This loss will offer no consolation prizes for this Miami Dolphins defense. The two interceptions are overshadowed by the three touchdowns allowed on the first three drives. And for the bigger picture coach Vance Joseph is said to be selecting his coaching staff already for his next gig.
More from Dolphins News
- 4 offensive tackles Miami Dolphins could draft at 51
- Miami Dolphins don’t need CB help but these 5 could be available at 51
- 4 players that could replace Wilkins if Miami Dolphins don’t re-sign him
- Miami Dolphins have a starting point with Wilkins after Simmons deal
- The Miami Dolphins should not take a running back in the draft
It is better to see the big picture to take in this loss which may seem to come in the form of excuses. All the teams that are trying to pry away coach Joesph from the Miami Dolphins are well aware of this. There where three key players not on the field this game from the last time these two teams met and the tides were turned. Isa Abdul-Quddus, Reshad Jones and Byron Maxwell they all played key roles in that last game.
The first two scores allowed came by way of the soft underbelly that is the so-called underneath pass defense.
The Dolphins giving up over 150 yards to a receiver the last two games were a bad sign coming into this game. Antonio Brown had 124 yards but also scored the first two TD’s.
Browns’ first TD was on an in motion screen to the left sideline where he waited on his TE Jesse James to set a block on Tony Lippett, the play went for 50 yards. Jelani Jenkins and Kiko Alonso were late getting over to that side of the field while the block was being set up. Michael Thomas couldn’t get off his block to get a hand on Brown as he streaked down the left sideline.
Lippett failed to deflect the ball from Brown who cut inside toward midfield in man coverage when he got his second TD for 62 yards. Bacarri Rambo also failed as the last line of defense he was six yards away when Brown had caught the ball running with it, at four yards away he held ground as if Brown was juking but Brown kept the same course he got by Lippett cutting across midfield it was an odd maneuver and said to be a bad angle.
During these first two scoring drives there was not much pressure on the QB. However Michael Thomas was sent as an extra rusher on the second TD play.
Le’Veon Bell made up the whole third scoring drive running in a show of dominance on ten plays. During this drive the Steelers often had an extra lineman as well was a TE blocking. A stat shown during the game stated they went to the extra lineman some 30% of the time. This checks out as guard Chris Hubbard got 21 snaps of 36% total
The defense was being pushed off the line of scrimmage and was not getting off of blocks, even Ndamukong Suh didn’t fare well matched up with Steelers pro bowl right guard David DeCastro. Suh did have the only sack of the game and tied for total tackles if you also count assists.
There was a TD called back from Bell’s elbow touching the turf after a challenge making it 1st & goal. This only delay the inevitable as he would score on 2nd & goal after making the hesitation move he is so good at. Kiko Alonso made what looked like a goal line stop but it was challenged and overturned to a TD making it 20-3 due to the missed extra point.
This defensive unit looked to be beaten and battered by this point but as they have shown all season little sign of quit.
The game had gotten out of hand from these three straight scoring drives. And the last one was good old-fashioned football by one team imposing their will running the same thing until the other team stops it. Unfortunately there was no answer.
The other units had no answer as well. The offense was only making field goals outside of a TD late in the game, they also had three turnovers in consecutive drives. Special teams did convert a fake punt for a first down but also gave the ball back attempting a blocked punt.
After the offense made a FG making it 20-6 the Steelers were driving near the red zone with the aid of a pass interference call on Xavien Howard. Earl Mitchell dropped into coverage and came close to intercepting a pass that still got caught by TE James despite the chaos.
One of the rare times the pocket collapsed on Ben Roethlisberger he stepped up, then threw a pass to Antonio Brown at the twenty who tipped it to Michael Thomas for the interception.
There would be one more interception by Xavien Howard his first of the season late in the game. A few more scores were allowed in the 3rd quarter a TD and FG with a final score of 30-12.
Team Stats Steelers
First Downs 19
Net Pass Yards 188
Total Yards 367
Third Down Conv. 4-9
Fourth Down Conv. 0-0
Time of Possession 27:58 to Dolphins 32:02
Michael Thomas happened to be where the ball got tipped.
Ryan Shazier was very sneaky finding his way to the INT.
•This game marked the fifth time in the last seven games the Dolphins have allowed a first possession touchdown.
•The Dolphins defense finally forced a Pittsburgh punt at 14:13 in the fourth quarter.
It was a disastrous ending to an incredible season and something to build upon. According to Pro Football Focus the Steelers 38-year-old James Harrison had more pressures himself than the entire Miami Dolphins defense combined.