When the Steelers needed a big play for a score against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, offensive coordinator Matt Canada dialed up a play that has been on the Steelers’ shelf for a while.
The Steelers ran a play action fake, with several receivers flowing to the formation’s right. Ben Roethlisberger faked the handoff to Najee Harris, then pump faked to the flat on the right side.
That caused the uncovered Baltimore blitzer to leave his feet and cornerback Anthony Averett to cheat toward slot receiver Ray-Ray McCloud in the flat.
This is a really cool breakdown of the routes run by the #Steelers WR and the pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 5, 2021
— Steelers Touchdowns (@PittsburghTDs) December 5, 2021
They probably had good reason to bite on the fakes. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, that was the first play-action pass touchdown for the Steelers and Roethlisberger since Week 11 of the 2020 season.
The result? Johnson had 10 yards of separation from his coverage, according to NGS. And a touchdown, after which Roethlisberger gave a point to the coach’s booth and Canada.
“I just told Matt great call,” Roethlisberger said. “I was giving him props.”