Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller may have had his best game as a run blocker in years on Monday night against the Tennessee Titans as he helped Le’Veon Bell rush for just the fifth 200-yard game in franchise history.
The veteran really turned back the clock, playing every snap and being a regular feature in just about every big run that the second-year back had on his 33 carries, whether it was blocking on the perimeter, pulling around for a lead block, or getting downfield.
Reviewing his tape was quite a treat, as I repeatedly watched Bell slip past whatever defender Miller was blocking, which very few blips throughout the game. But as it always the case, there’s no better witness than the video, so let’s take a look at some examples of Miller’s impact on the running game.
That impact was hard to miss, considering it began with the first play of the game as he led Bell to a 12-yard gain. Miller pulled inside prior to the snap after having been lined up in the slot, pulling after the snap and picking up safety Michael Griffin, putting him on the ground as the back got around the edge.
Miller lined up to the left of Kelvin Beachum two plays later and worked a combination block with the left tackle, chipping on Jurrell Casey before moving to the second level to pick off linebacker Avery Williamson. Bell burst right through the hole provided by his tight ends on the left side for 19 yards.
Later in the first quarter, the tight end set to the right of the formation around right tackle, and that’s exactly where the run went. Linebacker Derrick Morgan lined up in a wide nine stance outside of the tight end, so it wasn’t too much to ask of Miller to wall off the linebacker and make a seal for Bell to pick up another 12 yards.
The back had his longest run in weeks late in the third quarter after he found room up the left sideline for 27 yards, and it was Miller blocking downfield that helped create the play. Again lined up to the right, Miller chipped on Morgan and then buried Williamson outside, allowing Bell to cut through the B Gap, ultimately winning the sideline thanks to a block by his wide receiver.
That drive led to the Steelers cutting into an 11-point lead, and it was Bell, fittingly, who got the score for his first rushing touchdown since opening day. The left side of the offensive line completely washed out the Titans’ front, but it was Miller’s pull block around the left side on Kamerion Wimbley that got him one on one with the free safety, a battle he won with an outstretched arm for the score.