Another home game, another dreadful performance for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In all three phases, it was a disaster for the Steelers at Heinz Field, especially in the tackling department.
One week after recording 11 missed tackles against the Las Vegas Raiders in a 9-point loss, the Steelers missed nine tackles on Sunday against the Bengals in a 14-point loss to the AFC North foe.
A handful of missed tackles led directly to splash plays for the Bengals, while one led directly to points.
Let’s dive in.
Total missed tackles vs. Bengals – 9
- Robert Spillane — 1 (special teams)
- Melvin Ingram — 1
- Henry Mondeaux — 1
- Miles Killebrew — 1 (special teams)
- Jamir Jones — 1
- Isaiah Buggs — 1
- Joe Haden — 1
- Minkah Fitzpatrick — 1
- Terrell Edmunds – 1
Total missed tackles through two games – 25 (8.33 misses per game)
- Robert Spillane — 4 (two on special teams)(12 total tackles on 16 total attempts, 25% miss rate)
- Minkah Fitzpatrick — 3 (20 total tackles on 23 total attempts, 13% miss rate)
- Cameron Sutton – 2 (10 total tackles on 12 total attempts, 16.6% miss rate)
- Joe Schobert – 2 (21 total tackles on 23 total attempts, 8.7 miss rate)
- Terrell Edmunds – 2 (16 total tackles on 18 total attempts, 11.1% miss rate)
- Joe Haden – 2 (seven tackles on nine total attempts, 22.2% miss rate)
- Devin Bush – 1 (12 tackles on 13 total attempts, 7.7% miss rate)
- James Pierre – 1 (15 total tackles on 16 total attempts, 6.25% miss rate)
- Tre Norwood — 1 (10 total tackles on 11 total attempts, 9.1% miss rate)
- Arthur Maulet — 1 (special teams) (six total tackles on seven total attempts, 14.3% miss rate)
- Chris Wormley — 1 (six total tackles on seven total attempts, 14.3% miss rate)
- Melvin Ingram — 1 (eight total tackles on nine total attempts, 11.1% miss rate)
- Jamir Jones — 1 (three total tackles on four total attempts, 25% miss rate)
- Isaiah Buggs – 1 (four total tackles on five total attempts, 20% miss rate)
- Miles Killebrew — 1 (special teams) (zero total tackles on one total attempt, 100% miss rate)
- Henry Mondeaux — 1 (zero total tackles on one total attempt, 100% miss rate)
Sunday’s game was certainly ugly in the tackling department as the Steelers missed seven tackles defensively on just 42 defensive snaps, and added two missed tackles on special teams on just four coverage reps.
That’s simply not good enough.
It started right away for the Steelers in the first quarter as veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram III decided not to wrap up over the middle of the field against Cincinnati’s Tyler Boyd, instead going for the kill shot.
Ingram not wrapping up allowed Boyd to bounce off the hit, redirect and get up the field vertically for the touchdown, putting six points on the board directly off of a missed tackle. That will lose you a game 10/10.
There’s simply nothing good from this rep. There needs to be a gang tackle mentality here, but Devin Bush didn’t attempt a tackle, and Minkah Fitzpatrick is caught standing around flatfooted after Ingram’s miss. I don’t give either of them a miss, but it’s truly an ugly rep across the board.
In the second quarter the Bengals really got going downhill in the run game, decimating a soft Steelers’ front seven missing a number of key guys due to injuries. Playing in place of Tyson Alualu, Henry Mondeaux recorded a missed tackle on a zone run by the Bengals because he was too slow to slide over and stay in his gap off of a block, allowing Joe Mixon to carve up the Steelers’ defense.
You can see Mondeaux is too slow to slide over and stay in his gap, allowing a huge cutback lane for Mixon, who plants his foot and gets vertical in a hurry, gashing his way into the third level quickly on the run. It may look like a tough ask for a guy like Mondeaux, but this is a play he has to make moving forward. Fact of the matter is, he didn’t here and it cost the Steelers.
Finally, the Steelers received a pair of missed tackles from defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and cornerback Joe Haden on a Mixon run early in the third quarter as the Bengals really started to punch the Steelers in the mouth.
One thing I really like about Buggs is his ability to get off of blocks against the run and be in position to make a run stop in the backfield. Problem is, Buggs has struggled to make a stop in these instances throughout his career. His tackling issues popped up again on this run, failing to get Mixon on the ground.
From there, Mixon then runs through an arm tackle attempt from Haden, treating him like a rag doll before the Steelers eventually get him on the ground after Mixon moved the chains.
Offensively, the Steelers were absolutely putrid overall attempting to the move. the football, putting up 10 total points.
However, rookie running back Najee Harris continues to be a special talent when it comes to forcing defenders to miss. He’s going to need to be moving forward because I don’t see it getting any better or easier.
On the day, Harris and the Steelers’ offense force 11 missed tackles by the Bengals, allowing the Steelers to win at least something on the day, taking the tackle battle by a mark of +2.
Total forced misses vs. Bengals — 11
- Najee Harris — 8
- Chase Claypool — 2
- JuJu Smith-Schuster — 1
Total forced misses through three weeks — 34 (11.3 forced misses per game)
- Najee Harris – 19
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – 7
- Diontae Johnson — 4
- Ray-Ray McCloud — 2 (special teams)
- Chase Claypool — 2
Harris was under siege all game long on every single one of his 28 touches. Kudos to him for fighting hard and forcing eight missed tackles. Each time he touched the football it led to multiple defenders being needed to get him to the ground, which is something to hang your hat on.
He was at his best forcing defenders to miss out of the backfield as a receiver. On the Steelers’ touchdown drive, Harris took the first touch on a swing pass, forcing Bengals’ linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither to miss in space, shaking the defender to get near the sticks.
Later on in the game, one the final, pivotal failed fourth and goal from the 10, everyone seems to gloss over the work Harris did on the rep, battling his tail off to try and make something happen.
Harris forced Davis-Gaither to miss again in space, and then hurdled Mike Hilton, giving him at least an opportunity to keep fighting.