Film Room: Steelers Cap Win With Perfect Play Call

With all the fight the Pittsburgh Steelers showed, they needed one play to seal the deal. 3rd and 1, 1:29 remaining in the game. Fail to convert and you give the Detroit Lions another chance to steal the game. Pick up the first and the game is over.

What’s the playcall?

Todd Haley ran a shovel pass, Ben Roethlisberger complete to JuJu Smith-Schuster. A gain of four, a first down, and a victory. It was a great call for two reasons.

1. It’s part of the Steelers playbook, an effective play they’ve run before.

2. The Lions were vulnerable to it.

Pittsburgh has used this play before. It was Smith-Schuster’s first touchdown of his career back in Week Two against the Minnesota Vikings.

Which was the same playcall last night. One the Lions have been beat with, too. I didn’t include it in my report but the Carolina Panthers ran the same play for a two yard touchdown in Week 5.

So it’s not a surprise to hear Roethlisberger say the shovel pass was one of their two-point/gotta have it playcalls.

“We just had been holding it in our pocket,” he said after the game. “It’s a play that we liked, had a lot of options. We had it as kind of a two point play. It was a good must-make type situation…just worked out well for us.”

Best of both worlds. Didn’t have to change or add to the playbook if you’re the Steelers. The play was already there. And you use a concept that’s worked against the defense you’re facing. All in the game’s biggest moment. Great call. Great execution. Great win.

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.
  • Michael James

    Can’t argue with this call, it was a good one. The calls before though…

  • Doug Andrews

    Hard to argue with the results. Great play call by Haley

  • Chris92021

    Absolutely. I have criticized Haley time and again here but that was brilliant. What I can’t wait for is a dummy call that will go with it that will likely be revealed in a crucial time during the postseason. (like a fake shovel pass that ends with an intermediate seam route to McDonald)

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    That would actually be a nice play on third and long… It’s a bit too creative for Haley though I think.

  • FATCAT716

    All play’s are good when they work but had it got stuffed it would have been stupid


    This is the first time this season I audibly said “wow, great call, Todd.”

  • Jeff Najjar

    Check out Big Al on this play!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Loved that play!

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    Hey Alex, I just heard Joe Haden say that Sunday was his first Sunday night game. First Sunday night game of this man’s whole career.

    Itd be cool to see a lil Depot piece about that 🙂

  • Charles Haines

    nice play but hopefully it goes to someone who can actually catch.

  • PaeperCup

    Reminds me of that scene in dumb and dumber when Lloyd returns with the moped.

  • Axel