Ladarius Green was wide open. Wide open. I mean, the walk-it-into-the-end zone type. That doesn’t just happen, especially against good defenses like the New York Giants.
So how does it happen? Two ways.
1. Major defensive breakdown
2. Major offensive schematic win
In this case, it’s the latter. And the credit rightfully goes to Todd Haley for the design.
There isn’t a whole lot to break down here. Ben Roethlisberger fakes the bubble screen to the bottom to Cobi Hamilton and then looks vertically.
The idea is repetition. This isn’t a playcall you get to roll out right away. It has to be setup. And Haley is masterful at that in general and specifically, with this play. The Steelers had been running screens all game long. TE middle screens, RB screens, smoke screens to WRs. You don’t need me to tell you that.
And while it might be frustrating, one consequence to that is drawing up the opposing defense. To get them to want to stop that screen, rally downhill, and not think about anything else.
It’s a concept Haley has used since Day One on the job. I jumped into the Steelers Depot archives and they’ve been running this play, to a high degree of success, for years.
Here’s the same fake bubble in October of 2012 against Washington. I wasn’t even writing for this site when this play happened.
And here they are running it a year later against the Detroit Lions, hitting outside receiver Jerricho Cotchery for a 20 yard touchdown.
And last year against the Denver Broncos, finding Jesse James down the seam.
So let’s look at what happened Sunday evening.
Roethlisberger drops back, fakes the bubble to Hamilton, and it sucks up SS Landon Collins, looking to rally downhill and make a play on the screen.
Just like that, Green is wide open down the seam with the rest of the coverage rolling to Antonio Brown. Easy throw, easy catch, easy touchdown.
And your full view of it. Apologize for the telestration getting int the way.
And if the defense sits back to try and defend the fake? Then Haley will just keep throwing screens, getting the ball into playmaker’s hands in space. The defense is always wrong.
And when the defense is wrong, these results happen.