Note:The idea for these Breakdowns come from a Michigan blog called mgoblog.com.Brian Cook is the founder of that site and if you want to find where all good things on the internet come from you should check out his site.He’s got the football acumen of Belichick and the writing chops of David Foster Wallace-adjace.You can’t ask for a better combo than that so check it out.Unless youre a buckeye, in which case you should check out Ross Fulton at rivals.com by clicking here.He has got some great Xs and Os but like Ohio State recruits, you gotta pay for it (take that!)
We tried a few different looks versus Dallas’ 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel, first we tried a 2-4-5 look:
Smith blows a zone coverage, Dez gets an eighteen yard gain. So we scratched that and tried a 3-3-5 look:
They hit Dez for a 17 yard gain–this was more a function of a poor pass rush–so we scratched that formation and stuck with our ol’ reliable Nickel defense. We stayed in Nickel for 39% of all snaps. (I didn’t chart 4 plays because they were run-out-the-clock runs prior to half and end of the game.)
Any formation that had 2 backs or 2+ tight ends we responded with our 3-4 front which puts 5 guys on the line of scrimmage:
Personnel was same as last week except Reyes didn’t play so Francois and Jenkins got a lot of snaps. DHall played a ton of strong safety and matched up on-one-on with the tight end where as last week he was more of a free safety playing deep coverage.
“[Zeke] had a few big breaks” I think the drive that is annoying Francois is the 5th one which was the 1st drive of the 2nd half. Throughout the 1st half the Cowboys ran it outside with zone and we slanted our line to get into the backfield and stop it. Here they come out in 12 (1 RB, 2TE) personnel which means we come out in our 5 man line 3-4. They run it at Francois and Smith, Francois penetrates and blows up the play:
Note: I stopped charting after the 8th drive because…reasons.
Pitt came out in 11 personnel (1RB, 1TE) and we matched up with our Nickel defense:
That yellow line is where the Steelers tried to run the ball. You see Baker labeled as “3-tech” which means he is lined up on the outside shoulder of the Guard (i.e. in between the Guard and Tackle), the Steelers ran away from the 3-tech and into that space/bubble almost the entire game. I charted runs AWAY from the 3 tech and runs TOWARD the 3 tech and got:
AWAY: 16 carries for 81 yards (5.1 ypc)
TOWARD: 6 carries for 31 yards (5.1 ypc)
They didn’t attempt a single run to the 3 tech side until the 2nd quarter. Coming into the game it looks like they wanted to run away from Baker and toward any combination of Reyes, Hood and Golston. The yards per carry were the same to both sides but that’s a little misleading. There was one big gain on a run toward the 3 tech that was a function of our line slanting away from the direction the RB was running:
That’s just the perfect play call from the offense. They pulled the guard and down blocked on our slanting line. Outside of this play the Steelers could only manage 3 ypc when running toward the 3 tech–which was usually Baker before we started shuffling guys around.
We stayed in Nickel and Dime until the 3rd drive. Pitt starting deploying 2 and 3 TEs and we responded with our 3-4:
DHall is off screen as the Free safety where he played the majority of his snaps. Strong Safety was manned by Bruton (top of the frame, yellow shoes.) He spent most of his time lined up over the tight ends and we brought him down into the box more frequently in the 2nd half. Compton and Foster started at LB. Compton went the whole way, Foster was subbed out for Cravens on 3rd downs.
Cornerbacks were Norman and Breeland with Dashaun Phillips coming in as our Nickel corner. Cravens is the Dime package substitution but plays with linebacker responsibilities. I wasn’t sure how to classify those formations so I just called them “Cravens Dime.”