If this was a college class, I’d be docked a letter grade or two for tardiness. Sorry everyone, traveling for Christmas meant that I was away from my DVR (and NFL Game Rewind) for a good part of the week. So this week’s offensive line analysis is arriving just in time for the next game.
Or maybe it was a late Christmas gift to avoid rewatching Jonathan Scott’s first series of the game for a couple of days. When I finally got around to it, it was rather shocking to watch. In the live viewing of the game, I was obviously aware of his blown block on Rashard Mendenhall’s tackle for a loss, but it wasn’t until the second viewing that the true magnitude of his failure was apparent.
Scott pulled an 0-for-5.
On the first five plays of the game, the left tackle failed to successfully pull off his block. On the first play he tried and failed on a cut block. On the second play he blocked no one. On the third play he whiffed on blocking his man who made the tackle. On the fourth play he was driven back into Ben Roethlisberger on a pass play. And on the fifth play, he missed on his block down to seal the hole opened when Chris Kemoeatu pulled out to lead a running play in the other direction. After that play Sean Kugler blew a gasket, Scott threw his helmet and Trai Essex jogged into the game.
I’d love to say that after clearing his head with his benching, Scott returned to the game and played remarkably well. It would be more accurate to say that he returned to his normal level of mediocrity — take those five plays out and he graded out at 74 percent.
Here’s a look at the overall grades. The standard disclaimer applies: all of this is gathered by watching each and every lineman on each and every play of the game (except for end of game kneel downs and spikes to stop the clock). As I’m obviously not getting the list of the play calls, some assumptions have to be made, but I believe that overall the grades are pretty accurate.
|Player||Good Blocks||Total Blocks||Pct||Pressures||Sacks|
Scott’s awful play made Chris Kemoeatu’s bad game less apparent, but this was one of Kemoeatu’s worst efforts of the year (although not nearly as bad as the baseball bat beating that Kyle Williams gave him). Kemoeatu’s problems came in part because the Steelers asked him to pull numerous times and he struggled to engage his targets. He also had trouble with getting driven back on pass plays and with picking up line twists.
Maurkice Pouncey had no problems in pass protection. But in run blocking, Pouncey had numerous plays where he was either stalemated at the line or driven back by his man. Hopefully this is just a rough game and not a sign he’s hitting the wall 15 games into his rookie season.
Flozell Adams was about as steady as you could hope for. If the rookie may be hitting the wall, the senior citizen of the line responded with one of his best games of the season. Ramon Foster continues to be a below-average starting guard, but that still makes him an upgrade over Trai Essex.