Steelers Power Play of the Week -- Cameron Heyward Earns His Varsity Letter

Had this new series of posts started earlier in the week, we might have taken a look at Jonathan Dwyer's 76 yard run or Hines Ward's second of two touchdowns on the day during the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-17 win over the Tennessee Titans. As is, those plays (and others) have already been discussed and/or broken down with pictures already. So for this week's 'Power Play of the Week', I'm instead highlighting the second of two big plays made by rookie defensive end Cameron Heyward.

You might be thinking that we're about to look at his strip sack of Matt Hasselbeck that the Titans were fortunate to recover. We very well could have. That was an impressive play too and actually the first sack of Heyward's NFL career.  However, I'm fastforwarding just a few short plays later to what should have been his second sack of the series had Hasselbeck not dumped the ball into the ground timidly and illegally.

Let's take a look:

Score: 31-17 Pittsburgh

Down and Distance: 2nd and Goal from the Pittsburgh 9

Time: 3:47 4th quarter

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Heyward's got good leverage in this opening frame. He's squaring off against Pro Bowler and All Pro left tackle Michael Roos. Compared to David Stewart at right tackle, who's got complete command of LaMarr Woodley, Roos is a bit upright here thanks to the quick first step off the ball and low center of gravity that Heyward is engaging Roos with. If Heyward had tried to beat him on the outside though, he probably would have gotten redirected too far outside and not gotten too Matt Hasselbeck before the ball came out. 

Heyward, as I mentioned, has Roos in a slightly compromised spot though. He's too upright and vulnerable.

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It's hard to see at this resolution, but Heyward has successfully freed his hands from Roos. He's got Roos off balance from a powerful push and is able to redirect his line to the quarterback before Roos can square him back up.

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And he's got him. Not that it was a foregone conclusion. Heyward was closing in on Hasselbeck from a different angle than the one he's got him wrapped up with here. From this angle, it almost looks as if Heyward had been coming from Hasselbeck's blind side. Nope, instead Heyward was able to just keep his balance and redirect his weight enough so that he could get a good grip on him. From there it was over for Hasselbeck and he surrendered with an illegal grounding before Heyward could wrestle him down for his second sack of the series.

Great stuff from the young rookie out of Ohio State! Welcome to the big leagues!

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