Heyward Says Steelers Defense Gave Up Too Many Rushing Yards To Vikings


The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed the Minnesota Vikings to rush for 91 yards Sunday at Heinz Field and defensive end Cameron Heyward wasn’t too pleased about that.

After Sunday’s win, Heyward was asked if holding the Vikings to just 91 yards made him feel “ok” even though it was clear Minnesota’s main focus was to run the football against the Steelers defense.

“Just? That’s too much and especially when we had them at 18 yards,” Heyward said. “They’re a good offense. They have a good running game, three really good backs, but we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

In the first half of Sunday’s game, the Steelers defense allowed just 25 yards rushing by the Vikings offense on 12 carries. In the third quarter, however, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook had 49 yards rushing on his own on four carries and that included a 25-yard run off right tackle that moved the football down to the Steelers one-yard-line. One play later, Vikings fullback C.J. Ham scored on a middle dive play.

“We’ve just got to fill a little better and not give up those big runs,” Heyward said after the game. “Even in the third quarter when we gave it up, if we dont give that up, we set our offense good, we keep them in good field position and we can score some more points.”


On that long run by Cook, the Vikings second-longest play from scrimmage of the game, it looked like Steelers second-year safety Sean Davis did a poor job of holding the edge on the left side of the defense. Him getting trapped inside allowed Cook to go untouched around the right end. You can see that play below.

“They lulled us to sleep on like a couple of runs, but that’s something that we can grow from and learn from and continue to get better,” Heyward said.

In addition to letting the Vikings average 4.55 per rush Sunday, the Steelers defense gave up quite a few runs that were successful during the game. In fact, of the 20 total rushes that the Vikings offense had during Sunday’s game, nearly half of them, 9 to be exact, were successful ones based on down, distance and yards gained.

The Steelers will play a Chicago Bears offense in Week 3 that is currently averaging 4.14 yards per carry. 125 of their 145 total rushing yards came against a seemingly good Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 1. However, it is worth noting that just 12 of their 35 total rushes were successful ones in their first two games. Additionally, one of those 35 rushes was a 46-yard gain by Bears running back Tarik Cohen around left end against the Falcons.

  • treeher

    SD too anxious to do somebody else’s job, and he failed to do his own. I doubt it happens again. I’d hate to be him in the film room.

  • Thomas

    I loved this quote soo much, 90 is too much. lets shoot for 50 🙂 I can live with that

  • sixnine

    vince had first contain, shouldnt have let the tackle bait him into rushing wide.Cook slip right into the gap that Vince opened, S.Davis was second level contain but it started with V.W getting upfield and out of the play

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I just think Dalvin Cook is a special rb and I’m glad we held them to what they had.

  • falconsaftey43

    Haden also took an inside gap instead of edge contain. They have done that some lately, but hard to say if he was supposed to here or not. Davis/Haden could have got who had which messed up as they both ended up in the same gap.

  • #beatthepats

    The problem with that run is the rediculous 2 defensive lineman defense this coordinator continues to employ, it gives up huge runs all the time , look at the hole between guard and tackle, if cook picks that hole ,1 move and he walks to the endzone, they are simply giving up to much wieght up front , this defense gives up huge chunks of rushing yards ALLThe time, your asking linebackers to take on 320 lb lineman, they are easily moved creating huge holes, javon hargrave is dominate in the middle,and should not be replaced by a linebackerthis defense never works, its a prevent defense that gives up huge yards per attempt rushing.

  • falconsaftey43

    Ravens run a 2 DL defense and have a great run defense.

  • falconsaftey43

    To put numbers to it, the Ravens averaged 2.2 DL on the field last season and had the 5th best run defense.

  • John Westbrook

    Dirty red

  • Jason Vancil

    Cook looks like a good one, so I’m not going to be too hard on Davis. As long as he learns from it.

  • ryan72384

    Same run defense as last year. They stuff the run for long stretches and then give up big chunks. They play fast and aggressive and lose containment sometimes and it bites them. I’ll take the fast aggressive play anyday though. These guys are never going to be a group that consistently holds teams to 60 yards rushing. I don’t think they are built for it. If they keep teams under 90 yards I’m happy because that generally means the other team isn’t just running it down your throat

  • Craig M

    How’s their D against the pass, is it a weak spot other teams are concentrating on or maybe the quality of the teams they played against are poor their first two games?

  • falconsaftey43

    I was referencing 2016. See stats in other post. Another great example is the Cardinals who had 3rd best ypc avg. last year while Fielding 2.4 DL on average.

    Pretty much every “3-4” team runs primarily with 2 DL.

  • falconsaftey43

    accurate assessment. Just for reference, best rush defense last year was cowboy’s with 83.5 ypg

  • #beatthepats

    They have much bigger dlineman , and suggs is 275

  • #beatthepats

    No way, steelers run defense with 3 defensive lneman in the game is dominate, my critique is when they use 2 defensive lineman , not thier overall numbers against the run.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Suggs is 260

    He’s just better.

  • falconsaftey43

    Every “3-4” team runs in nickle about 70% of the time, that means 2DL most of the time. My point is there is nothing wrong with the scheme, many in the league run it and stop the run just fine out of it.

  • falconsaftey43

    And the Cardinals…?

  • pittfan

    Davis clearly have up contain there

  • pcantidote

    That play has been the book on how to run on the Steelers for 25 years. Allow the defense to overpursue and then bounce outside. Not surprised that Zimmer was on that.

  • Applebite

    They’re going to fix the over pursuit issue, just wait and see. it’s coming.

  • Rotten Sircus

    Mike Mitchell should’ve made that tackle ..looks really bad ( IMO )

  • Applebite

    Mitchell was correct, Davis was wrong on that one. Davis didn’t maintain discipline on the outside. He allowed himself to be sucked in, instead of watching out for the bounce outside.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    I didn’t realize we’ve played the bears already. Lol 4th paragraph. Looks like we’re already in mode for the bears game. Hopefully that sentence comes true

  • MC

    Blown assignment by Davis but yeah you expect a vet like Mitchell to break down a lil more for the tackle.

  • “In the first half of Sunday’s game, the Steelers defense allowed just 25 yards rushing by the Bears offense on 12 carries. ” Looking a bit ahead are we?

  • Michael James

    It’s incredibly hard to tackle a dynamic and shifty RB like Dalvin Cook in the open field. Mitchell could have done better in the tackling department, yes, but if you want to blame someone for that busted play, it’s Davis. He did a very poor job setting the edge. If Davis does his job, it never comes to Mitchell vs Cook in the open field.