NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Things We Learned from Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14

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5 Things We Learned from Week 14

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive week, the Pittsburgh Steelers were so close, yet so far away from another victory. In Week 14, the Steelers suffered their eighth defeat of the season in a 34-28 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

After jumping ahead to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Pittsburgh allowed 10 unanswered points by the Dolphins heading in to halftime. The Steelers did fight back in the third quarter after Miami extended their lead to 17-7. Wide receiver Antonio Brown scored on a 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and safety Troy Polamalu returned an interception 19 yards to the end zone on the next two ensuing drives to take a 21-17 lead.

The back-and-forth battle continued when Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, giving Miami a 24-21 advantage.

Pittsburgh then took the lead back on the first play of the fourth quarter when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected with wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery from 16 yards out. Unfortunately for the Steelers, their defense couldn’t hold on to the 28-24 lead. The Dolphins ended up scoring the game’s last 10 points in the final three minutes of the contest.

However, the Steelers did have a chance to win the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, their final play, which included five laterals, came to an abrupt halt when Brown inadvertently stepped out of bounds at the 12-yard line before scoring a touchdown that would have tied the game at 34 with a pending extra point attempt.

Besides learning that Pittsburgh was inches away from one of the all-time greatest comebacks in NFL history, there were a number of other things that Steeler Nation took notice of. Let’s take a look and see what they were.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+.

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5. Pittsburgh Officially Got It Right by Not Keeping Mike Wallace

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This past Sunday marked the return of wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Steel City. Many would have thought that Wallace would be motivated to put up big numbers against his former team, but his two catches for 19 yards proved otherwise. On the other side, Brown finished the game with five receptions, 138 yards (game-high), and a touchdown.

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4. Jason Worilds Has Found a New Home on the Left Side of the Defense

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Even with the return of linebacker LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers still decided to keep Jason Worilds on the left side of the defense; and from the looks of things it’s working out. Worilds recorded two sacks and eight tackles against the Dolphins as he continues to prove that he’s worth re-signing in the offseason.

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3. Mike Adams Seems to Have Improved

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

By default, offensive tackle Mike Adams was inserted into the starting lineup, filling in for the injured Kelvin Beachum. This was Adams' first time protecting Roethlisberger’s blindside since earlier this season, and surprisingly, Adams did a good job against Miami. The next three games will be crucial to Adams’ future if he is to start for the remainder of the year.

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2. Defense’s Lack of Fundamentals Cost Steelers the Game

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Steelers went on their three-game winning streak, they had extreme difficulty with their tackling. That problem has seemed to rear its ugly head once again. Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 181 yards rushing and couldn’t get a hold of Dolphins tight end Charles Clay as he scored the game-winning touchdown.

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1. One More Loss Will Totally Kill Postseason Hopes

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

With this loss, the Steelers are now four games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals and five spots away from the final AFC wildcard spot. Coincidentally, Pittsburgh’s next game is against the Bengals. Another loss will more than likely bury any chances of the playoffs for the second year in a row.