Steelers-Dolphins play to watch: 5 wide gun fake Y screen
Mike Tomlin used to refer to Mike Wallace as a one-trick pony because of the receiver's uncanny ability to catch the long ball.
And for four years with the Steelers, nobody caught the deep ball better than Wallace — 19 passes of more than 40 yards with 12 going for touchdowns.
Wallace has moved on to Miami and still is catching the deep balls. However, the Dolphins have used the threat of the deep pass to set up other plays like the “5 wide gun fake Y screen.”
It's a complicated play that the Dolphins have used against defenses geared to prevent Wallace from stretching the field.
“He can still get by people,” Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery said of Wallace. “He even outruns the quarterback's throws sometimes.”
On the “5 wide gun fake Y screen,” deception plays an integral role.
The Dolphins line up in a 5-wide look with trips to the right: tight end Charles Clay, running back Lamar Miller and Wallace. To the left, Rishard Matthews is in the slot with Brian Hartline lined up outside the numbers.
Because the Dolphins are lined up in an empty backfield, the defense is forced to play six defensive backs. Wallace's speed typically makes corners play off-coverage, setting up the screen.
With Ryan Tannehill in the shotgun, Miller comes in motion from left to right. Once Miller gets close to Tannehill, the ball is snapped, allowing Tannehill to fake the end-around. To make this action even more believable and get the only linebacker — Lawrence Timmons, in the Steelers' case — to chase to the other side of the field, left tackle Bryant McKinnie and left guard Nate Garner release downfield as if they are blocking for Miller.
Hartline runs off the corner with a post, and Matthews joins McKinnie and Garner to create confusion down the field.
The play is designed to get the ball to Wallace quickly and outside the numbers on a screen pass.
Clay releases downfield to block the corner guarding Wallace, and right tackle Tyson Clabo chips the rushing linebacker before heading downfield to block, most likely the nickel corner. Even center Mike Pouncey comes off his block and tries to get a block on the free safety.
While this is going on, Wallace will take two steps forward before bouncing behind the line of scrimmage and taking a quick pass from Tannehill.
If timed correctly, the play allows Wallace to use his speed in a different way: to run by would-be tacklers when he has the ball.
Wallace scored from 18 yards on the play against Indianapolis earlier in the season. It could be a play that victimizes a defense like the Steelers', which has allowed a handful of long plays.