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Monday, December 9, 2013
A look at the Steelers' snap counts from Sunday

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- A little more than a week after the Steelers almost ran out of offensive linemen at Baltimore, they didn’t have to do any in-game shuffling because of injuries. All five starters played every offensive snap (66).

-- The Steelers used three wide receivers so frequently that Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders each played 58 snaps, while Jerricho Cotchery logged 55 snaps. Rookie Markus Wheaton played just four snaps, and he was targeted one time, on a deep pass that fell incomplete in the third quarter.

-- Tight end Matt Spaeth played 15 snaps in his first game since sustaining a Lisfranc injury during training camp. Most of those came in the first half when the Steelers ran the ball – and ran it well – with a bigger personnel grouping.

-- Cortez Allen started at cornerback and didn’t come off the field. Allen, who covered the speedy Mike Wallace, was one of five defensive players on the field for all 62 of the Dolphins’ defensive snaps. Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Jason Worilds and Lawrence Timmons also played every snap. Will Allen, the Steelers’ third safety in the quarter package, played almost 75 percent of the snaps. Rookie Shamarko Thomas, who had been the third safety in the quarter defense, played only on special teams against the Dolphins.

-- LaMarr Woodley rotated at right outside linebacker with Jarvis Jones, but the seventh-year veteran played the bulk of the snaps. Woodley played 41 snaps compared to 21 for Jones, who lost contain on a 48-yard run by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill late in the first quarter.

-- Woodley had only played a handful of snaps at right outside linebacker before Sunday, and his inexperience on that side may have loomed large on the play of the game. Tight end Charles Clay, who tormented the Steelers as a receiver, hooked Woodley – legally – and helped spring Daniel Thomas for a 55-yard run.

-- Everything went right for the Dolphins on Thomas’ run – or wrong for the Steelers, depending on your vantage point. Woodley, Cameron Heyward and Ike Taylor were among those who could not get off blocks. Polamalu, who took the blame for not getting to his assigned gap, was taken out by a textbook cut block from center Mike Pouncey. Once Thomas broke into the open field, Clark did the right thing but funneling him to the middle of the field, but Allen slipped on the turf as he tried to tackle Thomas. That is the kind of season it has been for the Steelers – and why they are 5-8.