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  • Ask a fan: Hayden Fox's Week 14 Assessment


    * First of all, what a quality win that was. On the road, in the cold, in the snow, in a tough road environment versus playoff competition. It was a gutsy, gutsy win.
    * Props to Daniel Thomas. Many thought DT was done for the year. First, he showed toughness by simply returning to the lineup, but it was his contributions that were huge today. On a day that tough, straight ahead running was needed, Thomas answered the call. He had 105 yards on 16 carries and TD. The biggest run of the day was a 55 yarder that set up the eventual game winning TD in the 4th quarter.
    * The running game churned out a total of 181 yards. Very impressive.
    * Charles Clay. Stud performance. 98 yards on 7 receptions and 2 TD's. His game winner, he busted through tackles to hit pay dirt. There were some other receptions in which he juked defenders to gain extra yards. Clay was a weapon today.
    * Ryan Tannehill has excellent today. He was 20-33 for 200 yards, 3 TD's and 1 interception. He was also effective with his legs. A 48 yard read option helped get the offense going early. 56 rushing yards total Tannehill.
    * The pass protection was great. Considering the opponent and its scheme, the line gave up only two sacks.
    * Mike Pouncey was athletic and got out in front on multiple runs.
    * Brian Hartline's TD catch. A vintage Hartline toe tap.
    * Rush defense. The defense held Pittsburgh and the talented La'Veon Bell to 84 yards.
    * Cameron Wake with a strip, sack. It set up the team's first TD.
    * Olivier Vernon had big tackle on Ben Roethlisberger on 4th down. It was a big tackle. O.V. also garnered another sack to his team leading total.
    * Nolan Carroll was tough in coverage. He had some big passes defensed. None other were bigger than a late PD on a 3rd down in the 4th. The Fins eventually got the ball after a Steelers punt and RT led the offense to a go ahead score.
    * Brent Grimes was up to his usual self today. He had nice coverage during the game.
    * Miami coverage's units were dynamite today. The weather conditions were brutal to cover kicks and yet they were up to the task. Don Jones had a great open field tackle. Marlon Moore had a big stick. Both kicks and punts were covered very well.
    * Jimmy Wilson blocked a punt (technically the punt went one yard so it is a deflection). It was a good aggressive play.
    * Mike Sherman's play calling was good today. He took use of the read option (perhaps could have done more). I like how they took multiple shots deep. He stayed with the run as well. Good day for Sherm.
    * Kevin Coyle used Dion Jordan in some different looks. One that caught my eye is on a passing down, Jordan was inside at DT. Upon the snap, he busted out into coverage.
    * Good challenge by Joe Philbin on the Hartline TD catch.
    * Joe Philbin had his team ready to go and mentally prepared for the cold. It is always tough to play two road games in a row. However, Philbin ultimately had his team up to the task.
    * The team did not quit after the Troy Polamalu's pick six.
    * The offense scored a TD off of a TO created by the defense.
    * 34 points in a win. Miami was the last team in the league to accomplish the 30 point barrier.
    * The team snapped its skid of not scoring a TD in the 4th quarter.


    * The game management by Joe Philbin at the end of the 1st half was awful. First, he let time tick down and did not stop the clock as the Steelers went to punt. Jimmy Wilson then went on to block the punt. For some reason, on 4th and 2, Philbin elected a 53 yard field goal...at a stadium in which nobody kicks long FG's successfully...let alone during a snow event. The kick was run back as Dolphins fans heart's jumped a beat thinking of Alabama/Auburn. The right call, with multiple timeouts, would have been to go for it and see if a closer FG could have been accomplished.
    * The defense let up on the last play. Some players were not set, some looked like they thought the Steelers could not possibly score and looked for someone else to make the play. Fortunately, Brown stepped out of bounds. Both Reshard Jones and Chris Clemons took horrible angles to the ball carrier. This team must literally finish each game.
    * 3rd down offense. The offense was only 5 of 13.
    * 3rd down defense. The Steelers hit on 50% of 3rd downs (8-16). There were also way too many 3rd and long's yielded.
    * 1 to 1 Turnover differential. For the Dolphins to win down the stretch, they have to get this stat on the "plus" side. At the very least today, the Dolphins were even and that was enough to win today.
    * Ryan Tannehill's pick six.
    * The defense gave up a TD after Miami went up ten points. In under three minutes, the Fins were up ten and were down four points.
    * The defense gave up a TD after Hartline's TD.
    * The defense had no answer for Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown.
    * Holding penalties on Mike Pouncey and Lamar Miller on the same drive.
    * Part of the issues on defense is Kevin Coyle's schemes get figured out and there is no "second" adjustment from him.
    * While I liked the read option looks, RT had a few chances to keep the ball for yards. Whether he read it wrong or was told to hand the ball off, more yards could have been earned with the QB keeping the ball. QB's can get injured in this spot, so I totally understand not wanting to expose the QB.

    Overall Assessment

    * Huge win. On the road, in the cold, in the snow, at a tough road venue, against an experienced team still in that is still in the mix...just a big, big win.
    * This win effectively ends the season for the Steelers. The Fins and Ravens are essentially pitted against each other going down the stretch.
    * Ben Roethlisberger is an excellent QB. He is talented and tough.
    * Scoring 34 points on a Dick LeBeau defense is an accomplishment. Props to the players and offensive coaching staff. Regardless of the aging players on the Pittsburgh defense, it still is coached well and has smarts and pride. Nice accomplishment by the offense.
    * Miami overcame adversity today...awesome to see. However, there are other times they cannot handle success. Being up and losing leads is too common this season. It is up to the coaching staff to get this team to improve in understanding the momentum swings of a game.
    * I still think that Mike Tomlin should have been suspended today. The act he pulled on Thanksgiving is disgusting and has no part in the game.
    * The Steelers are dirty. Cameron Heyward threw two Dolphins to the ground. Ryan Clark was head hunting all game. After Big Ben was stopped short of the 1st down, a linemen leveled Koa Misi well after the play.
    * I never want to hear Steelers fans complain about not getting calls. They get calls all the time.
    * What is the exact concussion protocol? How does Ike Taylor get knocked cold and re-enter the game a few plays later? I am confused.
    * How many of us thought of Nick Saban at the end of the 1st half?
    * With the win the Jason Laconfora's and Louis Riddick's of the world can save the "Dolphins made a mistake by signing Mike Wallace" stories or the writing pieces that talk about how the Steelers "don't make personnel mistakes". Maybe they did or maybe they didn't, but at the end of the day they are 5-8 and Mike Wallace's team is 7-6.
    * Here is hoping that Sun Life is packed to the last row and is a loud, inhospitable building for the Patriots.
    * While we will all talk playoff scenarios and that is proper, in my opinion the season was first about making progress. I questioned a few weeks ago if progress had been this year. However, I can say over the last two weeks, progress has been made. That is outstanding to see. There are still three crucial weeks to go to make the final assessment of how much this team has improved this year.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Hayden Fox's Assessment Week 14 started by Hayden Fox View original post