Playing with a number of backups in on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, I wasn’t expecting much good in the tackling department from guys who haven’t really seen consistent snaps.
That wasn’t the case on Sunday, as the Pittsburgh Steelers – with a handful of regulars on the field defensively, recording just nine missed tackles on Sunday, staying in single digits for the first time since Week 13 against the Washington Football Team.
For one final time in the 2020 regular season, let’s dive into the missed tackles report.
Total missed tackles at Browns — 9
Cameron Sutton – 2
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 2
Tyson Alualu – 1
Alex Highsmith – 1
Marcus Allen – 1
Tegray Scales – 1 (special teams)
Derek Watt – 1 (special teams)
Season Total — 133 (8.31 misses per game) (miss percentages included)
Mike Hilton – 13 (one on sack attempt) (51 tackles on 64 total attempts, 20.3% miss rate)
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 11 (74 tackles on 85 total attempts, 12.9% miss rate)
Cameron Sutton – 10 (one on special teams) (30 tackles on 40 total attempts, 25% miss rate)
Vince Williams – 9 (one on sack attempt) (69 tackles on 78 total attempts, 11.5% miss rate)
Joe Haden – 8 (49 tackles on 57 total attempts, 14% miss rate)
Steven Nelson – 7 (60 tackles on 67 total attempts, 10.4% miss rate)
Terrell Edmunds – 7 (69 tackles on 76 total attempts, 9.2% 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)
Marcus Allen – 7 (30 tackles on 37 total attempts, 18.9% miss rate)
TJ Watt – 5 (two on sack attempts) (53 tackles on 58 total attempts, 8.6% miss rate)
Stephon Tuitt – 4 (two on sack attempts) (45 tackles on 49 attempts, 8.1% miss rate)
Justin Layne – 4 (one on special teams) (22 tackles on 26 total attempt, 15.4% miss rate)
Ola Adeniyi – 4 (one on sack attempt, two on special teams) (15 tackles on 19 total attempts, 21.1% miss rate)
Avery Williamson – 3 (41 tackles on 44 total attempts with Steelers, 6.8% miss rate)
Henry Mondeaux – 3 (one on sack attempt, one on special teams) (five tackles on eight total attempts, 37.5% miss rate)
Tyson Alualu – 3 (39 tackles on 42 attempts, 7.1% miss rate)
Tegray Scales – 2 (one on special teams) (no tackles on two total attempts, 100% miss rate)
Derek Watt – 2 (both on special teams) (eight tackles on 10 total attempts, 20% miss rate)
Alex Highsmith – 2 (39 tackles on 41 attempts, 4.9% miss rate)
Cam Heyward – 2 (51 tackles on 53 total attempts, 3.7% miss rate)
Chase Claypool – 2 (special teams) (6 tackles on 8 total attempts, 25% miss rate)
Devin Bush – 2 (23 tackles on 25 total attempts, 8% miss rate)
James Pierre – 1 (special teams) (10 tackles on 11 total attempts, 9% miss rate)
Antoine Brooks Jr. – 1 (two tackles on three total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
Kam Canaday – 1 (special teams) (one tackle on two attempts, 50% miss rate)
Jordan Dangerfield – 1 (special teams), (10 tackles on 11 attempts, 9.1% miss rate)
Jayrone Elliott – 1 (special teams), (seven tackles on eight attempts, 12.5% miss rate)
Cassius Marsh – 1 (two tackles on three total attempts, 33% miss rate)
On Sunday in Cleveland, it didn’t take long for the Steelers to record a trio of missed tackles on a double explosive play for the Browns, leading to a 7-0 lead.
I gave Tyson Alualu a miss here, even though this is a tough play for an interior lineman. That said, it’s one he’s made a number of times on the year.
As Alualu misses, Cameron Sutton does a good job filling the lane, but he gives just enough of a crease inside to Nick Chubb, who sets up Sutton with a fake, bursting through an arm tackle attempt from the fourth-year corner.
Once Chubb is in the clear, he has just Minkah Fitzpatrick to beat. I said this on Twitter Sunday and I stand by it: that was the worst run rep I’ve seen from Fitzpatrick in a Steelers’ uniform. He just didn’t look like he wanted to be on the field early, and it showed on this rep here against Chubb.
Later in the game, Chubb struck again, forcing another Steelers’ missed tackle.
I debated giving Alex Highsmith a second miss here (he missed on Jarvis Landry in the open field in coverage in the first half), but I decided not to. He does a good job getting around David Njoku and has Chubb one on one, but Chubb turns it outside and Highsmith is cut off by Njoku doubling back, taking him out of the play.
As for Marcus Allen, that’s a clear-cut miss. He’s been really rough as a linebacker when it comes to tackling. I’m not sure what he’s doing here. It’s hard for me to say he slips because it wasn’t like others were sliding all over the place on Sunday.
He just gets crossed up by Chubb and is made to look silly.
Offensively, without Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ skill guys did a good job making defenders miss, creating additional yardage in the process. Against the Browns, Pittsburgh forced 14 missed tackles, winning the tackle battle with a mark of +5.
Total forced misses at Browns — 14
James Conner – 6
Anthony McFarland – 2
Joshua Dobbs – 2
Ray-Ray McCloud – 1 (special teams)
Vance McDonald – 1
Benny Snell Jr. – 1
Chase Claypool – 1
Season Total — 176 (11 forced missed tackles per game)
James Conner – 45
Ray-Ray McCloud – 31 (23 on special teams)
Diontae Johnson – 28 (nine on special teams)
Benny Snell Jr. – 24
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 13
Chase Claypool –10
Anthony McFarland – 6
James Washington – 5
Eric Ebron – 4
Ben Roethlisberger – 3
Jaylen Samuels – 2
Vance McDonald – 2
Joshua Dobbs – 2
If that was the last regular season game as a Steeler in James Conner’s career, he sure went out with a strong performance, especially in the forced missed tackles department.
Conner again didn’t have a ton of room to operate, but he made something out of nothing often. Too often I’ve heard Conner can’t create on his own and make the first defender miss. He’s shown consistently he can.
It’s pretty remarkable how bad the Steelers are in the screen game, but thankfully Conner was able to create some misses to avoid a big loss.
Right away on this screen from Mason Rudolph, Conner is drilled by Browns linebacker Mack Wilson. Conner shows great contact balance here to bounce off of the hit, right himself and get upfield.
He adds a little shimmy late, forcing rookie linebacker Jacob Phillips to go diving at legs, grasping nothing but air, giving Conner a 2-yard gain on a play that should have been a loss of 5.
On the Steelers’ final drive of the game, Conner did a nice job on the split zone, bouncing outside to force two missed tackles on a gain of 7 yards.
Conner does a good job setting up Browns safety Ronnie Harrison here, allowing him to turn the corner. Once he turns the corner, he bounces off of a tackle attempt from Robert Jackson, and then slips around an attempt from Harrison before going out of bounds.
We’ve seen these types of runs before from Conner so it’s nothing new, but it sure is fun to watch.
I was pretty hard on Anthony McFarland early in the game. He was pretty bad as a runner on one rep, but he came through big for the Steelers on third and 3 in the second quarter.
Here on the read-option with Joshua Dobbs, McFarland does a fantastic job setting up Harrison on the outside, forcing the Browns safety to commit downhill. As soon as Harrison commits, McFarland sticks his left foot in the ground and bursts upfield, pushing the pile forward for a key first down on a scoring drive.