Tape Review: DeCastro Dominates

The tape of the Steelers' win over the Baltimore Ravens was pretty clear in revealing the primary reason for Le'Veon Bell's big day.

The quote of the night belonged to Ben Roethlisberger, who, after the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, said of his offensive linemen, "They were almost fighting in the huddle. The right side wanted to run it their way and the left side wanted to run it their way."

One would hope that Roethlisberger listened to "the right side" when it mattered most, because David DeCastro destroyed Arthur Jones, and his friends, the entire game.

Mike Tomlin sneered at the media after Le'Veon Bell turned in his best game, but GM Kevin Colbert should've taken the mike and asked if anyone out there still had a problem with his 2012 first-round draft pick, because DeCastro on Sunday looked like the kind of guard a team should draft in the first round.

We've seen DeCastro the technician, the move guard, the guy out in front of screens, but against the Ravens he was that uprooter of large men who's so desired and necessary in the AFC North.

That had been the knock on DeCastro, even while he was in college, but on Sunday he got those pads low on the first snap and stood Jones up and drove him off the ball as Bell ran behind him for 6 yards.

That was just the warmup.

On the next snap, DeCastro stopped a blitzing Daryl Smith and drove him out of the hole for Bell's 8-yard gain. The third run was a 11-yard gain thanks to DeCastro blocking down on Jones and collapsing the line for a massive opening.

That's 3 carries for 25 yards and everyone's looking at Bell instead of DeCastro, but there's little doubt the quiet stud from Stanford would have it any other way.

The Steelers ran behind the pulling DeCastro on a wildcat snap, but didn't run a play through right guard again until the shovel pass to Heath Miller for a touchdown. On that play, DeCastro pushed Marcus Spears into the end zone and across the goal line before the untouched Miller.

The third series opened with DeCastro sealing nose tackle Haloti Ngata to open the left side of the hole as fullback Will Johnson blocked the right side for a 9-yard gain by Bell, who then gained 8 yards on the next snap as DeCastro drove Spears so far back Spears was able to flop on Bell at the end of the run to get credit for the tackle.

By now the run game was so effective that Roethlisberger could throw out of the middle of a perfect cup of a pocket, which of course is not Roethlisberger's forte. He misfired deep and then threw high to Derek Moye for 19 yards. It set up a field goal and a 10-3 lead, courtesy for the most part of the Steelers' right guard.

The third quarter opened with DeCastro putting Ngata on the ground in pass-protection, and then he led three runs through right guard that went for 7, 7 and 7 yards, as DeCastro turned both Jones and Ngata to give the Steelers a 13-6 lead.

The Steelers ran only two more times through right guard but finished with 74 yards on 11 carries running that way.

Counting the three plays in which DeCastro pulled left, the Steelers carried 14 times for 85 yards behind their 2012 first-round draft pick.

It was a coming-out party for DeCastro as a physical uprooter of defensive tackles. And it was likely something of a relief for Colbert.


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