Boy, Thursday night was all sorts of fun, wasn’t it?
I hate to burst your bubble though, as it’s time for the weekly missed tackles report.
Against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers’ defensive performance was great, at least in part due to the four interceptions and the five sacks on Marcus Mariota, but the tackling was shoddy once again. Fortunately for the Steelers, the tackling issues didn’t play a factor in the game because of Mariota’s mistakes and the offense’s explosiveness in primetime, but moving forward this problem needs to be corrected.
Total missed tackles vs. Titans — 16
Sean Davis – 4
Artie Burns – 3
TJ Watt – 2
Stephon Tuitt – 1
Tyson Alualu – 1
Ryan Shazier – 1
Cameron Heyward – 1
Javon Hargrave – 1
Mike Hilton – 1
Robert Golden – 1
Total missed tackles through 11 weeks (10 games) — 133 (average of 13.3 MT per game)
Ryan Shazier – 23
Sean Davis – 15
Mike Hilton – 13 (one on special teams)
TJ Watt – 11
Bud Dupree – 9
Vince Williams – 7 (one on special teams)
Artie Burns – 6
Cameron Heyward – 6
JJ Wilcox – 5
Joe Haden – 5
Anthony Chickillo – 5 (one on special teams)
William Gay – 5
Javon Hargrave – 5
Mike Mitchell – 4
Stephon Tuitt – 4
Tyson Alualu – 3
Tyler Matakevich – 1
LT Walton – 1
Robert Golden – 1
LJ Fort – 1 (Special Teams)
Arthur Moats – 1 (Special Teams)
Darrius Heyward-Bey – 1 (Special Teams)
Kameron Canaday – 1 (Special Teams)
Well, as you can see, Sean Davis and Artie Burns really struggled on Thursday night in the tackling department despite finishing with a combined 11 tackles, two pass deflections, one tackle for loss and one interception in the win.
Davis fell back into his tackling issues on the boundary, taking poor angles that forced him to dive at the defenders instead of carrying his weight behind him for the stop.
Ryan Shazier turned in arguably his best tacking performance of the season against the Titans, missing just one stop on the night. He’s an All-Pro caliber linebacker regardless of the missed tackles, but when he puts games together like he did on Thursday, look out.
The great news out of the 16 missed tackles against the Titans was that a wimping 5 came on just one play, so overall the number is high, but it isn’t dreadful like Sunday’s performance against the Colts.
Let’s get to some of the key misses.
This was the play I was talking about earlier where the Steelers missed 5 tackles. Now, I understand that some of you will debate whether 5 misses actually happened here, but there are 4 Steelers defenders within a yard of Derrick Henry in the backfield and none of them can make the stop on the former Heisman Trophy winner. Once Henry bounces outside, he forces another miss on Davis with a big stiff-arm.
Fortunately, Vince Williams is able to force Henry back inside to a group of defenders for the stop after a 13-yard rumble from the big, bruising back.
Following that ugly play, the Steelers were mostly solid in the tackling department in the first half, aside from Mariota’s touchdown run at the end of this drive.
Keith Butler loves to send cornerbacks on blitzes, and this play is no different as Burns gets a free run at Mariota, unlike his fellow cornerback, Mike Hilton, Burns struggles at blitzing and looks really uncomfortable in space as a rusher, as you can see here.
That’s a play that should be made in the backfield, or at least a yard or two beyond the line of scrimmage, but Burns just whiffs completely, allowing Mariota to dive into the end zone through a Hilton tackle for the score.
I don’t mean to harp on the secondary in these GIFs following a good performance stats-wise, but some of the misses are ugly, especially by Davis.
Yes, Davis has to come from the far hash to lay the lick on Delanie Walker in the middle of the field, but I will never understand going for the big shot in the middle of the field on a big tight end like Walker, especially high. Just wrap up and cover your losses on the play.
By going for the big shot, Davis allows Walker to gain another 12 yards. Yes, some of those 12 yards are on Williams’ struggles to wrestle Walker down to the ground at the end, but the point still stands. Just wrap up.
Overall, it wasn’t a performance that makes you want to rip your hair out, considering the interception and sack numbers, but 16 missed tackles is something to certainly be concerned about, especially after missing 20 in Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts coming off a bye.