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Posts of category  "Steelers"

The Steelers handed the ball off to Le’Veon Bell 15 times against the Jaguars but the running back managed just 3.1 yards per carry. Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — These numbers seem unavoidable against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ five-turnover dismantling against the Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Steelers are 10-0 since 2013 when Le’Veon Bell gets 25 or more carries.

Bell’s 3.1 yards per carry Sunday was hardly a solution in the 30-9 loss to the Jaguars, but the Steelers handed the ball off to Bell 15 times against (at least on paper) the worst rushing defense in the NFL.

They shouldn’t make the same mistake this Sunday in Kansas City, the spot where Bell broke off 170 yards on 30 carries in last year’s playoffs.

Pound the ball with Bell. Throw to Antonio Brown fairly often. Figure out the supporting cast as you go.

In 2014, when Ben Roethlisberger was one of the league’s hottest quarterbacks, airing it out was a sound strategy. Those Steelers could throw on anybody. The seemed galaxies away from those heady days in the aftermath of Roethlisberger’s five-interception performance on 33-of-55 passing.

The deficit forced the Steelers to throw more, but it’s almost as if an offense waiting to experience a passing-game explosion like old times grabbed for glory Sunday, to spectacular failure.

Not that Roethlisberger’s play won’t improve. He could find his groove again. There’s too long a track record. But the Bell-heavy plan late last year rode the Steelers to seven straight wins, and in their biggest offensive productions — 26 points against the Minnesota Vikings and at the Baltimore Ravens — Bell got a combined 62 carries.

There’s a reason they ride Bell when they do. This isn’t the same offense as 2014, despite some of the same parts. The dynamics of the passing game have shifted unless they can rediscover them. The Steelers still have untapped playmaking in Martavis Bryant, who can’t seem to find a rhythm with Roethlisberger.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers won in Week 4, and Le’Veon Bell received some added accolades for his performance vs. the Ravens.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 26-9 at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 4, and a large reason for their success was Le’Veon Bell running the football. Bell’s day was so impressive, it coaxed enough voters to select him as the FedEx Ground Player of the Week winner for Week 4

Bell’s 35 carries for 144 yards (4.1 ypc) and 2 touchdowns certainly was impressive, but what is more impressive about this award is how FedEx now donates $2,000 to the USO in Bell’s name. So, not only were the Steelers winners on Sunday, but the USO is receiving money because of his performance.

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The Steelers got back to basics on Sunday with some “ground and pound” football.

“Smash mouth football, Pittsburgh style.”

Jerome Bettis defiantly said those words as he sat on the sideline. He had just run over Brian Urlacher of the Bears to score the game-clinching TD in a crucial game at Heinz Field. The win over the Chicago Bears began the 2005 Steelers 5-game winning streak to end their regular season, and propel them on a Super Bowl run. The Bears had the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Urlacher was the leader of that defense, and considered the best LB in the league. So how do you defeat a tough, physical, defense? You meet force with force.

That’s what the Steelers did on Sunday. They were heading into Baltimore, a place where they hadn’t won since 2012. Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t won there since 2010. The Ravens had their typical imposing defense waiting.

The Steelers first possession defined exactly how the game would be played. Since they began with the ball on their own 3-yard line, it’s no surprise the Steelers started with 2 consecutive running plays. It was 8 plays in that told us everything we needed to know about the Steelers approach in Week 4.

A sack of Ben Roethlisberger had the offense facing a 2nd and 18. Instead of lining up with their predominant personnel grouping of 1 RB1 TE, and 3 WR (11 personnel), and throwing a short or screen pass, or even a draw play, this is what we saw:

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The Steelers’ defense proved their ability to adapt to their opponent’s offense on Sunday. In two particular instances, this stood out in a big, big way.

Game-planning in the NFL is based on studying film to get an idea of your opponents’ play-calling and execution tendencies. But there’s a nugget of truth that often gets overlooked when we think of game plans: Your opponent has been doing the same thing, and they’re probably not going to behave the same way as they did last week. This means game plans mostly go out the window as soon as the ball is kicked off.

The teams that win most consistently are often the ones that adjust well on the fly. The New England Patriots have long fallen into this category. Despite not always being loaded with talent, they are always competitive — even dominant.

The Steelers have been criticized at times during the last several years for what appears to be poor game-planning and in-game adjustments. More often than not, though, the problems are actually in-game recognition and execution by players, and the margin for error in the NFL is painfully thin.

Today, we’re going to look at four plays, in pairs. The first play shows situations where the Ravens successfully executed, and the second shows how schematic adjustments and pre-snap recognition by the Steelers totally changed the outcome the next time around.

1st Quarter, 15:00 Remaining, 1st & 10, BAL 25

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Pittsburgh went into an unfriendly M&T Bank Stadium and came out with a solid win. See whose stock is up or down as the team prepares for Week 5.

This is my process: I watch the games, take notes as necessary and then outline the stock report postgame with the main points I want to address. Identifying the bones and then adding the meat the next day (usually) helps me to avoid any overreactions, which I think is good. So, I’m sitting here writing this on Monday night and finding it quite difficult to concentrate onanalyzing the outcome of a football game. Much like many of you, I woke up Monday to the news that some maniac shot nearly 600 people from his hotel room in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 of them. Perhaps this isnt the appropriate venue to call attention to this event, which is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of United States, a nation where this kind of thing has become discouragingly commonplace. Still, I felt like I needed to, and I apologize for thislengthy preamble. Please, keep these people and their families in your thoughts. Go donateAnd don’t forget to remind your own friends and family that you’re happy to have them around.

Following Pittsburgh’s 23-17 overtime loss to the Bears in Week 3, I didn’t write a lengthy introduction for the Stock Report because I had a lot of things to say and I wanted to get right to saying them. I also have many things to say this week—this time in regard to the Steelers’ 26-9 road victory over the Baltimore Ravens—so I’m going to move forward with those things which are outlined conveniently as follows:

GOATS – Stock up

My thesis:

Note the timestamp: this was posted approximately four seconds after Shazier managed to jump 11 feet in the air to swat a Joe Flacco pass into the mitts of Mike Hilton, who is the greatest defensive back in NFL history. Remarkably, this was only, like, the third-most impressive play that Shazier made against Baltimore. Let’s rank them:

1. His interception.

You’d love to slam Flacco for “Flaccoing” this throw, but Shazier simply diagnosed the play and whipped his head around just in time to secure what should have been a game-sealing interception. Also, he mocked Ray Lewis’ weird Ray Lewis dance thing (i.e. squirrel dance), which was neat.

2. His forced fumble. I’d call him the best ball-stripper in the NFL, but that would be an unfortunate compliment.

3. The tipped ball.

These were not isolated incidents. Shazier was a legitimate madman, collecting 11 total tackles—including several that were violent, bone-jarring and orchestrated without compunction—along with a handful of disrupted passes and the aforementioned takeaways. It was almost like Shazier was trying to compensate for his numerous missed tackles in the Week-3 loss to Chicago. If so, mission accomplished.

Hilton, meanwhile, recorded the first sack of his NFL career (he had two in the preseason, so it was only a matter of time), as well as his first career interception. Hilton has quickly established himself as a formidable presence in Pittsburgh’s secondary and one whose multi-faceted skill set will make him a valuable commodity when the Steelers face the likes of New England, Green Bay and Kansas City.

Cameron Heyward – Stock up

“Cameron Heyward” is going to be the first thing many offensive linemen say when their therapists ask if they know why they’re seated comfortably on a chaise lounge in a dim office. Heyward, a bulldozer, routinely pushed 300-pound humans 5-10 yards backward with relative ease, which honestly makes you wonder how the 2016 season would’ve turned out had Heyward not suffered a season-ending injury to his pectoral.

Offensive line play – Stock up

That’s more like it, fellas! Thanks in large part to the offensive line, Le’Veon Bell exceeded 100 rushing yards for the first time in 2017, and he did so averaging a healthy 4.1 yards per carry. Notably, both Bell and backfield mate James Conner had 20-yard runs, which marks the first and second 20-yard rushing plays for the Steelers so far this season. Having athletic offensive linemen like David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, who are able to get 10-15 yards upfield to lead the charge, is an unspeakable luxury and the general athleticism of the front-5 permits the Steelers to run an above-average number of counter runs. Impressive, too, is the fact that the line allowed only a single sack (though it’s worth mentioning that Roethlisberger was hit seven times).

Nonetheless, this unit hasn’t been at full-strength since Week 1. The eventual return of Marcus Gilbert should further solidify things up front.

Offensive line discipline – Stock down

With the notable exception of Ramon Foster, each of Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen drew a flag. Alejandro Villanueva, undoubtedly frustrated by being unwillingly transformed into a political icon, committed a retrospectively hilarious personal foul that probably cost the Steelers a touchdown opportunity in the first quarter. Chris Hubbard and DeCastro were both flagged twice for holding. All things considered, a very sloppy effort. The line played well enough to make up for these infractions, but a similarly voluminous penalty portfolio won’t fly against top-tier AFC competition (no offense, Baltimore).

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The Pittsburgh Steelers ultimate goal every season is to have the road to Super Bowl 52 go through Heinz Field, and after a quarter of the season they have a legitimate chance to do just that.

Everyone who is a fan of the black-and-gold wants to see the Pittsburgh Steelers win their 7th Lombardi trophy. There is no doubt about that, but what most fans realize as well is the process to winning said Super Bowl is to have the Steelers claim that top seed in the AFC, and force the road to Super Bowl 52 to come straight through Heinz Field.

Although early, throughout the first quarter of the NFL regular season, there is hope for the Steelers as their main goal and mission remains in tact.

Before diving into the details, let’s first update the current AFC Standings with Week 4 officially in the rear view mirror.

Current AFC Standings:

Kansas City Chiefs – 4-0
Buffalo Bills – 3-1
Pittsburgh Steelers – 3-1
Denver Broncos – 3-1
Jacksonville Jaguars – 2-2
Oakland Raiders – 2-2
New York Jets – 2-2
New England Patriots – 2-2
Houston Texans – 2-2
Baltimore Ravens – 2-2
Tennessee Titans – 2-2

With a 3-1 record, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, should still feel good about the notion of the team being able to have a chance at home field advantage when the dust settles. Why exactly? If you look at the games remaining on the schedule, and some other key variables, Pittsburgh should control their own destiny down the stretch.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they will, we all know how the team has the tendency to fold on occasion, but better to have the chance to claim the No. 1 seed, rather than having to rely on help.

The biggest factor when looking at the current standings would be the remaining games the Steelers play on their schedule. In other words, they play many of the top teams in the conference throughout the regular season, and those head-to-head games could be extremely helpful for potential tie breakers when the playoffs roll around.

In their remaining games, the Steelers play the Jaguars in Week 5 at Heinz Field, the Chiefs in Week 6 in Kansas City, the Titans in Week 11 at Heinz Field, the Patriots in Week 15 at home and the Texans in Houston in Week 16.

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What is the bigger distraction, a controversy over what to do during the national anthem, or how to deal with a diva wide receiver?

The Steelers seemingly put the anthem issue behind them and now they have a new soap opera on their hands. Antonio Brown threw a hissy-fit in Baltimore because Ben Roethlisberger did not throw him the ball when he was wide open, and on Tuesday both the quarterback and coach Mike Tomlin scolded him publicly for it.

Might there be a hole in the all-for-one, one-for-all Steelers’ team unity?

Roethlisberger went into detail about the play during his spot on 93.7 The Fan Tuesday and why he did not see Brown wide open. He called Brown’s reaction that included him attacking a water cooler a “temper tantrum” and said he wished he acted more like Heath Miller.

Tomlin an hour later agreed during his press conference that Brown’s actions Sunday could be a distraction.

“He has to control it,” Tomlin said. “If he does not, it can work against him and can work against us. Those are just the lessons you learn along the way.”

The coach did note that the game against the Ravens was a big and emotional one and that Brown “is a competitor, we all know that. It aids him, it aids us. ” A good example came in the division-deciding Immaculate Extension touchdown by Brown against the Ravens last Christmas. Or his leaping 38-yard reception over three defenders that clinched the Steelers 3-point victory in Cleveland to start this season.

But the coach added, “Hopefully he’s learned a lesson” from Sunday, and that others are watching him set examples.

“We got young people on our team; they need to be taught good things, good lessons, ways to conduct themselves as professionals.

“He made a mistake. I’m sure he’s ready to move on from it.”

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The Steelers acknowledged they bungled what they thought were good intentions to stay out of politics last Sunday in Chicago. They vow it won’t happen this Sunday in Baltimore, starting at the top.

“I expect our team will be on the field like they were prior to last Sunday,” Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Post-Gazette in a brief interview.

“Last Sunday was the first time, you know, we ever had any kind of incident with regards to the anthem. It’s over, as far as I’m concerned.”

There’s never been a protest by the Steelers during the national anthem. The players planned not to have one last Sunday by staying off Soldier Field until after the anthem played. That unraveled when a crowded tunnel and confusion led to former Army Ranger and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva standing by himself during the anthem. He was supposed to be joined by the team captains with the rest of the players backing them up.

It won’t happen again, they’ve said.

“I’ve talked to the players and made sure they understand where we are,” Rooney said. “I think certainly the leadership on our team has things headed in the right direction. They want to be respectful for the flag.”

The Steelers sent a recorded response from Rooney on Friday night to the numerous fans who called the team to express their anger over the team’s absence from the sidelines in Chicago.

What bothered Rooney most was the perception that somehow the Steelers showed disrespect toward the U.S. military.

“The reaction to what happened last weekend was unexpected and we regret what happened,” he said. “We kind of felt we were staying out of the business of making political statements, but it was interpreted that we were doing something.

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The Steelers did their part to help WDVE raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Jerome Bettis called was looking for 36 people to call into the 10th annual DVE Rocks for Children’s Radiothon, an event that raises funds for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, helping to provide services and the highest level of care for children.

Bettis offered up a signed No. 36 Bettis jersey if 36 people would call in and become ‘Rock Stars’ for the foundation. And the Play it Forward Foundation, which the Steelers support, promised $3,600 if enough people called and donated.

When the ‘black and gold’ phone rang, which of course has Renegade as it’s ringtone, caller No. 36 was on the line and it was a familiar voice, Steelers President Art Rooney II, who joined the challenge, making a ‘Rock Star’ donation. The team also donated other items for people who become ‘Rock Stars’ to be eligible to win.

“I just want to encourage everybody in Steelers Nation to join me and all of the great work you are doing at the Radiothon to support Children’s Hospital,” said Rooney. “It’s a fantastic place. I had a couple of children who had to be in the hospital for a while. I had to spend a couple of nights in there with them. I have been there. The work they do is fantastic for our community.”

The support from the Steelers didn’t stop there.

Ben Roethlisberger also called in to the Radiothon, something he has been a supporter of over the years. Roethlisberger donated $7,000, as well as seven signed jerseys that anyone who donates as a ‘rock star’ are eligible to win.

“All three of my kids have been there for one reason or another,” said Roethlisberger. “For a kid it is a very scary thing. To be able to have Children’s Hospital there, they make it so fun for the kids. It can be scary and they make it fun. The work, the doctors, the facility, it’s an amazing place. I can’t thank everybody enough.

“It’s something Pittsburghers should be proud of. We should be incredibly proud if this. People come from all over the country, maybe the world, to come to our hospital. I am proud to call it our children’s hospital. It’s priceless. It really is. How do you not support kids and children and what they need? When kids have to go to a hospital it’s a scary thing.”

Heath Miller also called in, pledging a signed No. 83 Miller jersey if 83 callers became ‘Rock Stars.’ The goal was reached, and Play It Forward donated $8,300 to the hospital.

And it kept getting better. Brett Keisel, who does his annual ‘Shear Da Beard’ event to benefit the hospital joined the WDVE morning crew to help encourage people to donate. Keisel then took it one step further, donating a No. 99 Keisel jersey, and made a ‘Rock Star’ donation. And Play It Forward stepped up as well, with a $9,900 donation.

Thanks to the efforts of all, especially those who called and donated and the WDVE staff, the Radiothon set a one-hour record for most ‘Rock Star’ donations ever.

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Most may not know, but Pittsburgh Steelers rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster played defense in High School before being converted to a receiver.

Most fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers might not their second round draft pick JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn’t always been a receiver. Yes, he played receiver at USC and was drafted by the Steelers to do just that, but before that he was actually a safety.

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