Film Room: Haley Falls Back On An Old Friend For Season’s Biggest Drive

I think we’ve talked about this concept a lot, in fact, I know we have. But a lot of the positive plays that happened so fast didn’t offer great replay/All-22 angles. And the play I want to delve into today was a critical one.

Put money on this being Todd Haley’s favorite play. Fire up the All-22 in a given game and you’ll see this concept several times. It’s his Indy Z Post and the variations with it.

And with the Pittsburgh Steelers desperate to move the football in chunk yards without much time remaining, he dialed it up again.

Instead of two vertical routes by the outside receivers, a post and a go, we get the post and an out route. Have seen this adjustment by the X receiver quite a bit. That isn’t a surprise given the position probably has the most sight adjustments of anyone. He’s one-on-one with the cornerback and his coverage/leverage will often dictate the route.

So when the corner is soft, the receiver often runs an out route to the sideline. That’s what we get from Cobi Hamilton on the right side. Elsewhere, it’s staples of the play.

A post route by Antonio Brown, the Z receiver. And a levels concept over the middle between the Y and the #2 receiver, Jesse James and Eli Rogers respectively. Le’Veon Bell runs his checkdown route to the opposite direction out of the backfield to space out the routes and run away from the probable linebacker flow that’s influenced by the QB’s eyes and crossing routes (or pull the LBs to the back, opening up those crossers). Here’s a look.

Looks like the Baltimore Ravens are in a Cover 3 variation. Five man pressure with three deep and three under, the deep safety pushed to the strength of the formation. But zone coverage.

The line picks the rush up perfect, keeping the pocket clean for Ben Roethlisberger, who feels the rush and climbs/escapes to the right, to his throwing arm and the flow of the routes.

He has the time to wait for Rogers to cross the MIKE linebacker, who feels the route too late and flips his hips as Rogers is already running by, putting him in trail and in no position to make the play. James is underneath, I’d actually like him to find grass better than he did, but he holds the underneath safety, while Hamilton’s out route occupies the cornerback.

Roethlisberger makes the throw. It’s a little off-target but Rogers finishes the play with an absolutely tremendous diving catch, full extension over his head, and brings the ball to the ground. It’s the best catch of the day, though Antonio Brown’s superhuman effort is obviously the best play.

Remember the situation. Under a minute left, one timeout left, 39 yards to go. Steelers aren’t really even in field goal range yet and obviously, they were gunning for a touchdown. An incompletion here puts them in 3rd and 1 and who knows what happens there.

So when everything is on the line, and you need to find your money play, this is it for Pittsburgh. And I love the idea. Run the play everyone is most comfortable with. The one you’ve had since probably early install in OTAs. Choose comfort, choose playing fast, over being super creative. Let your players make plays. That’s the mark of a great offensive coordinator.

Great call. Better play. Wow, what a win.

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