Throughout the season, I have harped on the Pittsburgh Steelers defense for giving up double explosive plays of 40 yards or more and on Sunday, their inability to stop giving them up has likely led to them missing the playoffs for a second straight season.
In their 34-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers defense allowed three plays of 40 yards or more with two of them coming in the second half. That brings the total of double explosive non-penalty plays allowed on the season to 17 with five of those being runs.
To show you just how out of character that is, from 2004-2012, Steeler defenses allowed a total of 54 non-penalty plays of 40 yards or more. Oh, and only four of those were runs during that span of time and none of them were by a quarterback.
What's even stranger is that the Steelers came into the game only allowing 38 plays of 20 plus yards, which overall is pretty good on paper. That goes to show you just how bad the 40 plus yarders hurt, as they usually resulted in points allowed during that same drive they were given up in.
Defense coordinator Dick LeBeau always preaches to his defense to stop the run, tackle the catch and not to give up the big play. Sunday against the Dolphins, they let him down in all three of those areas and now the team is left to play out the string.