The Pittsburgh Steelers two point conversion Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals was an interesting play and one that likely will never be run against that defensive personnel every again.
That being said, it worked as tight end Heath Miller schooled Bengals cornerback Leon Hall on a fade pattern for the conversion.
So why was a pass play featuring 32 personnel (three tight ends & two running backs) with two of the tight ends split out wide run against a Bengals defense with a full compliment of defensive backs on the field? The Steelers weren\’t granted the timeout they wanted coming out of the huddle is why.
After the Bengals had taken a timeout following the touchdown to Miller, the Steelers changed out their original two point play personnel that they had on the field to their jumbo package in hopes that the Bengals would counter and pull their cornerbacks out in lieu of linebackers so that the tight ends, most notably Miller, would have a favorable matchup.
The Bengals didn\’t, and after being told he couldn\’t have a timeout, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had no choice but to run the designed play.
The three animated gifs below show the sequence of the action
In the first gif, offensive coordinator Todd Haley is screaming at Roethlisberger in his helmet to call timeout as he does not know that the quarterback already tried and was denied. Watch Roethlisberger right at the beginning of the animation try to waive of Haley from screaming in his head. After he tries to get Haley to shut the hell up, he signals for the designed shift to take place. Miller and fullback Will Johnson perform it as Miller shifts out wide and Johnson takes his spot outside of Leonard Pope on the right end of the line of scrimmage. David Paulson remains split out wide right.
The second animation shows the play from the snap as Miller fakes the slant inside and then runs the fade to the corner of the endzone. This had to shock Hall, because surely a tight end wouldn\’t attempt to run a fade against him here.
The last animation shows Hall really expecting the slant inside. Look at the separation that Miller gets on the route as it is really amazing. Roethlisberger drops the ball in perfectly and Miller makes the catch for the two points.
Roethlisberger can now go to the sideline and explain to Haley and head coach Mike Tomlin why he had to run the play against a defense that he normally wouldn\’t have.
Thank God that the Steelers have a quarterback like Roethlisberger and a tight end like Miller.