The Quick-Hitting Pass Has Become a Steelers Staple
The underneath passes have become a big part of the Steelers playbook because it allows their fast, athletic receivers to make a reception with space and try to run past the defense.
On this play, the Raiders are blitzing everybody and have man coverage with only a single-high safety. That creates plenty of room in which Wallace can work. Roethlisberger audibles pre-snap into this pick play.
On the snap, Brown plows into Wallace’s man, freeing him up. This is doubly effective due to the man coverage, as Brown’s man follows him into the pile-up that Brown creates.
This allows Wallace to turn on the jets into a large patch of green and easily covert the 4th down play for the Steelers. The Steelers have a wide variety of screens, including more traditional bubble screens for their wide receivers to create the same results.
Miller is involved in the screen game, as well, including on this well drawn up tight end screen. With pre-snap motion, the Steelers can diagnose the zone coverage. Without a man assigned to him, Miller stays in, appearing to block, at the snap and becomes a moot point to the Raiders coverage.
The linemen release in front of Miller and he turns to grab Roethlisberger’s pass. It is good for a 7-yard gain and an easy way to catch the defense napping.
Both of these screen passes could be dangerous against the Bengals. While limiting Trent Richardson in screen pass plays is one thing, the Steelers have many different looks and ways to beat the defense. The speed of Wallace, shiftiness of Brown and size and power of Miller will pose problems.
The linebackers will have to keep track of every receiver and be ready to fly to the play to make up for the screen pass’s numerical advantage. This is a tall order, but Rey Maualuga’s new, svelte frame will come in handy with all the sideline-to-sideline play required to shut down this facet of the passing game.