Had the Pittsburgh Steelers lost Sunday evening, one of the top storylines would’ve been the moments of JV level tackling from their defense, particularity the front seven. It wasn’t terrible throughout the entire game, but with the offense turning the ball over and forcing tired legs back onto the field, it showed.
For Mike Tomlin, it’s an area that needs to be corrected and that’s all the analysis needed.
“At times, excellent. At times, not so excellent,” Tomlin said during yesterday’s presser, summing up his team’s tackling performance.
He did give credit to the Baltimore Ravens and correctly noted their run game wasn’t as bad as the seasonal numbers showed, finding more talent in the backfield and more health along the offensive line.
“They had been running the ball and running the ball very well late. Their rankings weren’t reflective of their abilities to run the ball. Like I said before the game, they had gotten great stability along the offensive line since moving Yanda to left guard and solidifying Stanley’s presence at left tackle and Wagner at right tackle.”
And when it’s Steelers/Ravens, it’s clear as day it will be a physical brawl with both sides scratching and clawing for every advantage.
“We knew it was going to be a tough fight. It was a tough fight. That being said, at times, I thought we could’ve tackled better. And there’s really no more in-depth analysis than that.”
With the next meaningful game coming in the playoffs, details and fundamentals are going to be heightened. It’s fair to say the Steelers will be the favorite in the Wild Card, and perhaps even a Divisional game, but if the team falters in the basics, like tackling, being the better team on paper will mean nothing.
There is probably a strong correlation between missed tackles and losses for this team this season, like the Miami Dolphins’ upset loss, a team the Steelers could play in the Wild Card.
Of course, the offense being able to control the football and keep the defense fresh will help in that regard. But regardless, the standard is the standard and it’s an area the Steelers haven’t quite gotten perfect during the year.