Going back through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers a second, third, and fourth time to track the missed tackles and forced missed tackles, as well as getting a closer eye on some key back-half of the roster guys, the 34-9 loss doesn’t get any prettier or easier to watch for all involved.
That said, I made it through and have the final missed tackles report of the preseason ready for your consumption.
Viewer discretion is advised though, because it’s just as ugly as the actual game was.
Without further ado, one last time before the games truly count and the missed tackles report really means something week to week, here is the final missed tackles report of the 2021 preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Total missed tackles vs. Panthers — 15
- Lafayette Pitts — 4 (three on special teams)
- Henry Mondeaux — 2 (two on special teams)
- Tre Norwood – 2 (one on special teams)
- Lamont Wade — 2
- Kevin Rader — 1 (special teams)
- Jamir Jones — 1
- Robert Spillane — 1
- Isaiah Buggs — 1
- Donovan Stiner — 1
Total missed tackles (through three preseason games) — 23 (7.6 misses per game)
- Miles Killebrew — 4 (one special teams, one on sack attempt)(18 total tackles on 22 total attempts, 18.2% miss rate)
- Lafayette Pitts — 4 (three on special teams) (two total tackles on six total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- Isaiah Buggs — 3 (six total tackles on eight total attempts, 37.5% miss rate)
- Robert Spillane — 3 (one on sack attempt) (17 total tackles on 20 total attempts, 15% miss rate)
- Henry Mondeaux — 3 (two on special teams) (four tackles on seven total attempts, 43% miss rate)
- Lamont Wade — 3 (nine tackles on 12 total attempts, 25% miss rate)
- Tre Norwood — 3 (one on special teams) (six total tackles on nine total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- Donovan Stiner — 2 (six total tackles on eight total attempts, 25% miss rate)
- Ulysees Gilbert III — 2 (11 total tackles on 13 total attempts, 15.4% miss rate)
- Marcus Allen — 2 (10 total tackles on 12 total attempts, 16.6% miss rate)
- Justin Layne — 2 (one on special teams)(nine total tackles on 11 attempts, 18.1% miss rate)
- James Pierre — 2 (one special teams)(seven total tackles on nine total attempts, 22.2% miss rate)
- Derek Watt — 1 (special teams)(zero total tackles on one total attempt, 100% miss rate)
- Carlos Davis — 1 (special teams)(one total tackle on two total attempts, 50% miss rate)
- Alex Highsmith — 1 (two tackles on three total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- Jamir Jones — 1 ((13 total tackles on 14 total attempts, 7.14% miss rate)
- Kevin Rader — 1 (special teams) (zero total tackles on one total attempt, 100% miss rate)
Looking at the numbers solely from the Panthers’ game, there’s a reason guys like Lafayette Pitts, Lamont Wade, and maybe Henry Mondeaux won’t stick around in Pittsburgh: their work on special teams and on defense in the final preseason game was awful.
Pitts recorded the single-highest missed tackles in a single preseason game on special teams since I began tracking the missed tackles for Steelers Depot in 2016. Pitts was out of position, failed to come in under control, and his effort overall was lackluster, leading to three ugly missed tackles on special teams. That’ll do it for him.
As for Mondeaux, he made the Steelers’ 53-man roster in the past due to his special teams work, but on Friday in Charlotte he had a rough go of things, getting his ankles snatched by Panthers’ returner C.J. Saunders twice.
With Wade, he did a great job overall bouncing back from misses, but he missed two big tackles on two Panthers touchdown runs in space, which ultimately led to his release, though I’m hopeful he sticks around on the practice squad due to his position versatility.
Let’s jump into the tape.
Early on in the preseason finale Friday night, both Jamir Jones and Robert Spillane recorded a missed tackle each against Panthers’ rookie running back Chuba Hubbard.
Hubbard did a great job cutting back against the grain after Jones gets easy penetration upfield into the backfield to get a clean look at Hubbard right after the handoff. The Panthers’ rookie running back does a great job forcing Jones to miss, cutting back against the grain, where Spillane arrives late working back towards the cutback lane, eventually missing with an arm tackle.
Fortunately for the Steelers, Cassius Marsh does a great job with effort here to track down the play, and rookie safety Tre Norwood fills well downhill to make the stop in space.
Later in the game, Mondeaux recorded the second of his two special teams missed tackles on the night. Just for clarification, I did not give rookie linebacker Buddy Johnson a missed tackle on this because he forces returner C.J. Saunders towards the sideline where help should be.
Watch Mondeaux on the play though. That is ugly from a guy known for his special teams prowess. Saunders absolutely snatched his ankles.
Finally, in the missed tackles department both Pitts and Lamont Wade came up small on Spencer Brown’s touchdown run to put the Panthers up 24-0 early in the third quarter.
This hole certainly shouldn’t have opened up, but Pitts doesn’t even attempt to come downhill to fill the lane, and Wade is late to react and work over towards the lane to try and make the stop, resulting in him attempting an arm tackle, taking Pitts out in the process. That was just a really, really ugly rep all the way around, and it resulted in six points, which is never what you want to see resulting from missed tackles.
Offensively, the Steelers forced nine misses on the night against the Panthers. However, those nine missed tackles means the Steelers lost the tackles battle with a mark of -6, giving them their first tackle battle loss of the preseason. Not quite the way you want to end the preseason.
Forced missed tackles vs. Panthers — 9
- Benny Snell Jr. — 4
- Joshua Dobbs — 2 (scramble on third down)
- Dwayne Haskins — 1 (scramble out of sack)
- Tony Brooks-James — 1
- Ray-Ray McCloud — 1
Total forced misses (through four preseason games) — 48 (12.0 forced misses per game)
- Anthony McFarland — 7
- Najee Harris — 6
- Ray-Ray McCloud – 5 (two on special teams)
- Benny Snell Jr. — 4
- Diontae Johnson — 3
- Mathew Sexton — 3
- Kalen Ballage – 3
- Tony Brooks-James — 3
- Joshua Dobbs — 3
- Jaylen Samuels — 2
- JuJu Smith-Schuster — 2
- James Washington — 2
- Eric Ebron — 1
- Trey Edmunds — 1
- Isaiah McKoy – 1
- Dwayne Haskins — 1
In his first action of the summer, Benny Snell Jr. answered the bell and showed just how valuable he is to the roster. Though the rushing numbers weren’t there overall, Snell was great in pass protection and really ran hard, making plays after initial contact. As I’ve said all summer, stop throwing this guy out with the bath water. He’s sticking.
This run against the Panthers went for 18 yards and really seemed to spark the Steelers’ offense for the time being.
That was classic Benny Snell Jr. He’s not a guy that’s going to hit the home run, but he runs hard, consistently falls forward and can help ground down defenses throughout the season.
Joshua Dobbs did a great job moving the chains on a third-down scramble, but injured himself in the process. The scramble on third down against the Panthers in the third quarter was Dobbs to a T. He didn’t force a throw on third down, so he used his legs and added some power in the process, bowling over a cornerback to move the chains.