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Steelers-Dolphins Recap

The Steelers lose a big game at home in a crazy one, 34-28, to the Dolphins.

The Good – Outside of some drives in the 1st half Haley called a great game. End of discussion. He went back to a wide open aggressive offense that revolves around the franchise QB, Ben, with good results. Pass to set up the run which is how it should always be with this offense.

– Ben had a solid game finishing with 3 TD passes and almost 300 yards against a tough Dolphin defense. He did, however, have some bad plays at the end of the game including taking a sack with a minute left in the game and attempting to run for the first down on 4th and 10 on the previous drive. He also attempted a deep sideline pass on a 3rd and 3 in the 1st half. All really dumb decisions. But as we all know with Ben you take the good with the bad.

– The beat up O-line had a very solid game for the most part. Pretty solid pass coverage and run blocking.

– Bell had another really good game, finishing with over 4 yards a carry and snagging some passes. He did have a couple of drops in the 2nd half.

– Cameron Heyward – Manimal. Sack, tipped ball on 3rd down almost resulting in an INT, hustling all over the field making one handed tackles on ball carriers. Guy is the real deal.

– Jason Worilds huge sack on a 3rd down early in the 4th quarter.

– 3rd and 1 play action to Heath Miller in the 2nd half was a thing of beauty. Dolphins nor anyone was expecting a pass on that play after a 2nd and 1 deep incompletion.  The next play Antonio Brown takes a short pass and runs for a 43 yard TD. Very nice.

– On the next series, Troy picking off Tannehill and running it in for a Steelers score and just like that 21-17 Steelers after trailing 17-7 just minutes earlier. Troy almost had a pick 6 in the 1st quarter. Needs to be said again, guy can still play.

– Troy and Heyward came to play but not so much everyone else. After the Steelers took back the lead 21-17, the defense has another patented letdown series as the Dolphins drive down the field and score a TD to take the lead back 21-24.

The Bad – Like the well coached team they are, the Steelers clearly thought and played like they had the game in the bag up comfortably 7-0 in the 1st quarter. The rest of the half the Steelers would have a punt blocked, play 10 yard cushions on defense inside their 15, forget to cover a back out of the backfield resulting in an easy TD for the Dolphins and have Ben fumble the ball for a Fins recovery inside Steeler territory.  Score at halftime – Dolphins lead 10-7.

– Lots of bad penalties at the worst times. Sign of a disciplined and well coached team. Clearly.

– As previously mentioned, down 10-7 in the 2nd quarter, Steelers and Ben attempt a deep pass on 3rd and 3. Just dumb and low percentage, especially in bad weather.

– Cortez Allen whiffing on a deep sideline pass on a 3rd and 4 resulting in a big catch for the Dolphins in the 3rd quarter.

– The overall soft effort by the defense as the game progressed against a Dolphins team that hadn’t scored over 28 in a game all year. The Dolphins offense scored 24 in just the 2nd half alone today. Changes need to be made. It’s unreal how consistent this defense has become at letdown drives at the worst possible times in games and today was no different. Forget “stats” that say this defense has been #1 or in the top 5 in recent years, it’s completely misleading.

– Like clockwork the Steelers waste 2 TO’s in the 2nd half. One early in the 4th quarter with the game clock actually winding down ON the Dolphins offense, unbelievable and another with the Steelers facing a 4th down with 2:33 left in the game. To top things off, the Steelers turn the ball over on downs and then decide not to use a TO before the 2 minute warning after a Dolphins run. WTF???? The Dolphins cannot get a first down where they are at, completely retarded decision. It’s just a waste of time off the clock. Tomlin is a bad head coach, it needs to be said time and again. Under Tomlin, the Steelers have become without a doubt the most frustrating team to watch that I’ve ever seen as a fan. No hope in sight until this guy is shown the door.

– Lamar Woodley was back in the starting lineup and once again was invisible for most of the game. There was one or two plays where he almost gets to Tannehill for the sack. That was about it.

– Rookie LB Jarvis Jones continually getting sucked to the inside on a number of PA rollout/read option plays resulting in some big plays for the Dolphins offense.

– Watching Cortez Allen and Troy both miss tackles on Dolphins RB Clay as he goes in for the TD at the end of the 4th quarter giving the Dolphins the go ahead lead 31-28. Clay made the Steelers defense his bitch all game long. This drive was all of 4 plays starting deep in Dolphin territory. Unreal.

– Ryan Clark taking out Ike Taylor in the 2nd half with a helmet to helmet hit. I think he might be a saboteur at this point.

The Real Bad – The horrendous “hitting a defenseless player” penalty on Ryan Clark in the 2nd half. Fuck off, NFL. I’m just about done with this league. In the 2nd half Antonio Brown would take a really hard hit immediately to his back on a short pass, no call as the fans booed the refs on the play. And this is why this rule is completely bullshit, it makes no sense in how it’s called or what it even means. Do the refs just throw the flag on hits they think look particularly bad? Another bullshit penalty later on a holding call on DeCastro on a super quick WR screen play. Give me a fucking break, refs. Even Fouts was flabbergasted at the call. Quickest holding penalty ever!

The Weird – With 22 seconds left in the 1st half  the Dolphins elect not to go for it on a 4th and 2 and instead attempt a 52 yard FG in snowy conditions at Heinz Field. Did Mike Tomlin switch teams? The kick of course was short.

Summary – With this loss the Steelers slim playoff hopes are done unless a real miracle happens. And honestly the Steelers don’t deserve to make the playoffs with the way they’ve coached and played this season, especially considering the ridiculously easy schedule they’ve played. Tomlin obviously needs to go and I hate to say it but so does Lebeau. It’s time to move on, the question is how long it takes the FO and Rooneys to make the change because it ain’t getting better with this coaching staff in place and recent history has clearly shown that. Let’s hope for some major changes in the offseason. They are sorely needed.

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