Breaking Down The Steelers Game Winning Touchdown Run By Rashard Mendenhall

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall showed some good balance and hard inside running on his second touchdown of the day that ended up being the game winner against the Cincinnati Bengals. The play in question that I broke down below was on 1st and goal from the Bengals 9 yard-line with just over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The play is one of the numerous counter pike runs that the Steelers run. Below is a 10 picture breakdown of the play. You can see the full video replay here.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 1

Steelers in 11 personnel with Mike Wallace, Jerricho Cotchery and Heath Miller lined up on the left. Antonio Brown is out of frame wide right with Mendenhall in the eye.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 2

At the snap, Maurkice Pouncey turns out Pat Sims. Ramon Foster has duty on Domata Peko and Marcus Gilbert blocks down inside on Robert Geathers. Both Miller and Chris Kemoeatu start their pull to the right. Cotchery starts on Chris Crocker, but his main duty is to get to Gibril Wilson.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 3

Kemoeatu completes his pull to seal out Thomas Howard while Miller heads to the hole to get the approaching Rey Maualuga. You can barely see Peko fighting off Foster in the middle, while Cotchery is almost to Wilson.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 4

Not a huge crease, but Miller has a great angle on Maualuga. Kemoeatu has Howard taken care of and Peko has fought off Foster.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 5

Mendenhall still has work to do and is about to bounce it to the right as Gilbert has allowed Geathers to fight back in the play. Cotchery has made to Wilson in the middle. Reggie Nelson, is approaching top right thinking he will need to make the play.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 6

Mendenhall is into the Peko arm tackle while Cotchery starts drive Wilson in the center while shielding Crocker who has followed him off the snap. Nelson still thinks he has Mendenhall coming his way. Look at Kemoeatu, Miller and Pouncey all finishing.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 7

It looks like Peko will end up making the great play here, but Cotchery keeps working and is driving Wilson in front of Nelson while still shielding out Crocker.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 8

Mendenhall refuses to go down, while Cotchery now has all three Bengals blocked out.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 9

Cotchery has two of the three down and Crocker is still a bit shielded.

Rashard Mendenhall touchdown versus Bengals 10

Both Croker and Kelly Jennings are too late and Mendenhall scores.

  • Smheart78

    My favorite play of Tue game. Thanks!

  • alberto

    Wallace can take a lesson from Cotchery on finishing blocks. There was a run in the first half that Mendehall had to bounce outside and I believe could have turned the corner if Wallace had done a better job of blocking. It seems Wallace just tried a shield block because the run was supposed to go inside, but he has to be more agressive with his blocks.

  • Mikev489

    I’d never be an advocate for not finishing a block, but you have to give Wallace some credit. For what has turned into one of the most explosive and sure-handed wr’s in the league…he’s actually impressive with run block support. He is still early in his career and will mix it up. It is also a tough position to finish a block at the WR spot…easy to get the holding call out on an island. He’ll continue to get better at blocking…he clearly shows he is willing to stick his head in there and get better at every phase of his game.

  • Stonecrab7

    scary statistic: How many rushing attempts went for 2 yards or less? What was the Steeler rush average without Mike Wallace’s 2 biggies?

  • I don’t know why the Steelers don’t run more plays out of the 11 personnel package. It gives them the greatest amount of flexibility, and allows Ben to audible based on what he sees out of the defense. When the Steelers go empty backfield, they line the RB up as a WR. To me, it makes more sense to start with the RB in the backfield, then motion him out during the snap count. But that’s just me…