On Wednesday, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning managed to break away from his busy commercial schedule to visit his younger brother Eli Manning. During his visit to New York, the elder Manning reportedly gave his sibling a few tips on how the New York Giants should attack the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense on Sunday.
By Wednesday, the Manning brother reunion news had circulated around the Steelers locker room and when asked about the topic, linebacker Arthur Moats wondered if Peyton taught Eli how to perfect a play he used against the Steelers in last year’s Divisional Round playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
“I heard, I heard that,” Moates said Wednesday during an interview with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “I don’t know, man, I still think about the play where he [Peyton] like faked where he was sacked and got up and bombed it. You know, that’s what I think of when I think of Peyton. So, if that’s what he’s going to go with as far as his advice, we know to tag him this time. When you’re on the ground, tag the guy just make sure it’s all clear. Yeah, the fake-slide-throw, that’s definitely the play that comes to mind.”
While I doubt any of you have forgotten about that play Moats is referencing, in case you have, let me refresh your memories.
With 13:15 left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers leading the Broncos 13-12, Peyton Manning dropped back to pass on a 1st and 10 play from the Denver 20-yard-line. Former Steelers safety Will Allen blitzed off the right side of the Pittsburgh defense and his pressure appeared to make Manning give himself up for a sack. Manning, however, then proceeded to get up after not being touched down and easily completed a pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a gain of 34 yards.
On that play, Steelers cornerback William Gay, who was covering Sanders, appeared to stop playing after Manning went down to the ground and that’s what ultimately led to the easy explosive play completion. While that Broncos drive ultimately stalled three plays later, the long-completed pass resulted in a flipped field and the Steelers subsequent offensive possession started at their own 25-yard-line following a touchback.
Needless to say, the Steelers defensive players learned a valuable lesson from that play this past January and I doubt they’ll let Eli duplicate it this Sunday at Heinz Field.