While Being Gored By The Run, Tannehill Paper Cut The Steelers Defense To Death


The Miami Dolphins took to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and not only did their offense have a big day running the football, quarterback Ryan Tannehill complemented it it by completing 24 of his 32 pass attempts in the game for 252 yards.

While Tannehill only attempted 3 deep passes against the Steelers defense on Sunday, he connected on 2 of them for gains of 44 or 38 yards and both resulted in the Dolphins offense being set up inside the Steelers 5-yard-line. I have already broken down those two plays for you here in case you missed it.

As you can see in the table below, Tannehill held the football for 6.09 and 3.45 seconds on those two deep pass completions. On his other deep throw early in the game, he held the football for 3.59 seconds. Only two other time during the game did Tannehill hold on to the football more than 2.93 seconds after it was snapped and on both of those plays he rolled out to his right.

For the game, Tannehill’s average a snap to throw time was 2.38 seconds. That’s getting rid of the football fairly quick. If you remove his three deep throw times, his average release time on his other 30 pass attempts was 2.19 seconds and it’s really hard to get a sacks when the football is coming out that quick on average.

Tannehill was pressured on just 2-of-32 (6%) official dropbacks Sunday by the Steelers defense and that was the lowest pressure percentage of his career, according to ESPN and that matches our charting numbers as well.

According to my charting, Tannehill got rid of the football in 2.37 seconds or less 19 times and in 1.94 seconds or less 14 times. 26 of the 33 times that Tannehill threw the football against the Steelers the pass only traveled 7 yards or less past the line of scrimmage and 23 passes flew 4 yards or less past the line of scrimmage. In other words, Tannehill was Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday only he completed 66% of his deep passes.

After throwing incomplete on his first two third down attempts, Tannehill completed his final 9 and 5 of those wound up moving the chains. For the game, the Dolphins converted 50% of their 3rd downs and that was a real killer.

The Steelers need to start defensing these short quick throws much better moving forward and that might mean playing less cover-3 on early downs.

Sunday at Heinz Field, the Steelers will play the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady will welcome the opportunity to papercut the Pittsburgh defense to death just as Tannehill did this past Sunday. We’ve seen him do it several times in the past as the Patriots love running those rub routes with their wide receivers and tight ends in addition to using quick slants and out throws against zone coverages.

The best chance the Steelers have of holding the Patriots offense under 20 points will likely include them daring Brady to beat them deep and to do that he’ll need to stand in the pocket a little longer. If and when they blitz, they better make sure they get home. Oh, and they better stop the run on early downs as well or Brady will drop a 50-burger on them.

112:13110MIA35C1.494(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to K.Stills for 5 yards
111:48220MIA25C1.451(SG) R.Tannehill pass SL to J.Landry for 22 yards
110:49110PIT26I3.5926R.Tannehill pass incomplete DM to D.Parker
19:2927PIT13C1.570(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to D.Parker for 1 yard
18:4236PIT12I1.741(SG) R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to J.Ajayi
15:0929MIA26I2.8414R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to K.Stills
15:0139MIA26I2.9311(SG) R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to J.Landry
10:26110MIA11C2.581(SG) R.Tannehill pass SL to D.Jones for 8 yards
213:42110MIA22C1.836(SG) R.Tannehill pass SL to D.Parker for 7 yards
213:0823MIA29C1.220(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to D.Parker for 3 yards
211:3228MIA34C2.211R.Tannehill pass SR to D.Sims for 12 yards
210:45110MIA46C6.0944(SG) R.Tannehill pass DL to M.Gray 53 yards
29:5511PIT1C4.051(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to D.Jones for 1 yard PEN
29:14211PIT11C1.894(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to K.Stills for 7 yards
28:2634PIT4I2.114(SG) R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to D.Sims
27:02214PIT17C1.31-3(SG) R.Tannehill pass SL to D.Williams for no gain
26:15314PIT17C2.440(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to D.Williams for 5 yards
22:00210MIA43C1.776(SG) R.Tannehill pass SL to D.Parker for 6 yards
21:5534MIA49C2.372(NH, SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to A.Foster for 7 yards
21:49110PIT44I2.5712(SG) R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to D.Parker
21:0937PIT41C3.4538(SG) R.Tannehill pass DL to J.Landry for 39 yards
314:22210MIA25C1.461(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to J.Landry for 8 yards
313:3932MIA33C1.424(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to J.Landry for 5 yards
312:05110PIT24I1.681R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to D.Jones
310:37211PIT15C2.644(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to J.Landry for 10 yards
34:26110PIT19C1.940(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to J.Ajayi for 3 yards
32:5637PIT16C2.087(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to D.Parker 11 yards
30:26110MIA48C2.432R.Tannehill pass SR to M.Gray for 9 yards
412:5936PIT36C2.714(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to A.Foster for 5 yards
49:4932MIA17C2.473(SG) R.Tannehill pass SM to J.Landry for 5 yards
47:5731MIA31C4.7913R.Tannehill pass SR to M.Gray for 19 yards
45:19210PIT38I2.02-2R.Tannehill pass incomplete SR to J.Landry
45:14310PIT38C1.54-2(SG) R.Tannehill pass SR to J.Landry for 2 yards
  • JB Burgess

    Wasting Ben’s prime with a trash defense. Four straight seasons…This only flies in Pittsburgh, where the media is chummy with the players and org.

  • Kevin artis

    I don’t think there is a worst group of OLBs in the league right now. Jarvis Jones, James Harrison, Chickillo and Moats. Garbage!!!

  • alevin16

    Wait are you saying that having the DBs stand 10 to 12 yards off the receiver is a bad thing??? /s

  • T R

    so is the result of him being able to get the ball out so fast is because our defense is playing to far from the receiver and not tight enough or what?

  • WreckIess


  • WreckIess

    A lot of that is because of LeBeau’s scheme which was passed down to Butler. The thing about the scheme that we run is that it works best when you have guys who can get after the QB quickly AND secondary players who can tackle the catch. Guess which one we have? Trick question. It’s neither f***ing one.

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m not sure if this is much news here, but Tannehill did the exact same thing to us last go around a few years back. Not seeing any improvement over that period of time is pretty dissapointing.

  • Michael James

    I’ll give Harrison a pass, he has done so much for us and is 38 years old (and he still is the best of the bunch). The rest of them, I completely agree with you.

  • Shane Mitchell

    The trend in the NFL has been shorter drops, quicker throws, and more of them, as such it is much harder to get pressure with an outside pass rush nowadays. The angle to the QB is tougher as well as the shorter time to get there. Only way to disrupt this type of offense is with inside pass rushes and you have to commit to it by aligning in all odd gaps upfront,

    This is the difference between Denver’s 3-4 front and ours, they line up in an under alignment and penetrate every single down, we line up in an eagle alignment or some combo between the two and read the play, then try to beat the Olineman if it isnt a run. too late, ball is out. To beat Brady you have to pressure him inside and commit to rushing the passer upfront at the cost of your MLBs being tied to the A and B gaps, The Steelers dont do it because they want their MLBs to be more active and make plays.

    We have to get in Brady’s face inside and force him to move, disrupt his rhythm ,otherwise we are looking at 40 points with our poor tackling.

    We drafted and signed players that can penetrate gaps we need to let them do just that upfront the entire game.

  • Kevin artis

    I respect Harrison and you are absolutely correct for what he’s done for us. But you remember the song by Janet Jackson. And to say he the best out of the bunch could be taken as a insult or not hard to do.

  • RickM

    I’m not sure different schemes would have helped our D all that much. They just weren’t there physically or mentally. The Dolphins on the other hand executed really well and they had a great game plan. You could see them taking advantage of things they saw on tape.

    I don’t know how to explain it. Heyward was out for most of the Jets’ game, so we had same D unit out there that looked just fine the week before. Yesterday they were always a step slow and they lost most of the one-on-one battles…against an offense that had been sputtering. An unprepared and uninspired Steelers’ team I guess, from coaching through players. I’m not sure how that happens when every game of the limited 16-game schedule is so important.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Check the tape of that game in 2011, I believe it was. Steelers Pats 23-18 or something like that. That would be the formula for beating the Pats. But with everyone missing I think they save that plan just in case they meet them once again in the playoffs.

  • WilliamSekinger

    The NFL trend to the shorter quicker passing game has had a name for quite some time. Its called the west coast offense, and that offense is the reason behind the zone blitz scheme Dick Lebeau and Dom Capers collaborated on many years ago in Pittsburgh.

    So, why is the zone Blitz now suddenly having problems stopping the very offense it was created to stop?

  • Taylor Williams

    Even if our defense was good, Ben would still get hurt. I don’t think his gunslinger mentality is good in the long run.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    It takes a certain kind of defense to make this QB look good in 2016. None have been able to do it until the Steelers last wknd. Sad.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Prior to this game Tannehill was sacked 17 times with 7 interceptions. Ben was sacked 9 times with 4 interceptions. I get that they had two of their lineman back and we were minus Hayward but he was sacked on average of over 3 times a game and we couldn’t sniff a sack and barely sniffed some pressures. The fact that Butler did not try to put pressure on an average QB is not only inexplicable it’s inexcusable.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Your last sentence struck a cord I have been thinking about. Their performance in the Eagles game surprised me since it was so early in the season. Now we have another clunker only 6 games into the season. They are on pace to have 5 games where the coaches and players were not mentally prepared for a football game. I understand the high and lows and the emotional aspect of the NFL but you sort expect the first let down to be later in the season and maybe to have 2-3 for the whole year. Certainly not 2 within the first 6 games.

  • mrallnite111 .

    Wait a minute Did you see the game? Ben is wasting his own prime… or did you not see any of the games last year ? Why don’t you look at some of the highlights then… This Dolphin team had no interceptions until Ben came to Miami (Not an opinion, its a fact) The score was “8 to 6” , The defense was doing their job, until Ben decide to throw an ‘int’ putting a defense (fatigue) back on the field…. The sad part is that none of you that called yourselves fans of the STEELERS, seem to realize that Ben threw his first & only Td with just 54 seconds remaining in the game….

  • mrallnite111 .

    This was no scrimmage, it was a game!!!! Time of possession was 36:30 to 23 minute and 30 seconds in favor of the Dolphins… Ben was 9 of 20 with 83 passing yard with just 5 mins remaining in the game… How long will you guys continue to Rotheliberger a pass? it seems like you all notice what the defense does… And for the record those 13 pts in the second qt came from Ben’s ints..

  • Michael James

    You’re absolutely right of course. It just seems wrong to critisize him, when he could have easily retired two seasons ago and is just here to help out, because the front office couldn’t find some good young OLBs (excluding Dupree).

  • Steeler-Drew

    Sorry but this article was about the defense. Who said anything about a scrimmage? In that 36:30 of TOP the defense only managed to get two pressures on an average QB or had been sacked 17 previous times. The 1-4 team had 2 sacks and 2 interceptions and we had goose eggs. Ben did play poorly, there is no denying that. I’m not sure how much his injury had to do with it but he was inaccurate and made some poor decisions by trying the force the ball into coverage. But once again this article was about the defense getting outcoached and outplayed. My issue is like the Eagles game when they didn’t try to pressure a rookie QB, they didn’t try to pressure an average QB in Tannehill.

  • mrallnite111 .

    You’re not sorry, you are in denial… Ben has been sabotaging the team since 2012… He been upset ever since Bruce Arians was terminated… just look how poorly he played against the Browns in week 17 of last season. Interception after interception. Steelers fan were hoping for a playoff birth, & Ben was determined to keep them out. Mind you, this was a Browns team who didn’t want to be on the field …

    Now there are a plethora of games for me to point out to anyone whom disagrees with the obvious ……….. ( And for the record that 1-4 didn’t have any interceptions until generous Ben step on the field) + (Ben ints led to ten points)

    Besides this article is an attack on the defense as if Benjamin wasn’t 9 out of 20 for 83 yds with 5 minutes remaining in the game lol ( it was a Metaphor, I assumed that any correspondent would understand how the game resembled a scrimmage, 36 minutes and 30 seconds in favor of the inferior Dolphin team)

    How would you feel, if you force your opponent to Punt Only to have your alleged HOF Qb give the opposition a better chance at scoring ! (they only got 3 pts) the defense did what they were suppose to… But the HOF did it again… ( muscles do fatigue)