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Old 05-15-2009, 11:30 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...success#page/6

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That is a quote that applies to multiple aspects of life. It is especially relevant in the sports world.

Every team has their bread and butter plays that they will go to in specific situations during a game.

The Steelers have a very traditional offense for the most part. They do inject a trick play or two to keep defenses off balance, but they often return to the running game and a play-action heavy passing game.

On defense, the Steelers have a complicated scheme that keeps offensive linemen guessing. Coordinator Dick LeBeau is a 3-4 genius and he is always coming with creative ways to rush the passer.

Inside this slide show I have five plays that make the Pittsburgh Steelers tick. These are plays or strategies that every fan will recognize and it is a key part of the Steelers success.

Keep an open eye because you will see these plays again.

5. I-Formation, 39 Toss

39 Toss is one of the most basic, yet effective plays the Pittsburgh Steelers run on offense.

This play is most commonly run out of I-Formation with two wide receivers split out to the opposite side of the tight end.

As the name implies it is a quick toss to the running back, often Willie Parker, and the back takes advantage of his speed to get outside. The two wide receivers are used to seal the edge and help spring the runner free.

This play is so much a part of the Steelers offense that teams often anticipate it. "39 Toss" was one of the reasons the Steelers won Super Bowl XL.

Pittsburgh had run the play to near perfection all game long and they finally called a variation on the play. "Fake-39 Toss X-Reverse Pass."

That is better known as Antwaan Randel-El's reverse pass to Hines Ward for a touchdown.

4. I-Formation, Play-Action Bootleg

To take advantage of the effective running game the Steelers will often turn to play-action passing. They take it one step further by adding a bootleg which allows Big Ben to take advantage of his athleticism and get outside the pocket.

The bootleg can also be run out of shotgun, but it doesn't get the same effect it does when run out of I-Form.

The purpose of the play-action is to hold the linebackers and safeties which will allow for a cleaner release for the tight ends and wide receivers. Heath Miller is often the recipient of these passes.

The bootleg shifts the pocket and the receivers usually roll towards to direction the quarterback is moving creating better passing lanes and angles.

3. 3-4 Stack, Cross Blitz

A "stack" formation is used to create confusion. It makes it harder for the offensive linemen to locate the linebackers because they are lined up behind the defensive linemen, instead of lined up in the gaps.

The Cross Blitz is used as a "stunt" for the linebackers. A stunt allows one linebacker, let's say the left, to cross behind the nose tackle and go after the right guard.

Once the left inside backer crosses in front of the right inside backer(RILB), the RILB goes in the opposite direction attacking the left guard.

The switches and stunts will cause confusion and can result in one of the inside linebackers (ILB) getting double teamed.

If the ILB gets doubled teamed, it works in favor of the Steelers because they get a one on one matchup for either James Harrison or LaMarr Woodley on the outside.

If the offense spreads their protection to better protect the edges, one of the stunting linebackers will break loose for an easy run at the quarterback up the middle.

2. Shotgun 4-wide, WR Option Route


This may not be as commonly known to the public, but it was a big reason for the Steelers victory in Super Bowl XLIII. The winning play was a variation of "Shotgun, 4 Wide F Option."

The play gives the quarterback and receivers a chance to play on the go. There is usually a designated No. 1 target on the play, but if he is covered the quarterback looks elsewhere.

The play is designed to take advantage of all types man to man, zone coverage, and aggressive blitzing defenses.

A quarterback must first use the advantage of being in the shotgun to read the linebackers. If a linebacker is going into the flat, the out route is usually a non-factor.

A wide receiver has two or three routes to run on the play and depending on coverage he picks where to go. This requires great chemistry between QB and WR.

If there is a weak spot in the zone, the receiver will cut off his route and wait for the pass. If there is an open area of the field, the receiver will redirect his route in that direction.

The reason this play was successful for the Steelers was because of Ben Roethlisberger's patience for the play to develop. He first pump faked to a short curl route over the middle, then pumped to a covered crossing pattern.

Those pump fakes brought the coverage down and allowed Santonio Holmes to cut towards the open sideline. Ben recognized the open receiver and took advantage of the out of position safety.

Touchdown Steelers. Record six Lombardi Trophies.

1. 3-4 Base, "Fire Zone" or Zone Blitz

This is the play that makes the Steelers defense so deadly. It was created by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and it is a big reason why he has a one-way ticket to Canton.

The Fire Zone does away with man coverage during blitzing situations and instead employs zone coverage.

This is a safer way to blitz.

Dick LeBeau has said, “What you’re looking to do is simulate a max blitz. So often in what you call a max blitz, if one [defender] slips or if [the offense] springs a guy somewhere, there’s no one left as a second line of defense to keep a 15-yard gain from becoming a 60-yard gain. So all you’re trying to do is affect the pressure of a blitz but keep a player who can – if something fouls up – keep the play from going more than 15 or 18 yards. That’s the concept.”

When a quarterback sees a blitzing linebacker, the first reaction is to hit quick read or "hot route."

What the Fire Zone does is take away the hot route. When the linebacker blitzes, a defensive lineman will move back into the spot vacated by the blitzing linebacker.

A quarterback doesn't anticipate someone being in that spot, so it often results in an incompletion or an interception.

If the quarterback notices the lineman dropping back, they will have to hold on to the ball longer than they want; that usually means a sack for the Steelers D.

Dick LeBeau is a genius. His mind is a big reason the Steelers have the best defense in the NFL and why they always wreak havoc on opposing offenses.
This is just one advantage for the 3-4 defense.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

Ammo for the league's D's to try to stop them.........The real plays are the ones not on paper......They are the ones that just happen cause you hustle and use your heart...........My 5 favorite plays of the season......

5. Santonio's catch and run against the Raven's in the afc championship game......Did you see the hustle Heath gave getting down field clearing the way......Heart....

4. Harrison's strip sack and fumble return for Woodley(TD) against Baltimore in the first matchup of the season.......Turned a loss into a win in seconds.....If not for a couple other plays this year this is # 1.......

3. Ben's pass to Ward in the game winning drive in Jacksonville....Ben got up all hurt and sore from landing on his hurt shoulder and kept going.......Epic warrior stuff........A guy was dragging him down as he threw a strike........Gerrard said he never saw anything like that............Then Ben lobbed that td pass in the back of the endzone for a td...........Career changing/defining game for Ben

2. Tone's catch and Ben's toss in the Bowl with seconds left...........Madden said it best....."Unbeleivable!".......You will have to wait many years to see how big of a drive and throw this was.......

1. The longest return in Superbowl history........The mauraders all were blocking with everthing they had.....There was a convoy going down that sideline...... The other team was trying to get him down with all they had.....That last little "Walter Payton style" highstepping was where Harrison dug down to the depths of his being to burst out of that tackle and make it to the endzone........The greatest inividual and collective effort I have ever seen on a football field field..........

Check out the looks on the faces on the sidelines of this pic........

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Heart Matters The Most..................

Last edited by wootawnee; 05-16-2009 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

wootawnee, Nice Picture
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

Quote:
Originally Posted by wootawnee View Post
Ammo for the league's D's to try to stop them.........The real plays are the ones not on paper......They are the ones that just happen cause you hustle and use your heart...........My 5 favorite plays of the season......

5. Santonio's catch and run against the Raven's in the afc championship game......Did you see the hustle Heath gave getting down field clearing the way......Heart....

4. Harrison's strip sack and fumble return for Woodley.......Turned a loss into a win in seconds.....If not for a couple other plays this year this is # 1.......

3. Ben's pass to Ward in the game winning drive in Jacksonville.........A guy was dragging him down as he threw a strike........Gerrard said he never saw anything like that............Then Ben lobbed that td pass in the back of the endzone for a td...........

2. Tone's catch and Ben's toss in the Bowl with seconds left...........Madden said it best....."Unbeleivable!".......You will have to wait many years to see how big of a drive and throw this was.......

1. The longest return in Superbowl history........The mauraders all were blocking with everthing they had.....There was a convoy going down that sideline...... The other team was trying to get him down with all they had.....That last little "Walter Payton style" highstepping was where Harrison dug down to the depths of his being to burst out of that tackle and make it to the endzone........The greatest inividual and collective effort I have ever seen on a football field field..........

Check out the looks on the faces on the sidelines of this pic........

Excellent post!
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

Quote:
Originally Posted by wootawnee View Post
Ammo for the league's D's to try to stop them.........The real plays are the ones not on paper......They are the ones that just happen cause you hustle and use your heart...........My 5 favorite plays of the season......

5. Santonio's catch and run against the Raven's in the afc championship game......Did you see the hustle Heath gave getting down field clearing the way......Heart....

4. Harrison's strip sack and fumble return for Woodley.......Turned a loss into a win in seconds.....If not for a couple other plays this year this is # 1.......

3. Ben's pass to Ward in the game winning drive in Jacksonville.........A guy was dragging him down as he threw a strike........Gerrard said he never saw anything like that............Then Ben lobbed that td pass in the back of the endzone for a td...........

2. Tone's catch and Ben's toss in the Bowl with seconds left...........Madden said it best....."Unbeleivable!".......You will have to wait many years to see how big of a drive and throw this was.......

1. The longest return in Superbowl history........The mauraders all were blocking with everthing they had.....There was a convoy going down that sideline...... The other team was trying to get him down with all they had.....That last little "Walter Payton style" highstepping was where Harrison dug down to the depths of his being to burst out of that tackle and make it to the endzone........The greatest inividual and collective effort I have ever seen on a football field field..........

Check out the looks on the faces on the sidelines of this pic........

How sweet it is.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

This thread brings back good ol' memories....
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

#1 play was not screwing with LeBeau's defense when Tomlin took over.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Five Plays That Led To Pittsburgh Steelers' Success

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#1 play was not screwing with LeBeau's defense when Tomlin took over.
Not only that but unleashing Lebeau.......
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