Film Room: Bell, Gilbert Dart Their Way To Historic Day

Le’Veon Bell had the best statistical rushing performance in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history against the Miami Dolphins. A lot of that was on Bell for his patience, vision, and ability to finish runs. You can also thank the offensive line for doing a great job and Mike Munchak for throwing wrinkles into their run scheme to get Bell in space.

At least twice, Munchak pulled out his dart scheme. And they had a high degree of success. Let’s take a look.

If you’re not familiar with dart, it’s a power run with the backside tackle pulling. Down blocks to the front side, just like in a “regular” power/trap run we’re accustomed to seeing. Backside tackle kicks out the frontside EMOL.

Here’s one look. Steelers in 13 personnel with Chris Hubbard as sixth linemen. Here’s the blocking scheme.

LT Alejandro Villanueva: Down block 3 tech, work to MIKE linebacker
LG Ramon Foster: Seal 3 tech
C Maurkice Pouncey: Base block zero tech
RG David DeCastro: Down block backside three tech
RT Marcus Gilbert: Pull, kickout frontside EMOL (defensive end)

Like any power scheme, the key here is the frontside down block. Have to secure it and get a push at the line so he can’t get penetration and blow it up or force the puller wide and slow down an already slow play. Villanueva does a great job on the down block, showing a lot of strength, and washing the three tech.

Gilbert now just has to clean up the EMOL, the playside end, and does a good job. He tries to contain the run but Gilbert is able to seal him and create an alley for Bell. He does most of the rest though credit to Antonio Brown for the stalk block on the corner.

It’s a 26 yard run, nearly a touchdown, but Bell scores two plays later.

Pittsburgh busts it out again in the third quarter. One back and the Steelers in the gun out of 11 personnel and tight end Jesse James flexed out to remove another defender from the box and lighten it. Just six men there.

The blocking scheme. Pretty similar stuff.

LT Alejandro Villanueva: Down block 3 tech, work to frontside linebacker
LG Ramon Foster: Combo block and seal three tech
C Maurkice Pouncey: Uncovered, work to first color
RG David DeCastro: Base block backside three tech
RT Marcus Gilbert: Pull, kick out frontside EMOL (defensive end)

Again, key block here is the frontside down block to secure the three tech. Villanueva does a great job on the down block, showing a lot of strength, and knocks him off his feet.

He then works to the next level to seal off the MIKE but with the MIKE coming up the A gap, and the fact Pouncey can work to him because there’s no backside linebacker to climb to – the Steelers have removed him from the box – Pouncey picks him up.

Now the key block is Gilbert. The frontside defensive end tries to adjust from getting sealed last time by wrong-arming Gilbert, crashing inside so he can’t get sealed. But he goes to the ground, Gilbert buries him, and Bell has the strength to stiff-arm away from the backside defenders crashing.

Big kudos to Brown for the stalk block on the corner, helping to spring Bell. It’s the best blocking effort I’ve ever seen from him. Another 26 yard gain.

Two runs, two 26 yard gains. Well blocked, well schemed, with the best back in the league. Munchak had the reputation as a zone guy but he’s peppered in a mix of basically everything in Pittsburgh’s run game. Dart isn’t used often but when it is, it’s effective.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • FATCAT716

    Love how on that first run the oline never gave up on the play & had a few 20 yds down field

  • Zarbor

    If LeVeon plays well in any of the remaining games, we will win those games. Looking for him to have a big day in KC. Keep those pass rushers at bay.This o-line needs a playoff MVP performance this coming game.

  • falconsaftey43

    Awesome stuff. Nothing better than a well executed pull.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Best WR in the league blocking for the best back in the league? Love that!

  • srdan

    I love the pile of defensive players

    I can’t believe we have 5 olinemen that can pull.

  • Is there another O line in the league that can and will pull any guy on the front? I don’t think so…

  • Xclewsive

    KC has been gashed by Lev Bell the past two seasons. The OL and Munchak have to make it a trifecta.

  • Brendon Glad

    The OL and Bell have a beautiful chemistry together…and the OL’s chemistry with Ben has improved drastically too. They all trust each other….and that trust level between those 3 units is as good as I have witnessed from the Steelers in a long, long, long time. They have won SB’s 2 times with less cohesion among those 3 groups. So let’s hope that is an extra bit of juice that normally isn’t a Plus for the Steelers in the playoffs.

  • Jim Foles

    Finney looked real good at it.

  • Brendon Glad

    That’s what Bell brings to the table…he can take a quick-puller or a slower-puller and make it work just as well either way. It sometimes seems like the pull that takes a little longer actually works even better for LB.
    But yeah, those lineman really seem to have quick sound footwork.

  • nutty32

    The Rooneys should charge Ndemeka Suh for a ticket cuz he was just watching the game whole time. What a piece of pooh he is.

  • Jim Foles

    So our defense can try to stop edelman and the three yard cross route over and over and over again. Will a MLB please take him out once while crossing over the middle.

  • How about we worry about KC first. The game in NE is not guaranteed…

  • Brendon Glad

    Can I give a shout-out to Alejandro Villanueva? I’m not saying he gets no love, but he gets less than most LT’s on a team with an offense and running game like this. I was rooting for him before he ever played a snap for the Steelers. And so it’s kinda awesome that he is becoming a beast.

  • Brendon Glad

    He can’t be charged anything that matters anymore. Unless he gets charged with Grand Larceny on the contracts he has stolen.

  • Brian Tollini

    That’s a beautiful thing.

  • WreckIess

    DID I JUST SEE AB BLOCKING??? That man really wants his ring.

  • Douglas Andrews

    How much credit do we give to Coach Munch and Haley. Remember when the Steelers lineman were about 30 pounds heavier. Never would of thought then that the O line was so athletic. Now we’ve seen both Tackles pulling both guards pulling ( Decastro also was a great puller) but Foster pulling leading the way. This O line can run to either side and not only run to either side but they can run effectively. Great Coaching!

  • Brendon Glad

    It’s house money. He probably feels like Steeler fans felt in 1989. It’s “whatever”. They took us so low, and improved so drastically that it’s understandable when people start shooting for the moon.

  • Rotten Sircus

    LMAO …

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He’s gone from, “No chance in heck he could ever become a LT.” to solid and under appreciated in just less than 2 years. You just keep protecting Bens blindside, Mr. Villanueva.

  • Steve

    In the last Gif, Gilbert essentially took out 3 men in the “Domino Affect”.

  • Steve

    Ab did a good job blocking on both plays.

  • Gloria Burke

    Dave talked about this yesterday on the podcast. When we were watching live in (our Steelers group of about 35 in the midst of Dolphins fans) I was yelling look at AB blocking, he’s blocking. Great blocking by all of the receiving group in general. Love that both sides can pull. Didn’t Villanueva even pull at least one time this year?

  • PA2AK_

    Also surprised me was ABs blocks.

  • VaDave

    Really good. Foster vs. Finney is going to be the second best training camp battle next year after the WRs shake out.

  • VaDave

    Pulling is not Foster’s best suit. He can but results are mixed.

  • VaDave

    He still has a ways to go, but dang, he sure has exceeded my expectations. BTW, we have a kid on IR ( Stephens from LSU) that could be really good.

  • VaDave

    The second Cincy game I think. Nailed it too.

  • Rob

    What’s going to be more effective against KC are those draws. Get those pass rushers upfield, and let bell do the rest

  • Don


  • Jim Foles

    Finney did and can do it good.

  • Brendon Glad

    I just remember hearing his story before I saw him play…so I’m like “Well, nothing in the NFL will be too tough for him”. And then I watched his first preseason with the Steelers…and I’m thinking, “This guy ain’t no ‘charity try-out'”
    He had legitimate feet, to go along with the size that was already stated on the roster chart. So then I read more, and I saw that he was DL, OT and the WR at his stint in the Academy College Football. And led the team in receptions. Did it because his coaches decided he was the best man for the WR job that year. I was VERY confident he would succeed after all of those things were combined in my head.
    It does not surprise me he is doing well. I expect him to do even better as he hones his craft. He has moments where he looks like Tony Boselli with that huge frame and basketball-player-type-feet. So let’s hope we get the good of that comparison…and leave the injury stuff out of the deal 🙂

  • VaDave

    I was incorrectly hoping he’s turn out to be more of a Whitworth (Bengals) type. Kind of undershot the mark, eh?

  • VaDave

    Actually, Gilbert started losing weight before Munch came. If you want a real eye opener, take a look at the OL from Cir. 2012 the year before Haley came. A very large, and a very painful group to watch. Starks and Foster could never be described as svelte…