Three Takeaways From The Steelers Game

Posted Jan 9, 2017

Dolphins analyst John Congemi shares his three takeaways from Miami’s Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1) Pittsburgh's Killer B's - The Steelers version of the Killer B's each took turns at dominating the game. Early, it was the combination of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide out Antonio Brown, connecting for two lengthy touchdowns in the first quarter. Big Ben didn't have a huge day statistically (13/18 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions), but his quick passing game to Brown made the score 14-0 after the first two Pittsburgh possessions. Brown, who did have a huge day statistically (five receptions for 124 yards and two scores) took two shorts throws and eluded multiple Dolphins defenders in the secondary. His run after catch ability proved too much and set the tone early in the game. Running back Le'Veon Bell displayed power and patience, running for 167 yards and a 5.8 yards per carry average. Bell's ability to make Dolphins defenders miss allowed the Steelers to control the game on the ground and establish a pure balance on offense. 

2) Crucial Turnovers - The Dolphins failed to win the turnover margin (Miami had three turnovers to Pittsburgh’s two) and that statistic usually is a great indicator of who's going to win the game. The first Dolphins turnover occurred just before halftime with Miami at the Steelers 8-yard line, after a Matt Moore to DeVante Parker 37-yard pass play. Moore was looking to cut the deficit to 20-13 with a touchdown, but was hit from behind by linebacker James Harrison. The veteran defender forced the fumble and kept Miami out of the end zone and off of the scoreboard, keeping the score at 20-6. The other critical turnover occurred on the opening drive of the third quarter, again with the ball on the Pittsburgh side of the 50-yard line. A backside breakdown of pass protection lead to another forced fumble as the Dolphins were gaining momentum to start the second half. The turnover only led to three points, but made the score 23-6. Moore was intercepted on the next offensive play which led to a Pittsburgh touchdown that put the game out of reach.

3) Dolphins Lose LOS - From start to finish, the Dolphins lost the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Offensively, running back Jay Ajayi (16 rushes for only 33 yards) never was able to establish himself on the ground. The Pittsburgh defensive front seven seemed to fight off of blocks and contain Ajayi at the point of attack. Miami's offensive line couldn't consistently sustain their push up front and never reached the second level blocks on the Steelers linebackers or safeties. Those players roamed freely and completely flipped the script from their first meeting. Pittsburgh's offensive line did a nice job limiting penetration, allowing running back Le'Veon Bell time to be patient and allow the running lanes to develop. Bell's speed and vision proved to be the difference and set the tone for the Steelers offense.

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