Pure and utter demolition is what it was.
Are you going to knock me down or am I going to knock you down? The proposition ended up being that simple.
When the Steelers decided to employ their go-for-broke, we’re-laying-it-all-out tactic from just inches from the goal line and 5 seconds left against the San Diego Chargers, it would be certain that running back Le’Veon Bell would be the man who understood all that came with scoring — or all the criticism for not getting in.
Bell and Mike Tomlin.
And Todd Haley.
The crosshairs were on them, for sure.
But it wasn’t just on them. Far from it.
In that flash, in that moment, Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro made as fine of a play that any interior lineman will make all season. Not just for the Steelers, either — in all the NFL.
Certainly, it’s sexier, shinier and much better watercooler talk to chat about the exploits of the running back, receiver or quarterback, but at least some of the talk today in Pittsburgh — and in my estimation a lot of it — should be about the play DeCastro made on that goal line.
Starting off the play at his right guard position, DeCastro roared parallel to the scrimmage line when the ball was snapped, found the point of attack and forced his shoulders upfield when he understood Bell was on his heels. From there, DeCastro moved the pile and allowed Bell — with a second effort — to fling himself forward and, with it, the Steelers’ record to 3-2 as opposed to what would have been a dreary 2-3.
Such a play should never be lost on Bell.
Such a play should never be lost on Tomlin or Haley.
Such a play should never be lost on us Western Pennsylvanians, who often thump our chests about being tougher, grittier and more roll-our-sleeves-up kinda people than many others out there.
Such a play wasn’t lost on fellow Steelers lineman Ramon Foster.
“He made an All-Pro play,” Foster said of DeCastro. “It’s a high stress situation where we’re on the goal line and they are in their goal line defense. For him to pull and not get tripped up on feet, or stumble out of it … if he doesn’t make that block, Le’Veon doesn’t get in. Great, heads-up athletic play by Dave. I tell him all the time he’s one of the best guards in the league and he’s proved it.”
So as the Steelers — and especially Bell — bask in the glory and celebrate the victory against San Diego, many will turn their attention to the 111 yards gained by Bell in the come-from-behind victory when the offense sputtered much of the night. Many will also tell the story of that final yard gained by Bell, the one where Tomlin took a chance and Bell nudged his way — from the Wildcat — into the end zone.
But when you tell the story of that play, remember it might have been DeCastro — and not Bell — who pulled off the most impressive show of athleticism.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.