Film Room: Receivers Mix It Up In Run Game, Key In Splash Plays

The Pittsburgh Steelers had easily their best rushing attack of the season in Sunday’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. They were able to get beyond three yards and a cloud of dust, ripping off big run after big run. After times, the difference between those decent, 5 or 7 seven yards and the excellent ones of 10+, come from the receivers doing their job as blockers.

So while the offensive line was dominant, we’ll have a separate post on that tomorrow morning, you have to hand it to the receivers for the effort and execution. Couple of plays to reference.

As you’d expect, JuJu Smith-Schuster had another excellent game as a blocker. No surprise, he’s already their best blocker and it isn’t even close. Has the size and more importantly, physicality and effort to thrive.

Here’s a pin/pull scheme. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro help open things up but check out JuJu’s downfield block on the corner. Doesn’t let him close the edge as Bell rips down the right sideline.

Or here, where you don’t see a lot of receivers line up. Fit off-ball between the tackle and tight end, cracking the linebacker and sending him to the ground. Then he works to the next level and chips the backside defensive end trying to come across. Leads to a solid pickup.

But it wasn’t all JuJu. Martavis Bryant stepped up to the plate, too. Similar to Smith-Schuster on the first clip, Bryant doing a great job stalk blocking the corner to keep the path clear (and check out that Vance McDonald pancake).

It showed even in the passing game. You can debate if this is a legal block or not, that’s not the point, but look at Bryant put in the extra effort to crack the DB at the end of this Antonio Brown catch. It doesn’t affect the play much but that’s sorta the point; Bryant still sacrificed his body to try and make a play.

Heck, even Brown got involved and he’s one of the league’s worst blockers. On this play, Brown realizes he’s not going to be able to crack the safety so he runs to try and help out in some capacity, stalk blocking the corner. This isn’t a great play, but it’s effort and much like me talking to girls in high school, we’re grading on a heavy curve (Uh, hi Marissa…so you like, things, right? *immediately starts sweating*). 

Like run defense, run offense can be an 11 man job. And when you get contributions from your receivers like the Steelers did Sunday, your run game reaches new heights.

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.

  • Steelnads

    Nice post Alex. It’s good to read a breakdown of the receivers throwing their hands (and bodies) in the pile to help the offense.

  • GSK

    Check out the second clip…Gilbert grabs is hammy at the end of the play.

  • walter

    They prefer JuJu’s blocking over Eli’s

  • colingrant

    WR blocking can add 50-75 yards to the run game. 2nd level blocking is huge.

  • EdJHJr

    Great film. But now I can only think of what could have been against the Jags.

  • EdJHJr

    To me i see several receivers who can block. I also hear about several receivers who think they are only there to catch

  • WB Tarleton

    The thing about WRs and run blocking is that it is 90% effort and only 10% technique. Find someone, get your hands on him, and keep your legs moving. All should be able to do it but very few around the league do.

    Get this group doing it and it is a hell of an advantage.

  • SfSteeler

    Vance looks to be having a bump in his play…on that 3rd gif hes just running and blocking like a mad dog…hunger like that will always get you play time!

  • Aj Gentile

    But how did it go with Marissa?!