Where the Steelers defense went wrong against the Dolphins

Well, that was terrible. It seems like whenever the Steelers lose they lose BIG!

At least this season.

In their two loses, the Steelers have only scored 18 points, while their opponents have scored 64 points. From a defensive perspective, that’s not good at all.

Sometimes a defensive coordinator could call the perfect game, but if the defense doesn’t execute it, it goes nowhere. Which is what could’ve happened in this game. The Steelers obviously have the talent to be a successful defense week in and week out.

This week was just one of those games, it happens, it’s the NFL.

At the same time, it’s incredibly frustrating to see this defense play poorly. Because we know this defense is better than how it played on Sunday. We also know how frustrating it can be to see a missed opportunity by a consistent player.

I love William Gay, he’s one of my favorite Steelers. So, it was difficult to see him drop an INT, which rarely happens. In his career, Gay has 11 INT, 5 of which were returned for touchdowns (tied for the Steelers record with Rod Woodson).

William Gay’s missed opportunity wasn’t an isolated incident, as the Steelers gave up two big plays to the Dolphins.

In the second quarter, William Gay gave up a 53-yard reception to TE Marquis Gray. Later in the second quarter, with 1:09 left to play in the half, Artie Burns gave up a 39-yard reception to Jarvis Landry. Tomlin was quoted today on those very two plays:

Although these things shouldn’t happen, they do happen – especially to rookie cornerbacks.

This was no more evident than on the 39-yard reception Artie Burns gave up to Jarvis Landry.

The Steelers held some of the NFL’s top receivers in check in previous games this year. DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and AJ Green weren’t very effective when they played the Steelers. I’m not saying the receivers for the Dolphins had a field day against the Steelers secondary, but you don’t really need to when you have two or three big receptions, which lead to touchdown at the end of the drive.

One thing you hear all the time is “you gotta win the battles in the trenches.” The Steelers defensive line had a hard time with the Dolphins offensive line. They were pushed around on multiple runs that led to large gains. On one particular play, Daniel McCullers missed a sure-fire sack.

This miss by McCullers led to the 53-yard gain in the second quarter. This is one of the things the Steelers must clean up if they want any success against the Patriots – especially facing a quarterback like Tom Brady.

Similarly, the Steelers cannot miss tackles. Jay Ajayi ended up with a big day, in large part to two long runs in the game. One followed a Ben Roethlisberger interception, and of course, the last was when the Steelers attempted an onside kick; a demoralizing 62-yard rushing touchdown to seal the game for Miami.

Since Big Ben will not be playing on Sunday, the Steelers are going to need an A+ performance out of their defense. They can’t give up the underneath routes in fear of the “big play.” If they do that, Brady and Edelman will exploit it all day.

And obviously, let’s not make the same mistake last year by letting Gronk run open all over the field.

With all of that being said, let’s rally around Landry Jones till Ben gets back.

Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!

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