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Steelers Film Room: Timely plays lead to a win in Jacksonville

Inconsistency has been the hallmark of the Steelers' defense this year. Consistency has been the hallmark of Heath Miller's entire career. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miller maintained his normal standards of excellence, while the defense put together its best two consecutive halves of football.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have been able to find Heath Miller wide open in the seam on multiple occasions this year. It's almost startling in its consistency. Rarely do you see a pass play this wide open game after game. With this play, however, you see the value of having one of the last, true, dual-threat tight ends in the NFL.

This formation puts the defense into a huge bind. The Steelers can threaten the defense with the run game because of the blocking ability of both Miller and Matt Spaeth. Moreover, because of both tight ends, the defense has to defend eight gaps.

The second part is the ability of Antonio Brown to threaten a defense deep. The combination of linebackers playing at five yards behind the line of scrimmage and safeties playing at 25 yards deep leaves huge holes in the seam, especially for a tight end. This is due to the fact that a slot-receiver can be jammed and re-routed by a cornerback. But a linebacker can't do this, so Miller can get into the seam quickly.

Besides the pick-six by Brice McCain, this was the biggest play for the Steelers defense. After this play, Jacksonville never got the ball back.

This is simply a case of a young quarterback not setting the protection with his reads. In the NFL, the QB has to be able to set and change protections. This play is great example why.  It takes awhile for young quarterbacks to be able to coordinate all of this. Until they can do so on a consistent basis, plays like this will happen.

The final play was also much discussed last week. Steelers Film Room was also talking about the play last year.

The interesting thing about this play is Ben Roethlisberger has a pre-snap read and he also has a read while the play is running. Ben can pull the ball out of the running back's stomach if he sees either the linebacker or the safety over-committing to the run. This diagram of the play illustrates the concept well:

package plays

If Ben reads the defense correctly, the offense cannot be wrong. Granted, the offense still must win some one-on-one battles to make the play work. But you're putting the offense in the best position to succeed. Against Tampa Bay two weeks ago, the Buccaneers came out in cover 0, meaning they were able to keep six defenders in the box and cover the five eligible receivers. In that situation, the Steelers' offensive linemen have to win, or the Steelers could go to Antonio Brown because he's single-covered (and this is what I'd like to see the Steelers do if they're in that situation again).

With the attention being paid to Heath Miller and Antonio Brown, look for Markus Wheaton to begin, hopefully, to make more big plays in the passing game.