By Alex Kozora
Game notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Miami Dolphins.
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– Kick return unit. No order. Antwon Blake, Terence Garvin, Stevenson Sylvester, Chris Carter, and Vince Williams as the front five. Michael Palmer/David Paulson the next two, Al Woods/Cam Heyward forming the wedge, and Jonathan Dwyer/Felix Jones as upback and kick returner respectively.
– First game in several weeks the team hasn’t started in a heavy set. Shotgun, 11 personnel on the first play and empty on the next.
– Blake and Markus Wheaton gunners. Others on punt coverage. Palmer, Carter, Garvin, Greg Warren, Will Johnson, Jason Worilds, Paulson, and Robert Golden the upback.
– Heyward showed the complete package on his sack. Explosive off the snap, proper pad level, arm extension (pictured below) and the ability to shed and finish the play. Well done!
– Couple of rookies showing some pride in playing jammer. Wheaton/Shamarko Thomas stonewalling the gunner the entire play.
– Good ‘ol Power O football. David DeCastro and Johnson kicking out. Le’Veon Bell goes for nine.
– Try to run the same thing next play. Defensive tackle recognizes it, swims over Cody Wallace, and Will Johnson forced to pick him up, leaving the LB free.
Bell still spins off him and gains six. Mark of a good back. Make something out of a play that went wrong on from an assignment aspect.
– And this is what you can do when you run the ball four times for 28 yards on a drive. Heavy set but run playaction. Linebackers cheat and helps open up the skinny post to Heath Miller.
– Nice job by Marcus Gilbert to set his hips and seal on this zone block.
– Your weekly edition of an offensive lineman getting rolled into. This week features David DeCastro who gets hit by a DB. Pulled up in pain but stayed in the game.
– Penetration on this run threatens to blow the play up in the backfield. Bell with good vision though, not bouncing it to the edge with the DB sitting there. Squeezes through crack to the outside of Heath.
– Emmanuel Sanders TD. LOVE Ben’s mobility in the pocket. Pressure to the inside, he slides to his left, eyes downfield, feet set, and delivers. Subtle but critical.
– KR unit. No order. Thomas, William Gay, Jarvis Jones, Johnson, Wheaton, Carter, Allen, Golden, Garvin, Blake.
– Cortez Allen high-pointing the ball to break it up vs Mike Wallace.
– Ziggy Hood re-injured himself after taking friendly fire from Jason Worilds with four minutes left in the first.
– How is Ryan Tannehill able to run for eight yards on third and three, converting a first down? Coverage was excellent and the Steelers didn’t blitz. Because Jarvis Jones has zero counters, he just keeps getting pushed up the arc. Leaves a giant hole to the right side of the field. Counters aren’t just to get pressure. They’re to contain the QB, squeeze the pocket.
– What exactly is Troy Polamalu reading on Tannehill’s 48 yard run? Stacks gaps and doesn’t fill his gap, the playside “B”. If he does, probably makes the tackle.
And I’ve been a big supporter of Ike Taylor, and still am, but shocked he couldn’t catch Tannehill quicker than that.
– Big man Heyward getting downhill against a screen. So athletic, fluid, and no quit in his game. He’ll be involved with any throw underneath. Runs the screen down and finishes it with authority.
– Jerricho Cotchery not able to hold his stalk block long enough or may have helped spring Felix Jones for a big run.
– Poor fundamentals from Will Allen here. Lowers shoulder, doesn’t wrap up against the portly Daniel Thomas. Misses.
– Fault on Charles Clay’s TD likely falls on Cortez Allen. Looks like corners have flat responsibility. Ike sitting vs slant/flat at the top of the screen. Cortez follows Wallace on in breaking route and doesn’t see Clay, who leaks late into the flats.
– Nice play by DeCastro to double the three tech off the ball and then get a piece of the linebacker immediately after on this draw. Doesn’t let either get enough penetration to blow the play up.
– Heyward having an easy time vs Bryant McKinnie on zone runs. Force on the backside. Will always beat the big left tackle laterally.
– Jared Odrick swims over Wallace and blows up this run. Wallace consistently slow off the snap and plays with heavy hands in the run game.
– Ben sees two rushers vs one RB. Hits Heath on his hot.
– Punt blocked. Dolphins overload the right side next to Warren with two defenders. Call between the upback and long snapper usually has one block left and the other right. Miami gets free rusher. So really just good scheme on their part.
– Real good job by Lawrence Timmons to set the edge, force two blockers to take him on and Miller has to cut back.
– 3rd and 1 mesh route on Miami’s first possession of the second half. Troy manipulated by Tannehill and bites on the one crosser on the mesh. Tannehill hits the other for an easy completion and first down.
– Daniel Thomas’ four yard TD. LB blitz and Timmons get swallowed up by the guard. Worilds on contain being extra cautious after Tannehill’s 48 yard scamper.
– Steelers playaction on 3rd and 1. Linebackers and safeties bite. Complete to Miller for a long gain. Gutsy call by Todd Haley but pays off.
– Antonio Brown TD. Slant/flat combo. Ben pumps to the flat to draw the linebacker then comes to the slant to hit an open AB. He does the right. So dangerous in space.
– Troy’s INT for a TD. Dolphins keep seven to block, Steelers only rush three. Only three routes for Miami with six defenders. Simple math…
– Charles Clay’s 40 yard catch. Cortez obviously faster but he doesn’t flip his hips off the line. Tight coverage but no press, lets Clay have a free release. Needs to flip sooner.
– Worilds’ sack. Countered Tyson Clabo with inside spin, his go-to move.
– Instance of Ben staring down a receiver and missing an open one.
Throws incomplete to Bell. Still have a feeling the team is trying to force feed him the ball in the passing game.
– Here’s the special teams play that is really frustrating. The near block in the 4th quarter. Dolphins with similar concept as the block. Warren/Golden slide the same way to pick it up by Warren simply can’t make his block. Have a feeling this is his last season here.
– 55 yard run on Miami’s go-ahead drive. Just well blocked Power O in my mind. Am disappointed in Iky’s feeble arm tackle, however.
– Gilbert beat, Wallace walked into the pocket on 4th and 10 scramble from Ben.
– Weekly missed T/E stunt.
– Kudos to the end zone camera guy for a good shot on the lateral to end the game. Give that (wo)man a raise.
– As others have pointed out, Mike Adams did play ok. Not great but ok. Feet aren’t going dead as often and he’s keeping his hands up most of the time, not letting them drop to his belly.
– Just in case someone didn’t notice, Cortez Allen now starting over William Gay.