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Steelers Film Room: Previewing the Colts TY Hilton and Matt Hasselbeck

The Steelers go up against the Indianapolis Colts without their Andrew Luck, but that does not mean their offense is not a threat.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It is funny coincidence that one week after the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Seattle Seahawks for the first time in more than a decade, that former Seahawks quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, who lost to the Steelers ten years ago in Super Bowl XL, gets his own chance at redemption on Sunday night.

Andrew Luck put up big numbers against the Steelers last season in a loss at Heinz Field, but his struggles and injuries in 2015 have forced a regression from his impressive production. In his stead, Hasselbeck has stepped up and kept the Indianapolis Colts in first place of the AFC south.

Hasselbeck is not doing what Luck was doing the past two seasons, but he is still a competent quarterback that can get the ball to the Colts' playmakers. We take a look at his primary threat, T.Y. Hilton.

First Play:

This is a simple route combination that has Hilton go under Andre Johnson's route, but it's effective if nobody can run with him, mess up the timing, or put pressure on Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck will not be anywhere near the mobile threat that Russell Wilson was for the Seahawks last week, so less efforts to contain a running threat will be needed and the Steelers will have to get after Hasselbeck to move him from his launch spots.

Second Play:

We talked about the secondary's ineptitude against Seattle in a previous film room this week and how basic fundamental breakdowns led to big plays for Seattle. This week the same will happen if mistakes like what happen on this play occur. Pittsburgh was victimized by receivers like Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin because they did not use their hands early and often enough to disrupt timing on their routes. T.Y. Hilton is a receiver that if you make the same kind of mistakes against, he will take full advantage of those mistakes and put up big numbers. Here, we see him get behind the secondary for a ball in the endzone. But we also need to look at his quick routes as well.

Third Play:

Hilton gets a free release on this play as well, pulling in a routine out route from Hasselbeck for a touchdown. Indianapolis is going to use several quick drops for Hasselbeck to get the ball to his playmakers, especially Hilton. No amount of pressure can prevent this if the secondary cannot first make it difficult for Hilton to get loose and complete his routes. It will not matter how old Hasselbeck is if he gets opportunities like these to make standard throws.


The secondary has had several flip-flop performances this season, destitute of solid play one week and playing above expectations the next. This week would be a nice time for this to happen again, no matter who starts in the defensive backfield. Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell will be tested with covering Hilton, hopefully the results are not the same as last week.