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Cam Heyward takes blame for breakdown

8/10/2014

Safeties Mike Mitchell and Will Allen took bad angles on the longest play in the Steelers’ 20-16 loss to the Giants on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.

 And coach Mike Tomlin singled out the secondary for allowing Giants running back Rashad Jennings to turn what should have been a nice gain into a 73-yard touchdown scamper. But Cameron Heyward heaped blame on himself for the breakdowns that resulted in the kind of big play that bedeviled the Steelers’ defense last season.

Heyward did not maintain his gap on the play, and Jennings, following a pulling guard through a huge hole, broke into the open field and outraced cornerbacks Cortez Allen and William Gay to the end zone.

“I’m fully responsible,” Heyward told Steelers TV after the preseason opener. “I didn’t get it done.”

Tomlin didn’t quite see it the same way as the Steelers’ defensive end.

“We’ve got to get it on the ground in the secondary. They’ve got to be 8, 10, 12-yard runs, not 78-yard runs,” the eighth-year coach said. “Obviously it was a gap-integrity issue in the core, but I’m more concerned about when those things do occur that we try to minimize the explosion play.”

Heyward, however, refused to give himself even the slightest pass for Jennings’ touchdown.

Or dismiss it as knocking off the rust in a meaningless game.

“We can’t say it’s only preseason,” said Heyward, one of the Steelers’ defensive leaders. "We’re treating every game like we want to win. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I messed up for this team. It won’t happen again.”