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Alex Highsmith Frustrated With Steelers Performance in Tackling Department Against Nick Chubb, Browns

Ahead of Thursday night’s AFC North battle with the Cleveland Browns on the road, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense knew it needed to truly bring it physically against Cleveland’s terrific rushing attack featuring running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Aside from one big run in the first half, the Steelers really bottled up the Browns until the second half when Cleveland turned it on in the run game as Chubb barreled downhill time and time again, punishing the Steelers’ front seven, forcing a number of missed tackles on his way to a 23-carry, 113-yard, one-touchdown performance in the Browns’ 29-17 win on Thursday Night Football.

One of the best backs in the league at not only forcing missed tackles, but creating splash runs after contact, did just that throughout the second half against the Steelers, causing some frustrations for third-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith.

Speaking with reporters after the loss, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page, Highsmith expressed his frustrations, stating the the Steelers knew they needed to bring it against the run and simply didn’t do enough, resulting in the loss.

“…Nick Chubb’s one of the best backs in the league when it comes to breaking tackles and you gotta bring it when you tackle him,” Highsmith said to reporters, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “We didn’t do that enough tonight, and so we know we gotta be better in that area. But we can’t just be talk about it. It’s gotta be action.

“We got a long weekend ahead of us to review the film and get back to it,” Highsmith added. “We have a long week on Monday to get back to it. I’m tired of this taste in our mouth.”

 

Chubb is undoubtedly one of the best backs in the NFL at forcing missed tackles and creating after contact, as NextGenStats pointed out after Thursday night’s game. According to NGS, Chubb gained 115 of his 113 yards after contact against the Steelers defense, good for his second such performance of the season. Only two other running backs have had 100+ yards in a game after contact.

That shows just how challenging he is for defenses, and how poorly the Steelers tackled on the night.

At times, Pittsburgh was very good at rallying to the football against Chubb, gang-tackling the powerful running back. That fell by the wayside in the second half, leading to the massive performance on the ground, allowing the Browns to ultimately milk the clock.

Maybe some of the issues could be attributed to the short week, the amount of plays the Steelers defense has been on the field through two games, or more. The All-22 from the game will show what went wrong in the tackling department, but coming into the game the Steelers knew they couldn’t let Chubb beat them.

He did, and the Steelers now sit at 1-2 because of it.

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