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stillers4me
11-13-2007, 10:29 PM
Miller brings 1-handed heroics
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Tight end Heath Miller makes the winning touchdown catch against the Browns in the fourth quarter Sunday at Heinz Field. (vs. Browns 11/11/07)Heath Miller did not just score the winning touchdown for the Steelers Sunday. He single-handedly cost the Cleveland Browns two timeouts they could have used on their final, desperation drive that ended with an unsuccessful 52-yard field-goal try.


Miller took two timeouts from the Browns because they apparently could not believe he caught the bullet pass from Ben Roethlisberger with one hand. One of their players called a timeout before the Steelers could kick the extra point, and then coach Romeo Crennel lost a second timeout when he challenged the call.

Replay confirmed what many of Miller's teammates already knew -- not only did he catch the ball, he does it all the time with one hand. This time, he had two hands on the ball but cradled it with one when he landed on the "G" in "Pittsburgh" in the end zone.

"He does a lot of one-handed catches in practice every day," Willie Parker said. "When we do third-down [drills], he'll catch one-handed. Now it's become more like, 'Oh, that's Heath.' He does it all the time."

Miller does not have the most receptions for a tight end in the league, but that touchdown with 3:13 left that lifted the Steelers over the stubborn Browns, 31-28, was his sixth this season. That ties him for the league lead among tight ends with Dallas Clark of Indianapolis.

It also ties Miller's career high of six touchdowns as a rookie in 2006. He caught five last season. Miller's 31 receptions are just eight short of his career high, also set as a rookie, and his 421 yards receiving are 38 off his previous high.

The 6-foot-5 Miller has become more of a target for Ben Roethlisberger this season and he has responded in a big way, including a 13.6-yard average per catch that is nearly 2 yards longer than his average through his first two seasons.

Unlike many other tight ends who are among the receiving leaders, Miller also gets paid to block. In fact, on his winning catch, he lined up tight on the right end, blocked his man as Roethlisberger rolled right and then released into the end zone.

"He's a really big target, has great hands, a little improvisation there on the goal line," Roethlisberger said. "He cuts back and makes a heck of a catch. It's a big play for him."

It wasn't Miller's only big play on a day in which he caught five for 71 yards. If it weren't for a play he made earlier in that drive, the Steelers might have had to try to kick a field goal and still trailed.

Trailing by four, Roethlisberger was sacked on second down for an 11-yard loss back to Cleveland's 33. It was third-and-18 from there.

Miller lined up to the left of Roethlisberger in the shotgun formation with Carey Davis to the right.

"The thing about that third-down play, I was watching him and he was in the backfield blocking," linebacker James Farrior said.

Miller released and ran a short route. Roethlisberger dropped straight back and pumped once over the middle. Cleveland's defensive strategy this day was not to allow anything deep and it worked, particularly on this play.

"I was the first look," Hines Ward said. "They bracketed me with the safety and corner, and bracketed [Santonio Holmes] with the safety and corner and left Heath one on one, and Heath got behind one of the linebackers wide open."

He was wide open, but caught the ball only at the 27, far short of a first down. He ran to the right, though, got blocks from Ward and Davis and dived for the first down, turning a 6-yard pass into a 20-yard gain.

"You have a legitimate guy who can catch the ball over the middle," Ward said after the game Sunday. "Heath is an integral part of our offense. When you take away Tone [Holmes] and take away myself like they did today, then Heath will come up and hurt you in the middle like he did today."

Farrior has spent much of his career covering tight ends and has a good idea what makes Miller so effective as a receiver.

"He's deceptive," Farrior said. "He knows how to get open. He knows how to use his size and mobility to offset what DBs try to do to him. He has probably the best hands among tight ends I've seen in a long time."

And sometimes, all he needs to use is one of them.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07317/833357-66.stm#

Steelman16
11-13-2007, 10:43 PM
Great article. I love Heath, he's just a fantastic Tight End. I'm very glad that the Steelers are utilizing their TE's more in the passing attack.

Galax Steeler
11-14-2007, 04:49 AM
Heath has made some great catches I don't see how he caught that ball one handed in the ednzone as hard as ben threw it against the browns.

moedap
11-14-2007, 05:03 PM
Heath has made some great catches I don't see how he caught that ball one handed in the ednzone as hard as ben threw it against the browns.

Im pretty sure he had to ice that up afterwards. It literally looked like a "bullet"!

83-Steelers-43
11-14-2007, 05:30 PM
Heath Miller = Mr. Dependable.

tony hipchest
11-14-2007, 05:38 PM
Heath Miller = Mr. Dependable.i can remember 3 catchable balls hes dropped in his 2 1/2 year career. i cant remember which games but i know it was atleast 3.

hes on pace to have 1 drop per year for his career. :cheers:

83-Steelers-43
11-14-2007, 05:40 PM
i can remember 3 catchable balls hes dropped in his 2 1/2 year career. i cant remember which games but i know it was atleast 3.

hes on pace to have 1 drop per year for his career. :cheers:

The guy's unbelievable. Catches the ball with his hands. Finds a way to get open. Runs through you and not around you. Scores a TD, spikes the ball at most, hugs his buddies and get's back to business. He doesn't complain. He doesn't bitch about not getting the ball enough or past coaching staffs. All business.

Gotta love and respect it. My type of player.