One of our favorite activities on BTSC is to gripe about Bruce Arians playcalling. I will be the first to admit that I have participated in this activity more than I should. However, a lot of times we are just picking out the bad apples and emphasizing those. We tend to overlook the good plays and just claim, "well that play was made by Ben." It is what it is (haha), but the biggest BA haters have to admit that he called a great game against the Oakland Raiders. Not good, but great!
There was one play in particular that stuck out to me for more reasons than one. That play was t he screen pass to Isaac Redman late in the fourth quarter. Maybe it was pouring salt into an open wound scoring that late, but when you take a cheap shot on our QB be prepared for the worst. Anyway, screen passes are something I never thought BA designed well or used effectively. This one in particular was perfectly designed and executed. Let's break the play down by screen caps after the jump
At the 16 yard mark the formation starts with a 6 man line with Matt Spaeth unbalanced off to the right side. Heath Miller comes in motion and sets up just outside of Jonathan Scott to make a 7 man line. Isaac Redman is set up in an "I" behind Ben, who is directly under center, with David Johnson in a side cart to the left. Not pictured is Hines Ward who is out wide on the left side. If you look hard enough you can see a halo around St. Redman.
Off the snap each of the OL and Spaeth seal their defender off to the right side. Everyone is in one on one with Kemo giving support to Legursky and J. Scott forming a 3 man wall. David Johnson takes off to seal the outside and Heath starts up field to get to the nearest defender and create a lane between him and Johnson. It appears that Redman is playing blitz pick-up and is going to pick up the overload from the left. Not pictured: Hines runs a deep route that takes him and his CB into the end zone. Additionally, his route keeps the safety from cheating toward the play. Great design.
Redman bumps the blitzing defender, which is enough to prevent him from disrupting Ben's pass. As he bumps him Ben tosses the ball towards his inside shoulder. At this point the Steelers have scored a touchdown here. Jonathan Scott jumps off the three man wall to help Heath seal off the inside of the lane and block the remaining LB. Johnson's defender thinks it is a screen to him so he sprints out wide, only to be sealed off to the real screen by him.
Unbelievable! Look at that space. Johnson's defender is just beginning to realize he got fooled, but it is too late. Redman catches and turns and sees 0 Raiders defenders in front him. Take a look at Heath Miller taking on two blocks. Sealing out the DB who chased his route and moving on to keep the Safety from getting Redman before the endzone. Not pictured: Ward is sealing out his defender to the outside.
From there, Redman nearly gets into the endzone untouched. Heath keeps the safety and CB from closing in on the gap. J. Scott seals out the LB. Johnson seals out his LB. Ward seals out his DB. Redman does the rest. What made that all possible? A beautifully designed screen by Bruce Arians.