Week 9 Observations : Raiders @ Steelers

Deangelo Williams gashed a strong Raiders run defense for 170 yards and two scores. Photo from www.steelers.com
Deangelo Williams gashed a strong Raiders run defense for 170 yards and two scores. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

The Steelers stuck free agent gold when they brought in Deangelo Williams, from the Carolina Panthers, to back up Le’Veon Bell. Williams lead the league in rushing while filling in for Bell during the first two games of the season, and in response to Bell’s season ending injury, he picked right up where he left off. Williams gashed the Raiders for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 27 carries, against one of the best run defenses in the NFL. He definitely didn’t look like a 31 year old running back whose best days are supposedly behind him.

Chris Boswell was money, hitting the game winning field goal with 0:02 seconds left. Photo from www.steelers.com
Chris Boswell was money, hitting the game winning field goal with 0:02 seconds left. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

Chris Boswell hit three out of four field goals on the day, with his third field goal being the game winner in a 38-35 victory over the Raiders. Boswell, who was even iced by his own head coach before the final kick, didn’t let that, or a previous miss on a 42 yard attempt, rattle his confidence. His only real misfire on the day, was sending a kickoff out of bounds following a touchdown that put the Steelers up 35-21. If Boswell keeps performing like he has, the Steelers are going to have a difficult choice once Shaun Suisham is healthy.

Landry Jones comes on in relief to lead Steelers game winning drive. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Landry Jones comes on in relief to lead Steelers game winning drive. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Landry Jones solidified his role as the primary backup to Ben Roethlisberger, by coming on in relief and leading the Steelers during a game winning drive, with less than two minutes left in the game. Jones was 4/6 for 79 yards, with the big play coming on a pass to Antonio Brown, who caught the quick slant and took it down to the Raiders 10 yard line. Upon entering the game, Jones got to the huddle, smiled, and said to his offense, “Let’s play some football boys.” His teammates believe in him and love his confidence, which is good, because Big Ben is going to be out for a few weeks with a mid-foot sprain. Jones’s next start will be against Cleveland, next Sunday at Heinz Field.

Jacoby Jones Looks Alot Like Dri Archer :

Perhaps Dri Archer wasn’t really the problem at all when it came to Returning kicks, because the results of new kick returner, Jacoby Jones, looked eerily similar to the results of the prior one. Jones averaged 21.4 yards per return, with a longest return being 24 yards. Perhaps the problem isn’t with the returners, but rather with the blocking. The Raiders seemed content with kicking it short, knowing they could stop Jones before the twenty yard line, all to save five yards. You can have all the speed in the world, but if there is no room to run, it’s pretty much useless. Perhaps the return game would be best served if they worked on setting up better blocking for the returners.

Mike Mitchell has brought a physical presence to Steelers secondary. Photo from www.steelers.com
Mike Mitchell has brought a physical presence to Steelers secondary. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

Mike Mitchell’s first season with the Steelers was tainted by a couple of quad injuries that he played through, so what he could actually do, never showed up on the football field. Against the Raiders, Mitchell continued to be the physical presence that he’s been all season, getting in on four tackles and forcing a fumble. What seems irritating to a lot of people, are his celebrations following a big hit, like in Sunday’s game. Following a hit on Latavius Murray, Mitchell got up and celebrated, not realizing he knocked the ball loose. Luckily Jarvis Jones was there to jump on the loose football. I don’t mind the celebrations, provided they come after the play is over, and as long as he isn’t drawing taunting penalties. In the meantime, until Mike Tomlin tells him to tone it down, get used to it, Mitchell is an emotional player who obviously wears his emotions on his shoulder pads. It’s been a few years since the secondary has had a physical presence like Mitchell, it’s nice to know that receivers are starting to hear foot steps again.

Antonio Brown owned the Raiders secondary. Photo from www.steelers.com
Antonio Brown owned the Raiders secondary. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

Antonio Brown put all of his skills on display yesterday, while torturing the Raiders secondary. He caught deep balls and bubble screens. Brown turned quick slants into big gainers and brilliantly tip-toed the sideline on a mid-range out route. Antonio Brown did it all against the Raiders, to the tune of 286 yards on 17 receptions. He was able to do anything he wanted it seemed. Despite the fact that the Raiders planned to double cover Brown on all deep routes, they couldn’t stop him. After the show AB put on yesterday, it seems awfully silly to have criticized him when he was asking for the ball, while Ben was out the first time around. He may be a diva, like all receivers, but he isn’t selfish, he just wants control of the game in his hands, which seems like a pretty solid idea.

Yesterday’s win over an improving Raiders team should not be underestimated, and could be the type of win that gives the Steelers their identity for this season. The secondary, for instance, gave up big chunks of yardage at times, but they also had Raiders receivers hearing footsteps. Between Mike Mitchell and Antwon Blake, they forced two fumbles and broke up 7 passes with their physical play. The downside of thus win however, was the loss of Ben Roethlisberger to a mid-foot sprain. If there is ever a good time for something like this to happen, maybe now would be that time. With Cleveland and the the bye-week coming up next on the schedule, there is a chance that Ben could return in time for the trip out to Seattle. The Seahawks may have the Legion of Boom, but the Steelers will be bringing the League of Assassins.


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