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Steelers Film Room: Detailing the defensive miscues against the Broncos

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The Steelers defense took a step back on Sunday as they had far too many miscues to even count.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

A myriad of Steelers defenders had bad games on Sunday. It simply was too large and wide scale to make separate film rooms on, so I may as well condense it all into it. Regardless, after having weeks of extremely solid play from the defense, the Steelers defense took a step back. Partially schematically, because Keith Butler blitzed less than 20% of the time, per my charting. However, just fundamentally, it seemed all these guys had trouble getting themselves grounded, bar Morgan Burnett, Javon Hargrave, and Cameron Heyward.

Here, it is, the sad state of what was defense for the Steelers on Sunday, and yet, they only gave up twenty-four points. I think the Steelers are going to be fine going forward, but this has to be a week of fundamentals and getting back into it.

First up on the block is rookie safety Terrell Edmunds. This is man coverage, and with doubles to his side, Edmunds is going to want to come up with no help over the middle. Edmunds, thus has to fly downhill and be ready for an outside or inside breaking stem. Yes, you have to disguise this a bit, but you can’t give Emmanuel Sanders 10 yards of space.

Look at how his hips are not square and instead are facing northwest for some reason. That causes him to have to change direction, which is never good for him with his air tight hips. By the time he realizes that this is gonna be a crosser, he just doesn’t have a chance.

Edmunds has a lack of processing going on here. He doesn’t recognize the route and more importantly, he doesn’t keep himself in proper positioning at all. Edmunds just can’t play like this. He looks lost and with an abundance of space and lack of mirroring, he gives this one up. It was not a good day for the rookie, at all.

Jon Bostic was another guy who just had an off-game. He has been really good this year, but certainly was not today.

Here, the Broncos come lined up in a modified bunch set with the doubles on the other side. Watt has Phillip Lindsay, Haden has Emmanuel Sanders, and Bostic should have Jeff Heuerman, but he gets confused thinking this a screen, and honestly, is just lost, and Heuerman runs right by him. Bostic has to trust his eyes and keys here. It seemed that the Steelers just didn’t process the field well at all today, and this is a perfect example of that.

Bostic has to read that and stay with Heuerman, and maybe this wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, but that is a bad blown coverage by Bostic.

Phillip Lindsay had a huge day against the Steelers, and it wasn’t at all because they got their butts kicked up front, but lack of gap discipline. As I watched this, Bostic really didn’t over pursue. He crashed on the C gap on the stretch while Watt held outside contain. That isn’t his fault. There has to backside help, and that would be Vince Williams. This is a blitz, and Williams just doesn’t fight through traffic well enough. He gets clothes-lined and takes a bad route. He was the mistake at the line.

The DL is doing their job here, by the way. Heyward and Hargrave both are keeping their gaps and Hargrave expects a fill from Vince Williams, but that never happened.

However, the worst part of this play has to be Sean Davis. What type of angle is that?! He crashed downhill for some reason when he was the 3rd line of defense and should be cutting off the sideline. Just a terrible angle, and although Davis has been really good this season, he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is today. He is to blame for the bigger gain in the third level.

Joe Haden was even bad today. Emmanuel Sanders had his way with the guy. And why? Since Haden isn’t as fast as he used to be, speed guys can burn him all day, and he got burnt. Haden has Sanders on his outside hip, which is how you should do it, but get your hands on him so you can gain the outside leverage. He doesn’t do that, and all Sanders has to do is get vertical on him.

Haden doesn’t exactly have super change of direction anywhere, so being physical is huge for a guy like him. He has to jam and then win leverage. And if the Steelers see the Chiefs in the playoffs, he better do that to Tyreek Hill.