Steelers notebook: Polamalu teaches Tannehill lesson
By Ralph N. Paulk and Bill West
Published: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu's 19-yard interception return for a touchdown was the second pick-six thrown by Dolphins second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill this season.
“I figured he'd stay on the right side of the field, but I should've known, because he's Troy Polamalu, so he never stays anywhere,” Tannehill said. “I've just got to be aware of where he is at all times.”
Tannehill, who has 14 interceptions this season, also threw one that went back for a score against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 20.
Early load for Bell
Running back Le'Veon Bell spearheaded a ground game that helped the Steelers possess the football for nearly 10 minutes in the first quarter. He had eight carries for 26 yards and a nine-yard reception during a 12-play, 74-yard scoring drive that put the Steelers ahead 7-0.
Bell, though, was hardly a factor the rest of the way. He finished with 61 yards on 15 carries and dropped two passes.
“I'm not sure why we went away from running the ball,” guard Ramon Foster said. “Whatever is called, we have to be more efficient. I wasn't surprised we went away from it (run) because the coaches saw something we could pick at.”
“It was in the flow of the game,” said coach Mike Tomlin. “I'm not going to make an excuse for a lack of productivity in that area.”
Shades of Auburn
Safety Troy Polamalu fielded a missed Miami field goal attempt eight yards deep in the end zone, then tried to duplicate the return that Auburn used to beat Alabama.
But the Dolphins forced Polamalu to lateral the ball to nose tackle Steve McLendon, who pitched it to cornerback Ike Taylor, who was cut down at the Miami 30 to end the first half.
Spaeth makes debut
Tight end Matt Spaeth, who missed the first 12 games with a knee injury, saw his first action. He threw a block on safety Reshad Jones that sprung Bell for a nine-yard gain and a first down at the Miami 11 to set up Roethlisberger's 5-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders.
McLendon returned after missing two games with an injury. Ziggy Hood left late in the first quarter with an injured right ankle, but returned. Also, Taylor suffered a slight rib injury when he collided with Clark after giving up 13-yard completion to Brian Hartline.
Tannehill finds comfort zone
For a guy who has played most of his football career in Texas, Tannehill looked mighty comfortable in the cold and snow at Heinz Field.
Tannehill, who grew up in Western Texas and starred at Texas A&M, put together a performance that included 200 passing yards, three touchdown throws, one interception and a career-high 56 rushing yards, 48 of which came on one run.
The Dolphins finished with a season-high 34 points.
“It was fun; it wasn't too bad,” Tannehill said of playing in the winter weather. “Early in the game, the snow was coming down pretty good, but the ball felt good all day. You're warm on the sideline, and once you get on the field, you feel good.”
Philbin returns to football roots
Though he grew up in Springfield, Mass., second-year Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has Western Pennsylvania football roots. He coached at Allegheny from 1990-93 and led the team to NCAA Division III title in 1990. He also attended Washington & Jefferson, where he played tight end and graduated in 1984.
“It's a great part of the country,” Philbin said. “The people in this area are good, salt-of-the-Earth people. … Some of the guys that I think played for us (at Allegheny) were here today.”
Dolphins, Philbin up to challenge
Philbin improved to six-for-six on play challenges this season when he contested the on-field ruling of Miami's eventual touchdown in the third quarter. Officials initially ruled that Hartline failed to stay inbounds for the 4-yard reception near the end zone's front-right pylon but reversed their call.
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.
- Despite many moves, Steelers’ depth still a work in progress
- 3 more college players visit Steelers ahead of NFL Draft
- Steelers get familiar exhibition opponents