PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have not blitzed all that much this season, even after the loss of star pass rusher T.J. Watt. But defensive coordinator Teryl Austin dialed up a blitz on the Buffalo Bills from inside their own two-yard line. Not only did a sack not happen on the play, but Austin fired it down the field to Gabe Davis for a 98-yard touchdown that would set in motion the rest of the game from there.
On Thursday, Austin was specifically asked about that play call, and how it will affect his confidence to call blitzes in the future. However, he vowed to not stop blitzing just because of one bad play out of so many. Against Tom Brady, those blitzes could very well be coming.
“I think we’re always going to try to do what we think is best to give ourselves the best chance to stop people,” Austin said,. “Obviously, it didn’t work out there, but I don’t think you ever get gun shy if you have confidence in the guys and doing some things. We didn’t get it right that time, but I have confidence that more often than not, we’ll get it right.”
As for what happened on the play, Austin did not call it a traditional coverage bust. Rather, it was a play where they were in the vicinity of the play and on their assignments, but they failed to execute their assignments to the correct plan. On the play, Tre Norwood plays the angle too low and fails to get the inside help that Levi Wallace was expecting to have.
“We were in the right neighborhood; we just didn’t get it done,” Austin said. “So, that’s why I said I have confidence that we’ll get it done, but I don’t think it was a case of – I worry if there’s a case of somebody just not even in the area, not even covering the guy. Then I worry about things, if I’m doing them right, if we’re getting it taught to them right.”
Now, with Brady up on the schedule, creating the pressure, even with blitzes, could remain an issue. Brady’s steadiness and ability to hit his hot read might be the best in the NFL. Austin is expecting it to be a challenge to even get pressure on Brady given his style of play.
“He doesn’t sit there and hold it and sit there and pat and look around all the time and take all the time to find guys,” Austin said. “He knows where he wants to go with the ball, and he gets it out of his hand. So, it’s going to be a challenge to get after him, but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right things in terms of our rush and our rush plan.”
The Steelers have struggled to create consistent pressure with Watt in the lineup, and that could very well continue when the Buccaneers come to town. Either way, Austin is not going to stop dialing up blitzes jut because he has been burned before.