Steelers Vs Colts Missed Tackles Report

One week after a much-needed bye week, the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up right where they left off in the tackling department:  struggling.

After a 15-missed-tackles performance on Sunday Night Football against the Detroit Lions in Week 8, the Steelers came back in Week 10 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts and proceeded to miss 20 total tackles, good for the second-worst performance of the season.

That includes a first half in which the Steelers missed 13 tackles as a team, trailing 10-3 at the half.

Total Missed Tackles at Colts — 20

Ryan Shazier – 5
Mike Hilton – 4
Cam Heyward – 2
Sean Davis – 2
Bud Dupree – 2
TJ Watt – 2
William Gay – 1
Mike Mitchell – 1
Anthony Chickillo – 1 (special teams)

Total missed tackles through 10 weeks (9 games) — 117 (average of 13.0 MT per game)

Ryan Shazier – 22
Mike Hilton – 12 (one on special teams)
Sean Davis – 11
TJ Watt – 9
Bud Dupree – 9
Vince Williams – 7 (one on special teams)
JJ Wilcox – 5
Joe Haden – 5
Anthony Chickillo – 5 (one on special teams)
William Gay – 5
Cameron Heyward – 5
Javon Hargrave – 4
Mike Mitchell – 4
Stephon Tuitt – 3
Mike Mitchell – 3
Tyson Alualu – 2
Tyler Matakevich – 1
LT Walton – 1
LJ Fort – 1 (Special Teams)
Arthur Moats – 1 (Special Teams)
Darrius Heyward-Bey – 1 (Special Teams)
Kameron Canaday – 1 (Special Teams)

Well, that number sure looks ugly for Ryan Shazier and Mike Hilton, doesn’t it? A combined 9 missed tackles from two of the better defensive players this season for the Steelers is concerning coming off the bye, especially when you factor in that Shazier missed 4 tackles in the first half and said following the game that it didn’t really feel like game day.


Through 10 weeks – 9 games – the Steelers are on pace to finish with 208 total missed tackles on the season, since they’re averaging right around 13 misses a game. It’s unlikely they crack the 200 mark, but the tackling has gotten worse the last two weeks. With some big games coming up, expect those miss numbers to fall below 10 a game again.

Let’s take a look at some of the most egregious misses from Sunday’s game.

The first bad miss comes early in the second quarter with the Colts facing a 1st and 15 from deep in their own end of the field. Shazier does a great job of knifing through the Colts’ line to get into the backfield for a clean shot at rookie running back Marlon Mack, but the veteran linebacker fails to get the elusive rookie to the ground.

What should have been a 6-yard loss turned into an 8-yard gain because Shazier failed to make the initial stop, which then led to misses from rookie linebacker TJ Watt and second-year safety Sean Davis in the open field.

I liked Mack a ton coming out of South Florida and he seems to have landed in the perfect spot with the Colts, but there’s simply no excuse for Shazier’s miss in the backfield like this.

Later on within the same Colts drive, Mack again forces some big missed tackles behind the line of scrimmage, this time picking up a key third-down conversion.

Facing a 3rd and 2, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett faces initial pressure from Cameron Heyward in the pocket, forcing him to slide right and dump the ball off to a stationary Mack well behind the line of scrimmage. Following the catch, Mack should be brought down for a 4-yard loss by veteran cornerback William Gay, but Gay comes up with a big missed tackle behind the line.

Gay’s miss then leads to another miss by Shazier near the line of scrimmage, allowing Mack to scoot for the first down, eventually lead the Colts to a field goal from Adam Vinatieri.

In the second half, things didn’t start out much better.

On the Colts’ first drive of the second half, Brissett found Chester Rogers wide open behind the Steelers’ secondary for a big touchdown, giving the Colts a 17-3 lead.

I’m not sure who blew the coverage completely because we don’t know the call, but Mike Mitchell, Coty Sensabaugh and Hilton all likely had a hand in the mistake leading to the touchdown.

Following Rogers’ catch, both Hilton and Mitchell whiff in the open field, allowing Rogers to walk into the end zone. This was also the play that Mitchell injured his ankle, forcing him to take a cart to the locker room.

Overall, the Steelers didn’t show up in the first half, leading to 13 of the 20 missed tackles on the day. Fortunately, the Steelers were able to pull out a win in this instance, unlike the Chicago game in Week 3.

Sitting atop the AFC tied with the New England Patriots, the Steelers have to clean up these issues with missed tackles if they truly want to take the next step in the quest for Super Bowl No. 7.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    The Steelers should look to the Colts for tackling help. The Colts tackle strong all game, consistently bringing a bell down with the first guy. Shazier, on the other hand, is there often but also misses a ton.

    And my boy Artie Burns doesn’t miss any tackles for the game or even the year! Sarcasm.

  • cencalsteeler

    Miami has a turnover chain, maybe we can hand out a tackling chain?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’ll take a minority position and say that Shazier’s miss when he was 5 yards deep was not egregious but just unfortunate. Shazier’s penetration forced rb to switch direction; had Shazier not the RB likely dropped for a 1-2 yard loss to the right where Steelers won the LOS. However, because of the Shazier penetration RB goes left instead where Watt was knocked to the ground by TE Jack Doyle. Had Watt won his LOS battle he should have tackled the RB for a 3 yard loss.

    The defense has to be layered so there is some depth especially if the initial play is disrupted; if Shazier does not launch in he is unlikely to get the penetration; so it is important that the other players win their battles too.

  • Surrealist

    That keystone caper D wont cut it come january

  • Jaybird

    Has an All Pro LB ever missed more tackles than Shazie( yes I think he’s will be all pro this year) . Man, the guy is talented but misses way too many tackles. You just hope his splash plays out weigh his missed tackles in any given game.

  • AndyR34

    This is a difficult thing to analyze. His speed and anticipation put him into places to make plays that some others might not be in position to make. Unfortunately, that also leads him to be somewhat out-of-control. Not sure which I would rather have…the rather frequent missed tackle on an attempted splash play, or fewer missed tackles and no splash plays.

  • WB Tarleton

    He is a LBer version of Troy minus the diving over the center to hit the QB as he receives the ball. The positives far outweigh the negatives.

  • CP72

    Yeah even TJ takes a better angle after getting knocked down probably still a two yard loss.

    Being at the game you really get an appreciation for Shazier’s speed. He sure has missed some tackles, but he is the best pure playmaker on that defense.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    No way he is an all-pro this year but still an interesting question.

    I know the making plays nobody makes gets him compared to Troy and it is fair, but I don’t remember Troy missing quite so many tackles. Not to say he didn’t, I just don’t remember it that way. Might just be romanticizing on my part though.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    In the context you put it, it isn’t egregious but the great concern is still the trend of missed tackles. It is fantastic that he can get in there like that but he was essentially unimpeded to the runner and it isn’t like Mack made a Barry Sanders like move to get out of it. Shazier was just flat out weak at the point of attack and slipped right off of him.

    I was actually going to say I thought the 2nd example was less egregious for Shazier because he was expecting Gay to make the tackle so he slowed up and was then put in a bad spot when the guy got free having to “restart his engine” so to speak. It doesn’t excuse him but at least it wasn’t a clear shot he just flat out missed like in the first example.

  • IndianaCarson

    I don’t see Artie Burns name in the above group. I find it hard to believe that he hasn’t missed a single tackle this year.

  • NinjaMountie

    I’d like to see you analyze a couple other teams. I’d be curious to see what the difference would be.

  • PaeperCup

    Man Shazier blew up that first play. Too bad about the misses.

  • PaeperCup

    yes….WEAK is the right word. He’s got the speed, he needs the strength to finish those types of plays.

  • PaeperCup

    Hard to miss tackles when the WR is 15 yards behind you.

  • Cullen James Riley

    Josh, you may have noticed this already but you have Mike Mitchell listed twice with two different totals.

    Mike Mitchell – 4
    Stephon Tuitt – 3
    Mike Mitchell – 3

    Nevertheless, thank you for all the work you’re putting into this series. While it has been mostly painful, I really enjoy seeing an actual breakdown of our tackling department (or lack thereof).

  • Bill

    In the NFL, blazing speed makes you into a sort of superman. However, if you can’t do the other things that your position entails, then you’re not going to be an outstanding player. If defensive players especially linebackers and DBs can’t tackle, the defense is going to suffer. If you’re a fast receiver but you drop a lot of passes, you’re likely to find the bench. I remember a receiver who played for the Cowboys who was faster than Bob Hays. But he dropped so many passes he was nicknamed ‘Oops’. He never made it! Missed tackles aren’t as obvious as dropped passes but they’re dammed near as harmful.

  • CP72

    So we want him to run 4.4 AND weigh 250? Don’t know to many of those guys exist.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Gonna guess one of those is supposed to be Artie Burns, since his name is missing. Doubt he hasn’t gone the whole season without missing a tackle

  • Jaybird

    No your correct. I do not remember Troy missing that many tackles. I don’t remember any Player ever miss as many as Shazier. But not too many players make as many big plays as Shazier also.

  • PaeperCup

    YES! That would be great! And he sucks until he does that.

    No, I’ll just say with the good comes some bad. He’s a speedy instinctual player and if we have to sacrifice something like strength then so be it because his type of play has paid dividends for us.

    I do have to say though Vince Williams is a nice compliment to him.

  • Jaybird

    Two things:the Steelers are on tv a lot so Shazier gets exposure
    : the announcers drum up even more buzz by always harping on how fast and
    Athletic he is. Sometimes the press clippings get guys voted when they don’t really deserve it

  • Josh Carney

    He is supposed to be the second Mike Mitchell on the list with 3 on the season. My apologies.

  • Josh Carney

    Yes, it’s supposed to be Burns. My apologies.

  • Josh Carney

    That might be coming next season where I take a look at the Steelers’ opponent and their missed tackles from that week.

  • will

    Burns is not on either list………………because he rarely ever attempts a tackle. He just stands around even when he is within a body length of the opposing player!

  • will

    He is similar to a puppy running on a slick floor………they get up a head of steam but cannot control their stop and just cannot get their body under control.

  • MC

    I think the last one was the worst, gave up a touch down and the receiver didn’t even put the biggest of moves on Mitchell.
    With Shazier it seems to always be him leaving his feet….as well as over-pursuing at times.
    I’d still take his splash play ability that come with miss tackles though.

  • MC

    I agree. I’d take that backfield penetration any day as it ruins the whole play design, the defense just needs to be more swarming and clean up if the tackle is missed. Sean Davis also took a bad angle after that.

  • NinjaMountie

    That will be cool. I suspect missed tackles are up league wife and that the Steelers are average in that department.
    I’m looking forward to it and just know I appreciate in advance all the work.

  • LAD

    Hi Josh, I read the other day there were some differences in the missed tackles between you and PFF.. What is your criteria for counting as a miss tackle?
    In the first GIF for sure Shazier is a miss tackle, TJ Watt might not be one missed tackle in my book, the runner was out of reach because the angle both took… On the Sean Davis one, i agree as well as also in the other GIFs.
    Do you believe that might be the reason for the different numbers?
    Thanks and great work.

  • Charles Mullins

    Troy’s liability wasn’t tackling. It was being out of position or to slow in the later years. Both double edged swords though.

  • Jaybird

    I love the analogy. Reminds me of our bullmastiff running on a tiled floor when the doorbell rings!

  • TsarPepe

    “then you’re not going to be an outstanding player” – Shazier is an outstanding player.