A big play late in the first quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23 loss Thursday night to the Tennessee Titans was the blocked punt of rookie punter Drew Butler that resulted in the Titans scoring their first touchdown of the game.
On the play, long snapper Greg Warren and upback Ryan Mundy both start off accounting for backup linebacker Tim Shaw. Warren then rotates off Shaw to pick up backup safety Robert Johnson, but so does Mundy, which in turn allows Shaw to come free for the block.
After the game Mundy was asked about the play, but didn\’t elaborate if it was him, Warren, or somebody else who blew the assignment. “We ID\’ed the protection correctly, we just didn\’t execute our blocks, the way we ID\’ed the protection,” said a dejected Mundy.
In past interviews that Mundy has given, he has never been hesitant to take blame, which might lead you to believe that Warren might be the culprit here. When you look at the animated gif of the play below, it is so hard to tell which player might be the culprit, but being as Mundy said blocking wasn\’t executed correctly, he might not be the one to blame.
Shaw said after the game that they had spotted a weakness in the Steelers punt protection and took advantage of it. “It was the first punt of the game and we knew they would snap the ball quickly so I was ready for that, said Shaw. Alan (Coach Lowry) called a block and I just went as hard as I could. I was ready for the snap, went as hard as I could, and they messed up and didn’t block me and I just took advantage, I can’t believe we didn’t score off it. We had practiced that all week and we had seen it on tape.”
We will likely never know for sure who didn\’t execute properly, but it was one of several errors made in the game on special teams that helped contribute to the Steelers loss. This breakdown in particular gave the Titans an easy touchdown.