Steelers Week 9 Missed Tackles Breakdown

Sunday’s 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders truly had a little bit of everything, which unfortunately included more missed tackles by the Steelers defense. The good news is that the total for the game was just eight whiffs, the team’s second best mark of the season. The bad news is that the primary culprits remained the same for the most part, as Antwon Blake and Will Allen again struggled to finish tackles.

Your individual breakdown…

Antwon Blake: 4
Will Allen: 2
Mike Mitchell: 1
Ross Cockrell: 1

Blake had nine tackles in the game, which led the team, so missing four in 13 attempts, while still remarkably poor percentage-wise, seems a bit more understandable. However it isn’t until you see some of his misses that you realize just how poor his effort and form were early on Sunday.

Blake’s technique has been bad all season as a tackler, but you have to believe he’s been coached up on it plenty of times by now, leading one to question why he continues to attempt to make tackles like this:

Blake comes flying up in run support, out of control, proceeding to launch his shoulder at Latavius Murray rather than breaking down in space and wrapping up. The cornerback’s continued disregard for proper form is startling, as Blake continues to whiff badly each week by committing the same errors over and over again.

It is one thing to line up a receiver for a big hit while he is looking for the ball, it is another thing entirely to face a runner coming downhill at you and choose to abandon all coaching and technique. The result is ugly whiffs like this one that allowed Murray to pick up the first on 2nd-and-1, rather than put the Raiders in a third down situation.

Blake breaks down in space on this play, then just decides he’d rather not take on the larger Michael Crabtree coming downhill at him. For a defender who usually plays very physical football, this lapse in effort takes me back to the Week 1 matchup against the Patriots, when Blake clearly eased up on plays rather than make tackles. Don’t know what contributes to an effort level this poor, but this is Gerod Holliman-level stuff right here.

The most egregious miss of the day for Blake came on 3rd-and-1 during the Raiders second touchdown drive of the game. The diminutive defensive back could have dropped Murray for a loss or at least no gain, but instead dropped his eyes at contact and clearly spun out of making a big hit.

I mean, that is the easiest tackle Murray will ever break in his life. Just inexcusable, poor effort and execution. Wrap-up, drive through target with your shoulder. Due to Blake’s whiff, the Raiders drive continued, ultimately ending with Amari Cooper’s touchdown catch to give Oakland a 14-11 lead. The little things go a long way.

Blake’s day was capped by this laughable miss to start the third quarter. Murray is literally on all fours on the ground with Blake a step away, and somehow the cornerback can’t get him down for the stop.


Pro Football Focus had Blake at 12 missed tackles before Sunday’s game, which leads all cornerbacks across the league. These four misses seem pretty hard to argue against even with PFF’s lenient grading, continuing one of the poorest tackling performances we’ve seen by a cornerback here in Pittsburgh. The results are even more frustrating given how physical Blake can be at times, making his up-and-down tackling even more curious. 

Allen had two misses in his return to the starting lineup, and while he is around the ball quite often, 12 missed tackles in six games is still a pretty impressive accomplishment. His worst miss of the day was on Raiders backup fullback Jamize Olawale’s 19-yard touchdown run, a costly whiff that looked just as ugly on tape as it did live.

Sometimes making tackles is simply about keeping your feet, shuffling a bit laterally, and latching on to a ball carrier. Letting your feet die, dropping your eyes, and throwing an arm instead of moving to get your body in proper position is just poor and shouldn’t happen at the NFL level. I understand that at times elusive runners will break defenders’ ankles, and powerful ball carriers will occasionally shed good tackle attempts, but none of those things happen in these plays. If coaching hasn’t gotten through to Blake’s tackling technique at this point, I’m pretty doubtful that it ever will, and Allen is a 33-year old veteran who simply is gonna miss a time or two every game. Obviously I’ve expressed my desire and belief that both should be benched for Brandon Boykin and Robert Golden, but I’ll be shocked if either of those moves happen moving forward.

Missed Tackle Counter (Season)

Antwon Blake: 21
Lawrence Timmons: 16
William Gay: 12
Will Allen: 12
Ryan Shazier: 9
Jarvis Jones: 8
Arthur Moats: 6
Mike Mitchell: 5
Robert Golden: 5
Sean Spence: 4
Bud Dupree: 5
James Harrison: 4
Stephon Tuitt: 4
Ross Cockrell: 4
Cam Thomas: 3
Steve McLendon: 3
Cortez Allen: 2
Cam Heyward: 2
Vince Williams: 1
Brandon Boykin: 0
Shamarko Thomas: 0
Terence Garvin: 0
Daniel McCullers: 0
L.T. Walton: 0

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!