The Steelers victory over the Chargers gave Steelers Nation a lot to chew on. Here are some random thoughts, in no particular order.
For the second consecutive game, Bruce Arians showed that he can tinker, this time by lining up an offensive lineman as a fullback in the backfield. The play worked wonders, as Doug Legursky made a key block on Mendenhall’s first TD. Apparently, they won’t be doing much more of this when David Johnson gets back, but you have to love thinking.
That was only the beginning of Arian’s tricks. Santonio Holmes was looking to throw on the reverse, and he showed a lot of faith in his offense in calling Mewelde Moore’s half back option pass.
Coming Out Party for Kemoeatu and the Offensive Line
Watching Chris Kemoeatu play against the Chargers, it is easy to see why the Steelers kept him instead of paying Alan Fanaca or trying to rehab Kendall Simmons. Kemoeatu tantalized the Steelers from the day they drafted him, but it wasn’t until last night that he played as the one man wrecking crew that his measurables said he could.
In general the line’s play has improved with each week. Ben is getting better protection that he has had for a long time, and it was a pleasure to see power running between the tackles make its return to Pittsburgh.
- Curtain’s Call: The line’s improvement is no mirage, but the real test is yet to come.
Qualification on Accolades for the Defense
Steel Curtain Rising devoted a good portion of the Charger game analysis to defending the Steelers defense. That defense still stands, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out I completely skipped over the fact that San Diego scored so quickly.
Strategy and play selection change more based on the time and score in football perhaps more than any other sport. So the Chargers, with all of their weapons, were in “nothing to lose” mode, at least in terms of mentality if not actual play calling.
- Curtain’s Call: But that still does not take the Steelers defense off of the hook. They played better than they got credit for, but the critique that San Diego made score look too easy is legit.
Stefan Logan Must Master Fundamentals
Stefan Logan has the ability to be a good kick returner in this league but, he needs to be "on the details." He’s had two fumbles in four games. The second one wasn’t his fault strictly speaking, how do you defend against six guys trying to strip you, but he never should have field that punt in the first place.
James Harrison Steps Up Despite Continued Holding
The blatant holding of James Harrison has gone from annoying to infuriating. For the second time this season, but almost certainly not the last, Steel Curtain Rising wonders aloud if the NFL didn’t take La Toalla Terrible’s tongue and cheek commentary about legalizing holding James Harrison too seriously.
One hopped at the time that James Harrison’s status as NFL Defensive Player of the year might reverse the situation, but alas, that only seems to have exacerbated the problem.
Nonetheless, Harrison did disrupt the Charger’s passing game, and it was nice to see him end the game with his strip sack.