ShareThis Page

Steelers' film session: Offense displays quick-strike capability

| Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, 9:33 p.m.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass to tight end Heath Miller during the first quarter against the Jets on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, at MetLife Stadium.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass to tight end Heath Miller during the first quarter against the Jets on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, at MetLife Stadium.

Put yourself in Todd Haley's shoes for a minute.

You are required to come up with a game plan against one of the most disruptive defensive fronts in the league, which doesn't allow teams to run the ball.

Sure, the Jets might be vulnerable defending the pass, but your offensive line won't allow that to happen with the struggles they've had protecting the quarterback.

You would love to get the ball in the hands of Antonio Brown, Heath Miller and Le'Veon Bell, but, once again, the fear of pressure and possible game-altering turnovers are a worry.

So, what would you do?

Well, Haley came up with the ultimate quick-strike plan of screens, quick throws and extra protection, Ben Roethlisberger executed it to perfection, and the Steelers collected a 19-6 win over the Jets.

Six of the Steelers first eight pass plays were screens, with three of them targeting Brown; Roethlisberger got rid of the ball in less than two seconds in all but 12 of his 30 throws; there were at least two tight ends on the field for 35 of the Steelers' 61 offensive snaps.

That resulted in Roethlisberger getting sacked only three times and hit three other times. He completed 23-of-30 passes for 264 yards and the game's only touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders.

It all started with the screens for Haley.

He called 12 total, with Brown leading the way with four catches. Bell and Miller had three, and Sanders one. There was one incompletion.

Even when a screen wasn't called, Roethlisberger got rid of the ball on rhythm. His first 10 attempts were all quick throws: 0.97, 0.96, 1.81, 1.71, 1.41, 1.76, 1.67, 1.01, 2.79 (sack), 3.40 (pump fake) and 1.81 seconds.

Add an extra tight end in the formation, and it was obvious that Haley wasn't taking any chances to allow the Jets' defensive line to be disruptive — especially early in the game.

• If Jarvis Jones has shown anything over the first month of the season it is that he can be disruptive. But the rookie can also be, well, a rookie. On two occasions, the Jets took advantage of Jones' eagerness — one of which resulted in Jones taking a seat on the bench. The first play of the game, Jones slammed down the line of scrimmage that allowed Geno Smith to gain 9 yards on a zone read to the spot left vacated by Jones. In the second quarter, Jones got sucked in during an end-around by Mike Goodson. The play resulted in only 2 yards, but Jones went to the bench and did not return until the start of the third quarter. Jason Worilds, who replaced Jones, sacked Smith on the next play.

• Ryan Clark was responsible for the Steelers' first turnover of the season, but William Gay should get an assist. Gay, who replaced Cortez Allen in the starting lineup, jammed Jets tight end Konrad Reuland right before the 5-yard legal limit than threw him off his route. Smith threw to a spot — a spot that was occupied by Clark because of Gay's success at throwing off the Jets' timing.

• The outside zone blocking scheme was never going to be a big part of the Steelers' running game, but it is looking more like it might be gone for good. The Steelers called 26 run plays and didn't use the outside zone once. However, it has become a nice part of the Steelers' play-action and waggle game, which forces defenses to flow to one side allowing the backside to be open clear.

• Kelvin Beachum got whipped by Muhammad Wilkerson early. The play would have resulted in a safety if it wasn't for the nifty footwork of Ben Roethlisberger. After that, Beachum didn't allow a hit, a pressure or miss an assignment the rest of the game — despite a couple of questionable holding calls. What was most impressive with Beachum was his ability to get to the second level — something that's not common with tackles.

• The Steelers love to use the “quarter” personnel of six defensive backs — Gay, Clark, Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Cortez Allen and Shamarko Thomas. Against the Jets, they leaned more heavily on their base package because of their ability to run the ball. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has 27 base calls, 28 quarter calls and two nickel calls. The Steelers' most success came out of the base; they allowed only 120 of the Jets' 267 yards with two turnovers.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.