Two days removed from the debacle that was Monday Night Football, I still and struggling to come up with words to describe what we saw from the Pittsburgh Steelers against a down and out Cincinnati Bengals team.
While I won’t try and describe the game as a whole here, I can describe the tackling performance. For the second straight week it was bad as the Steelers recorded another 12 missed tackles Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium in the Queen City.
Total missed tackles at Bengals — 12
Marcus Allen – 3
Joe Haden – 2
Tyson Alualu – 1
Mike Hilton – 1
Cam Sutton – 1
Avery Williamson – 1
Steven Nelson – 1
Cam Heyward – 1
Terrell Edmunds – 1
Season Total — 109 (7.78 misses per game) (miss percentages included)
Mike Hilton – 12 (one on sack attempt) (46 tackles on 58 total attempts, 20.6% miss rate)
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 8 (61 tackles on 69 total attempts, 11.6% miss rate)
Bud Dupree – 7 (four on sack attempts) (31 total tackles on 38 attempts, 18.4% miss rate)
Robert Spillane – 7 (one special teams) (45 tackles on 52 total attempts, 13.5% miss rate)
Joe Haden – 7 (47 tackles on 54 total attempts, 12.9% miss rate)
Marcus Allen – 6 (23 tackles on 29 total attempts, 20.7% miss rate)
Vince Williams – 6 (one on sack attempt) (63 tackles on 69 total attempts, 8.7% miss rate)
Steven Nelson – 6 (51 tackles on 57 total attempts, 10.5% miss rate)
Terrell Edmunds – 6 (64 tackles on 70 total attempts, 8.6% miss rate)
Cameron Sutton – 6 (one on special teams) (27 tackles on 33 total attempts, 18.2% miss rate)
Justin Layne – 4 (one on special teams) (16 tackles on 20 total attempt, 20% miss rate)
TJ Watt – 4 (two on sack attempts) (50 tackles on 54 total attempts, 7.4% miss rate)
Stephon Tuitt – 4 (two on sack attempts) (40 tackles on 44 attempts, 9.1% miss rate)
Ola Adeniyi – 4 (one on sack attempt, two on special teams) (15 tackles on 19 total attempts, 21.1% miss rate)
Henry Mondeaux – 3 (one on sack attempt, one on special teams) (three tackles on six total attempts, 50% miss rate)
Cam Heyward – 2 (46 tackles on 48 total attempts, 4.1% miss rate)
Avery Williamson – 2 (19 tackles on 21 total attempts with Steelers, 9.5% miss rate)
Tyson Alualu – 2 (33 tackles on 35 attempts, 5.7% miss rate)
Chase Claypool – 2 (special teams) (5 tackles on 7 total attempts, 28.5% miss rate)
Devin Bush – 2 (23 tackles on 25 total attempts, 8% miss rate)
James Pierre – 1 (special teams) (8 tackles on 9 total attempts, 11% miss rate)
Antoine Brooks Jr. – 1 (two tackles on three total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
Kam Canaday – 1 (special teams) (zero tackles on one attempt, 50% miss rate)
Alex Highsmith – 1 (22 tackles on 23 attempts, 4.3% miss rate)
Jordan Dangerfield – 1 (special teams), (10 tackles on 11 attempts, 9.1% miss rate)
Jayrone Elliott – 1 (special teams), (three tackles on four attempts, 25% miss rate)
As you can see, it wasn’t a good night for the Steelers’ defense in the tackling department for the second straight week.
Last week in Buffalo, Pittsburgh struggled to tackle in space, and that carried over to Week 15 in Cincinnati.
Again, it was mainly the secondary players for the second straight week. The real issue though is that the lack of depth at inside linebacker is really starting to rear it’s ugly head. Marcus Allen is trying his best, but he’s missing a bunch of tackles and just isn’t quite making the proper impact against the run.
Let’s take a look at some misses.
Late in the first quarter Keith Butler drew up a cornerback blitz for Mike Hilton in hopes of creating a splash play.
Credit to Hilton for closing that much ground in a hurry, but he has to finish this play. It’s a sack that he misses out on, which fortunately doesn’t kill the Steelers because Cam Heyward is there to clean up Ryan Finley at the line of scrimmage.
I’m all for being aggressive, but you have to be able to trust these guys to make the plays when they get there. Hilton hasn’t been able to consistently do it in recent weeks.
For all the great things Joe Haden has done this year for the Steelers’ defense, he still comes up short too much for me on the edge against the run.
Monday’s first touchdown of the game was all on Haden. He has to be more aggressive and fill here and really stick his face into the fan. Instead, he goes for an arm tackle and whiffs badly on Gio Bernard, allowing the veteran Bengals back to walk into the end zone for a 10-0 Bengals’ lead.
Maybe Haden is still nursing an injury or something, but that was a bit soft from him.
You want to talk about a comedy of errors from Monday night? Look no further than Bernard’s 14-yard touchdown catch.
Three Steelers — THREE — were in the vicinity of Bernard when he caught this throw over the middle from Finley on a Texas route. That should have gone down as a 5-6 yard gain because Marcus Allen, Avery Williamson, and Cam Sutton are all right there.
Allen goes for a diving tackle attempt and comes up short; Sutton goes for a big hit with his shoulder and whiffs, and Williamson gets caught up in the trash.
Pause that video when Bernard is in between all three. There’s no way he should have gotten out of that. Instead, well, we know what happened.
Total forced misses at Bengals — 7
Benny Snell Jr. – 6
Ray-Ray McCloud – 1 (special teams)
Season Total — 157 (11.21 forced missed tackles per game)
James Conner – 37
Ray-Ray McCloud – 28 (20 on special teams)
Diontae Johnson – 27 (nine on special teams)
Benny Snell Jr. – 23
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 13
Chase Claypool – 9
James Washington – 5
Anthony McFarland – 4
Eric Ebron – 4
Ben Roethlisberger – 3
Jaylen Samuels – 2
Vance McDonald – 1
For all the offense’s warts Monday night, I thought Benny Snell Jr. was really, really good in the run game and flashed some as a checkdown back out of the backfield.
This was his second-best run of the night and he dished out some serious punishment, introduction some Bengals to Benny Snell Football. Here’s hoping he gets more run down the stretch.