Coming into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, things were made pretty clear just how average the New York offense was.
However, a ton of credit deserves to be given to the Pittsburgh Steelers defense for the way they executed and tackled throughout the game against a New York offense that has some shifty athletes in the open field.
Missed Tackles vs. Giants: 10
Ryan Shazier — 3
James Harrison — 2
Mike Mitchell — 1
Stephon Tuitt — 1
Sean Davis — 1
Jordan Dangerfield (ST) — 1
Total Missed Tackles through 13 weeks (12 games): 126 (10.5 missed tackles per game)
Ryan Shazier — 14
Mike Mitchell — 12
Sean Davis — 12
Artie Burns — 11
William Gay — 10
Stephon Tuitt — 10
Lawrence Timmons — 9
Vince Williams — 7
Ross Cockrell — 7
Robert Golden — 4
Jarvis Jones — 3
Anthony Chickillo — 3
James Harrison — 2
Cameron Heyward — 2
Javon Hargrave — 2
Arthur Moats — 1
LJ Fort — 1
Jordan Dangerfield — 1
Ricardo Matthews — 1
Special Teams Missed Tackles in 2016 — 9
Cobi Hamilton — 2
Tyler Matakevich — 2
Jordan Dangerfield — 2
Steven Johnson — 1
Sammie Coates — 1
Justin Gilbert — 1
Shamarko Thomas — 1
Roosevelt Nix — 1
Artie Burns — 1
Al-Hajj Shabazz — 1
Let’s start with the obvious concern here: Ryan Shazier is now up to 14 missed tackles on the season, which leads the team. The more concerning number is that Shazier has missed those 14 tackles in just nine games during the 2016 season.
That being said though, I think that has more to do with Shazier being around the ball nearly every snap as the rangiest linebacker on the team. However, he has trouble breaking down at the point of attack to make the sound tackle, often looking to fly in to make the big hit or the impressive shoestring tackle.
This could be a problem long-term with Shazier, but it’s a problem I’m willing to deal with when it comes to an All-Pro caliber linebacker like Shazier, who recorded his first game below at least six tackles since Week 7 against the New England Patriots.
Outside Shazier, the ageless James Harrison recorded his first two missed tackles of the season at the age of 38. That’s impressive.
Let’s take a look at Harrison’s missed tackle since it’s really hard to get a great view of Shazier’s missed tackles against the Giants.
At the snap, Harrison is left unblocked by design, allowing Paul Perkins to take him on one-on-one in the open field. Unfortunately for the Steelers, the rookie embarrasses the veteran in the open field with a deft slide to his left.
It’s not as though Harrison is out of position to make the play, it’s just a great move in the hole by the rookie to force a missed tackle. That’s pretty much all you can chalk it up to.
Harrison wasn’t the only one that missed Perkins in the hole on Sunday.
Stephon Tuitt chalked up his only missed tackle of the game right here on this play. The third-year defensive end does a great job of penetrating the offensive line, getting into the backfield quickly.
However, he over pursues just a bit, putting himself out of position, allowing Perkins to use Marshal Newhouse’s block to cut into the open hole vacated by Tuitt. That being said though, Tuitt gets a hand on Perkins, so that’s a tackle he has to make knowing that he’s slightly out of his lane in the backfield.
By missing, Perkins is able to pick up a big first down, putting the Giants into the red zone.
For the most part, Pittsburgh did a great job of bottling up the Giants’ receiving corps on Sunday. However, with the game mostly in hand late in the game it seemed like the defense relaxed on that final drive.
On the play, Odell Beckham Jr. is able to shake free into the middle of the field, settling into the heart of the zone defense run by Pittsburgh. Once Manning hits him with the pass, Beckham goes to work, sending Shazier into a spin cycle — his final missed tackle of the game — on the way to a 19-yard gain.
Overall, I was really pleased with Pittsburgh’s game plan and execution against the Giants offense. If they can continue to improve week after week and the team starts to get healthy, a long playoff run could be in the works.