Missed Tackles Report: Steelers Vs Colts

It certainly wasn’t any prettier watching through Sunday’s 26-24 win for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the visiting Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field. A win is a win though, and the Steeler will continue to take them any way that they come.

However, there was plenty of negative to come out of this game, specifically in the tackling department for me. On Sunday, the Steelers recorded their second-worst missed tackles total of the regular season, putting up the worst showing since Week 3 on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.

Guys like TJ Watt, Vince Williams and Steven Nelson recorded multiple misses, while once again a guy on the roster solely for special teams play missed a tackle. It’s seemingly an endless cycle.

Let’s take a look.

Total missed tackles vs. Colts — 11

TJ Watt – 2
Vince Williams – 2
Steven Nelson – 2
Terrell Edmunds – 1
Mark Barron – 1
Bud Dupree – 1
Cam Heyward – 1 (sack attempt)
Jordan Dangerfield – 1 (special teams)

Total missed tackles through 9 weeks (8 games) — 71 (8.87 misses per game)

Devin Bush – 9
Terrell Edmunds – 7
TJ Watt – 5
Mark Barron – 5
Bud Dupree – 5 (two on sack attempts)
Mike Hilton – 4
Vince Williams – 3
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 3
Steven Nelson – 3
Artie Burns – 3 (all three on special teams)
Anthony Chickillo – 2 (one on special teams)
Ola Adeniyi – 2 (both on special teams)
Joe Haden – 2
Kameron Kelly – 2
Johnny Holton – 2 (both on special teams)
Cameron Sutton – 1
Cam Heyward – 1 (sack attempt)
Sean Davis – 1
Rosie Nix – 1 (special teams)
Benny Snell – 1 (special teams)
Jaylen Samuels – 1 (special teams)
Tyler Matakevich – 1 (special teams)
Justin Layne – 1 (special teams)
Jordan Berry – 1 (special teams)
Jordan Dangerfield – 1 (special teams)
Trey Edmunds – 1 (special teams)

The very obvious concerns coming out of Sunday’s missed tackles report is the trio at the top of the list in Watt, Williams and Nelson.

Watt missed two tackles in the backfield, which could have led to an even bigger day for the superstar edge defender, while Williams missed two tackles in space, one of which Zach Pascal shrugged him off with ease.

As for Nelson, for the second week in a row he came through with as poor of an effort you’ll see on an attempted tackle attempt. I don’t know if he’s hurt or what, but his play has fallen off in the last two weeks from a tackling perspective.

Mark Barron and Terrell Edmunds combined to miss a tackle on Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox as the pair essentially washed each other off at the point of contact, allowing Cox to fight for a first down, while Jordan Dangerfield’s special teams miss came on Pascal’s 31-yard return in the second half.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at some individual misses from Sunday’s win.

Early on Watt was a menace in the Colts’ backfield, blowing up holes left and right. However, he struggled to get guys onto the ground consistently.

Jacoby Brissett is a massive mountain of a man at quarterback, but this is a stop Watt has to make. He’s a bit too upright in his tackle attempt and slides right off of Brissett’s big frame.

Fortunately for Watt, he has teammates nearby to help keep Brissett in the backfield for a loss. Later in the game, Watt missed a tackle on Parris Campbell on a jet sweep to the right, a play in which he was in the backfield right at the snap and forced Campbell to run backwards a few yards just to have the necessary speed to get around the All-Pro caliber edge defender.

Speaking of Campbell, Nelson showed us what it’s like to not want to tackle a guy in the open field.


I mean, this is pathetic from Nelson. He’s been so darn good this season from a coverage standpoint, but these last two weeks we’ve seen Nelson miss all three of his tackles, two of which have come on efforts like this.

It’s almost as if Nelson would rather go for the ball in space, rather than focusing on getting the man to the ground. I’m really not sure what he’s doing here, but it’s bad and can’t continue to happen.

This should have resulted in a touchdown if the turf monster doesn’t catch Campbell.

Then, late in the game Cam Heyward found himself on the missed tackle report for the first time all season, missing badly in space on Brian Hoyer, of all people.

Look, that’s an incredible job by Hoyer to avoid the sack and scramble for a handful of yardage to set up a fourth down touchdown, but this is a play Heyward absolutely has to make, and has throughout his career. That would have been career sack No. 50.5, so I’m sure the captain is kicking himself.

Offensively, the Steelers were rather putrid in forcing missed tackles on the day, recording just three forced misses as a team, meaning the Steelers lost the tackles battle with a -8 mark. However, it’s the second week in a row they’ve lost the tackles battle and still won.

Total forced misses vs. Colts – 3

Jaylen Samuels – 2
Diontae Johnson – 1

Total forced misses through 9 weeks (8 games) — 42 (5.57 forced misses per game)

James Conner – 21
Jaylen Samuels – 5
Benny Snell Jr. – 4
Diontae Johnson – 3
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 3
Vance McDonald – 2
Mason Rudolph – 2
Ryan Switzer – 1
Cameron Sutton – 1

So much for the ridiculously dumb argument of Jaylen Samuels being a superior running back to James Conner.

On 21 touches Sunday that gained just 83 yards, Samuels made two defenders miss. That’s it. In his last two games, Conner forced 12 of his 21 forced misses, all while dealing with a knee and ankle injury.

This talk that this was Samuels’ first game back is pointless. He practiced fully all last week and had plenty of time to get his legs underneath him. He’s just not explosive like people think, and certainly doesn’t force people to miss. We’ve seen it for 2+ years now.

Samuels did force two misses in tight on Sunday, shaking Bobby Okereke behind the line of scrimmage on what should have been a touchdown run, if only Mike Tomlin would have challenged.

Yes, Samuels cuts really well, but he just doesn’t run through tackles consistently. This was a great example of some of the short area explosion from Samuels, but in general we didn’t see enough of this from Samuels on Sunday. He was brought down by a lot of arm tackles and generally looked lost in the open field.

As for Diontae Johnson, he showed off his short-area explosion and burst on his lone catch of the day.


One thing I really like about Johnson is his speed and quickness after the catch. He’s not a powerful runner, but he’s a quick-twitch athlete and can make you miss in a phone booth. Sure, this forced missed tackle is on defensive tackle Grover Stewart in space, but look at the lateral explosion from Johnson. That’s a sight to behold.

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