Film Room: Pressure Ruins Steelers’ Chances For Splash Plays


Playaction is something the Pittsburgh Steelers have done little of this season. Heading into the Jaguars’ game, Ben Roethlisberger had used it the second-fewest of any quarterback in the league.

It seems like the Steelers tried to change that approach into Sunday. And the chances were there. But pressure wrecked two opportunities Sunday afternoon. Quick film room, let’s take a look.

The first comes out of 21 personnel. To the bottom of the screen, JuJu Smith-Schuster runs a really nice double-move to burn Jalen Ramsey. Creates separation as he gets vertical and there’s a chance for a big play. But Chris Hubbard gives up pressure on the edge, doesn’t get a chip from the FB or RB, and Roethlisberger is feeling the heat as soon as he hits the top of his drop.

He has to climb the pocket and eventually, I don’t show it in the clip, scrambles out of bounds for a one yard gain.


Good concept. Receiver did his job. Pressure didn’t allow for the payoff.

Second example is probably one you remember better. This isn’t playaction but it’s run out of a heavy, run-formation (22 personnel) on 2nd and 2. It’s still fair to take issue with the playcall but Roethlisberger’s first INT came off pressure. James Conner is late to identify the LB and can’t get square to him. Tries to hit him with a shoulder but it doesn’t do much and the linebacker gets A gap pressure.

Ball comes out sooner than what Roethlisberger wants, throw is behind, and Ramsey makes a terrific play to pick it off.

That’s rush and coverage going together. Rush creating pressure. In the first clip, it masked a CB getting burned deep. In the second, it allowed the CB to make a play.

It should’ve been two big plays for the Steelers’ offense. Instead, one was a dud and the other a turnover.

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.
  • 太阳三联

    Why are people hyping Ramsey ?!? AB took his lunch all fxcking game and so many missed opportunities 🤦

  • falconsaftey43

    Man, both guys were open. On the first one, I’m kind of surprised Ben didn’t throw to JuJu or to Bell even after avoiding the rush. I can understand not seeing Bell since he’s moving the other way, but JuJu is still wide open after Ben re-sets and the safety doesn’t have a chance to make a play (far hash and only about 10 yards deeper than JuJu when he flips his hips).

  • Alex Kozora

    Clip is cut off. Think he was still looking but CB got back in-phase. Ben looked elsehwere and wound up just eating the play.

  • lone pistol

    I know everyone is trashing Ben and i am not trying to defend his play of lately because it has been bad. but in my eyes this is a bigger issue then most people want to admit. He is getting zero help.

  • Thomas

    I wish the vid of that 1st play ran a little longer, after he avoids the pressure why doesn’t Ben still bomb it deep to Juju? he’s still wide open. I feel like Ben of 5 years ago throws that…0_o…Pat Mahomes of today would throw that…

  • Rob

    At first, the first pick looked really bad. But now considering the hit he took while throwing (probably not expecting the hit), Vance actually does pop pretty wide open on Ramsey, at least in the gif from that angle. Still not a good game/season, but a lot of Ben’s issues have explanations.

  • Michael Conrad

    I saw that also . I can point out a couple things . First this is a QB who is showing some of the I don’t want to run with the ball and I can’t move to far. JJSS was wide open after he avoided the missed block by the RT. The top play shows two RB’s in the same area coasting out of the backfield. The interception shows Conner having to avoid Ben to get to a block he did not make.

    Ben threw it early also on the play they have two TE’s on the field and a DB is covering McDonald.

    I say play design and lack of practice by all. The WR’s and TE’s are running into coverage and running routes without going to the open area.

    This looks like a Ben and Haley combination of poor play design with poor play by all.

    When you don’t practice or study you just don’t know were everybody is on a play this is on a lazy QB. Season is over take it to the bank.

    The only thing that will save it is if Ben decides to study the other teams D and works overtime in practice with his receivers. There is no just turning it on in the regular season without plenty of hard work.

  • Steve

    Ben will be back, its happens to all the Great ones from time to time.

  • Steve

    There is no way Ben is not studying. Why do you come here? Why not go someplace else.

  • Edjhjr

    Funny thing is I don’t think Decastro is blocking anyone. On the second play

  • Joe Craig

    The offense is too predictable! Defenses know what is coming! Haley has to change it up or get out of town! No huddle would be a great start!

  • Steel Realist PAul

    For sure – the Oline has been below the line a bunch this season.