Welcome to the BTSC statistical breakdown of the most recent Steelers game. After taking care of business against the Jets, the Steelers appeared to be on a roll heading with their big matchup against the New England Patriots looming in week 7. Then the Steelers ran into the Dolphins and the classic trap game scenario where they lost 30-15. Below is a breakdown to see what we can learn from what the team did well and what areas they need to work on.
All stats are from the NFL, except for DYAR and DVOA rankings, which are from Football Outsiders.
Running Games: The leading rusher for the Steelers was Darrius Heyward-Bey who had one rush for a 60-yard touchdown. Infuriatingly, the rest of the Steelers couldn’t catch up. Le’Veon Bell had ten rushes for 53-yards, and DeAngelo Williams had three rushes for ten yards. The Miami defense was tough up front and the Steelers were unable to get anything going through the air so it was tough for the Steeler to find room on the ground.
Bell has only been active for three games, but he currently ranks fifth in rushing DVOA and seventh among receiving DVOA among running backs.
Passing: Roethlisberger had one of the worst games of his career last week. He was 19 of 34 for 189-yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Roethlisberger hurt his knee in the second quarter and required surgery after the game to repair his meniscus. Roethlisberger is going to be out an undetermined amount of time. Landry Jones will be replacing Roethlisberger in the meantime. Jones played briefly on Sunday, throwing an incompletion on his only attempt.
The leading receiver for the Steelers was Le’Veon Bell who had six receptions for 55 yards. Antonio Brown had a surprisingly quiet day, only contributing four receptions for 39-yards. The lone touchdown pass of the day from the Steelers was a 23-yard strike from Roethlisberger to Cobi Hamilton for the receiver’s first career regular season touchdown.
In total, six different Steelers caught a pass, but except for Bell none had more than 40-yards.
Defense: Ryan Tannehill didn’t have a prolific day passing, but he gave the Steelers fits. The Miami quarterback was 24 of 32 for 252-yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Tannehill did a great job spreading the ball around as nine different players had a reception. The leading receiver for Miami was Jarvis Landry who had 91 yards on seven receptions.
The real killer however was the Miami rushing attack that was able to put 222-yards on the Steelers defense. Jay Ajayi led the way for the Dolphins with 204-yards by himself. That was the first time the Steelers had allowed a single player to gain 100 yards rushing in 2016, and the first time the Steelers had allowed a single player to rush for 200 yards since Fred Taylor in 2000.
The Dolphins scored three touchdowns on the day, all rushing. Damien Williams scored from one yard out in the second quarter. Jay Ajayi scored on a rush of one yard in the third quarter and on one of 62 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers had four passes defended (Ross Cockrell twice, Williams Gay, and Arthur Moats), zero sacks, and only two quarterback hits. For the second time this season Pittsburgh blocked a field goal when Daniel McCullers got his hands on an attempt. Alas, the Steelers couldn’t capitalize on the momentum.
The Steelers leading tackler was Tyler Matakevich with eight combined tackles.
Efficiency: The Steelers were 3/11 on third down while the Dolphins were 7/14. The Steelers were 0/1 on fourth down. The Steelers averaged 5.6 yards per play while the Dolphins averaged 7.0 yards.
The Red Zone: The Steelers didn’t score at all in the red zone because they never were allowed to operate inside the Dolphins 20-yard line (Both Steelers touchdowns were on plays that started outside the red zone). The Dolphins were actually only 2/6 for converting red zone trips into touchdowns. The Steelers defense did its job early in the game to hold the Dolphins to field goal attempts but the Steelers offense couldn’t sustain any drives to take advantage.
Turnovers: Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions on the day. One was to Safety Reshad Jones and another to safety Isa Abdul-Quddus. The Steelers were unable to force any turnovers of their own. This combined with the failure to pressure the Dolphins quarterback led to a long day for the Steelers defense.
Penalties: The Steelers committed six penalties for 65 yards, while the Dolphins committed eight for 95 yards.
Under Pressure: The Steelers had zero sacks Sunday and only two quarterback hits. Stephon Tuitt and Anthony Chickillo each recorded one hit for the Steelers.
The Dolphins were able to get consistent pressure on the Steelers all day. The Dolphins had two sacks (Andre Branch and Cameron Wake) and six quarterback hits. Ndamukong Suh and Jason Jones each recorded a quarterback hit while Wake and Branch had two apiece.
Punting: In a game where the entire team struggled, Jordan Berry joined the club for the first time this year. Berry had five punts for 180 yards, only a 36 yard average. He had two punts downed inside the 20.
The Steelers dropped a game they should have found a way to win, and now have to travel home to take on a surging New England team. Hopefully the team can find a way to maximize their depth and shock the Patriots in a game where they will be heavy underdogs at home.