Sometimes in the game of football you just have to look across the field and tip your cap to the opponent. You do this when the opponent has called a play that works to near perfection and you can do nothing but look across the gridiron and say, “Ya got us.”
This is a situation you never want to be in but it happens to the best of us. Yesterday it happened to the Steelers when the Cleveland Browns executed an excellent play-action pass which resulted in a big gain to tight end Jordan Cameron. The following play saw the Browns score a touchdown and they never looked back.
In Picture 1 above, The Browns are in a very heavy formation with 3 tight ends a wide receiver and a running back. In the business, this is referred to as ’13’ and gives the look of a running play. Tight End Jordan Cameron is positioned above in the left TE spot with another TE flanking him as a wing.
The Steelers are in their 3-4 alignment with the outside backers directly on the line of scrimmage and cornerback William Gay (bottom) covering the wing.
In Picture 2, Brian Hoyer executes a very hard fake to his running back. This is to simulate yet another zone read running play that the Browns have used so often against the Steelers. The wide receiver at the top of the formation has one job; clear out! This is what he is doing and Cortez Allen goes right with him.
Cameron does an excellent job of looking like he is a blocker who is trying to reach a linebacker. Troy Polamalu follows him with his eyes but doesn’t move with him thinking this is still a run.
You can see the confusion the Steelers defense is dealing with in Picture 3. The tight end from the top of the formation is now dragging across while the wing (2nd TE) is running a simple out route off the line. Most of the Steelers defense is now recognizing it’s a pass but Cameron has done such a good job of hiding in the wash that he’s been lost track of.
In Picture 4, you see the wide-open Cameron with the ball headed to the end zone. Only Brett Keisel, who has sniffed out the play can catch him and he does knocking him out of bounds inside the five. Had Hoyer’s pass not been a bit under-thrown Cameron would have easily scored.
With both cornerbacks locked in man, I have to believe Cameron was Troy Polamalu’s guy to cover. If not, then Mike Mitchell should have picked him up as he came across the field.
As I said above, sometimes the opponent just calls and executes a better play and that’s what Cleveland did here. The problem however, is that someone blew an assignment in the secondary and this wasn’t the only time we saw this on Sunday.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game