Several notable Steelers missing from action in win over Bengals | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers S Jordan Dangerfield

Each week we’ll take a look at the composition of the Steelers wins and losses (and ties too) by examining the team’s snap counts on offense and defense. Here’s a look at the makeup of last week’s game.

With rumors swirling around Antonio Brown’s absence from Sunday’s game, a number of other changes were made on both sides of the football in the Steelers narrow victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Let’s have a look as to how Pittsburgh adjusted due to absences and injuries.

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Player Snaps Pct
Foster 68 100%
DeCastro 68 100%
Villanueva 68 100%
Feiler 68 100%
Pouncey 68 100%
Roethlisberger 68 100%
Smith-Schuster 63 93%
Washington 49 72%
Rogers 43 63%
McDonald 41 60%
Conner 32 47%
Samuels 31 46%
Switzer 24 35%
James 23 34%
Heyward-Bey 17 25%
Grimble 12 18%
Nix 5 7%

With AB out, it wasn’t JuJu Smith-Schuster who saw more playing time than in recent weeks, but others who benefitted from the availability of snaps. JuJu continued to play a large amount of the game as per usual, but it was Eli Rogers and James Washington who stepped up in Brown’s absence.

Tight ends Vance McDonald and Jesse James saw an uptick in playing time as well. The offensive line remained the same, but a notable omission this week was Chukwarma Okorafor, who didn’t enter the game.

James Conner returned to action but was held to a pitch count, seeing less than half of the offensive snaps. Jaylen Samuels saw the remaining snaps as the Steelers threw some empty sets (no running backs, all receiver plays) into the mix.

The biggest surprise of the evening may have been Xavier Grimble's playing time, which continued to hover just below that of Jesse James: the former being used more to block on plays than the latter (who has struggled with run blocking and pass protection over the years.)

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Player Snaps Pct
Dangerfield 49 100%
Fort 49 100%
Edmunds 49 100%
Haden 49 100%
Sensabaugh 49 100%
Watt 46 94%
Heyward 45 92%
Burnett 42 86%
Dupree 41 84%
Tuitt 35 71%
Hargrave 24 49%
Hilton 16 33%
Sutton 13 27%
Chickillo 11 22%
Alualu 10 20%
Bostic 6 12%
McCullers 4 8%
Allen 1 2%

I'm none too surprised by the Steelers secondary having full participation in games, as that's par for the course. Who played a full game is a bit more intriguing.

Jordan Dangerfield, who previously played 24 defensive snaps the entire season came into Week 17 and played the full 49 defensive plays against the Bengals.

L.J. Fort, an afterthought when the season began, also played the entire game. Fort replaced an injured Vince Williams, who had only played 80% or more of the defensive plays since Week 6 (with only one of those two instances being more than 90% of the defensive reps.)

That speaks volumes to the staff's trust in Fort and his potential future in Pittsburgh.

LB Jon Bostic fell to an season low six snaps. His playing time fell off of a cliff in December after being one of the brighter spots on the Steelers defense about midway through 2018.

DB Morgan Burnett also saw his second-highest snap count for the 2018 season as the versatile defender plays a vital chess piece in the Steelers defensive game planning. I imagine Burnett's play over the final three weeks is more than enough to see him back in a black and gold uniform for 2019.


Statistics courtesy of the National Football League

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