After an uneventful start to the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense finally showed some signs of life in their win against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football. There were certainly some steps taken in the right direction, and they may have found even stumbled onto some answers for the future. When the Steelers ended 2022 on a hot streak, winning seven of their final nine games, the rushing attack was the primary driving force offensively. For multiple different reasons, that philosophy hasn’t yet yielded admirable results thus far.
The Steelers invested a third-round pick on Darnell Washington, with hopes to incorporate him into the fold quickly by running more 12 and 13-personnel groupings featuring more tight ends. So far this season, the offense has struggled mightily when trying to run out of heavy personnel. That’s not strictly an indictment on Washington, who has had his ups and downs like any rookie, but more so the unit as a whole not working together in a cohesive manner.
In the first few weeks of the season, the Steelers offense has been rolling out more gap concepts, specifically one named duo. This concept has been around for ages. In the most simplistic form, the offensive line is aiming to get as many double teams as they can up front to create vertical displacement of the defensive lineman. The running back will run to the side of the tight end(s), reading the mike linebacker’s intentions on where to hit the hole.
In recent seasons, we’ve started to see a slight twist to duo, what some refer to as duo bounce. The idea here is the play side tight ends will down block while the tailback bounces the ball outside to create a one-on-one matchup with the cornerback in run support. Teams are always scheming ways to make those defenders tackle because quite frankly, most of them are not very good at it. This is something that the Steelers have put on film throughout the preseason with success before it bled into the regular season game plan.
— James Light (@JamesALight) July 27, 2021
But the Raiders were ready.