Analyzing the O-Line: Not As Bad As You May Believe

You almost didn’t find an offensive line analysis on the Lounge this week.

Who really wanted to watch that Ravens game a second time, or a third? If you get food poisoning from a bad burrito on Sunday, you don’t crave another burrito on Monday. And if you suffered through watching that Ravens game on Sunday, you sure don’t want to watch that game again on Monday.

But I did eventually fire up the DVR, and was surprised to find that the offensive line didn’t play as poorly as I had originally believed. Now that’s not to say they looked good, and there were plays, like the fumble to start the second half, that defy explanation. But overall, the Steelers offensive line was not the main problem on Sunday, and you could argue they weren’t problem #2 or problem #3 either.

Some short analysis is coming up, but here are the numbers first.

Passing Good Plays Total Plays PCT Pressure Sack
Scott 41 47 87.23% 5 1
Kemoeatu 43 47 91.49% 3 0.5
Pouncey 44 47 93.62% 1 0.5
Legursky 45 47 95.74% 1
Colon 44 47 93.62% 1
Running GP TP Pct
Scott 11 15 73.33%
Kemoeatu 14 15 93.33%
Pouncey 12 15 80.00%
Legursky 10 15 66.67%
Colon 13 15 86.67%
Overall GP Total Plays Pct
Scott 52 62 83.87%
Kemoeatu 57 62 91.94%
Pouncey 56 62 90.32%
Legursky 55 62 88.71%
Colon 57 63 90.48%

Better than you expected, huh? Maybe I’m becoming a softy. Or maybe I’m just so conditioned to watching mediocre line play that I’ve lost the ability to distinguish between bad and mediocre. But in re-watching the game, I noticed that the Steelers’ linemen actually created some holes in the running game. It’s just that seven turnovers kind of takes away the opportunities to run the ball.

As far as the linemen, we’ll once again miss Willie Colon, out for the season with a torn tricep. Three of his six bad plays came in the final 12 plays, so it’s possible he was already suffering from the tricep injury at that point.

Maurkice Pouncey was solid as usual. It’s hard to say whether he or Chris Kemoeatu was responsible for the first sack of the game, as Terrell Suggs came unblocked through the gap between them as Pouncey worked to double-team Doug Legursky’s man and Kemoeau helped Jonathan Scott. One of them had to peel off to pick up Suggs, but it’s hard to know which one. Otherwise his few poor plays were largely difficulties getting to the second level to block linebackers and he was generally pretty good at that job as well.

This was a pretty good game for Chris Kemoeatu. He did have the one sack he may have been responsible for (as explained in the Pouncey comment), but in the running game he was nearly flawless. In the passing game, he did give up three pressures, usually when he fired off the line too high, or got too aggressive and was driven into the backfield.

Doug Legursky was not as solid as Kemoeatu, but it’s hard to say the Steelers should bench him off of this performance. Yes, Legursky may have been responsible for a quick block on Haloti Ngata on the first play of the second half, but we can’t even say that for sure. Both him and Kemoeatu quickly flowed to the second level, so it’s possible that Willie Colon was supposed to block down on Ngata, or that David Johnson was supposed to pick him up, or the play design was supposed to sucker Ngata with a fake. None of that actually happened, but it’s hard to say for certain that Ngata was Legursky’s man, even for a combo block.

Otherwise Legursky’s problems were mainly ones of strength. He was stalemated at the line or driven into the backfield on a few plays. But again, not much to hate here, just some things to hope he improves.

The one player that scared me with his play was Jonathan Scott. Scott’s overall numbers don’t look awful, but it’s his tightrope act that’s always nerve-wracking. Scott plays too high too often, and frequently gets driven back to where he’s setting his feet just inches from Roethlisberger’s feet. Even if he stays in front of his man, that hurts Roethlisberger’s chances of stepping into his throw, and also forces him to rush his throw at times. He was only responsible for one sack, but he also gave up five pressures.

This entry was posted in 2011 steelers, O-Line Analysis, Offensive Line. Bookmark the permalink.
  • DrObvious

    If you would have shown us these numbers before the game last Sunday, I would have assumed a win.