The Steelers’ offense found a bit of spark on Sunday with the aid of the running game contributing in a big way to the Steelers’ 27-19 win over the Broncos.
However, Chase Claypool and Ben Roethlisberger also found themselves cooking, as Claypool went over 100 yards on the day with a touchdown. The two big plays, Claypool’s touchdown and a 59-yard rip on a slant route were impressive in their own right. However, both were a result of Roethlisberger and Claypool’s chemistry, and Matt Canada’s ingenuity in getting them into the right spots.
On the slant route, the Steelers were in 12 personnel, which forced the Broncos to match with their 3-4 base defense. By motioning Claypool across the formation, the Steelers put Von Miller on Claypool and took Miller out of the play as a pass rusher. For Roethlisberger, reading what the defense was doing pre-snap was what allowed him to adjust his reads and hit Claypool for a big gain.
“That actual play was designed to go to Naj[ee Harris] on a linebacker,” Roethlisberger said. “That was kind of the first read. They rotated a corner down at the last minute, kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye, and took me off of that because the whole time I was just watching. I didn’t realize Von [Miller] was on him at first. So the whole time I was watching who was gonna guard Najee, who had him, and inside leverage, outside leverage, was the safety coming? So I was over there the whole time, and once they rolled to the Cover 2 on that side, it brought my eyes right back over. Chase is the first read on that side. Just so happy to give him the ball in space and he’s going to make something happen.”
The bigger play was this touchdown that put the Steelers in a commanding lead. It was a play that Claypool says was drawn up by Matt Canada, and he called it at the right time to allow the Steelers to get a much-needed touchdown in the third quarter.
“We repped that throughout the season and all through camp,” Claypool said. “It’s actually a new play that Coach Canada put in. You know, we moved a couple of people around and put them in the right spots. I knew Ben was coming to me and Ben knew he was coming to me. So, I just had to go make a play.”
For Roethlisberger, he identified the Cover 2 shell and knew if he could look off the field safety, that there would be an opening there. One he did just that, Roethlisberger was able to diagnose the play and make it happen.
“Yeah, Coach came up with a heck of a play call,” Roethlisberger said. “We had something set up, we put Chase on the inside. It was actually a double move outside to Diontae [Johnson] and they kind of slacked off him. There were two high safeties and I knew Chase was going down the middle, so the best thing I could do is try and keep the safety left for as long as I could and just try and deliver it close to where he could make a play. He did the rest. The line gave me great time.”
The Steelers certainly will want the performance they put out on Sunday to be replicated in the coming future weeks. Any connections between Claypool and Roethlisberger in the future would be a massive boon to that.