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How Play-Action Is Supposed To Work Part 1

Wasn't it incredible to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers offense execute play action to perfection this past Sunday? It hasn't happened much this season. It rarely does for teams ranked in the bottom 1/3 rushing the football. Against the Chargers though, we ran it early and often. And not just like two times here, two times there. The Steelers had multiple occassions in which they ran it 4-6 times in a row. That's something we haven't seen all year.

The pay off for that committment to the run was the ability to make play action work for Ben Roethlisberger and his receiving targets. Let's take a look at a couple of the plays:



Above, you can see that there are 4 SD enders who have their eyes on either the Steelers backfield or the lone Steelers WR on the leftside. That's four guys with their eyes off of where the play is about the develop. That only happens when Chargers players highlighted #1 and #2 have to respect the threat of the running game.


Here you see Heath locked up with a SD player but because those LBs in the other frame did not begin fixated on what Ben and his WRs/TEs were going to be doing in the play.


When Heath lets his man slip off of him as Ben continued to run up to the goal line, the Titans defender more than took the bait, eager to get a hit on Roeth. Voila. Heath's open with a slew of Chargers defenders chasing Steelers WRs deep in the endzone. Miller, who we all know is not shy of contact, rumbled in for the score as they tried to stop him short of the goal line.

Not to be. 21-10 Steelers. Great execution!  We'll need some of this on Sunday against Baltimore and I truly believe we'll get it as well. It must start with a true commitment to the run though like we saw last Sunday. None of the 1 or 2 runs in between 3 or 4 passes though. And of course we'll need more great play from the line. We can do it though and when it's done to perfection, there's nothing quite as fun to watch in football.