PITTSBURGH — The Steelers defense put up an impressive performance against Cleveland’s ground game in Week 8, however, they had their lapses against the Bears running game on Monday night.
With the added threat of Justin Fields taking it and a new wrinkle with the wildcat game, the Steelers defense was caught off guard and had to figure out what they needed to on the fly. The team admitted that they did not expect as many designed runs as that.
Darnell Mooney’s touchdown run out of the wildcat formation caught the Steelers off-guard, to say the least. They kept almost no gap integrity on the play.
For the Steelers, everything is just extremely slow developing. Alex Highsmith crashes off the edge and gambles to go after Montgomery. By doing so, he completely compromises the edge and gives it up. That is something that Highsmith will have to work on as he continues to grow. That is not his responsibility to rush through from the backside of the defense. Devin Bush’s eyes draw him to the pulling guards, which pulls him out of the run fit. It is the processing and the false keys that the Steelers fall for, and Heyward saw a lot of it all night.
“They did some things where they even took Fields out of the runs,” Heyward said. “There was a little wildcat. With that, you have a true runner and now it’s 11-om-11 football. Guys have to get off their blocks. Even on the touchdown run, we have to get better with our eyes. Understanding that you got a slow play and you can’t just rush up to make a tackle because it’s blocks on blocks. There’s not a lot of room for error.”