Bills @ Steelers - 8/28: D-line breakdown

I know. I know. It's the day of the NEXT preseason game and I'm just publishing this now. I just couldn't find the time this week. The Lions game isn't going to be any faster, because apparently NFL Network feels that a Detroit/Buffalo match-up doesn't have that much drawing power. It plays at 7am on Sunday. Awesome. Hopefully, I can get something out for that by actual mid-week and not late mid-week next time though. 3 drives. The D didn't look too bad early, despite Aaron Schobel being out. I think it makes the coaches more creative, honestly.

Bills vs Steelers coverage

Quick Hits:

  1.  I'm starting to respect Spencer Johnson's versatility.
  2. Ryan Denney should not play RE. Not now. Not ever.
  3. I <3 Kyle Williams.
  4. The D seems to have shown good awareness despite playing a lot of minutes.

Drive 1 -

Run 1:

- Toss to Parker for 2. Johnson starts off at LE and stunts to the middle, running into a mess created by Stroud getting sandwiched by the G's as the C pulled to the right. Williams shoots in quickly through a gap left by the LG, but the play is moving in the other direction. Kelsay lines up at RE, easily leaping the TE that tried to cut him, but the play is headed away from him. Good effort by the LBs, particularly Mitchell, who shed blockers well.

Run 2: Stacked

- Two TEs lined up to the right. Johnson gets doubled by the TEs and pulled down by one. Stroud hits the RG and sealed off by the RT, who then peels off to hit Poz, who fends him off well. Play goes up the right A gap with a leading LG. Williams gets shoved to the middle by the C towards Stroud and can't get over in time. Denney, at RE, lined up way outside tries to get left, but the LT makes a quick move to seal him off. Good tackle by Mitchell after 4. Interesting blocking scheme.

Pass 1: 2 seconds to pass - Shotgun, 3 step drop

- Good footwork by the RT as Kelsay can't get by. Stroud gets in close, handfighting with the RG but doesn't elevate for the pass. 95 gets doubled and can't get too far with the spin move. Maybin pushes with the LT, trying to take the outside but gets popped by the TE, then runs toward the catch.

Pass 2:  Stacked; 2 seconds to pass - 5 step drop

- Kelsay takes the inside on the RT and gives him a solid shove, but the pass is off too quickly.  Stroud doubled by the RG and C and doesn't get anywhere.  Williams gets good forward push but the LG has good leverage/semi-hold on him. Good footwork by the LT to keep in front of Denney. 23 yard completion to Ward who beat McKelvin on a close ball.

Run 3: 

- Kelsay gets double by the TE and RT, but holds ground pretty well. Stroud stands up the RG and pushes toward the left where the run ends up going after Williams has solid push on LG. Denney pauses on the fake reverse for a second, but probably would have gotten beaten if it were real. Actual play was going away from him anyway. Scott makes a well timed rush to eat up the lead blocker, then wrap up the ballcarrier for no gain. Nice.

Run 4:

- Run for 10 up the right-middle. Kelsay breaks in, and can't get back out in time to make the leaping tackle. Stroud starts left and can't get back out of the RT/RG mess. Williams drives in hard towards the lane but is pushed off balance by the RG before he dirties the RB's shoelaces. Maybin fights to the side but can't get around the mess created when the C seals Poz off hard. Scott starts to blitz before the play but had too much momentum in the wrong direction and Mitchell guesses wrong pre-snap, but turns it around to make the tackle. Bad guessing.

Run 5: Stacked

- It is all #95 as he blows up the LG, blows up the FB, and causes the fumble which is bobbled by Ellison and recovered by a diving Donte Whitner. The box was super-stacked and there was no question where anybody was headed at all. Good ball awareness for everyone.

Drive ended by: Kyle Williams being a monster. It was looking grim until that.

Drive stats: 0 blitz(es), 3 Stacked Box(es)


Drive 2 -

Run 6: Stacked

- Kelsay fights to a push with the TE. 99 also pushes as he gets doubled while the play moves to the right side.  Williams gets doubled and lost in the wash. Denney holds his ground as he is doubled by the LT and TE. The LT moves to the 2nd level and Mitchell peels the TE off him, allowing 92 to make the stop for no gain.

Run 7: Stacked

- Kelsay busts up the TE, running him into the pulling C and changing the momentum of the RB. RT pulls to take on 43, who fends him off. Stroud gets popped by the RG, but would have made better progress if 90 hadn't gotten so far in. Williams gets pushed back, tries to get around Stroud, and gets pushed by his man directly into the poor C, who gets his head bounced off the turf after having been spun around by 90. Johnson, lined up at RE, runs to the left, gets pushed back, but wouldn't have been in the play anyway. Mitchell takes on the FB, and Poz trips up the RB, who 55 and 95 pile onto him. No gain again.

Pass 3: 3 seconds to pass - Shotgun, 3 step drop

- 90 makes good progress, but borderline hold by the RT. Johnson abuses the RG, and forces Big Ben to scramble. 95 makes good progress on the C and gets popped by the LG, pushing him left, into the QB's face. Williams almost gets there. Maybin goes really far in, causing a big opening and getting back to the QB as 95 does and popping him.. Pass completed for 8 when Mitchell tackles the TE.

Drive ended by: Above average run D.

Drive stats: 0 blitz(es), 2 Stacked Box(es)


Drive 3 -

Oops 1:

- Roethlisberger muffs the exchange from the C and falls on it. Nothing to report.

Run 8:

- Bryan stunts to the inside of Stroud (who stands the RG up), which is a mistake because the RB is headed off-tackle to the right. 95 is doubled by the LT and TE and can't get over. Ellis reads it well but takes a really tough shot to the face from the RT who is just waiting for him. Mitchell and Poz get eaten up by leading linemen and the stop is eventually made by Whitner after 12 or 13.

Pass 4: 3 seconds to pass - Shotgun, 3 step drop

- Bryan bullrushes well on the RT and jumps up on a nice fake by Big Ben, but can't get far enough in to make a difference. Stroud comes in behind a spinning Williams, who rotates into the C and then pushes hard to the QB. 99 tries to change direction, but is met by the RG. Ellis tries to get around the corner dekes the LT and heads around the corner again - may have had something if the coverage had held up on the underneath route by the RB. Gain of 10 stopped by Poz and Corner.

Run 9: Stacked

- 96 gets moderate push on the RT, but the reverse is going away from him. 99 gets bumped by RG and moves left towards the RB, but he doesn't have it. 95 gets hip-tossed to the ground by the LG. 93 starts left, recognizes the reverse, and gets delayed by a well placed FB block, then dumped by a downfield lineman coming back. McGee has it read all the way but he and Poz get juked out of their underpants by Holmes. Tackle by Ellison. Hold by Limas Sweed on 28 but Whitner comes in with a late helmet-to-helmet. Redo.

Run 10: Stacked

- Bryan, Johnson, McCargo, and the LBs all fill the middle as 93 fights off the LT. Ellis fills the outside running lane admirably and makes the tackle.

Pass 5: <1 seconds to pass - 1 step drop

- Quick screen to Sweed, tackled by 20 and 28 for 2 yards. 96 tries to disrupt the WR bunch on the end and gets facemasked to the ground (uncalled) by Ward. 91 and 97 stand up the Gs but have a hard time disengaging as the C moves to the second level. Ellis has good awareness as he makes contact with the LT, but the play unfolds too quickly to be much use.

Pass 6:  3 seconds to pass - Shotgun,  3 step drop

- Kelsay and Maybin both have a good jump, Maybin getting tagged by the RB and spinning toward the QB, but the pass is off too quickly. Johnson gets doubled, but makes a good move to get inside too late. McCargo fights with the LG deep into the pocket but Big Ben started too far back to make a difference. Nice catch by Sweed who has Poz at his back while he's in the air.

Pass 7: Stacked; 5 seconds to pass -  7 step drop

- Play action incomplete as Ellison could have gotten (unfairly, probably) flagged for interference on a bad pass from Big Ben. Kelsay doesn't get much push at first (fighting one TE, bumped by another), but hand-fights and gets really, really, really badly held before breaking away and getting the closest of anyone. Johnson and McCargo both get doubled and don't get much push, but hold their ground. Denney shows absolutely nothing on the LT. Sincerely awful from him.

Oops 2: Delay of game on Roethlisberger

Run 11:

- 90 starts to go deep on a TE, but the play moves away from him. Stroud gets doubled and can't get over in time. Williams knifes into the backfield with a great first step and almost gets a hand on 7, but the LG blocks smartly and the run goes the other way. 92 goes long and overruns the play by a large margin, creating a mammoth hole when the LT nudges him. Mitchell and Whit get mauled but 28 makes a heads-up tackle after 5.

Pass 8: 2 seconds to pass - Shotgun, 5 step drop

- Denney twists inside of a hard-charging 95, but can't get free of the LG, though he does elevate and get a hand up toward the pass. Maybin stunts and pushes some fellas back, to get a hand in 7's face before getting pushed to the side. 97 works outside, behind 58, but can't get free of the RT. Ward ekes one out on 27.

Pass 9: 2 seconds to pass - 5 step drop

- Screen to the RB. Kelsay tries to work inside, but gets dumped over a fallen Stroud by the LT. Stroud had been doubled and seems to trip when the C release to the second level, over what, I can't tell. Williams fights the LG and rips past him to get into the backfield, then changes direction dives to get a fingertip on the RB's shoe on the other side of the field. Denney gets doubled by LT and TE, eventually getting pushed off balance by the TE after a nice move to get past. Good read and effort by Poz on the tackle for 3.

Run 12: Stacked

- Whitner seals the outside as 90 holds ground well on the double-team but bounces off the runner trying to make the tackle. Mitchell should have held gap responsibility, but takes the TE on instead. Williams knifes in on the C, but gets tripped up and takes some Steelers with him. Stroud takes the double and flows toward the play, but it's to the right side and he doesn't have much impact. 91 fights with the TE all the way over to the right side neither gaining nor losing ground. Poz gets popped by an OL, but regroups and makes the tackle after 3, joined by 55.

Pass 10: Stacked; 2 seconds to scramble - Shotgun, 3 step drop

- Nice CB blitz by 27, who jukes the back and flushes #7 into the waiting arms of Maybin, who gets deep well and cuts back in as he sees the scramble. 91 drops back into coverage as Poz blitzes into 2 waiting OL unsuccessfully in his place. Kelsay breaks behind Stroud, who takes a double team, and peels one of the OL off 51, getting in on the tackle. Well designed and executed red zone pressure.

Drive ended by: Field goal - good red zone D.

Drive stats: 1 blitz(es), 5 Stacked Box(es)

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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