The Steelers' defense is currently playing some extra-terrestrial football. This is indisputable. When you hold the offense of defending NFC champions up to three points in the game – the other nine were courtesy of Aries – you are doing some things right.
But also the price came. Linebackers Bud Dupree and Mark Barron played 71 of a possible 77 defensive snaps. T.J. Watt played 64. More important, defensive end Kam Hayward played 69 snaps (89.6 percent), while carrier Yavon Hargrave entered 56 (72.7 percent).
These all guys knew they were going to have a bigger load when Stephon Tuitt was lost to the season a month ago. But with the quick turnaround from Sunday's 1
I asked obviously exhausted Hayward after the game if he was playing at any moment – as it seems at the time.
"Not every click. We were spinning a little bit, but whoo it was a hell of a game," Hayward said.
When the Steelers lost to the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Playoffs in 2017, many noted that Hayward and Tweet made too many shots this season and seemed worn out for the playoff game. Hayward has had 13 games this season in which he has played more than 80 percent of the team's defensive tackles, while Tweet has 11 in the 12 games he played in the regular season that year.
Because of this, the Steelers turned their defense around more than ever. Heyward only had 10 games with more than 80 percent of the shots in 2018, while Tuitt was four as the team tried to keep them fresher later in the year. Heyward has played more than 80 percent of the shots just three times this season, but two of them have come in the last three games without Tweet. And he didn't play more than 80 percent in the game – against the Dolphins – he was 78.6 percent.
"I don't even know how many clicks they had," Mike Tomlin told Heyward and Hargrave on Monday. "You are probably better informed about this than I am. We will look at some of these things when we have the opportunity. Right now, with the challenges we face, there is not much time. These guys understand this. We all need to clear the load. people have to handle the load more because of circumstances. We don't spend much time worrying about what we have to do. These guys do it. "
But that must be a problem. There are just not many options for bringing a player like Heyward, especially off the pitch.
• Mason Rudolph played a much better game than Sunday's stated score. He finished 22 of 38 for 242 yards and a touchdown. But his numbers would have been much better had it not been for the four drops – one by JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Vance McDonald and by Jaylen Samuels :
Three of these drops came in third falls, which really hurt, since at least two of them would have led to the first downturns that prolonged the drives. And the fall of McDonald would at least set the field goal.
Tomlin said he did not spend much time with his receivers living in the aisles, especially for a short work week.
"We're not 'I can't train a lot,'" Tomlin said. "We talk about it, but talking about it is just part of it. They have to make plays when given the opportunity. They are receivers. If you have to spend a lot of time talking to receivers, you have problems. "
• After Rudolph essentially checked the ball to Samuels 13 times in a win over the Colts, which prevented opponents from pushing the ball much down the field, his allocation to the pass in this game was very different. James Washington McDonald and Samuels all have seven goals, while Smith-Shuster and Johnson each have six.This spreads the ball around your first receivers, and besides a bad pass or two, he was pretty much in the money.
Washington averaged 15 yards per catching his six receptions, Johnson averaged 16 yards per quarter Smith-Schuster had three catches, averaging 14.7 yards per reception.
There's nothing wrong with that.
• People still insist that the Steelers' coaching staff doesn't plan and make adjustments. can you watch a game in which Cooper Kupp one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers, goes without a catch and doesn't realize that coaching staff has made a concerted effort to prevent him from getting the ball?  The Steelers wanted to get someone – everyone – to beat them. But they would not allow Kupp to be this man.
That was a good job by Mike 19009 in the slot. And he had help with every play.
This opens up some other things. But the Steelers took the wolf to Goff. And without surprise, he spent the day in himself without chewing on his comforter.
• There is nothing at the moment that does not violate this crime that a viable game cannot solve.
Samuels is a situational running back, And these situations largely throw him the ball.
Trey Edmunds and Tony Brooks-James a pair of untreated players are good storytellers, but both were on the practice squad earlier this year.
The return of James Connor back against the Browns, which is expected to happen will be a big boost. Connor is not an elite NFL running back, but a very capable rookie. And without him, the Steelers are unable to get any team to respect their running game.
It's more about the runners, people, than the offensive line.
• I'm getting angry with watching Ryan Switzer keep returning punts. But when you see Johnson collide at the end of a back-and-forth battle for yards that just aren't there, it puts the Swiss in good stead.
The Swiss is 13th in the NFL in average punt return last season at 8.4 yards, Not great, but not terrible. He is an average man who returns to the NFL. The average may not be sexy. But with the way he plays that defense, you'll get a guy who just catches the ball and doesn't roll it, unlike a guy who can score a few more yards, but every time I'll put him on the ground for a while.
This team is currently unable to afford these types of turnovers.
• Both Ola Adenius (hip) and Anthony Chikilo (ribs) came out of Sunday's game with injuries that will leave them in doubt – at best – about the game against the Browns. This is not great news for Dupree and Watts, though both can have big games against what is a terrible offensive line in Cleveland.
• Jordan Berry very quietly has a very solid season. He was one of the restless heroes of the Steelers' victory over the Rams.
Johnny Hacker gets a lot of publicity because I will throw a pass every time, even if it is an interception, as it was in this game. And the Aries bayrak is good. But Berry was the more consistent player in that position in this game. And considering the two combined for 17 points, it was a big deal.
• Sean Smith and his team of cheerful employees may just be the worst team in the league. And that says something. After watching this group buzz and crashing through this game – making it last more than 3 1/2 hours – from now on they will be on my radar.
Smith's crew also worked with the Steelers last year in Cleveland, calling for 23 combined penalties in that game. They called 23 more Sunday, giving them 46 in two games involving the Steelers over the past two seasons. They called for nearly two more penalties per game than the league average last season – 15.2 per game. This year, they were much less than that, just over 13. They must have decided they had to get back on the road, as there are some real phantom calls in both directions.
Officials must be visible and not be heard. Especially when Smith can't explain things properly.
• The Steelers open like a Brownie with 2 or 3 points. Nobody watched the Browns play this season?
It's a terrible coincidence for Cleveland that doesn't cross the block very well and turns the ball at an alarming rate.
What are the Steelers doing in defense? They speed up the passer-by and force the turnovers at high speed.
It doesn't matter that the game is in Cleveland. They could play this game on the moon and it doesn't matter. Baker Mayfield will be pressured. And he will turn the ball over.
• The Steelers' transfer from to Matt Fayler to left guard in place of B.J. Finney was working on getting her best blockers to handle Aaron Donald . It had nothing to do with how the team feels about Finney and everything to do with Donald. Steelers love Finney and what he brings to the table.
They also don't like to play in both centers – just in case something happens to them. Remember a few years ago when Maurkice Pouncey made it to the finals of the regular season against the Browns and Finney started at center? Fine got hurt early in this game and with Pouncey inactive, they had to move Feiler to center. The results were not great.
Pouncey, by the way, has trouble interrupting it. That's obvious. But he is still a solid blocker.
Acknowledge this to a player like Donald who will make you rush into things you don't normally rush. ] Steelers Vs. Rams, Heinz Field, November 10, 2019 – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS [/caption]
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