The Steelers have officially advanced to 4-2-1 after their win over the Baker Mayfield-led Cleveland Browns. There is a lot to be excited about, but there are still things which need to be fixed by the Steelers. They did not play a flawless game, obviously, but it is a big win with the Ravens coming up next week.
Therefore, here are nine takeaways from the Steelers’ victory:
James Conner is officially in Le’Veon Bell’s tier of RB
Oh no James Conner did not just do that. He is a star. What contact balance and burst to pull this run off. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/ZvX7O4EGu7— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
James Conner is absolutely legit. I can’t give a hoot if you think Bell is better, that is up for debate, but I think it is time to put Conner in the same tier as him. What has Conner not done that Bell can do? I can’t tell you.
Conner has better balance than Bell, and while Bell has better vision, the burst from Conner is impeccable. He runs fast and just bounces off defenders. He clearly can run routes well and has soft hands too. In addition, his pass blocking is now at an elite RB level too.
Conner isn’t like Bell, and may not be him, but he is very special. The kid is a star and the Steelers know it. What a find Conner was in the 3rd round.
Mind you that compensation pick was for Kelvin Beachum.
Someone tell the Special Teams the rules
Hate to bring this one back up, but this is inexcusable. You can't let this happen as a ST coach or a HC. Gotta fix this during the week, an insane play. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/h3vuzCywlB— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
Uh.... I don’t know how to explain this play. They just didn’t know the rules. As a Special Teams coach and Head Coach, Danny Smith and Mike Tomlin have to ensure their players know the rules.
The Special Teams play was actually really good today outside of this play, so I am not calling for Danny Smith’s head at all. You can blame the coaches, Roosevelt Nix, or Ryan Switzer, but just know, most of the time, they are a good unit.
But please, make sure they know the rules! This is inexcusable.
Pittsburgh should trade for a CB2
Well, Artie Burns literally did not play a defensive snap today. That is not good, at all. Tomlin and Butler have either given up on Burns, or they are letting him go back into the lab and making him gain his confidence back through practice alone. Bradley has improved this entire secondary aside from Burns, and it might just need to be time to let him sit.
So then, the answer, what is it? I can tell you one thing, Coty Sensabaugh ain’t it.
Why the #Steelers need to trade for a CB......shown by Coty Sensabaugh. Draped all over him and still doesn't stop him. pic.twitter.com/d0JiCv1bY1— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
This is just a really sad play by Sensabaugh. He is draped all over Callaway and still allows a TD. You can’t let that happen as a CB.
Is Cam Sutton it? I.....don’t know. He looked good today, and has looked up-and-down all season, but I would rather not trust him right now. I think he is better suited as being the main backup at a plethora of positions in the secondary. Instead, I would reccommend Gareon Conley still.
Peterson isn’t happening, and Jenkins is washed. I want the young guy who can be coached up. And, yes, I trust Tom Bradley. With how the rest of the secondary has looked aside from mediocre players such as Burns and Sensabaugh, I think a guy with the talent of Conley would be the guy you want. He has flashed, he will put it together eventually, trust the tape.
Justin Hunter deserves snaps
Yeah, yeah you can tell me he’s Justin Hunter, and he is. Did he really do much? No, he really did not. He had one catch, which was a nice, sharp out route for a good completion of about 13 yards.
However, Hunter should have had two touchdowns today. Ben overthrew him twice. Once, where he burnt Breian Boddy-Calhoun and another where he won off release and boxed out BBC to only be overthrown and held on a should be a TD.
Justin Hunter should have had two TDs today. Ben overthrew him twice. Here Hunter wins inside leverage and has BBC boxed out, If Ben hits him this is a TD all day. (also might be some contact) pic.twitter.com/jHRZvt54U6— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
He showed he could be the big play threat the team needs on offense. To be fair, we can also blame that last play on Hunter, who does slow up for some reason. Yet, I am not okay with not giving James Washington reps at the very least. That is how he will get better, with reps. You need to let the guy do work so he can become a better receiver. I get trying to win now, but Washington is going to need snaps to improve.
Joe Haden, still a Top 10 Corner
Haden is having an elite season, and his return to his elite form has transformed the Steelers defense. It has allowed them to blitz more, as they do not have to fear the team’s No. 1 receiver nearly as much as they would have before, and the secondary can play aggressive.
Well....we have a DB with ball skills in Pittsburgh! Fantastic play by Haden to mirror and just run step-for-step with Ratliff and then high point the ball. pic.twitter.com/zrWjwRLS8R— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
I can’t say enough about Haden. He shows clear ball skills here, something only he and Mike Hilton have showcased. It is a beautiful play. He has now shut down the likes of Jarvis Landry, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones. He is absolutely a huge contributor on this defense.
Bud Dupree might not be more than average, but he is fine enough
Look, I get why Bud Dupree gets so much hate, but some of it isn’t warranted. He misses tackles and is always run up the arc when he pass rushes, but he is still average and not as easily replaceable as he may seem. He is a great coverage LB, good for stunts (Butler loves them), and is a competent run defender.
Today, he had what I thought to be a fine game. I don’t think he was great, but he had flashes, exhibit A.
Bud actually has a fantastic first step and uses his hands to limit what Harrison can do. That is a sack if he doesn't get absolutely yanked down. Also, good play in coverage by VW. pic.twitter.com/KYqecKwxrb— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
Dupree got a fantastic first step here and just beat Harrison around the edge because he used his hands! This would have been a slam dunk sack if not for the hold. Dupree was in the backfield all day, so you can credit that to him. With Ola Adeniyi coming back soon, I expect OLB to be fine for this season. The team must add one in the offseason, though.
L.J. Fort is good, real good
You all know I have been the train guiding the ‘BTSC L.J. Fort should get playing time’ train, and boy am I glad he did. When you watch the tape, you just notice Fort is a player the Steelers need out there. He is downright great in coverage and showed some great processing Sunday. He blew up the play on a screen for Nick Chubb, point blank. He also showed he was really good in coverage.
Two things:— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
1. Mike Hilton is a pro bowl level slot corner. Sticky coverage on one of the best slot guys in the game in Jarvis Landry
2. Look at L.J. Fort be all physical up there to the left. Completely takes the receiver (looks like Chubb?) out of the play. He was big today. pic.twitter.com/rOGvaVKHoi
Look at how aggressive Fort is here. Straight up smothers Nick Chubb and takes him out of the play. Beautiful job of doing that against a shifty RB in the slot. Hilton also makes a nice play. Fort should continue to see work in sub-packages and on passing downs. He is a good player.
Sean Davis is the answer at Free Safety
Vince has to fill there backside. He sees it but takes a bad angle and over-pursues which allows the reach to get to him. He has to work under that and get to Chubb, Another nice tackle by Sean Davis. pic.twitter.com/PCkHxmONCF— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
Some really rough run defense here. Not what you would like to see from the DL. Heyward and Hargrave have to have better block shedding ability. Vince has to shed that block and make the tackle too. Great tackle in the secondary by Sean Davis. He's been really good at FS. pic.twitter.com/aKjpQcbv5K— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 28, 2018
Sean Davis is looking the best he has since his rookie year. He looked great there because he was able to play to his job, do it aggressively, and it showed on tape. Now, he is doing the same thing. Once the play reaches Davis, the play is done, straight finished. He has only missed one tackle this season, which is fantastic. You never hear anything in the vicinity of Davis anyways.
Just watch the All-22, and Davis always does his job, and he does it well. Davis is truly a good player now, and he has helped this secondary along with the improving Terrell Edmunds.