By Matthew Marczi
After coming off a very strong game in terms of blocking against the Minnesota Vikings, tight end Heath Miller did not have such an easy time against the New York Jets this past week—and not just because he was beaten for a sack.
To be fair, Rex Ryan’s defense is more aggressive, more disciplined, and just all-around better than what the Vikings were able to offer, particularly up front, but whatever the case may be, the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers tight end took his lumps to go along with his highlights.
One aspect in particular that he had issues with was in the screen game, where Calvin Pace got the better of him twice by not locking in, which resulted in unsuccessful plays. Here it is on the first play of the game:
Although he is ultimately able to seal Pace outside, Pace did his job by holding the edge and not relinquishing the outside. This allowed the rest of the defense to swoop in and wrap up the play for a short gain. Nearly the identical play happened again late in the third quarter:
As was the case on the first play, it was a one-man screen with Miller lined up on the right and Antonio Brown outside of him. Once again, it was Calvin Pace holding the edge and preventing Brown from getting outside on the screen. This time, Brown nearly runs up Miller’s back before Antonio Allen drops him for no gain.
Then here we are on a late-first quarter carry by Le’Veon Bell, in which he is looking to punch it through a hole made by Miller sealing off the outside linebacker and Ramon Foster pulling right to block out the inside linebacker. Instead, neither satisfactorily secure their blocks and both team up to make the tackle.
Most of the blame here goes on the blocking, though Bell’s impatience—despite having a defensive end trailing him—also contributed to the poor efficacy of this play. And it was just two plays later that Miller is beaten around the edge by outside linebacker Garrett McIntyre for a sack.
There is really not too much going on in this play; it is simply one man winning his individual battle against another. McIntyre blocks Miller’s initial punch before knocking his arms down, and from that point on it is a footrace to the target, which the defense wins. Ben Roethlisberger had little hope of escaping that one.
By no means, however, was it all bad for Miller in this game, who had a season-high with 84 receiving yards, and I will be taking a look at some of the positives tomorrow.