View Full Version : Healthy Miller keys victory

11-21-2008, 10:31 PM
Healthy Miller keys victory
By Chris Harlan
Times Sports Staff

PITTSBURGH — Heath Miller doesn’t draw much attention.

The Virginian talks softly and isn’t much for self-promotion. He’ll probably never win a Pro Bowl fan vote. Even his locker is tucked behind a post in a corner of the Heinz Field locker room, far from the talkative linebackers and the team’s star quarterback.

Thursday, though, everyone knew Miller was back.

“It feels like you’re part of the team again, that’s always a nice feeling,” Miller said after catching four passes for 44 yards in the Steelers’ 27-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, and scoring the team’s first touchdown in eight quarters.

Miller’s presence provided an offensive flexibility that had been missing from the past two weeks when the tight end was sidelined with a sprained ankle. Miller’s absence certainly hurt the passing game, but losing one of the league’s best blocking tight ends probably hurt the running game just as much.

“Before the game I told him welcome back,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “I told him we’d get it to him early and often. … It was good to get him back involved. It was good to have him out there.”

It also marked the return of the team’s heavy use of a two tight end formation, pairing Miller with teammate Matt Spaeth. With receiver Santonio Holmes knocked woozy by a blow to the head and Hines Ward held to just one catch, Miller became Roethlisberger’s favorite downfield target.

Miller’s 3-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter tied the game, 7-7, ending an eight-play, 54-yard drive that included a risky fourth-and-one run by Gary Russell just two plays earlier.

The touchdown showed an added complexity around the goal line that wasn’t there against the Colts and Chargers, when the Steelers ran the football with very little success. With the Bengals defense crowding the middle, Miller slipped away to the right uncovered.

“It was just a good play call and a good throw,” Miller said. “I had the easy part, to be honest with you.”

Miller set up Russell for a touchdown in the third quarter with a 19-yard catch that took the football to the Bengals’ 2-yard line. Russell reached the end zone on the next play for his first career touchdown, giving the Steelers a 20-7 lead with 21 seconds left in the quarter.

“We know to win the games that we want to win we have to be a little better in the red zone,” Miller said. “But the good thing is we’re moving the ball and getting down there. We’ll start to finish them off and you’ll see more points on the board.”

11-21-2008, 11:04 PM
Miller is a very underrated TE. I knew from watching him his rookie year that he was something special. He's got great hands and is an excellent blocker.

When he is properly utilized, we win.

11-21-2008, 11:12 PM
Get Heath the Ball!!!

No more lining him up in the backfield and blocking out of Shotgun!!

This guy is a beast and its about time we start feeding him

The Duke
11-21-2008, 11:29 PM
It took a big hit to see him drop a ball. When was the last time he dropped one?

Take note Winslow

I really hope they start using him more, it seems like the offense begins to work every time they throw it to him

11-22-2008, 01:10 AM
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. If Heath Miller switched teams with Antonio Gates or Jason Witten, he'd be the best tight end in the league.

You gotta love them soft-talking Virginians! :tt02: (Virginia boy here)

Galax Steeler
11-22-2008, 05:15 AM
It was good to see Heath getting the ball more I hope it continues down the stretch and into the playoffs.

11-22-2008, 05:32 AM
when heath is healthy and playing, we move the ball on offense. he's clutch with receptions and he can do the job blocking too, imo one of the most underrated and overlooked te's in the game. gotta keep him healthy if we wanna move deep into the playoffs.

steel striker
11-22-2008, 07:26 AM
What a player Heath is and, he fits into the steeler mold a tough guy who just plays the game the right way.

11-22-2008, 08:11 AM

Just get the daggum ball to him! He may be underrecognized in the league, but Steelers fans know his worth. The man is golden.

Fire Haley
11-22-2008, 10:13 AM
That was only Millers 2nd TD pass all year?
Holy crap.

On any other team he would be getting 10 passes a game thrown his way.

11-22-2008, 01:33 PM
Hell yeah it was great to see Miller get more involved in the O. Now with Spaeth coming along nicely and our deadly WR's Ben's got a plethora of weapons to keep the chains moving!

11-22-2008, 02:05 PM
I'll say this again, Heath IMO IS the best TE in the NFL....The guy is a MONSTER out there....He has INCREDIBLE hands, ya got love the YAC when they get him the ball, he blocks with the best of them when it comes to TE....Every single game they should try and get the ball in his hands around 7-10 times, HE'S THAT DAMN GOOD.

11-23-2008, 12:50 AM
Couldn't agree more. Miller has some of the softest hands for a tight end in the league. He also runs great routes and does his part with some pretty good quickness after the catch. Oh and on top of that he's also looking for the contact when it comes to those db's.

Sometimes I wonder how much credit he would get from the national media if he was thrown to more. I've always thought Arians should split him out wide at times to create mismatches more in the way of stretching the field. Kinda the way with Witten, Gates, etc.

tony hipchest
11-23-2008, 01:33 AM
Miller is a very underrated TE. I knew from watching him his rookie year that he was something special. He's got great hands and is an excellent blocker.

When he is properly utilized, we win.

in his rookie year, he was on pace to break or atleast tie antonio gates record for TE td's in a season (until ben got hurt midway).

they got back on track vs the colts in the playoffs and a SB ring followed.

the steelers will need to do with him, what they did with polamalu in order to keep him. i doubt he will be the highest paid TE, but by the time his contract is due, he will be worth about $4.5 mil more a year.

a team like green bay will have all the cap in the room and no problem making him the highest paid TE on a 5-6 year deal.

heath and james harrison are perfect examples of where the steelers should re-negotiate players contracts with more than 1 year remaining on their contract.

11-23-2008, 10:44 AM
I TOTALLY AGREE tony, the Steelers should ABSOLUTELY being starting negotiations with Miller and Harrison to lock them up so that they will in black and gold for their entire NFL career, cuz they are THAT DAMN GOOD....IMO they are 2 of the best at what they do in the league, IF NOT THE BEST at what they do in the league, and when you are that good ya just don't let those kinds of players walk out the door....LOCK THEM UP NOW.

11-23-2008, 05:16 PM
I've never understood why calls are not called his way as much............... HEATH OWNS THE MIDDLE!!!!

11-25-2008, 01:41 PM
heath and james harrison are perfect examples of where the steelers should re-negotiate players contracts with more than 1 year remaining on their contract.

I totally agree. I would love to see us redo contracts for Heath Miller and James Harrison in the off season. Probably won't happen, but they are big keys to us offensively and defensively. IMO Heath Miller has the best hands out of our WR and TE group. Great to get Heath back healthy. Time to get him and Spaeth the ball more. They could kill the middle of the field on any defense. Also, I truly believe that when you talk about blocking and catching the ball Heath Miller is easily the best all around TE in the entire NFL.