Why Did Brown Step Out Of Bounds?

Dale Lolley has his notes from the Steelers' loss to the Miami Dolphins:

Perhaps it was fitting that the Steelers' season basically ended on a crazy, play that included five laterals and their best offensive weapon, Antonio Brown, inexplicably stepping out of bounds by inches as he ran in for what would have been a game-winning touchdown when he really didn't need to be that close to the sideline.

Certainly Brown was probably unsure who was chasing him from behind at that point, but there was no sane reason for Brown to step on the sideline - no more than there was for Mike Tomlin to step inches onto the field last week in Baltimore.

So it all comes full circle.

@ Leave it to suddenly wise sage Ike Taylor to sum up the Steelers' disappointing 2013 season.

"When you're consistent at being inconsistent, you're going to get a 5-8 record," said Taylor.

I couldn't have said that better. The Steelers have consistently been inconsistent all season. Actually, the defense has been incredibly consistent.

It hasn't been a force stopping the run all season and that's a killer.

@ I asked a number of players, including Le'Veon Bell, why he basically disappeared as a runner after the Steelers' first touchdown drive. Nobody had an answer.

Bell carried the ball eight times for 32 yards on Pittsburgh's first scoring drive, while Jonathan Dwyer had one carry on that possession as well, gaining six yards.

The Steelers ran the ball just 12 other times in the game. And one of those came when Ben Roethlisberger scrambled for eight yards on fourth-down-and-10 with 2:33 remaining.

I will say this, the Steelers again ran a lot of no-huddle, and it's become apparent that Roethlisberger would rather throw passes to Bell than hand it to him.

Bell had more carries on that one possession (8) than he had the rest of the game (7).

That can't happen.

Bell said he felt fine, and maybe the Steelers wanted to limit his touches due to his return from a concussion. But if they felt that was an issue, he shouldn't have been playing.

@ I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but as I watched a few phantom penalties called - holding on David DeCastro, false start on Cody Wallace, some no calls on plays that, at the very least could have been defensive holding - I couldn't help but wonder if the league wanted to balance things out for the lack of a penalty on Tomlin last week for being where he shouldn't have been.

You can add the supposed hit on a defenseless receiver call on Ryan Clark that set up a touchdown for the Dolphins.

Again, I'm not big on conspiracy theories. But there it is.

@ My radar was tripped when Jason LaCanfora and Peter King both reported that the league is still considering taking draft pick(s) away from the Steelers based on how the season plays out.

If the Steelers aren't in the postseason ahead of Baltimore, the league can quietly let the issue fade away.

I'm just saying.

@ The defense was bad Sunday, allowing four chunk plays that basically did the team in.

But the offense didn't help out by failing to close out this game. Part of the reason for that was the fact that the Steelers stayed in attack mode late, continuing to throw the ball because Tomlin had no faith in his defense.

So no, I'm not taking an offensive tackle in the draft. And though I wouldn't mind a wide receiver - a big, stud wide receiver - with the top-10 pick the Steelers are currently in line for, this team has to draft on the defensive side of the ball.

And yes, I'm re-signing 25-year-old Jason Worilds, even if it means LaMarr Woodley has to go.

@ For about 25 yards on quarterback Ryan Tannehill's 48-yard run in the first quarter, Taylor was unable to close on him.

That doesn't bode well for Taylor.

@ Why is it when a team has a punt blocked, the TV cameras automatically show the punter as if he's the one who was at fault.

There was nothing Steelers punter Mat McBriar could have done to avoid the kick he had deflected Sunday.

Long-snapper Greg Warren didn't get his head up and allowed Jimmy Wilson to run right by him untouched up the middle.

@ Cam Heyward had several plays where he looked like somebody's big brother playing football in the backyard, yanking running backs down by their jersey.

The strides Heyward has made this season have been outstanding to watch. But he needs some help on that line.

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