Splash plays. Every team wants them but how do they happen? This article is going to look at the 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 1 Opponent – New York Giants
Game Reviewed – vs Philadelphia Eagles (week 17, 2019)
Q1 6:01 – 3rd and 7 from the Giants 44
Philadelphia – 11 personnel
New York – Nickel, Tampa 2
The Eagles line up in 11 personnel with a 2×2 formation. To the right are TE Dallas Goedert (88) in the slot and WR Deontay Burnett. To the left is WR Greg Ward (84) in the slot and WR Robert Davis (14) on the outside. The Giants counter with their Dime defense and will run Tampa 2 coverage.
Pre snap the Giants have Leonard Williams (99) over the center with OLB’s Markus Golden (44) and Oshane Ximenes (53) on edge. Behind them linebackers Lorenzo Carter (59), David Mayo (55) and Deone Bucannon (29) are all showing blitz near the LOS. At the snap, Mayo and Bucannon drop with Mayo getting 15 yards deep to the middle of the field. Safety Antoine Bethea (41) who was showing a single high look splits to his right to cover the deep half with safety Michael Thomas (31) dropping from over the slot the deep left half.
The Eagles receivers run a Go/Deep Out combination on the left side. To the right, Burnett will release wide and run up the right sideline while Goedert is going to run a Bang 8 route up the seam. This combination forces Thomas to make a decision to get wide with the outside WR or stay inside with Goedert. Thomas choses to get wide and also doesn’t get enough depth and with Mayo opening to the weak side he doesn’t see Goedert behind him leaving and easy throw for Carson Wentz and a 28 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – In 11 personnel with the tight end split wide they could use Vance McDonald or Ebron here with success. Pair either of them with Juju Smith-Schuster to draw the safeties attention and the results should be similar.
Q4 15:00 – 1st and 20 on the Eagles 27
Philadelphia – 12 personnel
New York – Nickel, Single high Man
After a holding penalty to end Q3 the Eagles are in a first and long situation to start Q4. They line up with Goedert on the wing, TE Joshua Perkins (81) on the end of the line in a two point stance and WR Burnett wide right. Ward is thelone WR to the left in the slot.
The Giants line up in a single high safety look with Nickel personnel. The coverage looks to be in a matchup Zone with defender matching up with receivers that come into their area.
The Eagles are going to run a Flood concept while using play action faking to the RB before rolling Wentz outside to the right. The idea is to flood one area of the field to make Zone defenders have to make a choice between receivers in front and behind them. Burnett will run the deep Corner route to open up space underneath. Perkins job is to pin the Edge rusher inside so the QB bootleg will be clean. Goedert will loop outside of him and run a deep out. Ward is going to run the shallow crossing route to the flat on the far side. The QB’s read is generally from top down, deepest to shallowest route.
Goedert ends up with double coverage when both safeties jump his out route. Ward has Julian Love (24) in his area. Burnett ends up one on one with DB Antonio Hamilton (30) who is in good position if the route continues downfield but Burnett cuts behind Hamilton forcing him to flip his hips 180 degrees opening up space for the big 41 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – Based on this scenario Ward is the X so that would put Diontae Johnson on the shallow cross. Use Ebron on the deep out with McDonald blocking the Edge. James Washington would be the Y running the deep corner.
Q4 7:10 – 3rd and 13 at the Giants 41
Philadelphia -11 personnel
New York – Nickel, Single high Man
The Eagles are in 11 personnel with as trips left look with the TE split wide to the right. The Giants again lined up with one defensive lineman and the linebackers all showing blitz while playing Man coverage from a single high safety look.
This is a screen play to the running back Boston Scott (35) but it is highlighted by about 5 really good blocks. Scott is lined up to the right of Wentz in shotgun. To the left are WR’s Davis wide left, Burnett in the slot and Ward in the tight slot. At the snap Scott will feign like he’s blocking before releasing to the left.
Up front there are two key blocks. The first is from left guard Isaac Seumalo (73) who is going to engage Carter who is blitzing through the B gap. He is able to stay square, lock on to Carter and mirror him laterally. Next is OC Jason Kelce (62) who will pass off Williams to his right before releasing to the outside. He looks to block outside but with no one there he will hinge back and take out Bucannon who read the play well but stumbled at the LOS. The WR’s all did their job on the outside. Ward runs a post route before stopping and walling of the safety. Davis runs a go route before stopping to block Deandre Baker (27) and shows perfect timing to let go when the defender slips inside. Burnett runs a Go route and does a nice job occupying Love 25 yards downfield.
Steelers Scenario – Screens are great when they work and this one is well executed. I think early in the season this is play for James Conner but Anthony McFarland will likely be used in this scenario as well.