Through the first three quarters of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the defense had only surrendered one explosive play of 20 yards or more and that was the deep pass completed to rookie wide receiver Mike Evans down the left sideline against cornerback William Gay. In the fourth quarter, however, the defense would allow four more explosive plays that gained 115 yards.
The Buccaneers longest completion in the game, a 41-yard reception by the newly re-signed Louis Murphy, ended up being the dagger. On that play, Murphy worked himself open underneath the Steelers deep shell.
As you can see in the gif below, the Steelers are more concerned about the post pattern being run by tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Nickel cornerback Brice McCain could have probably done a better job underneath.
Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon talked about the play after the game.
“We had just put that in the other day,” said Glennon. “It was a great job by Marcus [Arroyo], that he wanted to make sure all of our bases were covered for every situation. We put that play in, a great play to beat Cover-2, and I just put it out there and he [Murphy] made a play on it.”
The one angle that we have makes it look more like Cover-3 and safety Troy Polamalu reportedly said after the game that was the coverage on the play. The all-22 tape will give us a better look, but it still won’t change the outcome.
To make matters worse, Glennon had a full four seconds before he threw the football as the Steelers four-man pass rush was easily handled by the Buccaneers offensive line.