Splash plays. Every team wants them but how do they happen? This article is going to look at the upcoming defense of the upcoming opponent focusing on the three biggest plays they allowed the previous week. It’ll take a look at the whole play including details such as personnel, formations, blocking schemes and route combinations. As a follow up to each play, there will be the Steelers Scenario identifying the player or players who could benefit by running similar plays.
Week 16 Opponent – New York Jets
Game reviewed vs Baltimore Ravens
Q1 – 2nd and 10 from their own 39
Baltimore – 11 personnel
New York – Nickel, Tite front
The Ravens come out with a bunch formation to the right with one receiver split wide left. The Jets send out their Nickel defense and align with a Tite front with two edge rushers.
Before the snap, TE Nick Boyle (86) will move from the bunch into a fullback position. Wide receiver Willie Snead (83) will motion from right to left taking a Man defender with him. This is a Zone right running play on second and long. The pre snap motion is going to leave the Jets with two defenders outside the tackle.
There are 4 big blocks on this play that lead to the big gain. The center Patrick Mekhari (65) is going to pass off the 0 Tech to the left guard and move to the second level to hinge block on safety Marcus Maye (20). Right guard Marshall Yanda (73) is going execute a reach block on DT Nathan Shepherd (97). Right tackle Orlando Brown (78) will release to the outside and square up on LB James Burgess (58) before easily shoving him to the outside. And finally, WR Miles Boykin (80) does a fantastic job to get outside of DB Maurice Canady (37) and will block and control him 30 yards down field. This paves the road for RB Mark Ingram (21) where he isn’t touched until he’s 26 yards downfield on his way to a 29 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – The Jets have a good run defense so this play is a rarity. James Conner looked good in his very limited use and his legs should be fresh. You can use any of the Steelers WR in the Boykin role, they all block well. Sure would be nice to see Conner get a gain or two like this on Sunday.
Q3 – 2nd and 10 on the Jets 24
Baltimore – 12 personnel
New York– Nickel, Cover 1, Off Man Outside
This is another second and long play with the Ravens in 12 personnel and the Jets are in Nickel defense with a single high safety with outside corners playing off Man coverage.
The Ravens will align with a TE split wide to the right who will run a five yard curl and also a TE inline to the right that will run a corner route. To the left they have WR Seth Roberts (11) split wide to the left and WR Marquise Brown (15) in the slot.
While dropping back Lamar Jackson’s (8) first reads are to the right. Looking like Mark Andrews (89) will be covered he comes back to the left and looks at Roberts but decides against it. Brown is going up against DB Nate Hairston (21) who is playing with outside leverage with safety help in the middle. Brown will run a Post-Corner route. At about the 13 yard line Brown will turn his head to the inside like he’s going to continue on the post and when Hairston sees this he passing him off to the safety and turns back to the quarterback. Brown breaks back to the outside and is wide open for the 24 yard touchdown.
Steelers Scenario – This is not a very intricate play but it was a good route run by Brown. So that leads me to put Diontae Johnson on this route. He has the quicks and the change of direction to sell it to the inside.
Q3 – 3rd and 20 on the Jets 33
Baltimore -12 Personnel, Empty backfield
New York –Nickel, Cover 1
Baltimore goes empty with 5 wide, 2 to the left and three to the right. The Jets are in Nickel defense again. To the left they have Ingram wide left and Roberts in the slot. To the left, Andrews is in the tight slot, Boyle is in the slot and Brown is wide right. Jackson is again going to read right to left and he has plenty of options on this play. Andrews is going to run a corner route and be open while Boyle and Brown both run In routes and those are both open. Ingram will run a whip while Roberts runs a corner route.
Roberts is going to run a similar route to what Brown ran on the last play. Maye is playing with outside leverage so Roberts will press to the inside. When Maye opens his hips to the end zone Roberts breaks to the outside. Maye’s coverage was actually the best of the bunch but Jackson is still able to drop it in for the TD.
Steelers Scenario – The double corner routes with just one safety deep basically insures you’re going to get one on one coverage on at least one of those routes. If JuJu Smith-Schuster is back this week I like the idea of using him and James Washington on those routes. Both can win the one on one battle and handle contested catches.