ReFo: Saints @ Steelers, Week 13
Not quite the expected result with the Saints coming off of three straight home losses travelling to Pittsburgh to face the 7-4 Steelers after a bye week. After a fairly dominant quarter and a half by Pittsburgh to open the game, the Saints turned it around and reeled off 21 unanswered points and then followed both of the Steelers’ next two scores with a touchdown of their own to put the game out of reach. Pittsburgh made it close late, aided by a poor tackling display by the Saints defense, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.
With the loss, Pittsburgh falls to 7-5 and is the only AFC North team to lose to an NFC South team this season, though they remain in contention with all four teams in the division at 7-5 or better. Similarly, the Saints share a 5-7 record with Atlanta and still have a good chance at making the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note
Kenny Stills, WR: +3.3
Breakdown: A nice day for Stills, who took advantage of rough games for corners William Gay and Ike Taylor. Caught five passes for 162 yards with each of his six targets coming against one of the two cornerbacks. Those targets combined to net a perfect 158.3 QB rating for Brees, and even the incompletion came on a play where Stills was wide open downfield (1Q, 5:16).
Signature Play: 3Q, 2:00. Got behind Taylor on an out-and-up double move for a 69 yard touchdown that put the Saints up two scores.
Junior Gallette, DE: +3.3
Breakdown: While his teammate Cameron Jordan may have had the bigger splash plays, Galette was the more disruptive of the two rushing the passer, as he notched five hurries and two hits in addition to a number of plays where he beat either Mike Adams or Kelvin Beachum, but a quick release prevented him from pressuring.
Signature Play: 3Q, 6:22. Galette beat RT Mike Adams quickly inside on the play, but couldn’t quite get there in time, as Roethlisberger got the pass away for a first down.
Pierre Warren, S: -1.1
Breakdown: The rookie UDFA played all but two defensive snaps in his second game filling in for injured Rafael Bush, but graded negatively again as he struggled to tackle coming up from his deep safety position, where he lined up on 85 of his 90 snaps. Despite being in decent position on several plays, Warren missed three tackles – two of them on Pittsburgh’s final drive.
Signature Play: 4Q, 0:07. It came in garbage time, but a good read by Warren (and perhaps a worse misread by Roethlisberger) to cut off the slant and almost come away with the interception.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Performances of Note
Ben Roethlisberger, QB: -4.7
Breakdown: Even before he injured his hand later in the first quarter, Roethlisberger looked somewhat off target, missing high on two early passes, while almost throwing a pick-six at 5:05, only saved by Patrick Robinson’s inability to catch the ball on what would have been a walk-in touchdown for the Saints.
Signature Stat: Completed just one pass attempt outside the numbers that travelled more than 10 yards in the air.
Le’Veon Bell, RB: +3.3
Breakdown: Perhaps the lone bright spot on the Pittsburgh offense, Bell continued his great season with another strong rushing performance gaining 95 yards on 21 carries, forcing nine missed tackles on the ground to go with six more as a receiver.
Signature Play: 1Q, 8:20. This was as much a great play by Bell as a poor effort by the Saints as he picked up 18 yards, refusing to go down and shrugging off multiple tackle attempts.
Ike Taylor, CB: -2.5
Breakdown: A very rough return for Taylor seeing his first action since Week 3. Allowed all four of the passes into his coverage to be completed, two of which went for touchdowns, including a play (3Q, 2:00) where he fell for a double move and slipped on the play, not even able to threaten Kenny Stills after the catch.
Signature Play: 3Q, 11:34. Taylor was in position for what should have been a tackle for short gain, but couldn’t bring down Nick Toon, who took advantage and made his way to the end zone.
PFF Game Ball
This one goes to Drew Brees for rebounding after a slow start by the Saint offense to complete 19 of his 23 aimed passes, excelling at finding Kenny Stills downfield.
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