combined for 10 receptions, 187 yards and two scores while Washington chipped in with a reception and several excellent moments of blocking.
Thoughts on Rudolph
I can’t lie. I was ready for him to be pulled at least for a series or two. He was completely off his game. Accuracy was awful. Decision making was awful. Pocket presence was awful. Game management was awful. Now, some of these things were concerns I’ve had since I scouted him in college. His inability to lead receivers, especially on crossing routes, remains a serious problem. He is also not getting the ball out on time leaving cornerbacks too much time to recover and make plays on the ball. He is also seeing the rush too much which is leading to his ‘happy feet.’ All that said… Rudolph righted the ship. Give credit to the young man because he hung in there and delivered some terrific throws and some when the heat was on. He went from a QB who threw nothing but checkdowns to averaging over 14 yards per throw last night. Here’s hoping this is the corner he needed to turn.
I’m not sure how anyone could not like Ryan Fitzpatrick. The journeyman quarterback never stops smiling despite getting obliterated for much of the second half. With a better supporting cast its fair to wonder what he’d be able to accomplish. Credit the Dolphins for some good, early play calls that got guys open but let’s also be honest here. The Steelers’ D in the first half was largely asleep at the wheel. Poor tackling and lazy effort created some opportunities for Fitzpatrick and the offense. The final 2/3 of the game was a different story though. T.J. Watt was a monster. Cam Heyward was terrific. Overall, the defense picked things up and forced Miami into 2nd and 3rd and long situations they struggled to overcome. Turnover creation continues to be a huge asset for this unit too. Two picks and two fumble recoveries cannot be expected every game but the speed of this D is causing problems and that’s a good thing.
The Medical Report
James Conner reportedly has an AC joint injury. These are very painful and have as many as six different degrees. He could miss anywhere from just this week to several weeks… Benny Snell left with a knee injury and the severity of that is not yet known… Ramon Foster was in concussion protocol and B.J. Finney, as he always does, played well in his stead.
It was great having Roosevelt Nix back but I think Randy Fichtner used him too much. The Dolphins may lack some talent but they aren’t dumb. After being slammed on a couple of Iso’s the Dolphins quickly adjusted and started shutting down those plays because they simply following Nix. If Fichtner is going to use Nix that often then he has to create some misdirection plays to confuse the defense… If Conner and Snell are both going to be out that leaves Samuels who I’m told could have played last night but they decided to give him another week. Behind him is Trey Edmunds who is unproven. With the trade deadline at 4pm today will the Steelers be forced to find a running back?
Have a great day Steeler Nation!
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