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Steelers Film Room: Game changing third down plays in the Steelers win vs. the Colts

In the latest BTSC Steelers Film Room we take a look at how the Steelers overtook the Colts on Sunday Night Football.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

As is customary for this BTSC Film Room article, we take a look back at some game-changing plays in the Pittsburgh Steelers most recent victory.  Today we will focus on the Steelers tremendous offensive success on third down, two red-zone plays and a bomb from Ben Roethlisberger to Martavis Bryant which were ultimately the difference in the contest with the Indianapolis Colts.

First Play:

Want to see a play which is impossible to defend? Watch what Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown do on this play. On 3rd and 2, this is straight up timing between these two Pro Bowl players. Brown doesn't have to do anything fancy, just push his defender off the line of scrimmage and turn back to the ball which is already halfway to him by the time his head snaps around.

Notice there is no help over top of Brown. Roethlisberger knows the defensive back will have to give him a cushion, and is why Roethlisberger never takes his eyes of No. 84. An easy pitch and catch by the best QB/WR duo in the NFL.

Second Play:

This play might look similar, but can only be categorized as an amazing throw by Roethlisberger. Another red-zone third down play, Roethlisberger sees Markus Wheaton in single coverage on the outsdie. Wheaton knows he has to do what Brown did on the previous play, push his man North and come back to the football. Want to see timing between a QB and WR? Take a look at where Wheaton is when Roethlisberger lets the ball go. Wheaton hadn't even come out of his break yet and the ball is already being delivered.

You can't stress enough how good of a throw this is from Roethlisberger. The defender has pretty good coverage on the play, and he puts it in a position where only Wheaton can make the catch. Kudos to Wheaton for getting to his knees in bounds and holding onto the football, but the throw was what made this play.

Third Play:

Another third down play, and another big play by the Steelers. Many bemoan the team's strategy to take shots downfield on third and short, but this is why they do. It can equate to a big play. Watch the highlighted safety in the GIF. He sees Roethlisberger roll to his right and thinks he is going to Brown in the flat. He tries to jump the route and Martavis Bryant is already a step and a half beyond his defender. Looks so easy, but a great ready and play design turned this play into the back-breaker for the Colts early in the third quarter.


These plays are a great example of what makes the Steelers passing attack so lethal. When you think you have the playmakers bottled up, a great read or play design blows the doors off. This team plays aggressive, which is no surprise when Mike Tomlin might be the most aggressive coach in the NFL; however, if they can duplicate this 3rd down success, especially in the red-zone, against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14 there will certainly be points put up on the board.