When you look at the defensive stat line from the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-13 win Monday night over the Kansas City Chiefs you will see that safety Ryan Clark led the team in combined tackles with 10. He had 8 solo tackles and 2 assist to be specific.
This post is not aimed at slapping Clark as I believe that he has played great this season, and good Monday night. The point I want to make in this post is that Clark was forced to make too many tackles against the run at the second level, or after 5 yards to be specific.
8 of the tackles that Clark made Monday night were run tackles with 6 of them coming after 7 yards or more gained. I did some digging, and so far this season, Clark has been in on 44 total run tackles with 25 of them being made with 5 yards or less gained. The other 19 run tackles that he has made were after 6 yards or more.
As you can see, Clark only had to make 13 tackles on runs 6 yards or longer heading into that game. Monday night he had to make nearly half that many. That\’s not what you want to see.
The Steelers defensive line simply did not do a good job at filling gaps against the Chiefs and several times LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote did a poor job at containing the edge or filling the gaps respectively. This led to Clark having to come up and make the tackles.
Not all run tackles are created equal for safeties. The 5 yard or less variety are fine, but the ones that need to be made past that distance shows that the people up front were not doing their job against the run. Hopefully this changes this coming Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens as Clark certainly could use a little less wear and tear on him coming off of another concussion.