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Steelers Film Room: The big plays that slowed down the Steelers offense

The Pittsburgh Steelers put up 30 points on the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, but there were a handful of plays which slowed down the high-profile offensive unit.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

When a team scores 30 points, more often than not that is enough to win the football game, but as the Pittsburgh Steelers found out in Week 12, it wasn't enough. Despite the 30 points put on the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom", there were still plenty of plays left on the field by the prolific Steelers offense.

In this BTSC Film Room session we take a look at three plays which either took points off the board, or were turning points in the back-and-forth inter-conference game against Seattle.

First Play:

It is difficult watching this play on a loop, based on the fact the timing, personnel and construction of the play were all so very poor, but coaching decisions aside, the execution of the play was also horrible. After the Steelers shifted out of their field goal formation, Chris Boswell lined up as a pseudo full back, and pass patterns were run by Alejandro Villanueva, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.

What isn't noticed on the above GIF is Landry Jones sent Heath Miller in motion from left to right, and the Seattle defense passed him off. This is an extremely common practice for a quarterback to see if a defense is in a man or zone scheme. When the defender didn't follow Miller, Jones immediately should have known a defender was staying on that side of the field.

Since there was no element of surprise at this point, it becomes almost a standard offensive play with Jones at the helm. Jones knows his read, and it is to roll right and throw back across the field. What you hope from a three year NFL quarterback is the awareness to throw the football to where only his player can catch it, or it falls incomplete. Jones under throws the pass and it is intercepted and returned over 50-yards into Pittsburgh territory. The mistake eventually lead to Doug Baldwin's first touchdown of the game. A 10-point swing as the Steelers were in field goal range when the blunder occurred.

Second Play:

Ben Roethlisberger has a strong arm, but he also has ridiculously fast wide receivers. Roethlisberger has under thrown his share of receivers this season, but mainly Martavis Bryant. This trend dates back to Mike Wallace's days with Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger constantly having to throw the football further than he thought he would need to allow his receiver to run underneath the pass.

On this play the pocket getting cluttered forces Roethlisberger to have to side step before stepping into his throw. Watch Roethlisberger's footwork on the play. No one in the NFL is better at manipulating a pocket than Roethlisberger, but he is never able to get his 6-foot 4-inch 240-pound frame into the throw, and the result is an under thrown ball which turns into a jump ball for Bryant. Bryant has the size advantage, but is unable to come down with the ball.

Bryant has had this share of drops, but with a better throw this isn't even a contested pass as Bryant would have had the chance to  haul in the reception in the end zone.

Third Play:

Turnovers were huge against Seattle, and all were warranted, except the above interception. Richard Sherman did a masterful job against Antonio Brown, but there were also some plays where the Pro Bowl cornerback got away with some things at Brown's expense. As you can see on the GIF, Sherman is well beyond the 5-yard bump zone when he puts two hands on Brown causing him to lose his balance.

Not to cry over spilled milk, but this should have at least been an illegal contact penalty against the Seahawks and Sherman. There is no flag, which results in an easy Sherman interception, and equated into another Seahawks touchdown. Plays like this happen every game in the NFL, but with a marquee matchup like Sherman vs. Brown, it was a surprising non-call.


It is hard to believe the Steelers offense left so many plays, and points, on the field and still managed to score 30. This offense is the most dynamic offense Pittsburgh has had in the Roethlisberger era, without a doubt, but if this team is going to make it to the postseason and do some damage they will need to clean up the details of their offense to do just that.

The one-game season begins Sunday night when the Indianapolis Colts come to Heinz Field for a huge AFC showdown.