I have had a few request to break down the first quarter play in the Pittsburgh Steelers game this past Sunday against the New York Giants that resulted in cornerback Ike Taylor picking off quarterback Eli Manning.
Below are two animated gifs from the All-22 view that will help you see what really happened on the play.
The Giants are in 21 personnel with the fullback lined up weak-side. The Steelers are in their base defense and showing cover-2 with a 5 man front. Nose tackle Steve McLendon is playing the 0-tecnique over the center, while defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Brett Keisel are both playing the 5-technique on the tackles. Linebackers James Harrison is over the top of tight end Martellus Bennett in the 8-technique, while LaMarr Woodley has outside contain in an up wide 9-technique position. Both corners are playing off-man in this cover-2.
At the snap Harrison drops into zone and has Bennett, who runs a simple out slant. Timmons slides to his left at the snap as he has the responsibility of the fullback Henry Hynoski, who also runs a slant. Hakeem Nicks runs about an 11 yard curl route and Keenan Lewis has this taken away. Victor Cruz runs a simple corner route.
I want you to notice that Manning actually has good protection on this play. A good 4 seconds worth at that. The left guard bangs left on Keisel before helping the center with McLendon. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw also chips on McLendon as well before releasing.
You can see the progression that Manning goes through on this play very easily. Nicks, Hynoski, Bradshaw and finally Cruz. McLendon breaks through finally and gets to Manning right at his release to force a bad throw.
Taylor actually slips when Cruz breaks his route, but is able to recover fast enough to break on the bad throw and make the interception.
While McLendon and Heyward did get pressure eventually on this play, and do deserve some credit, it was after 4 seconds and thus the real interception credit here needs to go to the coverage.