Home > Steeler Articles > Steelers-Dolphins Recap, Week 7

Steelers-Dolphins Recap, Week 7

The Steelers head down to Miami and squeak out the win in a crazy 23-22 game. The Steelers seem to love to find new ways to make it as close as possible.

– Ben had a great game, showing off pinpoint accuracy throw after throw and finishing the game 19/27 for 302 yards and 2 TD’s. He WAS the offense for the Steelers in this game. He did however have 2 fumbles, one leading to a Phins FG early in the game and another at the end of the game at the Phins GL. The refs ruled that he did indeed fumble after the play was initially ruled a TD. In a bizarre ruling, the refs stated there was no evidence of who recovered and thus the Steelers retained possession for the FG. The one legitimate gripe of Ben’s play is his refusal to give up on plays, which is a double edged sword, since so many plays from Ben are from refusing to throw the ball away. Still, he needs to be aware of the situation and make sure to protect the ball better.

– Mendhall had his worst game of the year, finishing with just 37 yards on 15 carries. To his credit, he was given the ball on OBVIOUS downs with the Phins defense expecting it. Still, Mendy seems to run way too tentative at times and doesn’t really carry piles at all. Mewelde Moore, who has been invisible so far this year, made a number of terrific plays today. He had the run of the game when he made a nifty cutback to pick up a big chunk of yards in the 1st half. He also had 4 catches for 48 yards, including a huge completion on a crucial third down on the Steelers eventual FG-winning drive. Great game, Moore, keep it up! Isaac Redman was fairly quiet finishing with 9 yards on just 3 carries.

– Mike Wallace caught his mandatory deep ball for a TD on a great pass from Ben. Apart from that he was a non-factor the rest of the game. Hines Ward had another terrific game, making a couple awesome grabs (and breaking tackles en route to a TD) and finishing the game with 7 grabs for 131 yards and a TD. How old is this guy? What an amazing player. Heath Miller showed off his automatic hands coming away with 3 grabs for 33 yards. Why isn’t he thrown to more? Randel El had simply a horrible game and should probably start sharing time with rookie Manny Sanders, who is showing some great potential at WR. On one play, Randel El falls and stumbles while a pass flies by. On another play a ball hits him right off the shoulders as Randel El looks around confused that a ball was thrown to him.

– The O-line had arguably it’s worst game of the year. As the game progressed the O-line seemed to implode with missed blocks in both the run and pass game. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the underrated Phins D-line, maybe it was the predictable playcalling, maybe it’s the fact that these guys just aren’t that great. Maybe all? Adams and Starks both had problems containing the outside rushers of the Phins. Legursky had his hands full as well, he was called for a couple holding penalties, one was pretty iffy, though. To Legursky’s credit he did have the foresight and hustle to leap onto the loose ball on Ben’s fumble at the Phins GL and may have helped recover the ball, even though it turned out to be a non-factor. Kemo had simply a mediocre game all the way around. All in all this O-line has a lot of work to do to get better because the effort today was dismal.

– The D-line played stout against the run in the first half. Aaron Smith left the game with an injury and his absence was definitely felt as the Phins started to run the ball more effectively later in the game. Nick Eason showed some real nice hustle and some nice pressure on Phins QB Chad Henne on a few plays and outshined Ziggy Hood, who had another game where he didn’t do much at all. Apart from Eason the D-line did very little in pressuring Henne.

– Larry Foote, a guy that I continually criticize and wonder why he’s still on the team, actually made a couple plays today. He got the Steelers lone sack as he blitzed up the middle untouched. On a big 3rd down and short in the 4th quarter, Foote rushed in on the blind side and nabbed RB Ronnie Brown to force a big punt in a close game. The rest of the LB’s (along with the rest of the defense) didn’t do too much, no “splash plays”. Farrior did get a fumble off of WR Brian Hartline where it looked like Hartline lobbed the ball right up into Farrior’s breadbasket. Harrison and Timmons, the two outstanding LB’s so far this season were held to just a few tackles each but did help out in the run game. Lamaar Woodley was injured midway through the game, rookie Jason Worilds came in to take his place and was the nice surprise today, getting a good amount of pressure on Henne and actually sealing the game with a hit on Henne as he unloaded the ball on 4th down to force an incompletion and end the game. Hopefully he’ll get more playing time. Anyone see Keyaron Fox or Sylvester Stevenson?

– The secondary had another mediocre game filled with big cushions, missed tackles and non-impact plays. Bryant McFadden actually led the team in tackles and made a couple nice plays in coverage. Taylor had decent coverage on Brandon Marshall and helped to keep him to just 57 yards for the day. Willie Gay continues to do a good job as a nickel back, on the Phins last drive, Gay made a great open field tackle that could’ve led to more yards. That’s about the only good that came from the secondary today. Chad Henne is just another in a long line of opposing QB’s who had their way with this defense. Facing virtually no pressure from the Steelers defense, Henne calmly picked apart the Steelers defense with passes to virtually everyone on the roster and leading the Phins on a number of long drives as the game progressed. Troy once again was strangely quiet although he did make some plays in run defense. Clark made a horrible tackle attempt on Davone Bess in route to a 26 yard TD completion. Just horrible effort and another example of why I wonder what exactly Clark contributes to this team.

– The special teams probably had their most productive game of the season so far. Rookie Manny Sanders did a GREAT job in kick returns and should be the returner the rest of the year just based on his performance today. He did fumble on the opening kickoff but after that was simply awesome continually setting the Steelers offense up around the 40 yard line. Jeff Reed was 3/3, nice. Sepulveda had a nice day punting. The coverage teams did a good job, of course there was the usual long punt return allowed but was called back on multiple fouls.

– When the coaches grade the team this week I hope they give themselves an F, maybe a D if they’re feeling generous. These knuckleheads were completely outcoached at every turn by the Phins coaching staff. Bruce Arians had maybe his worst game of the season with just horrendous, predictable playcalls throughout the game. Not counting the 2 minute offense at the end of the half and the kneel down to end the game, the Steelers threw the ball just SIX TIMES on 1st down out of 20 plays the entire game. Six. One of those plays went for 54 yards and a TD to Mike Wallace. The utter predictability of this playcalling is unbelievable. Not only that but it was obvious the Phins were expecting the run on these downs which resulted in a plethora of negative or no yardage runs. Arians redzone playcalling continues to befuddle the mind. On successive plays the Steelers threw a smoke screen  pass to Mike Wallace that was promptly snuffed out for no gain, the following play the Steelers went empty set and of course Ben had about 1 second to get rid of the ball which forced a FG. With the Steelers riding Ben’s hot hand at the end of the half, Arians calls, coming out of  a TO, another end around which resulted in a 6 yard loss. This play has not worked all year, why call it in this situation when it clearly wasn’t needed? Just further proof that Arians has absolutely no sense of rhythm or cerebral thought when it comes to the majority of his playcalls. Lebeau had another game where he hasn’t adjusted his pass schemes to prevent the opposing QB from passing with ease. Time and again QB’s are coming in and finsihing games with high completion percentages and big chunks of passing yards. Does Lebeau simply not see this? Is the obsession with running the ball on 1st down coming from Mike Tomlin? Either way, Tomlin, as head coach, needs to put an end to this madness, it’s counter productive and continually puts the offense in 3rd and longs. It’s amazing the things this team asks Ben to do time and again (ie, bail out the team) with retarded playcalls on early downs. Tomlin’s timeclock management continues to need improvement. After the Steelers lost 6 yards at the end of the half on the stupid end around playcall, why not call a TO to set up the best possible play? The decision to kick the FG at the end of the game with the Steelers inside the Phins 1 yard line was also dubious considering how much time was left, the lead was only 1 and the fact that the Steelers defense hadn’t really stopped the Phins offense the entire 2nd half. It worked out but easily could not have. Kudos to Tomlin to stay with Sanders after his initial fumble to start the game. It paid off.

– It’s a win and it feels good even though there a number of things to be concerned about from this game. Defense, O-line, running game, coaching all needs to sorely improve. Next week is the Saints on primetime. The Saints lost a shocker to the Browns at home and will be amped up for their next game. Steelers will have to play and be coached better next week if a win is going to happen.

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