Secrets to Steelers’ Win Over Browns

Secrets to Steelers’ Win Over Browns Vincent Verhei 04 Nov 2021, 09:31 am

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris

No offense in the tournament has to play “matchup” football more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite all their wide receiver ability, the offense is hamstrung in other spaces that stir things touchy for offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Ben Roethlisberger’s lessened physical abilities have stripped the offense of shot plays and the ability to move the pocket consistently, and he clearly prefers to be in shotgun. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is out for the season with a shoulder harm, which is a tough hurdle to overcome considering all the work he did for the offense over the middle and as a blocker. The Steelers’ young offensive path is still trying to fully find its footing, inducing it tougher to rely on a select few controls and simply bet on the obstruct winning out on every snap. It is hard for the Steelers to find a bread-and-butter formula.

Last week’s contest against the Browns was as extreme as Canada has leaned into any matchup this season. Per Sports Info Solutions, Pittsburgh’s 12 personnel( one running back, two tight demises) usage shot up from 18% through the first seven weeks to 36% in Week 8. Likewise, their under-center snaps went from 17% through the first seven weeks all the way up to 37%. Switchings, motion, and some short play-action pass were all incorporated into the offense in a way that felt fresh and cohesive. Weak zone became the offense’s run-of-the-week. Everything about the offense–at least the parts that worked–felt unique to this opponent.

So why did the Steelers get heavier, go under center, and alteration up their primary lead conceptions against the Browns?

Cleveland’s defense reflects because of its sun pass-rushers and young, talented secondary. The secondary has battled health issues and some youth mistakes at times, but they are really coming on strong as of late. Trying to stay true-blue to the shotgun and beat the Browns through pure dropback extends was not going to be a reliable approach.

The middle of the Browns defense is far more volatile, though. Cleveland regularly deploys Malik McDowell and Malik Jackson together at defensive tackle, both of whom work better when penetrating upfield rather than maintaining the line of scrimmage. Also, the Browns were missing their best linebacker, rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, due to injury. Canada saw this as the perfect opportunity to get into heavier personnel to force the Browns into base protection with three linebackers, allowing him to take advantage of bad eyes from a middling linebacker division as well as the lack of gap integrity and fix along the Browns’ interior defensive line.

The Steelers got to it on their first drive of video games. This was the first of a handful of weak area runs the Steelers ran away from their two-tight end surface. On its own, this 3-yard gain is nothing special, but it starts the process of peeling back the Browns defense. Not only do the Steelers clearly get the push on McDowell( 58) they were hoping for, but they show the Browns the threat of the jet-black handoff, both with the motion itself and their impede patterns.

The inside tight point are generally climb to a linebacker( Mack Wilson, 51) on region, but the Steelers instead have the two tight objectives block away from the flow of the play like they are able to if the plane musician was actually getting the ball. This is because the quarterback is speaking whether to hand the ball to the back or the jet player based on how the defense treats the plane musician. In such cases, the protection rollers down a security to that back, so Roethlisberger hands the ball to the back. While blocking this behavior lets the linebacker free to make a tackle, the Steelers were OK with that in order to set up future jet-black play-acts, in part because they knew they could get this pushing play-side to still get something out of the play.

On the very next play, the Steelers go back to weak zone again. The receiver’s motion is flipped this time , now going into the play side rather than away from it. Motion to the side of the run can force linebackers to overcommit to that back, giving way for the athlete to cut the played in. That is all the more true against a Browns defensive interior that can get moved off the ball, as they do here.

Pittsburgh dipped back into the weak zone well a few cases more occasions throughout the course of video games. While the Browns did have success get into some different personnel classifies up front and trying different things to slow down the Steelers offense as a whole, Najee Harris’ carries on weak zone continued to succeed.

This is the same play we understood in the first clip. The Browns defense has Andrew Billings( 99) as the weak-side defensive tackle instead of McDowell this time, though. As far as choking up hastening lanes and maintaining the line of scrimmage, that should be better for Cleveland. Rookie center Kendrick Green( 53) makes an insane reach across Billings’ body to box him inside, however, and Harris flashes his agile foot to crush through the rushing lane for a nice gain.

Cleveland started to get creative later in the game. On this first-and-1 0 to open the drive, the Browns defense get into an exotic seem with the hope of getting someone into the backfield before the play get proceeding. Linebacker Sione Takitaki( 44) strolls down to the edge to replace Jadeveon Clowney, while Clowney( 90) shuffles over into a stand-up position over the center in order to fire off the ball and get piercing. Against a different running concept, perhaps this works, but Harris takes the carry away from Clowney and into McDowell’s side. Though McDowell( 58) does not get plowed by a double squad this time around, he takes himself too far wide and up the field to be able to help squeeze this run. That forces linebacker Mack Wilson( 51) to make a hero play by undercutting the lineman, just barely shutting down this run from going for even more than it did.

Of course, Canada did more with heavier personnel situateds than merely line up both tight objectives to one side and lead the other way. The Steelers likewise got into some split zone concepts, both from their heavier staff members and standard 11 personnel( three receivers ). They started as far as pairing that separate activity with gesture before the click, passing those second- and third-level defenders even more eye candy to consider.

The Steelers come out in a trips nub looking with Zach Gentry ( 81) alone as the nub tight point to the right and Derek Watt( 44) as the Y-off player to the left. Slot receiver Chase Claypool( 11) transformations across the formation, which Cleveland responds to by bumping their linebackers over and rolling down their domain security( top) over the outside linebacker and letting the linebacker blitz. It is possible the Browns had this adjustment in knowing the Steelers like to run split zone and play-action off of split region when the tight intent is off the projectile, theoretically rendering that blitzing outside linebacker a free drain backside or a one-on-one against the running back in pass pro.

Pittsburgh takes things to the next grade by showing play-action pass, only for Harris to slip out of pass pro past the blitzer to catch a screen pass and get a one-on-one in space with a safety. With all the commotion and play-action, the safety( John Johnson, 43) gets caught out in space in a worse position than he wishes to, letting Harris turn upfield for some yards.

Here the Steelers are going back to a split zone look on a later drive. The Steelers return to their two-tight end surface, this time with the outside tight extremity in an “off” alignment to let him operate back across the formation. The gesture from the slot receiver into the strength of the formation again gets the linebackers to bump over and play aggressively to that side, while the left tackle( Dan Moore, 65) and left sentry( Kevin Dotson, 69) employment a ravage combining block on McDowell( poor person, this play ). Once again, Harris gets fairly free access to bend this run back inside for a good pickup.

Canada was able to get his receivers going in the run game thanks to all of what the fuck is tied their motion to. Claypool and Ray-Ray McCloud mixed for three carries, two of which went for 10 gardens or more. By systematically shaping these people a threat on their core extended ideas, it was tough for the Browns’ second- and third-level champions to properly keep track of when the Steelers were making the ball to a receiver and when they were running the other way.

The Steelers likewise pieced together this beautiful series out of a handgun Y-off formation.

90% sure this thing is of PIT’s pistol Y-off play-acts, in order. two reps of put, then they score with counter as a wrinkle to the insert action, then eventually they throw off the counter action. simply reasonably watching material like this unfold over the course of a game VNTOwPdCUQ

— Derrik Klassen (@ QBKlass) November 1, 2021

I could write an solely separate Film Room about this serial of plays alone, but instead, I just want to tie this into one last-place play. In this serial of handgun plays, take notice of how the Steelers leaned into using the tight aim as a puller, whether that was to bring him in as the set up the middle-of-the-road or as one of the purposes of a counter idea. The Steelers played off of this later in video games from an under-center 12 personnel look to get some easy gardens in the flat.

Pittsburgh alterations their No. 3( innermost) musician from the trips back into a Y-off position outside the tight point to the realization of the rights. Right at the snap, the Y-off player( Pat Freiermuth, 88) stairs inside and the right sentry comes across the formation. This looks like it could be counter, particularly after the offense had shown them that a number of times previously. As such, Wilson( 51) drains himself into what would be the control back, while the Steelers’ other tight purpose( Gentry, 81) comes off the line of scrimmage late into the flat and gets a huge runway to work with because Wilson vacated himself from the region. This play jumpstarted a 13 -play touchdown drive that ultimately sealed the succes for Pittsburgh.

Putting up only 15 phases is hardly a thrilling performance, but this is the world the Steelers have to live in. It is just the reality of the roster( read: quarterback situation ). They can not produce many explosives and, in this matchup, they were not going to merely brute-force their behavior into a decent extending concert the behavior they have done in some previous plays versus weaker defenses.

The goal is to beat the team in front of you in a made week. Canada put together as seem of a game plan as was possible with the pieces “hes having” versus the articles he was up against, even despite the boatload of offensive retributions the Steelers accrued. Maybe this exact blueprint is not something that can work week-in, week-out for the Steelers, but it is encouraging that they continue to find unique ways to make their clearly limited offense do enough to stick around. Legit challengers or not, there is something pleasing about watching an offense crack the code in a matchup they should have been outclassed in.


The secret?

Playing like you dont have a kicker

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