Deep trouble: Steelers have been susceptible to downfield passing game
The Steelers have not been good in defending the long pass this year.
They've allowed 20 passes of 25 yards or longer, including an 81-yarder to the Patriots, a 79-yarder to the Lions and a 51-yarder to the Vikings.
The Steelers have allowed a pass of 25 yards or longer in all but two games this year, and the Ravens — their opponent Thursday — like to go deep with regularity.
With speedsters Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith at their disposal, the Ravens have one of the most prolific deep-passing games in the league.
Joe Flacco has the third-most attempts in the NFL this season of passes that travel 20 yards or longer (57), and he attempts a deep pass every 14.1 times he drops back.
Smith has eight receptions for 353 yards on pass attempts down the field and has been targeted 30 times, but it is Jones who might be the most dangerous when the Twins Strong Left Gun X Post is called.
Jones missed a month with a sprained right knee but has caught 21 passes for 263 yards.
The Twins Strong Left Gun X Post almost burned the Steelers the last time the teams met in October.
The Ravens line up in the shotgun strong side left, with tight end Dallas Clark at the end of the line of scrimmage.
Smith is split wide right with Tandon Doss in the slot to the right side of the formation with Jones split out far left. Running back Ray Rice is to the right of Flacco.
With the Ravens in the three wide receiver set, defenses will counter with their nickel or dime defense to get more defensive backs on the field.
What the Ravens want to do is isolate the speedy Jones on a cornerback with no over-the-top help.
At the snap, Smith runs a go pattern down the right side that typically draws the safety.
On the other side of the formation, the Ravens run two out patterns underneath from the slot receiver Doss and the tight end Clark that will force the nickel corner and the free safety out of the middle of the field.
Jones will simply use his speed on a deep post pattern, as Flacco has enough confidence that his receiver can outrun a cornerback to the football thrown down the middle.
The play could've been game-altering during their first meeting before Gay was able to respond to knock away the ball from Jones in the end zone.
Against the Jets last week, Jones caught a 66-yard touchdown — the only touchdown of the game — on a deep post route from the other side of the formation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Steelers trying to get missing defensive pieces on field
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell
- Steelers notebook: New kicker Scobee relishes opportunity
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Steelers’ Tomlin disappointed by Bryant suspension
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Bryant suspension opens doors for other Steelers’ receivers
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Steelers notebook: Safety Golden’s MRI clean