Steelers Film Room: 73 Yard Touchdown Run By Giants RB Rashad Jennings

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense gave up quite a few double explosive plays last season and in their 2014 preseason opener Saturday night against the New York Giants, the first-team defense allowed running back Rashad Jennings to scamper 73 yards for a score.

I have an animated gif of the play below and it’s pretty clear that it started with the failure of the defensive line to maintain gap integrity and ended with the secondary being unable to keep it from being a homerun.

Pre snap, the Steelers defense is in their nickel sub package with inside linebacker Sean Spence lining up outside on the left edge. Lawrence Timmons is manning the gap on the strong side of the Giants formation.

This is a power trap play by the Giants as the right guard pulls perfectly and the left side of the Giants offensive line blocks down to the inside on defensive end Cameron Heyward and runs him completely out of the hole. Heyward took blame after the game and said he was too flat on the play.


Timmons also missed Jennings, but you can see in the still shots below, the he was clearly held by the pulling guard and Jennings is off to the races.



In the secondary, both safeties, Mike Mitchell and Will Allen, took poor angles and thus neither can make the tackle.


While this play did bust open at the line, the secondary can’t let this go for a touchdown and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said as much after the game.

We are going to have runs that breakout every now and there. We’ve got to get it on the ground in the secondary. Sometimes those things break free, they have to be 8, 10, 12 yard runs not 78-yard runs. It was a gap integrity issue in the core. That is less of a concern. I am more concerned about when those things do occur we do a good job of trying to minimize the explosion play and make it an 8, 10, 12 yard gain not a 78-yard play.

As for the Giants take on the play, Jennings gave credit to quarterback Eli Manning.

It was a play that Eli [Manning] made sure we were in the right play. It was perfect. Offensive line beat the double team. A puller came around and put a body to clear the hole and it gave me an opportunity for a one on one. One on one battles, you have to win, and that’s what I did. The rest was just a race.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Looks like a repeat from last year…not good

  • Carlos

    At least it didn´t happen on week 4 like last year, there´s time to adjust

  • SteelCity

    It doesn’t look like last year. Number one Troy wasn’t playing number two anybody can break a run when you clearly hold like that. Timmons was held and Heyward was held

  • Rob S.

    One thing to like about this play, check out the upper body strength of JJ.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Timmons got tackled!

  • Douglas Andrews

    Wonder if Mitchell’s groin is fully healed he looked like he was jogging.

  • mlc43

    Granted, there is some type of hold being done on almost every play, but this was an obvious bear hug, lol. While I’m not happy that we still didn’t limit the play, I’m not all that upset because it only got going because of a huge missed call. There were A LOT of good things to take away from this, the FIRST preseason game. I don’t understand all the knee-jerk reactions I’ve read today. I’ll just chalk it up to people being gun shy from the last couple of years.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Timmons got mugged. Yup, just like last year, the refs are still horrible.

    I agree with Tomlin, safety or corner has to make that tackle and not allow the TD.

  • Steve

    Timmons was held, bad no call by the ref.

  • Steve

    Ventrone had a nice game

  • Matt Manzo

    Against nickel d in the preseason, with the hold, I’m not overreacting yet! If McCullers was in the middle that plays not happening!

  • Steve


  • Steve


  • 412 Audio

    lol its preseason

  • Shannon Stephenson

    true but u never want to see a guy run a 70+ TD on your 1st team defense even in preseason…Tomlin wasnt smiling after that saying…well its just preseason.

  • ApexSteel

    I see what you mean. That was a beautiful bench press.

  • ApexSteel

    I’m not that worried about it. Much like the offense this new defense needs time to gel. Three of our starters weren’t playing either.

  • mlc43

    After seeing the other film…..Man, What a HOLD!!! He took Timmons and gave him all kinds of hugs and kisses.

  • Hamburger95

    Hi! Dave

    Thanks for posting the breakdown of Giants RB Rashad Jennings 73 yard touchdown run . This was a explosive play by the Giants RB Rashad Jennings. The 1st team Defense needs to minimize these explosive plays . If not this will be a repeat from the 2013 Season . I agree with the assessment of Coach Mike Tomlin on that particular play . Yes , sometime the Defense will have a breakdown on the line but you cannot have a Defensive End getting blown out of his hole . I agree give the opposing running back a 8-10 yard run . Never give up explosive plays like this one . ILB Lawrence Timmons was clearly held on this play . I don’t know what the officials was thinking on this play . The eyes in the sky never lie . The safeties will have provide run support when it is a break in the defensive line . A impressive performance by Rookie Stephon Tuitt at Metlife stadium last night . Also Shamarko Thomas was providing run support and laying wood on offensive players last night .
    Over All , I am happy with the 1st team Defensive performance , except for that explosive play .

    I am not happy with the second team offensive line performance last night at Metlife stadium .
    I am not confident in Landry Jones but the offensive line have to give him time in the pocket .

    What I think about Rookie Martavis Bryant performance last night?
    He is just a Rookie . A Rookie makes mistakes .

    What Advice would I give to Rookie Martavis Bryant ?
    1)Keep your head up Rookie
    2)Stay positive Rookie
    3)Continue to work on your craft Rookie
    4)Protect the Pigskin Rookie
    5) Relax everything will be Ok Rookie

    It will be interesting to see how the Rookie Martavis Bryant deals with adversity . Will the Rookie shutdown or will rookie say I will get better each and everyday I step on the grass. I think ,if Martavis Bryant displays a positive attitude . He will be able overcome this hump in the road .

    Thanks David Bryan and Alex for the reporting on the Steeler’s training camp .I have been listening to all of your podcast shows .

    David Todd welcome back !

    Go Steeler’s

  • Nolrog

    That’s true. However, James Harrison will be fined for that play.

  • Crowned

    Your overreaction of the day is brought to you by:

  • Nolrog

    >>> This was a explosive play by the Giants RB Rashad Jennings. The 1st team Defense needs to minimize these explosive plays . Looking at the video and the stills above, Timmons was clearly held at (maybe even behind) the line of scrimmage, which is what set the play off. This wasn’t so much an explosive play as it was a clear holding penalty.

  • Nolrog

    Of course he wasn’t smiling. His line backer was held and tackled and the refs didn’t call it.

  • Steelers12328882

    Who cares if Timmons was held. There’s a handful of other fails on this play by the Steelers defense. It’s like Ryan Clark was out there again. Ugly, ugly play by the Safeties.

  • SteelerMike

    Exactly! Tomlin was correct to identify the secondary as the biggest issue on this play, in particular the safeties Mitchell and Allen. Mitchell runs up out of position and then is easily outrun by the RB. Can only hope was concerned about his groin injury, because he looked very slow on that play.

  • SteelerMike

    Lets hope that was injury related. Mitchell’s speed was clearly not as advertised on that play.

  • Kyle Owens

    That long TD run was like seeing your rapist walking down the street years after the initial assault.

    I thought I was over all those big plays our defense gave up last year. I’m not and apparently neither is our defense.

  • Hamburger95

    Yes ,I agree with your assessment on that play . If the officials miss the infraction on that play . The safeties will have to provide run support and minimize the damage from opposing team . Sometimes the officiating crew will miss calls on a play .If the officiating crew miss a call I will still call it a explosive play .

  • Steve

    Doubt it, he’s sitting with the oaks.

  • Nolrog

    Since when has that stopped Goodell from fining him?

  • Steve

    Since Debo aint got a job in the NFL!

  • R1ddl3_0f_$t33l

    No McLendon, no Shazier, no Polamalu.
    1st Preseason game.
    But I do hope Mitchell brings more to the table than that, or it will be a long season. That was an epic fail by the secondary.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I’m not saying Jennings needs to cop to the blatant holding in this play, but don’t gush about it being “perfect,” either. You’d be amazed how many “perfect” NFL running plays are made possible when bear-hugging is allowed.

    I do acknowledge that the secondary should have contained, though. That’s just inexcusable. I certainly hope this team doesn’t have tendencies that iffy teams (like the Giants) can take advantage of this season. I was having flashbacks to the Oakland and Minnesota games last night. Two terrible teams the Steelers shouldn’t have lost to, yet gave up huge plays against.

  • Douglas Andrews

    William Gay ran past him like he was standing still.

  • Jacque Strappe

    Agree with all of this. Our FA splash looked like he needed to take a remedial geometry class. That’s unacceptable.

  • cencalsteeler

    Your correct. Something we talked about last week. Not to pick on Ike, because he was on the right corner, but chasing Jennings, he clearly looked like the slowest defender of the bunch. I know it’s preseason, but that play is my worst fear….no secondary help at the next level. I’d suggest to Tomlin the secondary spend some more time on tackling drills and put Peezy in charge.

  • Jeff Anoble

    Why the heck did Lebeau have Spence out of position blitzing fron the outside on a first down play? That’s the fault of the play right there. If Spence is standing where a ILB should be that play is dead before 5 yards. Playing an inside run with 1 ILb? No wonder Eli saw it and took advantage of it. Lebeau should take the real blame of that run.

  • Steel PAul

    First, missing a few players on D that would be there in a meaningful game.

    Two, both safeties mis-played regardless of holding on Timmons. Holding happens. Both safeties should not be too far outside for an interior run.

    Last, what team speed? Jennings runs a 4.6/40. How does he run away from our team like that?

  • Steve

    Aw – this is only preseason, learn from it and don’t let it happen again!

  • DoctorNoah

    Allen and Gay both had chances and both whiffed. Remind me again the value of experience among seasoned veterans when it comes to knowing where to be, taking good angles and solid tackling?

  • charles

    It was just one early season play which the O should be able to get back. Secondary was embarrassed. Carnell?

  • zbluez1

    If I am an opposing offensive coordinator, every time I see this defensive alignment on the field for the #Steelers, I call a run similar to this one schematically as an automatic, in fact I do it until the #Steelers can stop it multiple times in a game for a gain of under 4 yards. If I am coach LeBeau, I run this against my defense, break it down, coach it up, again and again and again until it is ingrained how to stop it, then I run all the play action variants off of it, until my defense can stop them repetitively. Because just like last year, the film is out there to be studied, broke down, and improved upon, and you can place a 3 dollar bet track side that it will be until the #Steelers prove they can stop it. Just my 3 dollar bet and 2 cents for my opinion.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Im not going to say I am not worried since this was a problem last year but you are correct that this is preseason and hope that the wrinkles get worked out

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Didn’t hear Tomlin saying in the presser that we were held or that the turf was wet or any other excuse. They ran a 70+ yard TD on our starting defense and even with Timmons being held it still should have only been no more than a 10 yard carry. It’s preseason and I do not want to get to worked up about a single play but because this was a problem last season it puts questions in your mind.

  • joed32

    Lake was a pretty good tackler himself.

  • PA2AK

    and it’s way…way…way…over your head! it’s outa here!

  • PA2AK

    good look.

  • PA2AK

    that was a heckuva tackle! I wish I could say it’s preseason for the refs…but they look like they are in midseason form.

  • PA2AK

    could you imagine if he complained about the hold or offered up other excuses? I’m sure he saw it though.

  • PA2AK

    Exactly! LeBeau should know the play and ONLY blitz where it is designed to go!

    Cam got beat and created a whole. Timmons filled it and was tackled at the point of attack. Safeties came up to make a stop and failed. Explain again how the defensive call was the error?

  • PA2AK

    Or just tell Heyward to not get beat. Tell the ref to throw the friggin flag when your LB fills the whole perfectly. and then tell your safety to do something that resembles pro football. This has nothing to do with the defensive scheme or call on the play.

  • Steve

    Wrong sport Junior!

  • PA2AK

    derp derp…humor…find some.

  • Zach Clary

    Should’ve been called back with that blatant hug of Timmons by Mosley. Either way, got to have better gap integrity because the refs aren’t going to call everything like they should. It’s also preseason and the first team D looked much better against Buffalo. Working out the kinks, and getting Shazier into the lineup has been a huge help.