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 big plays they allowed the previous or recent weeks. 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 6 Opponent – Seattle Seahawks
Game reviewed: Vs. Los Angeles Rams
Q1 2:30 – 2nd and 10 from the LAR40
Los Angeles – 11 personnel
Seattle – Nickel, Cover 3
The Rams have three receivers to the right and one to the left. There is a running back flanking the quarterback to the left and he is in shotgun. Seattle is in their nickel defense with three down lineman and three linebackers.
Desean Jackson (1) is split out wide to the left and to the right the Rams have Cooper Kupp (10) in the tight slot, Robert Woods (2) in the slot and tight end Tyler Higbee split wide to the right. Seattle will drop a safety and the corners deep and their going to blitz safety Jamal Adams (33) from their right
The left side is where the play happens. Jackson is going show a deep route to drive the defensive back off the ball. Running back Darrell Henderson (27) steps up like he is going to block Adams, but he lets him go and releases to the outside for a screen pass. The offensive line blocks and releases to get out in front while the quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) hits Henderson with a no look pass. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth gets a key blocks taking middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) of the play. Jackson has a good block on cornerback D.J. Reed (2) allowing Henderson to weave for a 17-yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – Use Claypool in the Jackson role to run off the DB and then block. Najee Harris with his patience and vision could make this a big gain.
Q1 0:32– 1st and 10 at the SEA33
Los Angeles – 11 personnel
Seattle – Nickel, Cover 2 Man
Los Angeles is in an empty set with two receivers to the left and three to the right. The Seahawks are in their nickel defense with safety Ugo Amadi (28) as the extra DB.
To the left the Rams have Van Jefferson (12) wide to the left with Kupp in the slot. To the right they have Higbee tight to the formation, Woods in the slot and Sony Michel (25) split wide to the right. Seattle is going to play Man coverage underneath and the Rams have the matchup advantage to the right. A linebacker is matched up on Higbee. Outside, Michel has a defensive back on him. This leaves linebacker Jordyn Brooks (56) on Woods.
A linebacker on a wide receiver is a combination we are all too familiar with and like those we have seen the wide receiver is able to win the rep easily this time on a shallow cross. Woods gets a nice block downfield from Jefferson to help him gain 25 on the play.
Steelers Scenario – We saw Chase Claypool covered by a linebacker last week and it led to a big gain. They can try to get that matchup again with Claypool, but whoever is matched up with the linebacker is the receiver that should get the ball.
Q4 8:35– 2nd and 9 at the LAR28
Los Angeles -11 personnel
Seattle – Base, Cover 4
The Rams have a tight end inline to the right with two receivers in the slot. There is one receiver to the left with a running back aligned eight yards off the ball with the quarterback under center. Seattle is in a base 3-4 look and it looks like quarters coverage.
To the left Jefferson is covered well on a deep comeback route. Higbee is going to release to the outside and run a curl. Kupp is going to run a Post route and Woods a Dig route underneath him. The Seahawks are going to drop the left outside linebacker and blitz Brooks, who is picked up well by Michel who puts him on the ground.
Middle linebacker Wagner is going turn his back to the offense and play trail Man coverage underneath with Adams as safety help over the top. With Wagner exiting the area and Kupp’s route obscuring the route of Adams that leave the middle wide open for Woods. It’s an easy throw and catch and he finishes with a gain of 21.
Steelers Scenario – If the Steelers bunch Pat Freiermuth, Claypool and James Washington to that side it could also give off the feel of a run. Run Claypool on the deep Post and Washington underneath on the Dig.