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 13 Opponent – Baltimore Ravens
Game reviewed vs Denver Broncos
Q1 15:00 – 1st and 10 from the DEN25
Denver – 12 personnel
Baltimore – Base, Cover 1 Man
The Broncos have two tight ends lined up to the left with a receiver in the slot to the right and a receiver wide ride. The running back in aligned behind the quarterback who is under the center. Baltimore counters with their base 3-4 defense.
The slot receiver Tim Patrick (81) will start in motion to the left before reversing back to his original spot. Cornerback Anthony Averett (23) mirrors Patrick’s motion indicating the coverage is likely Man. At the snap, Noah Fant (87) the tight end on the wing will run a curl drawing two defenders his way. The inline tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (85) runs an in route and is open at 10 yards over the middle.
The motion by Patrick gets Averett who was originally in Press Man coverage to back off the line of scrimmage giving him a free release on slant route and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) hits him with a quick pass for an 11 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – The Steelers like a quick passing game and the receivers have struggled to separate versus Man coverage. This motion could help them out and they like this route. They tried it with Chase Claypool last week and I think he would be the option here as well.
Q1 9:08– 1st and 10 at the DEN33
Denver – 12 personnel
Baltimore – Base, Cover 3 Zone
Denver has three receivers spread out to the left and one receiver in the slot to the right. The running back is to the right of the quarterback who is in shotgun. The Ravens have their base 3-4 personnel on the field and will play a Cover 3.
Courtland Sutton (14) split wide to the left is going to run a go route to drawing the attention of Averett. Safety Brandon Stephens (21) is splitting the difference between the two slot receivers. The defender to the inside linebacker Malik Harrison (40) is going to come on a blitz. Fant is in the slot and will run an out route and Patrick is in the tight slot and will run a quick curl route.
Stephens chooses to go with Fant on the out route but is he is open. Bridgewater chooses Patrick who is open in the spot vacated by Harrison. He is able to make linebacker Patrick Queen (6) miss and finishes with a 19 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – This scenario gives the quarterback options depending on where the safety goes. If he stays inside with Patrick, Fant would be the option. The Steelers would run Pat Freiermuth on the out route and I’d again go with Claypool on the inside route.
Q4 10:27– 1st and 10 at the DEN47
Denver -11 personnel
Baltimore – Nickel, Cover 3
The Broncos have three receivers aligned to the left and one receiver split wide to the right. The running back is to the left of the quarterback who is in shotgun. Baltimore is in nickel personnel a three deep coverage.
The focus will be on the routes to the left side. Fant who is in the tight slot will run a corner route and will be picked up by Averett who is lined up over the outside receiver. Kendall Hinton (9) has slot corner Tavon Young (25) aligned over him. While Hinton will run a curl in between the hashes Young is going to come on a blitz. Patrick lined up outside will run a curl inside the numbers. Running back Javonte Williams (33) will run a swing route to the left and safety Stephens will come from 12 yards deep to pick him up.
The combination of Young blitzing, the corner route and Stephens picking up the running back leaves Queen alone to cover both curl routes. Quarterback Drew Lock (3) has his choice and picks Hinton over the middle to open the drive with a 13 yard gain.
Steelers Scenario – All three of these plays were good gains on first down. This is another play that gives the quarterback options. I like Claypool on the deep corner route to keep the corner occupied. On the curls I like Freiermuth and James Washington. And if the safety doesn’t come down the swing will be open with space on the outside to run.