Steelers Rewind

Was Cameron Heyward THAT dominant? How did Jason Worilds and LaMarr Woodley do in their new spots? And what about the new offensive linemen? Matthew Marczi has the answers.

Cameron Heyward has slowly but surely been making the defensive line his own this year, even before being promoted to the starting lineup after the first quarter of the season.

As the games tick by, he continues to put his stamp on the line, no matter who is playing alongside him any given week. The Miami Dolphins were the most recent offensive line to learn that Heyward does not get pushed around.

He had a career-high 10 tackles this week in addition to his fourth sack of the season, with a couple of body slams mixed in. He also added another batted pass to his collection.

Most impressive on the day though was his consistent motor. While he only notched a few hurries as far as the official stats sheet is concerned, he was consistent in collapsing the pocket against the left side of Miami's offensive line.

Many of his tackles also came about because of his hustle and unwillingness to abandon the play. He twice dragged down Dolphins running backs by the back of the jersey when the rest of the defense failed to bring him down in a timely manner.

And while he didn't get a chance to run with the ball in his hands this week, he did throw a key block on Bryant McKinnie during Troy Polamalu's interception return for a touchdown. His drive and enthusiasm are infectious, and the defense feeds off the energy he brings on every snap.

TRADING PLACES

During LaMarr Woodley's three-game absence, Jason Worilds took over the left outside linebacker spot and made it his own, stringing together some of the best games of his career. Despite that, Woodley told reporters he believed he would be back on the left side this week.

Not only did end up starting the game on the right side, he also played the majority of his snaps over there as well.

Combined with a monitored snap count that saw him give way to Jarvis Jones for about a third of the game, the game plan afforded Worilds the ability to remain on the left side for the majority of the afternoon.

It worked out for the best for both parties, as both Woodley and Worilds put together solid all-around games.

For Worilds, he continued to be a force against the run in a way he'd never been on the right side and added another couple of notches to his sack total, although one of them was a freebie on a mishandled snap.

As for Woodley, he got most of his pressure on the right side, where he took most of his pass-rushing snaps, although his near-sack turned near-intentional-grounding came from the left side when he was left unblocked on a bootleg.

THE REPLACEMENTS

The Steelers may have been forced to cobble together an offensive line with damaged goods after being ravaged by injuries against the Baltimore Ravens, but the replacements can't be blamed for this loss.

No, that probably has more to do with the fact the defense allowed the Dolphins a season-high 34 points, though a fumble and turnover on downs also contributed to the cause.

With Mike Adams resuming the left tackle spot as a starter for the first time since a nightmare Week Four, and Cody Wallace making his first career start at center, the line had reason to buckle, but it didn't.

While neither turned in a Pro Bowl performance, Adams and Wallace helped contribute to a solid offensive showing that accumulated over 400 yards and converted on third down nearly half the time in inclement weather.

Adams in particular was a surprise at left tackle, only surrendering two pressures, though that was aided by quick passes and extra help.

While Wallace had some issues, including a pair of penalties (and some rather infamous video on one play), he gave the interior of the Dolphins' defensive front a battle all game and didn't look overmatched, and that's about as much as you can ask from a first career start.

While there's nobody left behind Wallace to take his job after Fernando Velasco was lost for the season, the Steelers can now at least consider leaving Adams at left tackle, where they wanted him all along, at least for another week as Kelvin Beachum returns from a knee injury.


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