By Matthew Marczi
I didn’t know a whole lot about Miami Dolphins tight end Charles Clay coming into this game. I’d never even heard of him coming into this season. But after this past game, I feel as though I know more about him than I’ll ever care to know, and what he is capable of doing to the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
The do-it-all tight end/h-back had a hand in most aspects of the game, but on this afternoon, he was most deadly in the passing game.
On this day, he finished with seven receptions on eight targets for 97 yards and two touchdowns. But more to the point, that came as a result of 46 yards after the catch, a byproduct of forcing six missed tackles.
The Steelers at least felt strongly enough in his run-blocking ability that the run fake on second and goal midway through the second quarter was enough to buy him a Jerricho Cotchery-esque wide open touchdown.
Later in the game, midway through the third quarter, he beat cornerback Cortez Allen on a go route down the right sideline on third down for a 40-yard gain. He not only beat Allen with his feet, he showed tremendous control and coordination to bring in the ball through Allen’s attempt to break up the pass all the while making sure that he stays in bounds through the catch.
Early in the fourth quarter, he took a short pass on third and eight and broke an open-field tackle attempt by Troy Polamalu in order to secure an 11-yard gain and the first down on what would prove to be a moment of foreshadowing for what was to come late in the fourth quarter for the defense.
As seen above.
On second and six, Clay beat not just Allen but also Polamalu for a second time, breaking both tackles and streaking into the end zone for the go-ahead and, ultimately, game-winning touchdown.
I think I can speak for the majority of Steelers fans when I say that we all learned just a little too much about Charles Clay this past week, whose impact on the game was the biggest difference in the loss. The Steelers missed 15 tackles against the Dolphins, but six of them were on Clay.