By Matthew Marczi
Redemption had been a recurring pattern for the Steelers against the Browns this game. Heath Miller had been having his recent struggles as much as anybody, so it was important for him to rebound with a clean game, and he did, both blocking and receiving.
Early in the first quarter, Miller brought in his first pass of the day for 12 yards. Ben Roethlisberger was under pressure from Jabaal Shead, so the veteran tight end worked his way back to his quarterback and away from the defender to give Roethlisberger an outlet to get the ball away. That’s good awareness.
Late in the first half, after a fumble recovery by Troy Polamalu, the Steelers started off an eventual field goal drive with a 12-yard carry by Le’Veon Bell on the first play, and Miller helped make it happen.
Miller lined up midway between the line and the quarterback as an h-back, and after the snap pulled to the right around right guard in order to chip linebacker Tank Carder.
What makes the play more impressive is that Miller, and eventually Bell, had to maneuver a tight space around Marcus Gilbert, who was losing the leverage battle against Sheard and being pushed into the hole. Miller could only get so much on his block because of that, but it was enough.
Two plays later, he ran a short seam route over Sheard, who didn’t entirely seem to know what he was supposed to be doing. He then bounced off the hit from the safety in order to gain a few extra yards.
I should also note that the grab itself was pretty nice, which required him to get off the ground and high point it on an angle, which takes concentration.
Back on the ground, Miller again did his part in the fourth quarter as the Steelers looked to drain the clock with a commanding lead.
On this play, he lined up just off the line, behind and between Gilbert and Michael Palmer. Palmer blocked his assignment to the right, while Miller ran up and pushed his to the left, opening up the hole for Bell, which allowed for a nice gain the set up third and short. The Steelers ran a very similar play on third down behind Miller, which they easily converted.