Giants-Steelers: Defensive Analysis

Fourth quarter analysis:

Let the urgency begin to kick in for Steelers’ O.

Exhibit A: The emergency of Wallace.

Wallace caught two passes on the drive, the second a 7-yard slant that he raced past multiple defenders across the field and into the end zone. It was his ninth career TD of at least 50 yards.

Steelers cut the Giants’ lead to three, Giants 20-Steelers 17.

–Following a defensive stop by Pittsburgh, Sanders returned a punt 63 yards back to the Giants’ 13-yard line.

Put into a very difficult positions, the Giants need to try and hold the Steelers to a field goal.

On 3rd-and-1, a terrific stop by Rolle to cut Redman off before he could find the line of scrimmage. A touchdown-saving play forces fourth down and a critical Tomlin decision.

Wisely, he chose to tie it up. Or not.

A fake field-goal attempt was scouted out by the Giants. Michael Coe snatches up Shawn Suisam and the G-Men D holds. Giants ball.

–Another offensive letdown by New York, and quickly Pittsburgh has the ball again.

Big Ben continues to dink and dunk his way down the field, with short passes and running up the gut — both effectively counteracting the Giants’ pass rush.

Finally, enough Redman carries and he squeaks into the end zone, and Pitt regains the lead. The Giants defense looks CLUELESS as to how to stop this mix of playcalls. PIT 23, NYG 20.

–Another empty offensive position gives the Steelers the ball back with momentum clearly in their favor.

But wait — a sign of life, as JPP stops Redman behind the line for a loss, forcing the Steelers into a third-and-long. But Big Ben finds Sanders — wide-open — who slipped out of the vision of Hosley.

After New York wasted their final timeout, Redman rushes 28 yards — right through the middle, of course, to take the game to the 2-minute warning. In addition, the Steelers are in position to take a knee and head home.

Third quarter analysis:

After cutting the lead to four before halftime, the Steelers got the ball to begin the second half.

68 yards — another terrific return by Rainey — puts Pittsburgh in Giants territory to start the quarter. Brown, by the way, still sidelined.

But on 3rd-and-7, Tuck makes his way to Big Ben for his second sack of the day. The Steelers drop to 3-for-8 on third-downs, and the Steelers’ field position goes to waste.

Now trailing 17-10 midway through the third, the Steelers begin their drive on their own 6.

Looking to make something happen down field, Big Ben throws a pass right in between the 2 and the 3 on Corey Webster’s chest. It’s the second turnover of the game by Big Ben, and the second pick is as many games for Webster.

Big Blue is situated in Steelers territory.

Another Tynes field goal and the G-Men now have 10 points off of two Steelers turnovers.

Under 90 ticks remaining in the quarter, and Rainey needs help getting off of the field. Could be a bummer to the Steelers’ already depleted running back corps and an offense lacking without Brown.

The quarter ends with the Giants bottling up Redman. Alas, three quarters and they’ve figured out how to stop him!


Second quarter analysis:

Again, third down for Pittsburgh; this time, Roethlisberger finds Will Johnson out of the backfield, setting up 1st-and-10   from the 18.

Redman gets back-to-back carries, leading to 1st-and-goal from the 6. Redman run. (Notice a pattern).

2nd-and-goal, Ben finds Emmanuel Sanders in the back of the end zone to put Steelers up 7-0 three minutes into the second quarter.

The Steelers’ offensive line is dominating the Giants’ D-line. Big Blue was supposed to have the edge in this match-up, but it’s a consistent running game and the short passing game that helped Pitt find paydirt.

Side note: Redman 59 yards, New York 56

After the Giants respond with a touchdown of their own, the Steelers begin the ensuing drive on the Giants’ 46. Terrific field position for the Steelers.

On second down, again Redman rips a hole in the middle of the Giants’ D to move the chain.

Then, on a strange play, Osi Umenyiora makes contact with Roethlisberger’s arm. The result is a pass/fumble/drop directly into the arms of Michael Boley, which he takes across the entirety of the field and into the end zone.

The question is whether or not Roethlisberger’s arm was going forward. After the officials reviewed the play, the touchdown was upheld. The Giants and Steelers both with 7 points off turnovers. Giants 14, Steelers 7.

Looking to make amends for whatever just happened, the Steelers get the ball with just under 5 minutes to go in the half.

This time, however, the Giants seemed to have found an answer to Redman and the Steelers rushing attack and stop Rainey on a 3rd-and-3. On fourth down, Pitt elects to go for it. And yes, Redman gets it.

Two-minute warning and JPP hobbled off to the sidelines.

A strike thrown to Mike Wallace was broken up perfectly. On the ensuing play, JPP comes back from the sidelines to sack Roethlisberger, taking Pittsburgh out of field-goal range and killing the Steelers’ chances to add points before the half.

Maybe I spoke too soon.

After Lawrence Tynes missed a 50-plus-yard field goal, Big Ben rifled a strike to Cotchery down field. With 20 seconds left, he then found Miller up the seam, down at the 12.

This set up an easy three points before the half, Giants 14-Steelers 10.

Knowing the Steelers had to attack through the air, the Giants secondary looked atrocious. This, of course, came as the interior of their D looked spongy the entire half.


First quarter analysis:

A Steve Weatherford punt situated the Steelers at their own 2-yard line, giving Pittsburgh a long field to travel. The Steelers, however, moved the chains well.

Isaac Redman, who drew the start for the injured Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, was able to move the chains, as did a completion to Antonio Brown with Prince Amukamara.

A Justin Tuck sack, followed by a strip of rookie Chris Rainey by Jayron Hosley dropped the Steelers into a 3rd-and-24 and subsequently a punt.

Despite the shaky start, it didn’t take much time before the Giants’ pass rush and quick charge to the ball helped their offense retake the field.

From the 22-yard line: The drive begins with back-to-back Redman runs. On 3rd-and-1, Ben Roethlisberger evades the Giants’ rush with a dump-off to – you guessed it – Redman.

On a 3rd-and-3, Antrel Rolle swats a Roethlisberger pass. The Steelers are moving the ball effectively, with Redman and some runs up the guy by Big Ben, but the Giants are putting them into a lot of third-downs, and they’re winning the battle.

Ike Taylor’s interception of Eli Manning gave Pittsburgh possession on 42. Again, Redman gets the rock on the opening play and gashed the G-Men up the middle for 17 yards. Meanwhile, Brown’s ankle was being looked at by trainers on the sideline.

On 3rd-and-6 from the Giants’ 42,  Roethlisberger found former New York Jet Jericho Cotchery, who was in for Brown, on a crossing route over the middle.

A Stevie Brown tackle for loss put Pitt in 2nd-and-long as the first quarter came to an end. Scoreless after one.


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