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Upon Further Review…

– Max Starks had a fairly mediocre day with a few missed blocks in the run and passing game. On one play, the Steelers used him as the lead blocker on a delayed hand off which really makes no sense given how slow Starks is. He was a big reason why Mendenhall only gained about 3 or 4 yards on the play as he was so slow in getting out in front. I know Gilbert is a rookie, but give him a shot on plays like that.

– Chris Kemoeatu was definitely the worst O-lineman on Sunday for the Steelers. Let’s forget about his dumb driving-killing penalties in the 1st half and focus on his actual play. Repeatedly, Kemo struggled in pass protection. On about a handful of plays Ben had to basically side-step or move up in the pocket immediately after the snap because Kemo was simply failing to engage his man. in the 2nd half, the Steelers attempted a PA pass where Kemo’s assignment was to move, after the snap, all the way over to the right side of the line and block the outside rusher. The result of course was a sack, as Kemo was simply too slow to get over in time. Stupid play design, especially considering Kemo’s overall speed.

– Maurkice Pouncey actually struggled a little bit in the 1st half when the Cards pass rushers would pull stunts on the left side of the O-line. Pouncey was late a few times getting over to block his assignment (unless he was expecting help from Kemo, which is possible). Pouncey also missed a number of blocks when attempting to get to the 2nd level. He played better as the game went on and outside of a handful of plays had a pretty decent game.

– Foster and Gilbert both had really, really solid games. Gilbert would at times get pushed back in pass protection but almost always kept his man engaged and away from Ben. Foster was pretty good in both run blocking and pass protection.

– The right side of the O-line (Foster, Gilbert) was definitely more impressive than the left side (Kemo, Starks) in this game. Hopefully Legursky gets back into the lineup at LG. I’ve seen enough of Kemo for this year.

– It’s been asked before by Steeler fans everywhere but why is TE David Johnson given so much playing time? He’s not a very good blocker and NEVER catches passes. Enough is enough. It’s poor coaching, plain and simple and a clear case of trying to stick a square object into a round hole.

– Rookie TE Weslye Saunders played more than I thought in this game. He was just never used at all in the passing game, I guess because he had a couple drops a few game back. This is a good illustration of why the Steelers offense isn’t elite or consistent, even though they have a future HOF QB on the team. Where does Ben look on almost pass play? Downfeld to either Wallace or Brown. Almost every passing play. Look at how elite offense like the Saints, Packers and Patriots continually use every offensive weapon on the team, which creates mismatches and makes things easier for the QB. The Steelers do this only part of the time but not nearly enough. Maybe Saunders won’t be an All-Pro, maybe he’s not very good, but if this kid were playing for the Saints, Pats, etc. He’d probably already have at least a handful of grabs, if not more.

– Ben had a WIDE open Heath Miller at the end of the 1st half, as the Steelers were trying to get into FG range or even score a TD before halftime. The Cards had blitzed on the play, leaving Miller 10 yards past the line of scrimmage literally ALL ALONE. Instead Ben elected to throw it to a tightly covered Antonio Brown down the field. Does Ben and the coaching staff actually go through this stuff between games? I mean, yeah, Ben had a really good game overall yesterday, but making corrections after games and seeing things like this could be the difference when playing a quality opponent (sorry, the Cards and their 1-5 record don’t count). Ben needs to do a better job of weighing risk vs. reward. Alright, that probably won’t be happening anytime soon, but it’d be nice if it did!

– After Brown’s fantastic one handed snag in the the 3rd quarter, the Steelers once again were forced to burn another early TO. The score was still close at 17-14. Maybe Ben, Arians and Tomlin were all flabbergasted and stunned at Brown’s catch and didn’t know what to do. Maybe they all just had to take a look at that replay “one more time”.

– Speaking of Brown, I think this kid is already one of the best and most dangerous returners in the NFL. His running style reminds me a little of Santonio Holmes, but are very fluid runners with good open field vision.

– I think if Mendenhall didn’t do so much dancing around in the backfield the Steelers offense (and Mendy’s stats) would be much better off. Think about it, Mendy finished the game with just 32 yards on 13 carries. That is bad. But if he hadn’t danced around so much on a number of carries his yardage would be closer to around 40. Still not great but at least an improvement. And there is a BIG difference between 2nd and 9 and 2nd and 15.

– After taking another look at the game, the Steelers offense did incorporate more quick throws than I initially thought. Good job, fellas. The offense still has a ways to go but there were some encouraging signs in this game.

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