Heading out of their bye week, the Steelers had many questions to answer, specifically on the offensive line. Most assumed that after a strong performance against the Ravens, rookie Broderick Jones would end up starting, but instead, the team turned back to incumbent starter Dan Moore Jr. after his return from an MCL sprain. For Moore, it would be an excellent wind-down game, as he would not have faced an elite edge rusher like he did each of the first three games he played.
So, how did Moore respond? He rewarded Mike Tomlin and the staff’s faith in him by playing his best game of the season. It was one of the best games of Moore’s career. According to Pro Football Focus, Moore allowed just one pressure on 29 pass-blocking snaps. He earned a 77.5 PFF grade, the best on the team’s offensive line for this game. Rookie Byron Young had become a productive pass rusher with the help of Aaron Donald.
Coming into the game, Moore allowed 20 pressures, which was among the most in the NFL, despite playing fewer games than most tackles that qualified. But this type of game can catapult a guy’s confidence, and Moore did well both in pass protection and run blocking. The Steelers’ offensive line started to find water and crack through their struggles. Moore and even center Mason Cole played their best games of the year statistically and on tape. So, it is unsurprising that the team suddenly found success rushing the ball and making plays happen.
Whatever the case, Moore rewarded the Steelers’ faith in him. Even with the promising rookie in Jones on the sidelines, Pittsburgh will hope they can start to see some of the fruits of their confidence in Moore. After all, he still has another year on his rookie contract and has learned to play right tackle on top of left tackle. That means more is at stake here than just the left tackle job. Moore playing well is a positive sign for the Steelers, but now he has the challenge of stacking those performances.