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Steelers Film Room: Red Rifle Read-Option

In the Sunday win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense allowed quarterback Andy Dalton to dash 20 yards on a read-option play for a touchdown in the second quarter. That play brought back bad memories of the long touchdown run last season by Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor on the first play of the game.

Much like that play last season, the Steelers had a blown assignment Sunday against the Bengals. While I haven’t seen a player own up to Sunday’s gaffe, I can only tell you the two scenarios that likely should’ve taken place on the play.

For starters, outside linebacker Jason Worilds crashed down inside on the play in order to attempt to tackle the running back. If he’s going to do that, then inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons has to scrape exchange over to the outside so that he offers containment. However, if Timmons wasn’t expecting Worilds to crash down inside, then the blame goes on the outside linebacker as he’s the one that’s supposed to control the outside.

After the game against the Raiders last season, Timmons took the blame for not scraping-exchanging with then-outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who had crashed down inside on the running back. To make matters even worse on the Dalton run Sunday, safety Troy Polamalu did a horrible job of reading the mesh point between the quarterback and running back. In the all-22 shot of the play, you can see Polamalu starting to scream towards the line of scrimmage while Dalton is running free around the edge. It’s a tough read for the Steelers safety, but he just can’t let the Bengals quarterback to go untouched like he did.

At some point during the week I hope we get to hear from either Worilds or Timmons as to which one of them blew the assignment.

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