How does a running back manage to scamper for 81 yards on 2nd and 22 from his own 8-yard-line against a loaded front? Great blocking, of course, and that’s exactly what happened Sunday night in the Pittsburgh Steelers 37-19 win over the Carolina Panthers.
As you can see in the two animated gifs below, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell not only had great blocking on his long third quarter run, he also read the inside linebacker very well in addition.
The play design, 22-Double, is set up to give Bell a ton of options based on how he reads the double-team and kickout blocks. At the snap, right guard David DeCastro and right tackle Marcus Gilbert double-team Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei while center Maurkice Pouncey and left guard Cody Wallace are responsible for the double-team on defensive tackle Kawann Short.
In addition to those double-teams, tight ends Matt Spaeth and Heath Miller have single blocks along with fullback Will Johnson, who had motioned to the strong side pre snap. Miller and Johnson are to turn their respective men out, while Spaeth tries to merely lock up his man to the inside or outside.
Bell does a great job of reading the attempted run-fills by Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and safety Roman Harper and he cuts back toward the interior of the line. At that point, Bell only needs Pouncey to get off his combination block and hook Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis just long enough to allow him through.
You can pause and slow down these gifs to see all of the lanes that this play has the potential of creating. This play has been a Steelers run staple for years and you will be hard pressed to find it this well blocked and read by the running back for some time.