What went right, wrong vs. San Francisco

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • It certainly didn't look like the Steelers opening offensive possession was going to merit being placed in this category, not when DeAngelo Williams was stopped for no gain, when Ramon Foster was flagged first for being ineligible downfield (declined) and then for a false start (accepted to set up a third-and-10). But on that third-and-10, Ben Roethlisberger dropped a 28-yard rainbow down the left sideline that Antonio Brown caught for a 28-yard gain that converted the third-and-10 and also marked the 400th reception of his NFL career.
  • After an initial first down on their opening possession, the 49ers found themselves in a third-and-7 situation following a sack of Colin Kaepernick by Stephon Tuitt. On an attempted pass to Vernon Davis over the middle, Will Gay stripped the ball away to force a San Francisco punt.
  • The Steelers received that punt and went on to score their first touchdown at Heinz Field this season. During the drive, Ben Roethlisberger completed 4-of-5 for 63 yards, including a beautiful throw to Darrius Heyward-Bey for 41 yards on a third-and-5 from the Steelers 22-yard line and then the 2-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller. After a pass to Antonio Brown for the 2-point conversion, the Steelers led, 8-0.
  • The 49ers moved to a first-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 10-yard line on the ensuing possession, but then it was Will Gay and then Cam Heyward making plays to push the San Francisco offense backward. A quick pass to Torrey Smith lost 3 yards when Gay made the tackle in the backfield, a screen pass to Carlos Hyde lost 4 yards thanks to a Heyward tackle, and then Heyward sacked Colin Kaepernick for another 7 yards in losses. It ended up being a 47-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
  • With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Steelers already had sacked Kaepernick three times. Tuitt got the first one, Heyward the second, and then Heyward chased Kaepernick into Ryan Shazier, who made the tackle to record the third.
  • Antonio Brown did not get into the end zone in the first half, but he made at least one significant play on each of the Steelers' four touchdowns in the first half. He had a 17-yard catch-and-run on the first touchdown drive, and a 59-yard catch-and-run on the second. His 16-yard punt return gave the offense good field position for its third touchdown, and his 12-yard reception converted a second-and-9 on the fourth.
  • The Steelers got their first takeaway of the season, when Ryan Shazier pounced on a fumble resulting from a bad exchange between Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde. That takeaway put the Steelers offense on the field for a possession that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams.
  • It's the rule. Like it or don't, but it's the rule. Call it the Dez Bryant rule, if you like. On the last play on an 18-play drive by the 49ers – a fourth-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 2-yard line – Colin Kaepernick completed in the right flat a pass to fullback Bruce Miller, who crossed the goal line and was hit by Lawrence Timmons. Miller had possession of the ball when he crossed the goal line, but he didn't maintain possession of the ball through the catch. It was called incomplete on the field, and Jim Tomsula's challenge was denied.
  • The 49ers held the ball for 11 minutes and 40 second of the third quarter but did nothing to cut into the Steelers' 29-3 lead.
  • Winning the home opener is something that has happened regularly during Coach Mike Tomlin's tenure. The Steelers now are 8-1 in those games, with the only loss coming against Tennessee in 2013.
  • The Steelers defense allowed a bunch of yardage, and all of those yards resulted in the 49ers enjoying a decided edge in time of possession. But the defense stiffened when San Francisco moved into scoring territory, and never was that illustrated more clearly than the 49ers final offensive possession of the game. After a 5-yard pass to Vernon Davis put the ball at the Pittsburgh 18-yard line, the 49ers snapped the ball six straight times in the red zone and came away with zero points. On fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Bud Dupree tackled Colin Kaepernick on the 1-yard line to turn the ball over on downs.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' home opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field.

  • It was San Francisco's initial third-down situation of the game. Colin Kaepernick was able to complete a 14-yard pass to Torrey Smith to convert the third-and-11, but that only happened because right tackle Erik Pears was not flagged for holding despite grabbing Arthur Moats by the arm right in front of an official.
  • Before the end of the first half, nose tackle Steve McLendon had been flagged twice for offside. On the first he lined up in the neutral zone, and on the second he jumped offside.
  • Josh Scobee continued to have problems while wearing a Steelers uniform. He missed the extra point after the tam's third touchdown.
  • The 49ers scored their first touchdown a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter, and it ultimately came on a fourth-down pass to Anquan Boldin. Included, however, was a bad penalty call – unnecessary roughness on Will Allen after a reception by Blake Bell – that gave the 49ers a first-and-goal at the Pittsburgh 7-yard line.
  • The Steelers defense allowed a lot of yards, but only two plays of 20-plus yards. The second of those was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
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