I wonder if it's my selective memory, but it seems to me that the Steelers have been calling numerous Le'Veon Bell wheel routes and Manny Sanders fades on of all downs, 3rd and medium, with an abysmal success rate.
There were several consecutive Bell wheel routes in the first game against the Ravens, supposedly to take advantage of a slow LB man-to-man. Even though Bell, for all his heart and patient methodical running, is no speedster.
Then there are the same down and distance fades to Sanders, who is reasonably fast but not exactly adept at shielding the CB away from the ball. Anyway quickly thrown (3rd&6 = quick pressure) fades are just extremely hard to hit, and same goes for wheel routes, which need some time to develop.
I am no Haley hater, I don't hate the bubble screens and I'm even warming up to the "Ben sidestep - very slow handoff " play now that the starting RB has good vision and poise. But this particular call has been baffling me for a while. The Steelers offense seems to perform much better in horizontal-breaking routes and variety is all well and good, but 3rd down are critical and we aren't converting enough of them.
Can you tell me if you've seen the same things as me, and if you can defend this playcalling?
When you are done, explain also how the huge CB cushions on 3rd and 8 fit in LeBeau's scheme.