Miller's huge game against Ravens helps bolster his place in Steelers' record book
The Baltimore Ravens made up their minds early that the Steelers' roadrunners — Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown — weren't going to beat them over the top in a key AFC North battle at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
As a consequence, they often slept on tight end Heath Miller. The sure-handed Miller gashed the middle of the Ravens' defense to provide quarterback Charlie Batch with a secure, confident target.
Miller, who finished with five catches for 97 yards, made the big catches in the second half to help propel the Steelers to a 23-20 victory that kept their slim division title hopes alive. Also, with three home games remaining over the final four weeks — including Sunday's game against San Diego — the Steelers vastly improved their playoff chances.
“It's an important win for us, especially when you win on the road,” said Miller, who has a team-high 56 receptions for 613 yards.
While the Steelers were handing Baltimore its first home loss in two years, Miller's record-setting day was largely overshadowed.
Miller's 7-yard touchdown catch with 7:37 remaining that tied the game at 20-20 enabled him to establish a franchise record for most touchdowns (38) by a tight end. He had shared that record with Elbie Nickel.
“Heath did a good job of body position, and really stretching out to make that play,” Batch said.
Miller, only one touchdown shy of tying Louis Lipps (39) for the fifth most in franchise history, equaled his single-season career high of seven touchdown receptions in 2007.
“(The record) didn't dawn on me until someone told me when I came into the locker room,” Miller said. “Obviously, winning the game was much more important.”
Miller influenced the outcome by taking advantage of the Ravens' commitment to bottle up Wallace and Brown.
“(Miller) continues to amaze us,” Brown said. “He's doing great things over the middle and it's great to have a tight end like Heath Miller.”
Miller had 43-yarder in the third quarter to position Jonathan Dwyer for a 16-yard touchdown run to tie the game, 13-13. In the fourth quarter, Miller caught a 23-yard pass to the Baltimore 20, but the drive stalled when Batch's pass to Miller in the back of the end zone was intercepted by safety Ed Reed.
“On the (43-yard reception), we had Mike and Antonio on one side and obviously they command a lot of respect with their speed. They both went deep and the middle was kind of vacated. Charlie gave me balls to run with, and we were able to make them pay.
“We didn't know how they would play it. If someone had jumped the crossing routes, we had a favorable matchup with Mike over the top. Charlie did a good job reading out the defense and hitting the open guy. We ran our standard formations, but we had a little variation — something we hadn't shown them in the past.”
It's something the Chargers aren't likely to ignore Sunday.
Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7923.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers won’t change scheme after Pouncey injury
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin leaving `light on’ for injured players
- Steelers rookie receiver Coates learning on the fly
- Veteran quarterback Vick is vowing to make Steelers proud
- Crowd sparse to protest Vick at Steelers’ facility
- Steelers ink QB Vick, new teammates OK with signing
- Steelers notebook: Legursky returns to provide offensive line depth
- Steelers notebook: Mitchell injures left ankle in practice
- Starkey: Steelers stopping themselves with suspensions
- Dog-loving fans irate about Vick signing with Steelers
- Despite injuries, Steelers not lobbying for shorter preseason