The Pittsburgh Steelers pitched a second half shut out for the second time this season en route to an impressive victory against the New Orleans Saints. One of the team’s biggest plays on defense was a fourth and one stop on a sneak by quarterback Andy Dalton, which gave the team the ball in plus territory and stalled a crucial Saints drive. Steelers’ All-Pro defensive tackle Cameron Heyward was asked about the stop during the post-game interview according to the team’s Twitter account.
“It was funny, I was kind of annoyed we called the timeout,” Heyward said. “Cause I thought we were gonna get the stop before that. Most of those times when you see the quarterback getting underneath, you know it’s a sneak, it’s mano a mano. Who gets lower in your pad level, who turns their feet, making sure there’s a big pile up in the middle. And then making sure on the third and one was actually the run to Kamara. When Kamara’s in the game, you’re either thinking he’s getting out quick or they’re giving him the ball somehow. Then the fourth and one, it’s just about making sure there’s the pile and then making sure linebackers can fall over top.”
For context, the timeout that Heyward is referring to took place after a second and short incompletion, as Saints’ quarterback Andy Dalton went no-huddle and appeared to be preparing for a quarterback sneak. After the timeout, Heyward and defensive end Larry Ogunjobi got a crucial stop on third and one, which was likely an audible from the more predictable quarterback sneak. After the stop, Dalton rushed to the line and attempted the sneak, which the Steelers were all over, as linebacker Robert Spillane made the impressive red and stop.
Despite being down 10, going for it on your own 35 yard line as the Saints were is suprising, and it is impressive for the Steelers’ defense to not have been caught off guard. Quarterback sneaks are not easy to stop, especially in a situation when it is not expected. As mentioned in the CBS broadcast, Dalton was typically very successful in quarterback sneaks in his career. However, the Steelers got the stop, and stalled the Saints last realistic hope of a comeback.
This is a run defense that has come a very long way from ranking last in the NFL last season. The Saints have a good rushing attack, which the Steelers effectively shut down in their victory. The team showed a lot of disipline and executed well in the two crucial stops, which they must build off moving forward as the team attempts to pile up more much-needed wins.