PITTSBURGH — The Steelers had their best offensive performance of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday in their win. Mason Rudolph commanded the pocket well, and receivers made plays for their quarterbacks while the run game ignited down the stretch to close the door.
But the offensive line still struggled. Free runners came through consistently and hit Rudolph too often. Dan Moore Jr. allowed three pressures against the Bengals, while Broderick Jones was charged with two in his unnatural spot. In addition to that, Mason Cole’s snaps were all over the place according to Pro Football Focus.
The Steelers’ offensive line continues to be perhaps the most frustrating part of the team. They have three guys that you would generally consider as building blocks. For one, Isaac Seumalo and James Daniels played well. In addition, the team blocked their behinds off in the run game. The once burgeoning run game came alive again behind a plan that highlighted their athleticism and physicality. Without D.J. Reader, the Bengals had no shot to slow that down all day, and Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris ran hard all night.
Jones has struggled at right tackle, looking a little bit unorthodox in his kickstep. It makes sense. We are talking about someone who is a natural left tackle and already came out as raw. Dan Moore Jr. struggled enough, too. But the team still allowed free runners to tattoo Rudolph throughout the night and it caused some of his more errant passes throughout the season.
Rudolph has to be a bit better in those spots, but the Steelers can not let the free runners pulverize Rudolph, or he might get injured at some point. That is a massive point of emphasis for them moving forward, and one of the biggest focuses this offseason should be improving center and left or right tackle.
It will help Jones develop at his natural spot, and Cole and Moore can not be accepted as guy who will be starters for this team in the future. For another offseason, the trenches must be paramount for Pittsburgh.