Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 Surprises from Week 2
Interior Defensive Line dominates
In Week 1 vs the Ravens, the interior was not a strength, as the Ravens amassed almost 200 yards rushing on the ground. Week 2, adjustments must have been made, as Solomon Thomas and co. allowed under 40 yards rushing in this contest, and yes, I said Solomon Thomas.
The former first-round “bust” had himself a game on Sunday, as his two sacks were the only sacks the team had overall, and Johnathan Hankins’s numbers may not show up in the box score, but he was very effective in this one.
By closing the gaps, he not only allowed Thomas to zero in on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but he also forced running back Najee Harris to find almost no space when he carried the ball. The interior of the Raiders’ defensive line was always surrounding the backfield of the Steelers, and it made life much easier for the defensive ends to pressure Big Ben, and allow the linebackers more space to close in on.
Thomas in this one looked very quick for a defensive tackle, and his speed at the position is a breath of fresh air for a Raiders line that has not seen much pressure from the interior in years. Going forward, expect the Raiders and Thomas to become a strength for a defense that is now striking fear into the league.