Film Room: Steelers Blown Coverage Against Ravens On 30-Yard Touchdown

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense struggled to stop the Baltimore Ravens offense this past Sunday night on their way to allowing 38 points and 261 yards passing, including two passing touchdowns. In our Friday review, we will breakdown what went wrong on Chris Moore’s 30 yards touchdown reception.

On the Ravens first touchdown of the game, Baltimore came out in a 4 x 1 empty set, meaning four receivers to the field side and 1 receiver to the short side. An empty set is commonly used to take advantage of mismatches in coverage as well as force the defense to show their coverage.

The Steelers see the formation and call for a Cover 4 coverage to the 4 receiver side and man coverage on the 1 receiver side.  Steelers safety Mike Mitchell aligns on the bottom hash marks to give the appearance he is helping out cornerback Artie Burns on the one receiver side, although at the snap will instantly open his hips to the 4 receiver side as his responsibility is the deep middle of the field.

As seen in the picture above, cornerback Cameron Sutton’s hips are cocked inside so he can see the number #2 receiver but his primary man is #1. If #1 goes vertical Sutton has to take him. Cornerback Mike Hilton (Nickel) is locked on the #2 WR and will match whatever route he runs. Safety Sean Davis’ primary read is #3 to #2. If the #3 receiver runs any route over 8 yards he has to take him. If #3 runs a short route Davis instantly looks to help on #2 WR. Outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo will open hips to 4-wide receiver side and will look to get underneath any route that comes underneath to middle of the field.

When the ball is snapped you will see Davis begin his back pedal and turn his head to make his read on #3 receiver. As the play unfolds, Davis begins to look at Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and at the same time slow his backpedal as he begins to stand tall, which prevents him from continuing to get depth. When this happens Davis neglects to see that his primary read, Chris Moore, has reached 8 yards and is continuing to go vertical. By the time Davis realizes Moore is running a go route, he is already too late and unable to stay over top of the Ravens wide receiver, allowing the easy touchdown.

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