Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis had a great game against the New York Giants on Sunday and that performance included three defensed passes, all three of which came in the first quarter.
The last one is the one that I want to focus in on in this breakdown as it was really a heads up play on his part on the third down and 5.
In the first animated gif you will see that the defense tips its hand too soon during the pre snap to show that Lewis is coming off of the corner in a version of the fire zone blitz. Watch Lewis, LaMarr Woodley, Larry Foote, Cortez Allen, and Will Allen all tip their hands as to who is coming and who isn\’t.
With tight end Martellus Bennett lined up to go out into his route, quarterback Eli Manning knows that the blitz will be basically coming from an overload to his left, opposite from where his protector Ahmad Bradshaw is lined up. Once Manning gets the tip he yells out, “Lucky, lucky, lucky”. That is an audible to tell the offensive line to slide protection to the left. It also is a cue for Bradshaw to shift sides as well to provide max protection to the overloaded side.
So the Steelers are now caught with their pants down and have no choice but to follow through with the blitz. At the snap the defense rushes the 5 as planned, but Lewis now knows that he is unlikely to get home as Bradshaw now has him dead to right. He now does the next best thing and reads Manning in an attempt to get into the passing lane, which he does
Lewis effectively bats down the pass intended for a shallow crossing Victor Cruz, who would have easily had the first down. Instead, the Giants punt.