PITTSBURGH – Heath Miller flashed open near the goal line and caught a pass that Ben Roethlisberger floated just enough for Tampa Bay Buccaneers Eric Wright to deliver a crunching blow in the end zone.
Wright was penalized 15 yards for the helmet to helmet hit, but Miller’s touchdown was negated by an offsetting penalty.
Three plays after Kelvin Beachum's hold wiped out Miller’s first touchdown of the season, the veteran tight end caught a 5-yard scoring pass, holding onto the ball after getting sandwiched by a pair of Buccaneers defensive players.
And what did Miller do after scoring twice and twice paying the price for one touchdown?
Not even a spike of the football.
The 10th-year veteran simply celebrated with his teammates and then jogged to the sidelines even though Miller was obviously pumped -- or at least as pumped as you will ever see Miller, who makes even keel look like an exaggerated zigzag.
If any of his teammates have an inclination to do the kind of celebrating that has them watched by coach Mike Tomlin, they would do well to remember three words: Be like Heath.
And Roethlisberger said that credo extends well beyond conduct after making a big play.
“He’s an example we all should follow, in life and in football, because he’s a class act and someone we all are better to know,” Roethlisberger said of Miller.
David DeCastro agreed.
“I think Ben hit it right on the head. All he does is come in and work hard,” the Steelers right guard said. “Doesn’t say much, leads by example, good family man as well.”
Doesn’t say much would be an understatement.
When asked if Miller ever talks in the huddle, Roethlisberger smiled.
“Very, very rarely,” Big Ben said. “If I call the wrong play, he’ll tell me.”
“He’ll give you a fist pound or ‘Let’s go’ but it’s usually pretty short and sweet,” DeCastro added.
DeCastro said he has never heard Miller curse or trash talk an opponent.
“He doesn’t need to,” DeCastro said. “He lets his pads do his talking.”
Indeed, Miller caught a career-high 10 passes for 85 yards and the touchdown in the 27-24 loss to the Buccaneers. The sequence in which he got belted twice while making end zone grabs showed why Miller is so trusted by his quarterback.
“He’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough. He gives everything he has every single day, in meetings, in practice and the game,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s what makes him so special and what makes it an honor to play with a guy like that.”