Steelers Film Room: DeAngelo Williams’ 55 Yard Run

Even with Martavis Bryant’s return, Darrius Heyward-Bey has still seen a fair share of playing time. On a gut reaction, the notion might be a curious one. DHB had filled in admirably during Bryant’s four-game suspension but would seem to be a clear #4 behind Bryant, Markus Wheaton, and Antonio Brown.

Heyward-Bey’s game is known for two positive things: speed and blocking ability. And the latter was on display yesterday, providing a key block to spring DeAngelo Williams on his 55 yard run. Let’s check it out on tape.

We’ve written it here before but there are two main rules to blocking a wide receiver follows. Stalk block the cornerback when there is a two high shell from the safeties or crack the safety when there is single high. We’ll quickly draw up the difference.



And let’s look at the pre-snap alignment from the Bengals on the long Williams’ run. Check George Iloka, #43, creeping up towards the LOS. That’s going to tell Heyward-Bey he needs to crack him because there’s no other blocker who can get a hat on the safety. Ben Roethlisberger sees this too – good QBs help you in the run game as well – and motions DHB in to reduce his split, giving his receiver less ground to cover to execute his block.

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Of course, this crack/replace leaves the CB Adam Jones unblocked, but you’ll always take leaving a cornerback – weaker against the run – unblocked as opposed to a safety. It forces the corner to make an open field tackle. A lot of cornebacks weren’t brought in for their top-notch run defense skills.

Watch Heyward-Bey crack and seal Iloka inside, eliminating the alley defender. Jones is unable to make the tackle in open space and it’s off to the races.

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55 yards later, Williams is finally bumped out of bounds.

There are always layers to what goes into a good play. The offensive line holding the POA, the back finding the hole and accelerating upfield. But DHB makes the key block. It’s his Steelers’ career in a nutshell. Quietly do the dirty work and let others take the glory.

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