Steelers Film Room: Cornerback Mistakes On Dolphins Two Deep Pass Completions

The Pittsburgh Steelers only allowed two deep pass completions to the Miami Dolphins in their Sunday loss and they were both huge plays in the game. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, by the way, only threw deep three times during the game. Below is a look at what went wrong defensively for the Steelers on those two deep pass completions.

With¬†10:45 left in the second quarter, Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers was able to get good initial pressure on Tannehill on a 1st and 10 play from the Dolphins 46-yard line. McCullers, however, sort of lets up after he sees Tannehill’s arm go forward and at that point the quarterback is able to escape the pocket to his left.

As far as the Steelers coverage on that play goes, they initially look to have the deep areas of the field bottled up as the play starts to breakdown as they are in cover-3 with zone underneath. As Dolphins MarQueis Gray starts to break his route off vertically, Steelers cornerback William Gay pauses momentarily as he sees Tannehill start to throw. That pause allows Gray to get some separation over the top and Tannehill launches a pass that travels roughly 52 yards in the air and over the head of Gay for an easy completion.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Gay let up. Perhaps he didn’t think Tannehill could throw the football that far. Regardless, what looked like a play that was covered from the start, ended in 53-yard reception and ultimately a Dolphins field goal, their second of the game.

With 1:09 left in the first, Tannehill once again was able to connect on a deep pass and this time it went to wide receiver Jarvis Landry on 3rd and 7 play from the Steelers 41-yard line.

On this play, the Steelers are once again playing cover-3 and the Dolphins try to exploit it by running two vertical routes on the left side in an attempt to stress cornerback Artie Burns on his third of the field. The inside route is a straight go while Landry presses his to the outside corner at roughly 12 yards past the line of scrimmage. Burns is so concerned that safety Mike Mitchell won’t be able to get over the top for the inside go route that he chooses to stay on that wide receiver¬†instead of Landry. By the time he sees where the ball is going, it’s too late.

Burns has got to trust that he’ll get the help from Mitchell down the seam. Should Mitchell fail to get there, it’s on him. In my opinion, this is a case of a young player trying to do too much and not trusting the defense or his teammates. As defensive coordinator Keith Butler said recently, “Do your job.” In this instance, Burns tried to do two jobs and it resulted not only in a 39-yard completion late in the first half, but a touchdown two plays later.

  • MattHat121

    Yeeaah, so Sunday should be fun.

  • Kevin artis

    What comes to my attention on the first GIF is that we have no one else near the quarterback but McCullers. This is not the first time this has happen where we get pressure, or the quarterback slips, or a bad exchange between qb and center and their is no one around the quarterback to make a play. Goes to our ineptitude of a pass rush.

  • Doug

    Very rough game for Burns.

  • Consistent

    Gay has been having a tough season thus far,it looked like Gay was stuck in no man’s land on both gifs…

  • Steve Johnson

    I’m not watching that game, I hate those arrogant Bleep/Ho#$. They are going to kill the Steelers.

  • Steve Johnson

    I was at the game yesterday, I was thinking the same thing. This might be his last year if he continues to struggle. Mike Tomlin use to be a secondary coach, strange how that team has struggled on the backend of their defense.

  • Shane Mitchell

    The first play looked like a blown read trap coverage , Gay was expecting the ball to be thrown much sooner and not deep.

  • gdeuce

    that plus the dropped interception

  • gdeuce

    Bell is going to have a big game, he will touch the ball 35 times

  • charles

    Besides the obvious no pass rush, there is something else. Last week against Jets, I saw the Chickillo come off of a block and tackle Jet RB. After the play, I thought that, ya know, I never see a Steeler coming off a block it seems, they are ALWAYS engaging the blocker. This is THE dumbest LaBoneheadism, yes, dumber than ‘tackle the catch’. The But-head-ler seems to embrace this concept. Why can’t Steeler front 7 disengage from a blocker? And, are Steeler fans going to have to bear the ghosts of LaBoneheadism for years before someone gets fired???

  • LAD

    On the first play, I hated, for start, that Big Dan gave up on the play, seemed as he was trying to hit QB just with enough power but not to hurt him, like if he was controlling the force he used (maybe he was told many years that has to controll that). Then, to see William Gay, at the 27 yard when the pass left the hand of Tannenhill, and not turning and run full speed until he was at the 15 yard!!! 12 yards just misjudging the pass!!! It was really a difficult pill to swallow.