The Slant That Beat the New York Giants
At the New York Times, I broke down the 51-yard Mike Wallace touchdown against the New York Giants.
Down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers needed a spark on offense. Facing a critical third-and-5 at their 49-yard line, the Steelers called for “11” personnel — one running back, one tight end, and three receivers — and lined up in a Shotgun Tight End Trips formation. Wide receiver Mike Wallace, held to two receptions for 15 yards to that point, was isolated to the boundary against Giants cornerback Corey Webster.
The Giants originally lined up with four down linemen and seven men in the box, but they rolled safety Stevie Brown down to the line before the snap. As Brown snuck toward the line, safety Antrel Rolle simultaneously trickled over to the deep middle of the field. Combined with both outside cornerbacks playing in a press position, the Giants showed the traits of Cover 1: one deep safety and man coverage underneath.
The Giants were indeed in Cover 1, rushing six defenders on the play (marked above). They did a good job of disguising the look, dropping linebacker Michael Boley into coverage and rushing linebacker Mark Herzlich. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a difficult read for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger; anticipating blitz, he threw hot to Wallace on a slant.
Check out the entire analysis.