First Call: Numbers show how Steelers’ D-line dominated Bengals; another ex-Pirate excelling |
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First Call: Numbers show how Steelers’ D-line dominated Bengals; another ex-Pirate excelling

Tim Benz
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree strip sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the second quarter Monday, Sept. 30, 2019 at Heinz Field.

In “First Call” Wednesday, a former Pirate gets the save in the National League Wild Card Game. The Steelers were even more dominant against the Cincinnati Bengals than you thought. Le’Veon Bell is struggling in New York.

Another one

You’ve probably gotten used to seeing frequent updates from former Pirates excelling in new places this year.

The likes of the Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole come to mind. So do Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, and Austin Meadows in Tampa.

Here’s another one: the Washington Nationals’ Daniel Hudson.

Hudson wasn’t great in Pittsburgh, going 2-7 with a 4.38 ERA. But he closed out the wild-card game to get a save for the Nationals Tuesday night.

After being acquired by the Nats at the Aug. 1 trade deadline, Hudson only allowed four earned runs in 24 appearances, saving six games and winning three more.

The Nationals start their National League Divisional Series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers Thursday.

Morton’s moment

As for those Tampa Bay Rays, they take to the field for the American League Wild Card Game Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against the Oakland A’s.

Morton gets the start. He finished the season 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA.

Morton will be opposed by Sean Manaea who was 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 2019.

“How bad were they?”

How bad were the Cincinnati Bengals offensive linemen Monday night?

They were so bad, the Steelers dominance at the line of scrimmage almost reached historic levels.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers defensive front had one of the most overwhelming nights in the history of their analysis, since 2006. found this quote from PFF’s Anthony Treash, “In all seriousness, this was among the five worst offensive line performances we have seen in the PFF era with their offensive linemen taking home a PFF pass-block grade of 21.4, the fourth-worst in a single game since 2006… No team lost more matchups in a single game in the PFF era than the Bengals did last night, and they also gave up a franchise-record amount of pressures.

Left guard Michael Jordan had the worst night along the offensive line, earning a lousy 15.1 pass blocking grade. He was opposite Cameron Heyward of the Steelers.

Heyward wound up with 2.5 sacks.

Leaning on Le’V

It’s been a rough start for the 0-3 New York Jets.

But is telling you not to blame former Steeler Le’Veon Bell. Former quarterback David Carr published the following entry.

Bell has 76 touches in three games (25.3 per game) — 55 more than the next-closest Jets skill-position player, Jamison Crowder (21 total touches) — and recorded a touch on 46 percent of his offensive snaps this season, per NGS. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s asked to do a ton in Adam Gase’s system (and wants the responsibility). On one play vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, Bell chipped Olivier Vernon to give Luke Falk more time to throw, caught the pass in space, made several defenders miss, which included a hurdle over safety Eric Murray, and picked up a first down. There’s not much more Bell can do at this point, and yet, his team is winless and Gang Green’s offense ranks dead last in the NFL.

New York had a bye last week. They visit the Philadelphia Eagles this week.

While Bell is shouldering a lot of the workload, his productivity hasn’t been impressive. He is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry on 56 attempts for 163 yards. He’s tied for the team lead with 20 catches and has 121 receiving yards.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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