Inside Zonin’: In the fourth drive Dallas lined up in 13 personnel (1 OL moonlighting as a TE) with a bunch of big uglies to the left of the center and just two guys to the right. They ran it inside and destroyed our nose tackle with a double:
Both Hood and Baker got doubled with Hood getting discarded out the way. One Dallas blocker from each double team was able to climb up to the 2nd level and double Foster. On coaches film you can see our pre-snap alignment had Foster (54) lined up in between Hood and Baker:
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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.”
So you know that play where Will Compton sacked the quarterback and then immediately followed up with an awkward DABZ? No? Well no worries because I’ll walk you through how we got to the thing that should’ve died 6 months ago. The sack that spawned Quavo Compton happened on the 2nd drive but it’s origins are connected to an earlier play:
The formation is a 3 x 1 set with a tight end lined up tight next to the offensive tackle. The WR from the trips (3 receiver) side will go in motion. The center and guard are going to flow left like the play is an outside zone running play. The RB will also sell it as an outside zone running play by running parallel to the line of scrimmage as he fakes getting the handoff:
So things happened man. One of those things was zone running. The Bears were zoning inside and outside runs all day long and with the exception of 1 drive that came after the Cousins INT, the Skins were ready for it and stopped it:
At the line: Baker and Kerrigan are slanting. This does two things: