Missed Tackles Report: Steelers Vs Dolphins


Sunday’s game in Miami was dreadful by all accounts, but perhaps the most frustrating part of the game — at least for me — was the putrid tackling display presented by the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Miami Dolphins.

Oftentimes the Steelers defense made Jay Ajayi look like a young Adrian Peterson during a game in which he ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns, while the rest of the defense reverted to their old ways of arm tackles, dropping their heads on tackle attempts and simply flying in out of control all game long.

Warning:  the content below is graphic for a fan; it’s not pretty whatsoever. Proceed at your own risk.

Total Missed Tackles vs. Dolphins — 17

Vince Williams — 3
Jarvis Jones — 2
William Gay — 2
Mike Mitchell — 2
Lawrence Timmons — 2
Ross Cockrell — 2
Artie Burns — 1
Stephon Tuitt — 1
Javon Hargrave — 1
Robert Golden — 1

Total Missed Tackles in 2016 — 76 (average of 12.67 per game)

Sean Davis — 9
Mike Mitchell – 8
Artie Burns — 7
Stephon Tuitt — 7
Vince Williams — 7
Lawrence Timmons — 6
William Gay — 6
Ross Cockrell — 6
Ryan Shazier — 4
Jarvis Jones — 3
Robert Golden — 2
Arthur Moats — 1
Cameron Heyward — 1
LJ Fort — 1
Anthony Chickillo — 1
Jordan Dangerfield — 1
Ricardo Mathews — 1
Javon Hargrave — 1

Special Teams Missed Tackles in 2016 — 4

Steven Johnson — 1
Sammie Coates — 1
Tyler Matakevich — 1
Justin Gilbert — 1

I can’t make this up folks:  17 missed tackles against the Dolphins. At first when I made my way through the game Monday morning I thought for sure I had to have counted a few too many, but going through a second and third time, I came to the same number of 17 each time.


I really can’t try and slice this any other way:  this game against Miami might be the worst game I’ve ever seen the Steelers play as a whole in the last 10 years.  Ugly every which way you look at it.

With that said, let’s dive into the tape and take a look at some of the most egregious missed tackles.

The GIF above was one of the more impressive runs that Ajayi made on the day, largely due to his vision and burst up the gut.

Take a look at the snap; Ricardo Mathews picks a side on Branden Albert’s block, while James Harrison tries to hold his gap, which opens up a big lane for the pulling linemen to hit and get to the second level.

From there you see Vince Williams sealed off while Laremy Tunsil manhandles Lawrence Timmons at the second level. Where the biggest issue with the play though is the angle that Mike Mitchell takes and then the attempt he puts out to try and bring down Ajayi.

Granted, Mitchell was hurt prior to this run, but if that’s the type of effort you’re going to give on a run play, why even be on the field? He did this quite a few times against Miami, as well as quite a few times throughout his Steelers career.

 When I first saw this play live it reminded me so much of the Week 1 missed tackle by Timmons on Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.

Timmons does a good job of breaking on the throw quickly, but my goodness he just flops to the ground and completely whiffs on Jarvis Landry. I don’t think he even got a finger on the Miami receiver.

It’s being a concerning part of Timmons’ game against skill players in space.  Following the end of the play, you can see Mike Tomlin giving it to Timmons for the missed tackle and poor effort.

This is the last GIF, I swear. And this one might be the most embarrassing for anyone watching.

Damien Williams isn’t a power running back by any means, but he sure looked like one here on this GIF.

There are just so many guys diving at ankles and out of position in this clip that I don’t even know where to start.

But we’ll start at the snap as Javon Hargrave and Stephon Tuitt look to work down the line on the zone run for the Dolphins, but they seem to get a little too far down the line, which causes Vince Williams to try and attack the gap between the two, but that allows for a huge cutback lane for Williams.

By cutting back against the grain, Williams has plenty of room to work with as Mitchell is out of position and Timmons is dealing with Tunsil at the second level. From there it just gets worse as guys simply dive at Williams’ ankles and legs without wrapping up, allowing Williams to look like (insert prominent power back of your choosing here) against an overmatched defense.

That’s it; I’m sorry you took the time to read through that horror show. Seventeen missed tackles! Yikes. Hopefully Week 7 at home against the New England Patriots is a major improvement, but with a banged up front seven and an ever-shuffling secondary, I won’t hold my breath against Gronk, Martellus Bennett and friends.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    Question and it might sound crazy and far fetched but do anyone think that with all this teams weapons and 1st rd picks on both sides of the ball if we go 8-8 and miss the playoffs again this yrs after we were almost a shoe in to making and perhaps winning the superbowl do Tomlin get put on the hot seat or fired altogether now mind you I like coach T I just want to get others opinions on this sort of like pros and cons

  • WreckIess

    No. Cowher missed the playoffs three years straight and still kept his job. And two of those years he was under .500. It would be a huge disappointment, but the Rooneys let coaches work through that kind of thing.

  • Applebite

    The silver lining here is, this is a rather young unit right now. I think fans have been desensitized to youth, because we’ve became accustomed to seeing the old guys make the simple tackles and stopping the bleeding when needed the most. But those old guys had missed tackles as well, just not as frequent as this young unit is showing right now.

    This defense really does need that old school NT somewhere on the roster, to help eliminate those up the gut killing runs. Or they better find a ILB that can play with those guys up front to stuff the run. A Levon Kirkland type or put trust in Matakevich, make him that guy. The most concerning part of this defense, and actually, for the longest time, really, is how wide open the middle of the field is after the snap.
    Seen it during the Superbowl against the Cards, wide open up the middle, constantly, and it actually burned them with Fitzgerald’s catch and run. We’re still seeing the same thing this season. Not a single body in the middle of the field.

    The core is too spread out to be effective in applying pressure up front. It’s to the point where, you may as well call the Nickle their base defense. They need bodies up front, three is simply not enough. Four is barely enough. Five is adequate for some consistency.

  • RickM

    Thanks for the breakdown and the staggering amount. Man, they kept you busy. I look at this in very simplistic terms. They were a tackling machine against the Jets. A whole bunch of D guys don’t suddenly forget how to tackle in one week. Any sort of intensity level – physical and mental – just wasn’t there in Miami. Some of the missed tackles were because they were always a step behind in their mental recognition. Others were because their physical efforts were half-hearted.

    Most of the drop-off was because the coaches and players weren’t ready mentally and physically, even if they thought they were. The rest of the drop-off was a clear under-estimation of the effects of heat and humidity.

  • Kevin artis

    What I don’t like is the nickel formation of just 2DL. It baffles me how they think they can possibly stop the run in this line up. 5 OL against 2DL. Chick and Jones can be blocked easily by a TE.
    What caught my eye was how the OL from the dolphins is easily getting to the second level and blocking our ILBs. The reason is because neither of our DL requires a double team. And this is why I would insert McCullers in the lineup. He might not give you much on the pass rush but he does require two blockers.

  • cencalsteeler

    Uh oh! Is Mike Mitchell starting to get exposed? There’s more to football then getting a free lick on someone every once in a while.

  • hojo

    As they should. It’s what makes the Steelers one of the top tier organizations in the league.

  • Steve

    With you on that hojo, this is not the Browns. Embarrassing looses like this humble players and put them back into perspective, that at any time and week you could get beat. These Steelers players need to look internally to see what each of them are doing wrong. Every players is making mistakes, they don’t need to start pointing fingers. Looses like this are lessons in life that you learn from and don’t let happen again.

  • hojo

    Agreed. I also don’t absolve the coaching staff of these losses, but for the Rooney’s to make a change based on a handful of .500 seasons would be shocking to say the least.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Glad someone else is saying it besides me lol.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    You know it is bad when Vince Williams is leading the team in missed tackles for the week. He usually seems like such a sure thing.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Agree. The 2 DL approach is becoming a complete joke. I could care less that is what the package calls for. How many games are they going to lose with this approach before they change it is the million dollar question.