Under the circumstances of virtually any other game, the failed 4th-and-3 draw run by Lamar Jackson for the Baltimore Ravens late in Sunday’s game would have been the last play that would have for the day. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense had previously done a great job of closing out games, but that wasn’t the case this past week, as the Ravens were given another drive in an effort to win.
Unfortunately, that had the effect of essentially resulting in the play made by Isaiah Buggs to make that stop less significant, and less impactful, because otherwise it would have been viewed as the play that won the Steelers the game.
In fact, Buggs made the tackle on the final two plays of that drive, both of them scrambles or draw runs by Jackson. He first made the tackle on Jackson on 3rd and 5 after a two-yard run. He was the first of a group of defenders to meet him short of the sticks on fourth down that forced the turnover on downs.
And the second-year defender, playing the most snaps of his career, expected it, and was ready for it, as he told reporters earlier today. “We got together as a defensive unit upfront, me, Cam, and Tuitt, and I kind of figured that they were watching me in the second half and how I was just shooting it up the field”, he said.
“I believe that they tried to run that draw on that last play, and before we got started, I told them, ‘man, I think it’s gonna be a draw this play, so you guys can get upfield and I’m gonna just sit at the line of scrimmage and wait and read his eyes and what he was gonna do’”, he continued. “And he did that, and I took advantage of that.
While that’s more or less how it actually played out, it is worth noting that Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said that Jackson had a run-pass option on that play, so it was Jackson’s decision himself, perhaps based on watching Buggs penetrate all game, to run that draw.
With the stop—Minkah Fitzpatrick ultimately forced a fumble that the Steelers recovered, but it would have been a turnover on downs anyway—Pittsburgh was able to take possession, but they needed just one first down that they failed to get.
As a result of that failure, punting from their own 15-yard line, the Steelers allowed Baltimore to take over at their own 37 with 52 seconds to play. They ultimately drove 40 yards over five plays to get down to the Steelers’ 23-yard line with five seconds to play as the final play was run, Fitzpatrick and Justin Layne forcing an incompletion at the goal line as time expired.
That might never have happened if Buggs wasn’t the first man there to make the stop from the eight-yard line on the previous drive, reading the flow of the game and tendencies and perfectly two-gapping on the play to make the stop.
— BlitzburghUSAVideos (@sdextrasmedia) November 5, 2020