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 17 Opponent – Baltimore Ravens
Game reviewed vs Cleveland Browns
Q1 – 1st and 10 from their own 41
Cleveland – 20 personnel
Baltimore– Nickel, Cover 1 Man Under
Cleveland comes out with a split back pony backfield with 2 wide receivers to the right and one to the left. The Ravens have their Nickel defense and are aligned in a 3-4 look.
Pre snap Kareem Hunt (27) is going to in motion out to the right into a swing pass route. He looks to be Baker Mayfield’s (6) first read. Linebacker Josh Bynes (57) works through the rub by Jarvis Landry (80) in the slot and is able to get close enough for Mayfield to move on in his progression.
Wide right is Odell Beckham, Jr (13) against Man coverage from Marcus Peters (24). He is going to stutter and release to the inside and sell a deep route before cutting it off at about 8 yards. Peters’ moment carries him 5 yards past Beckham leaving an easy catch. Mayfield’s throw is to the outside leading him up field for a 23 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – This is a simple route but it’s about selling the deep route and then the change of direction. Diontae Johnson has the best COD of the receivers and would fit nicely in this role.
Q3 – 1st and 10 on the their own 40
Cleveland – 11 personnel
Baltimore– Dime, Cover 3 Zone
Cleveland has trips to the right with only Beckham to the left. Baltimore counters with their Dime package.
The key routes in this play will be run by Ricky Seals-Jones (83) in the tight slot to the right and Landry in the slot. Baltimore has Marlon Humphrey (44) over Landry and he is going to come on a blitz along with L.J. Fort (58). OLB Jaylon Ferguson (45) is looking like a rusher but will drop and try to jam Seals-Jones. Brandon Carr (39) will replace Humphrey and drop into his coverage under Landry. Chuck Clark (36) drops into a similar coverage on the other side with Earl Thomas III (29) deep in the middle.
Landry and Seals-Jones are going to both run Post routes to get over the Zone designed to make Thomas split the two receivers. Mayfield has his choice of either route here and picks Landry for 33 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – Vance McDonald and the tight ends haven’t show playmaking ability this season so we’ll replace the tight end here. We want to put pressure on the safety which won’t be Thomas because he is getting rested. Let’s run the double Post with Deon Cain in the tight slot and James Washington in the slot. Whichever way the safety leans Devlin Hodges needs to hit the other guy.
Q4 – 2nd and 7 at the Ravens 24
Baltimore – Dime, Cover 2 Zone
The Browns have trips to the left with Landry split wide right. The Ravens have 6 DBs on the field and Cover 2 look.
Beckham in the slot to the left along with Landry are going release to the outside on their routes. The two safeties Carr and Thomas each drop and are responsible for a deep half of the field. The running back Nick Chubb (24) will run a Stab route to keep the Fort and Clark from dropping too deep.
From the tight slot Seals-Jones is going to run up the seam to the middle of the field to split betwixt the safeties. Mayfield is going to look Landry’s way initially getting Thomas to widen just a few steps. This is just enough to let Mayfield zip one in to Seals-Jones for a 23 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – Another chance for McDonald to make the play here and I think he could but would the Steelers give them that chance. Not likely the way the season has gone. So who will draw the attention on the outside? I like Johnson as OBJ in the slot to the left and JuJu Smith-Schuster wide to the right. Run Washington in the tight slot up the seam and make the safeties make a choice.