All 22: Makin it Rain
Steelers hold an 11 pt lead with time winding down in Q3. Its 3rd & 3 from the +21 yard line. This is the play that sets up the TD that puts the game out of reach with a 19 yard run from RB Chris Rainey down to the 2 yard line.
We see the Steelers come out with a tight 3X1 bunch set showing strength to the right side of the offense in shotgun formation. By design, the RB (Chris Rainey) is offset to the QB's left which allows him quicker path to the short corner of unprotected blind side in pass pro. Its a definite passing formation and the 2 pt stance of the offensive line would indicate the same. At the bottom of the screen, WR Antonio Brown is split on the numbers in isolation coverage leaving himself enough room for a two-way go for any in or out breaking route. At the top, the key is Heath Miller in front of the bunch set on the line of scrimmage.
The Redskins counter with a nickel package and both LB's on the line of scrimmage showing blitz. Film study from last week showed us the Bengal LB's getting insufficient depth in their drops from playing too close to line of scrimmage. At the bottom of the screen, we see off man coverage with no safety help. A matchup most QB's would love to exploit. Over the bunch set, we see 3 defenders in a triangle formation indicating man coverage, 3 on 3. As the bunch became more prevalent in the NFL, teams usually counter with 4 over 3 against bunch sets in a diamond shaped zone with each defender manning up on any receiver that breaks his way.
The pre-snap read
Looks like Washington is showing all out blitz with over load to weak side in attempt to isolate 180 lb RB Chris Rainey on blitzing DB. Looks like obvious mismatch with 7 rushers vs 6 blockers. The obvious hot read on pass play would be the quick slant to X-WR Antonio Brown at the bottom of the screen. The bait is all the open grass in the middle of the defense, but that will quickly change.
On the snap, the play quickly unfolds and the disguised defense declares it's intentions. We immediately see safety #32 Jordan Pugh drop off his blitz look into the slant lane underneath Antonio Brown. #59 LB London Fletcher immediately drops as the 4th defender in the diamond zone over bunch set as the curl defender. WILB #56 Perry Riley doesn't blitz either indicating his assignmet is man coverage on RB Chris Rainey. At this point, before the play even begins, we have London Fletcher, Jordan Pugh, and #41 SS Madieu Williams not looking into the backfield with their eyes focused on the dynamic receiving threats of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We now see the Redskins are really only rushing 4 with 7 defenders in coverage and now on their heels not in position to make a play in the run game.
BUT WAIT !!! Direct snap to RB Chris Rainey and a sweep to the right side of the formation behind the bunch set. QB Ben Roethlisberger sells the fake perfectly acting as if the snap goes over his head. Heath Miller gets the perfect seal block coming down on OLB Ryan Kerrigan walling off the rest of the defensive line. And now you have speedster Chris Rainey in space behind 2 pulling road graders in Maurkice Pouncey and RT Mike Adams. This type of athleticism shows why Pouncey is bar none the best OC in football and the athleticism of these 2 mammoths is exactly what has been missing from the Steeler run and screen game for a long time.
At this point, the play begins to really set up. We see speedster Chris Rainey with the football with 4 blockers in front of him, and a wall of blockers reminiscent of a wall on a well executed punt return sealing the interior front 7 defenders from clogging his running lane allowing him to use his speed to get to the outside.
This is where the dynamic vision of the RB comes into play. Reads his blocks perfectly staying right on the numbers of center Maurkice Pouncey as he and Mike Adams begin to blow this hole wide open. Thats veteran like patience by Rainey to run behind his eyes and wait for the play to come to him. The execution on this play was flawless. As indicated by the outstanding and willing blocks thrown downfield by Mike Wallace and Emmanual Sanders, who criss-crossed inside out on the snap to get in position to make a block. And in the NFL, no run becomes a long run without receivers blocking downfield.
Now wee the see the burst of Chris Rainey to accelerate through the hole. The blocks are set up. Miller with the seal, Wallace and Sanders with the downfield blocks on the DB's, and the 700 lb convoy of Mike Adams and Maurkice Pouncey clearing the way.
This play was well blocked, but don't fool yourself. Good RB's find and create their own holes at times too. They do this by utilizing speed, quickness, elusiveness, and the ability to get skinny through a crease. All skills that are possessed by Rainey and lacking in some other Steeler RB's at this point in time.
As my man Merrill says, THE FACTORBACK !!!! The stiff arm, the toughness, the desire to get in the end zone. Way to finish this run young man.
I wasn't a fan at first, I thought he was too small, but now I'm sold. This is just the start of something special with Chris Rainey.