Steelers Versus Dolphins – Second Half Notes And Observations

By Matthew Marczi

  • As with the first half, LaMarr Woodley once again began the game at right outside linebacker, where he played the majority of his snaps for the first time in his career after playing opposite James Harrison.
  • After giving up seven yards on first down, the defense did a nice job of forcing the Dolphins to stretch out the run, where Troy Polamalu was able to hold contain, and Ryan Clark came down to put the hit on the running back to prevent the first down.
  • Unfortunately, Polamalu didn’t cover Charles Clay over the middle on third and one as it appears he should have, which allowed about a 20-yard reception.
  • Jason Worilds was untouched on his second and three pressure toward the end of the Dolphins’ first drive.
  • It certainly looks like Worilds missed an assignment, or at least an adjustment, on the four-yard Daniel Thomas touchdown run on the end of that drive. When tight end Clay shifted over, Ryan Clark came with him, showing that he was clearly in coverage on him, yet Worilds stayed out on the edge.
  • Jonathan Dwyer did a great job of picking up the free rusher on the Steelers’ first drive of the half.
  • On the next play, Heath Miller’s blocking downfield helped Antonio Brown navigate his way into the end zone.
  • Polamalu’s interception looks like it was pure freelancing, reading Ryan Tannehill’s eyes and jumping the route, as he had no particular assignment.
  • He benefited from a block by Cameron Heyward to get into the end zone.
  • When in need, find Jerricho Cotchery. That seems to be a theme this year, especially on third downs.
  • Nice pancake by Miller blocking downfield on a first down screen to Emmanuel Sanders late in the third quarter.
  • On the last play of the third quarter, Ben Roethlisberger threw his 174th consecutive pass without an interception, which broke his own team record. The pass was nearly intercepted by a nose tackle.
  • On the next play, he threw a touchdown to Cotchery.
  • In my opinion, Cortez Allen got away with a bit of a pass interference on the deep pass to Mike Wallace.
  • Polamalu’s open-field whiff on Clay was a sign of things to come.
  • Hebron Fangupo sighting. On a seven-yard run up the middle.
  • The Steelers rotated in Jarvis Jones for Woodley on third down at the end of that drive. Worilds played every snap.
  • The Dolphins pass rush started to warm up in the fourth quarter and the tackles had a more difficult time of keeping up.
  • Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell had a tough time hooking up in the process, though he was also well-defended.
  • On the Dolphins’ next drive, Woodley was on the left side and Worilds was playing inside. Tannehill ran a naked bootleg to his right, but Woodley wasn’t fooled and nearly sacked him for an 18-yard loss.
  • Woodley stayed on the left on second down, but he and Worilds flip-flopped again on third down.
  • The pass deflection by Chris Clemons in front of Cotchery on third and 14 was huge for the Dolphins.
  • On the long run by Thomas that set up the game-winning touchdown, Polamalu was blocked into Heyward near the line of scrimmage.
  • Two plays later, Clay made Allen and Polamalu look awfully bad.
  • Going four-and-out sure didn’t help things afterward, but a combination of pressure and low-percentage passes was the cause.
  • Still, the defense held up and kept the Dolphins out of the end zone, with Lawrence Timmons making a great play on third down.
  • Cody Wallace failed to pick up a stunt as he got turned around on the last sack by the Dolphins.
  • The Dolphins overloaded the left side with two blitzers on the next play, leaving Bell to try to cover both. Also a good heads up play by him to lateral the ball knowing he wouldn’t be able to make it out of bounds.
  • I have no words for the last play other than expressing a sense of awe over how a season can turn on just a matter of inches.
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