Last week I talked extensively about the zone blocking scheme that Oakland Raiders now use and how the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers hadn\'t defended it well as of late.
One of my biggest fears headed into this game was that the defense would have problem against this scheme and that Raiders running back Darren McFadden would bust a homerun as a result. Unfortunately that happened Sunday as McFadden took one 64 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the Raiders second offensive possession.
While inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons did not have a good game, he was not at fault for the long run as you can see in the animated gif of the play below.
As the play clearly illustrates, the left side of the Steelers defensive line, from Casey Hampton on over, does their job at staying square and moving down the line. The run blitz by Timmons is deliberate around the Raiders left tackle, which tells me he followed his assignment on the play to fill in-line as backside support on the play along with outside linebacker Chris Carter. Just watch him cheat his assignment. The breakdown here on this play up front is by right defensive end Brett Keisel, who has to get to the "A" gap on the play and prevent himself from getting cut off. Once the Raiders right guard feels he has him cut off, he turns and blocks back, which in turn opens up a gaping hole. Now it is a tough play for Keisel to make for sure, but the defense on this play revolves around McFadden being forced to cut back behind the left tackle.
Once McFadden is in the second level, it is obvious that safety Ryan Mundy misses the open field tackle. He is the inside run support to defend against the homerun on this play should McFadden break through a lane. Cornerback Ike Taylor is blocked out by the wide receiver and McFadden is off to the races for the score.