The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t report for their 2020 training camp for at least a month from now so that means we still have a lot of time to fill with offseason content. For the next few weeks, I will have a series that focuses on every target that went to Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson during his 2019 rookie season. This series will include a quick breakdown and contextualization of every target that Johnson had in 2019 by game in addition to other data related to each play.
This series will move forward with a look at Johnson’s targets in the Steelers Week 10 home game against the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Johnson had six targets of which he caught four of them for 64 yards. His average targeted distance against the Rams was 8.7 yards past the line of scrimmage and his average completion distance on his four receptions was 4 yards past the line of scrimmage. 44 yards were gained by Johnson after the catch against the Rams.
Target 1 – 3rd & 3 – 1Q – (9:35) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass short middle to 18-D.Johnson to LA 48 for 13 yards (22-T.Hill).
Johnson’s first target and reception against the Rams came roughly midway through the first quarter and on a third-and 3 play. On this play, Johnson, against man-coverage, ran an underneath crosser and thanks to a nice pick by tight end Vance McDonald, was wide open once crossing the far hash marks. quarterback Mason Rudolph hit Johnson in stride on the crosser and the young wide receiver put his open field abilities to work on his way to gaining 12 yards after the catch.
Target 2 – 1st & 10 – 1Q – (4:21) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass incomplete deep middle to 18-D.Johnson.
Johnson’s second target against the Rams was a deep dig route on the left side of the field against off zone coverage. Johnson had plenty of room on the route and while the throw was a tad high, the wide receiver seemed to alligator-arm it a bit as perhaps he was sensing the middle of the field safety lurking. The ball glanced off Johnson’s hands for an incompletion, and essentially a drop on his part.
Target 3 – 3rd & 7 – 1Q – (3:39) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass deep left to 18-D.Johnson pushed ob at LA 29 for 30 yards (32-E.Weddle).
Johnson’s third target against the Chargers came later in the first quarter and on a third-and-7 play. On this play, Johnson, who is lined up out wide on the left side, ran a deep route outside the numbers against a cover-2 man defense. Johnson is late in the order of Rudolph’s progression and after initially stemming his route slightly to the inside, he quickly bolted toward the sideline for a large amount of separation. Rudolph easily saw the wide open Johnson and another 13 yards was gained after the reception.
Target 4 – 3rd & 5 – 2Q – (11:47) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass short middle to 18-D.Johnson pushed ob at PIT 43 for 13 yards (32-E.Weddle).
Johnson’s fourth target against the Rams came in the second quarter and on a third-and-5 play. On this play, Johnson ran a short underneath crosser as part of a mesh concept against a man-coverage blitz defense. Johnson had his defender easily rubbed off and Rudolph hit the wide receiver in stride after he had crossed the far hash mark. After making the catch, which was right on the original line of scrimmage, Johnson put on the breaks which forced a missed tackle from the cornerback tasked to cover him on the play. That forced missed tackle easily allowed Johnson to pick up 13 yards and move the chains on third down.
Target 5 – 2nd & 10 – 2Q – (11:04) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass short right to 18-D.Johnson to LA 49 for 8 yards (24-T.Rapp).
Johnson’s fifth target came two plays after his fourth one and on a second-and-10. This time, Johnson ran a quick and short in-breaking route on the left side of the formation and against an off zone coverage. After making the quick grab, Johnson was able to get up the field to gain an additional 6 yards, which made the play a successful one.
Target 6 – 2nd & 7 – 4Q – (15:00) (Shotgun) 2-M.Rudolph pass incomplete short right to 18-D.Johnson. Coverage 22-Hill.
Johnson’s final target against the Rams came early in the fourth quarter and on a second-and-7 play. On this play, essentially a Bang-8, Rudolph attempts to connect with Johnson on a skinny post route against an off cover-3 look. The route’s not disguised that well and Rams cornerback Troy Hill sniffs it out quickly and gets a good break on the three-step drop pass. The pass, which was a little high, was easily contested by Hill for an incompletion.
Week 10 Diontae Johnson Target Recap
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 1 – Patriots
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 2 – Seahawks
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 3 – 49ers
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 4 – Bengals
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 5 – Ravens
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 6 – Chargers
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 8 – Dolphins
Diontae Johnson 2019 Target Contextualization – Week 9 – Colts