Steelers Film Session: Roethlisberger’s stats decline under relentless Jets pressure
• Ben Roethlisberger didn’t go down the field early, but he did late in the game. Roethlisberger threw passes behind the line of scrimmage on seven of his first 10 throws, including five in a row. On the flip side, Roethlisberger went through a second-half span in which he threw the ball 20, 42, 35 and 45 yards in the air downfield. Four were incomplete, and one was intercepted.
â¢ The Jets were successful on first down. Thy averaged 6.6 yards on their 24 first-down plays. On the opening drive, the Jets had first-down plays of 12, 13, 6, 8 and 12 yards.
â¢ Rex Ryan loves to play press coverage against the single-receiver side of the formation. However, with injuries to their cornerbacks, Ryan pulled back with that tactic against the Steelers, allowing more underneath routes to be open. Out of the Steelers’ 62 offensive plays and when applicable, the Jets played press coverage on the single receiver only 12 times.
â¢ The Steelers continued to use their two sets of receivers, but they went to a third receiver more than in previous games by deploying Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. When the trio was on the field, Roethlisberger was 7 of 12 for 147 yards and a touchdown. The groups of Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Bryant (8-10, 56 yards) and Brown, Wheaton and Lance Moore (10-14, 79 yards) weren’t as successful.
â¢ Despite trailing most of the game, the Steelers used the no-huddle offense only eight times and gained 35 yards on those plays Roethlisberger was 4 of 6 for 36 yards. Le’Veon Bell rushed once and lost a yard on a key third down on the final play of the third quarter. The Steelers have been sacked 13 times while in the no-huddle.
â¢ The Steelers wanted to get Bell into the game early, and that’s what they did. Bell touched the ball on 11 of the first 19 plays, but on only 10 of the final 42 plays. Bell had 69 total yards.
â¢ The Jets continued a recent trend in how to control Bell — grab him out of the backfield and not let him get into the route. The Jets were called with holding once but had trouble getting free when he wasn’t lined up wide as a receiver.
â¢ The use of Dri Archer is getting curious. The rookie third-round pick played only two snaps, but the Steelers found other ways to get him involved. Archer was used as a decoy up back on the kickoff return team. Archer would circle behind the main kickoff return man — either LeGarrette Blount or Wheaton — and put his hands up to indicate a possible trick play. Archer also participated on the punt return team. He did a reverse on the far side of the field like he would receive a possible handoff from the punt returner.
â¢ With Troy Polamalu out of the lineup with a knee injury, Mike Mitchell was considered the choice to fill in the role of the third linebacker/eighth man in the box. Instead, it was Will Allen, who played 61 snaps — 23 of those coming in the Polamalu-like role around the line of scrimmage. Mitchell was in the box only six times.
â¢ The Steelers continued splitting duties with their inside linebacker opposite Lawrence Timmons. Sean Spence and Vince Williams played in the place of injured rookie Ryan Shazier. Spence played on passing situations, and Spence came in during run situations. Spence played only one snap on third down, and that came on Jets quarterback Michael Vick’s final kneeldown. Williams played every other third-down play but only seven first- and second-down plays.
• Steelers wide receivers didn’t help Roethlisberger much. They had five drops or plays that should’ve been made that resulted in a loss of a possible three first downs and a touchdown. Bell dropped one across the middle early. Bryant missed a possible touchdown reception that resulted in an interception when he couldn’t secure the ball. Heyward-Bey and Bryant dropped passes in the second half that would’ve gained first downs.