It was an ugly performance top to bottom on Sunday inside Arrowhead Stadium for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who went out with a whimper to the Kansas City Chiefs 36-10 in the Week 16 matchup.
The Chiefs did whatever they wanted offensively, moving the football up and down the field with ease.
It didn’t help that a number of key missed tackles by the Steelers’ defense played a direct hand into three touchdowns in the first three quarters for the Chiefs’ offense, which certainly didn’t need any help on Sunday at home.
Let’s dive into the Week 16 missed tackles report and turn our attention to the Week 17 Monday Night Football tilt against the Cleveland Browns.
Total missed tackles vs. Chiefs — 11
- Robert Spillane – 3
- Alex Highsmith – 1
- T.J. Watt – 1
- Terrell Edmunds – 1
- Ahkello Witherspoon – 1
- Cameron Sutton – 1
- Minkah Fitzpatrick – 1
- Isaiahh Loudermilk – 1
- John Simon – 1
Total missed tackles through 15 games – 166 (11.06 misses per game)
- Minkah Fitzpatrick — 18 (114 total tackles on 132 total attempts, 13.6% miss rate)
- Cameron Sutton – 13 (45 total tackles on 58 total attempts, 22.4% miss rate)
- Terrell Edmunds – 13 (81 total tackles on 94 total attempts, 13.8% miss rate)
- Joe Schobert – 12 (108 total tackles on 120 total attempts, 10% miss rate)
- Alex Highsmith — 11 (one on sack attempt) (64 total tackles on 75 total attempts, 14.6% miss rate)
- Joe Haden – 9 (30 tackles on 39 total attempts, 23.1% miss rate)
- T.J. Watt — 8 (three on sack attempt) (54 total tackles on 62 total attempts, 12.9% miss rate)
- Devin Bush – 8 (66 tackles on 74 total attempts, 10.8% miss rate)
- Robert Spillane — 8 (two on special teams)(43 total tackles on 51 total attempts, 17.1% miss rate)
- Arthur Maulet — 7 (two on special teams) (39 total tackles on 46 total attempts, 15.2% miss rate)
- Tre Norwood — 6 (one on sack attempt)(one on special teams) (34 total tackles on 40 total attempts, 15% miss rate)
- Justin Layne – 5 (four on special teams) (14 total tackles on 19 total attempts, 26.3% miss rate)
- James Pierre – 5 (two on special teams) (47 total tackles on 52 total attempts, 9.6% miss rate)
- Chris Wormley — 5 (one on sack attempt) (44 total tackles on 49 total attempts, 10.2% miss rate)
- Derrek Tuszka – 4 (two on special teams) (15 total tackles on 19 total attempts, 21% miss rate)
- Henry Mondeaux — 4 (one on sack attempt) (13 total tackles on 17 total attempt, 23.5% miss rate)
- Isaiah Buggs – 4 (17 total tackles on 21 total attempts, 19% miss rate)
- Akhello Witherspoon – 4 (14 total tackles on 18 total attempts, 22.2% miss rate)
- Miles Killebrew — 3 (special teams) (11 total tackles on 14 total attempt, 21.4% miss rate)
- Melvin Ingram — 3 (10 total tackles on 13 total attempts, 23.1% miss rate)
- Isaiahh Loudermilk — 3 (one on sack attempt) (21 tackles on 24 total attempts, 12.5% miss rate)
- Cameron Heyward — 2 (79 total tackles on 81 total attempts, 2.4% miss rate)
- Taco Charlton – 2 (one on sack attempt) (18 tackles on 20 total attempts, 10% miss rate)
- Marcus Allen — 2 (special teams) (four total tackles on six total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- Jamir Jones — 1 (three total tackles on four total attempts, 25% miss rate)
- Benny Snell Jr. — 1 (special teams)(five tackles on six total attempts, 16.6% miss rate)
- Ulysees Gilbert III — 1 (special teams) (nine tackles on 10 total attempts, 10% miss rate)
- Derek Watt – 1 (special teams) (11 tackles on 12 total attempts, 8.3% miss rate)
- Buddy Johnson — 1 (two tackles on three total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- Christian Kuntz — 1 (special teams) (two tackles on three total attempts, 33.3% miss rate)
- John Simon — 1 (zero total tackles on one total attempt, 100% miss rate)
The run defense really continues to be a serious problem in Pittsburgh, and it’s not getting fixed any time soon.
The real concern coming out of Sunday’s game though was not the inability of the Steelers’ offense to keep pace, but the inability to get stops and tackle in space by the Steelers’ defense.
As I mentioned earlier, the Steelers’ defense missed tackles on three plays that led directly to Kansas City touchdowns. That’s absolutely killer.
On the Chiefs’ first drive, the Steelers missed a pivotal tackle, leading to a walk-in touchdown by Clyde Edwards-Helaire to give the Chiefs an early 7-0 touchdown, capping off a 14-play drive.
Robert Spillane does a fantastic job firing downhill at the snap of the football, utilizing a great run-fill to get behind the line of scrimmage for a clean shot on Edwards-Helaire.
He ducks his head late though and doesn’t fully wrap up. At the same time, Alex Highsmith is diving into the play after being knocked to his knees. Instead of getting Edwards-Helaire cleanly, he gets Spillane, which bounces both off of the tackle, allowing Edwards-Helaire to regain his footing and whereabouts, bouncing outside for the score.
Late in the second quarter, the Steelers’ defense strikes again with another pivotal missed tackle.
We can talk all day about this being a hold on Joe Haden and rightfully so, but this attempt by Terrell Edmunds is Junior Varsity — maybe even middle school level. The physical safety fails to even think about utilizing the sideline as an extra defender, instead overrunning MeCole Hardman, who wisely slams on the breaks to late Edmunds fly by before then getting into the end zone.
One thing I wanted to point out here too: watch the effort by Cameron Sutton. That about sums up the Steelers right now.
Finally, in the third quarter, the Steelers’ defense recorded what I’d consider the worst missed tackles display of the season — of which there are many candidates.
Sutton is lucky he didn’t blow out both knees on this miss. He doesn’t close down on the throw fast enough and then goes high and overshoots it, leading to the whiff as Chiefs’ receiver Byron Pringle ducks underneath.
From there, Fitzpatrick and Spillane try to clean up Sutton’s mess, but Fitzpatrick goes high leading to Pringle ducking underneath, and Spillane goes sliding by like he slipped on invisible ice.
It’s fitting that Cameron Heyward tracked down Pringle — in the end zone, mind you — to tackle him. He was certainly frustrated after the play.
Offensively, the Steelers somehow won the missed tackles battle in a game they were blown out in. Pittsburgh forced 13 missed tackles, winning the tackles battle with a mark of +2. I still don’t believe it typing it.
Total forced missed tackles vs. Chiefs — 13
- Najee Harris – 8
- Mason Rudolph – 2
- Diontae Johnson – 2
- Benny Snell Jr. – 1
Total forced misses through 15 games— 187 (12.43 forced misses per game)
- Najee Harris – 89
- Ray-Ray McCloud — 28 (21 on special teams)
- Diontae Johnson — 28
- Chase Claypool — 11
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – 8
- Pat Freiermuth — 8
- Kalen Ballage — 4
- Mason Rudolph — 3
- Zach Gentry — 2
- James Washington — 2
- Benny Snell Jr. — 2
- Anthony Miller — 1
You may laugh seeing Mason Rudolph’s name there, but he had good pocket presence Sunday against the Chiefs, forcing two missed tackles on plays in which he secured the football and stepped up in the pocket through would-be sacks. One forced missed tackle came on his 17-yard scamper late in the game.
It was the Najee Harris show though against the Chiefs as he turned in one of his better rushing performances in recent weeks. Though he had very little room to work with often, he forced missed tackles at a high rate and had some highlights in the process.
Here on his 21-yard run, Harris does a great job of bouncing this one outside and turning on the boosters. I love the way he switches the football in his hands quickly as Chiefs’ safety Juan Thornhill closes in, allowing Harris to swipe away Thornhill’s attempt to latch on, allowing Harris to gain another 8-10 yards.
He finishes the run off in style with a vicious stiffer, punishing Thornhill. If this occurred into the field of play a bit more, Harris is still running. It’s pretty funny Thornhill was credited with a tackle here, considering he was a speed bump and nothing more.
Harris sure loves to hurdle guys, and he sets it up well.
This was incredible from Harris, who hurdles with ease the Chiefs’ star safety Tyrann Mathieu and then lands a stiff-arm to a Chiefs’ defender in the process, allowing him to remain on his feet and at least get to the corner.
Even when he has no space to work with, he’s going to fight his tail off to make a play. That’s all you can ask for.