The Pittsburgh Steelers only ran the football with running back DeAngelo Williams 14 times Sunday in their win over the Denver Broncos and that resulted in the veteran only gaining 26 yards. If you are wondering why that was, offensive coordinator Todd Haley gave the reasoning behind the pass-happy game plan that was used against the Broncos during his weekly interview on Steelers Nation Radio.
“Even though we were in three receivers, they stayed in basically their base defense, which when you have three receivers on the field, it isn’t a matchup conducive to successful runs,” explained Haley. “So they were basically saying throw it and we did.”
Boy, did they. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger attempted 50 pass attempts Sunday and that’s the second time this season he’s hit that number as he also threw 50 times against the Seattle Seahawks back in Week 12.
Roethlisberger, however, did complete 40 passes against the Broncos and in the process, he became the first quarterback in the history of the league to complete that many passes in a game twice during a career.
While Roethlisberger did attempt 50 passes Sunday, only five times did he throw more than 15 yards down the field and wide receiver Markus Wheaton explained why that was during his talk with the media earlier in the week.
“Coming into the game we saw a lot of one-high [safety], that was their main coverage and so obviously we expected it coming in and they gave us almost two-high the whole game,” said Wheaton. “So with that, we kind of had to deviate from the game plan. Everything that we planned for kind of went out the window. We had to find other things to work and obviously we found some things that would work and we went with it.”
It will be interesting to see how the Baltimore Ravens try to defend the Steelers high-flying offense this coming Sunday and especially since this time around Pittsburgh will have Roethlisberger and wide receiver Martavis Bryant as both missed the Week 4 game.
“This is the Ravens defense that we a saw a few months ago. The difference is obviously that we have Ben and Martavis is playing now, so we’ve got to make the most of that,” Haley said.
Being as the Ravens have allowed 45.7% of all deep passes to be completed against them so far this season, I suspent Roethlisberger might try to throw deep a few more times than he has in the last few games. If, however, the Ravens chose to play two safeties deep for most of the game, Roethlisberger will likely just have to carve them up underneath the way he did against the Broncos.