Last week Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, spoke to the media stating that he felt comfortable with Pittsburgh going for two points after every touchdown this season.
Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin was the primary advocate that pushed for a rule change in the NFL that allowed for extra points to be moved back to the fifteen yard line to encourage more teams to take chances at two point conversions. Pittsburgh took that chance to attempt the most two point conversions in the 2015-2016 NFL season. They also converted the most with eight, and had the highest success rate of any team that attempted more than one two point conversion during the season.
All of that success however came from the arm of Ben Roethlisberger. Sometimes teams might rely on their offensive line and a running game to pound for two yards on a two point conversion, but the Steelers relied upon Roethlisberger each time and it proved to have a high success rate.
We analyze Pittsburgh's attack plan, why it was so successful and why it can continue to be that way in 2016.
Using Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is the best receiver in the game and even in short spaces can embarrass defensive backs. His explosion off the line mixed with sharp route running make him an ultimate threat on the field. Whether at split-end or in the slot he finds ways to get open for Roethlisberger to have an open target to hit in the end zone and complete two point conversions.
Spread offense makes for problems everywhere
Brown usually attracts an opponent's top cornerback to try and keep him from taking over a game, which gives opportunities to other receivers, like Markus Wheaton. Wheaton sets up his man by stunting outside and cutting back inside where Heath Miller has moved away from to give Roethlisberger a large window to complete the pass and convert the play.
Spreading the field puts a team on edge and forces a defense to play tighter coverage, a situation that can lead to more mistakes as players are left on islands to play lock-down defense. With threats in Brown, Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and hopefully a developing Sammie Coates, the wide receivers all present problems.
Not just slants and single moves
Make no mistake, quick routes and instant passes are not the only options for Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense. Here Brown stutter steps inside and then works all the way to the back of the end zone and presents an open target in the end zone. The headaches the receivers cause force a defense to either get to Roethlisberger in the pocket or play tight coverage against one of the most slick receiver groups in the NFL.
More targets on the next edition
This edition of the study of Pittsburgh's two point conversions through their wide receivers, but last year showed that Roethlisberger knows how to use all of his weapons on the field. The next article in this series will cover the various ways Todd Haley and Roethlisberger can disguise their targets with the many different talents that Pittsburgh has on the roster.