Steelers Tape Breakdown: Ride 38 Two Times With Totally Different Results

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The Ride 38 running play has been in the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive playbook for eons and they ran it twice Sunday night in second quarter in the loss to the Chicago Bears with two totally different results.

The first time they ran was on second and one with 8:27 left in the half. The play utilizes 12 personnel with tight ends David Johnson and Heath Miller lined up strong right and running back Jonathan Dwyer lined up in the eye.

At the snap, both Johnson and right tackle Marcus Gilbert block down inside while center Fernando Velasco releases to cutoff the weakside linebacker. Miller has responsibility of blocking down on the strongside linebacker if he attempts to shoot the gap, while right guard David DeCastro pulls out to the right to take on either the middle linebacker, if he reads the play properly, or the strong safety if he doesn’t.

On this particular play, Bears middle linebacker D.J. Williams reads the play well and is flowing to the outside. DeCastro notices this and pulls out a little flat which in turn cuts off Miller’s lane to block down on Lance Briggs. Miller, however, probably could have gotten off the ball a tick quicker, so he has to be charged with the run fail here as Briggs blows up the play.

Steelers Bears Ride 38

Exactly six offensive plays later in the quarter, the Steelers give Ride 38 another shot and it is pretty amazing that Williams didn’t defend it as good as he did the first time. In the process, he made the jobs of both Miller and DeCastro much easier. Williams initially thinks he wants to shoot the A gap before realizing the play is going outside. Because of this, DeCastro doesn’t have to take as flat of a route to the edge as he can now concentrate on burying safety Major Wright, which he does nicely. Miller in turn has no problems cutting off Briggs and Dwyer is off to the races.

Steelers Bears Ride 38

Being as the Minnesota Vikings also run a 4-3 defense, expect the Steelers to use 12 personnel quite a bit this coming Sunday. If things go well, you can probably expect to see Ride 38 ran two or three times in that game and it will be up to middle linebacker E.J. Henderson to read it correctly.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Hodge175

    It was funny I was at the game and fans were yelling a Dwyer on that play about being slow and fat… When if they would have actually watched the play you would have seen a blocked was missed. From were I was sitting I thought Johnson had missed his block

  • gene mann

    hope they can block and use play action

  • VaDave

    Did anybody happen notice a certain # 76 running 25 yards down field looking for a block? We haven’t seen one of our OTs that far from the LOS in a long time. Adams may not be the best tackle in the league, but the kid is giving it all he has.

    Velasco did a great job on the first GIF of sealing off the LB in space. On the second one, he went out to block him again, but the LB ran towards the los instead of cutting across the field latteraly leaving Velasco doing an about face. Good thing the LB took an odd angle and ended up being screened by a combo block applied by David Johnson’s, and Chicago’s # 99’s keisters…..

    While there was some definate improvement wih our run blocking on this outing, it still looks like a Chinese fire drill at times.

  • MC

    Wow, i’m impressed with Velasco on the failed run (i can’t see the other one on my work internet). Look how quickly he gets to the second level and gets to the linebacker. Had the play not been blown up im sure he would of driven him right out of the play for Dwyer to cut it back.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    On the 2nd play there’s not as big a gap for Briggs, because the TE and RT aren’t forced to block down as sharply as they were the first play. Probably because the DE and DT on that side don’t slant in as much. This allows Heath to square up Briggs, and Dwyer’s off to the races. I would say the biggest difference in the plays is the defense.

  • JB

    I agree – the defense played a big part. On the first play, Briggs was coming hard right off the snap, and the D Linemen were crashing inside. Briggs was a designated rusher regardless of the offense. That allowed him to get penetration before Miller (slow off the snap) could get in a position to block him. On the second play, Briggs hesitated a second – that looked like a “see-to-do” play on his part. Without execution, the plays don’t work, but these two plays look more like examples of the Coordinator chess match that player execution. IMO.

  • Ahmad

    When I saw this play live, everyone on twitter was blaming Decastro for the missed block. I knew it wasn’t him but I still incorrectly blamed Paulson when the blame should have gone to Miller. I guess I’m so used to Paulson missing blocks that I automatically went to him.

  • chris ward

    Really like this run play with the tight ends blocking down and getting Decastro out in space. What a block by Decastro on the second GIF.

  • charles

    Coordinator chess match very good input. What was the down and distance?