On a gorgeous Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, it was a perfect 54 degrees with seven MPH winds out of the South-West with a “clear & cool” forecast for the afternoon. What we call “football weather.” Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys team (blockers) delivered an 83 yard, misdirection picket fence screen pass for six points that checked every box you can list under “Big Play.” It was huge.
Ed Note: This is an updated version made “with” a YouTube video (see below), the original was posted Nov 14, 2016
Spoiler alert – the Dallas Cowboys won the game 35-30. Though almost equal in total yards (Dal 422 Pit 448) and time-of-possession (Dal 30:24 Pit 29:36) the visiting Cowboys ended up with only 20 first downs on the day compared to the Steelers whopping 30. That’s a pretty large disparity. However, you don’t need as many plays to drop 35 points on a club when you get big plays. Splash plays. Play-of-the-year plays. Sports Center plays. Tell-your-grandkids-you-saw-it-live plays.
Any play has several components. As we do here on the chalkboard, let’s break down the different aspects of this play and demonstrate them visually.
Elements of a Successful Misdirection Screen
- Skilled QB who can handle the ball
- A diversion to fake the initial pass and force defenders to take a false step
- Agile lineman who can block in space
- A WR corps who are willing blockers
- A patient RB with vision and burst
- A passing or blitzing situation in the game
83 yd Picket Fence Screen Pass TD Breakdown
This play is best looked at in segments. Without further ado:
2nd and 18 yards to go with the score Dal 3 Pit 12 – :27 seconds on the clock in the first quarter. Steelers in a 3-4 base defense with 5 guys on the line showing blitz. Key blockers identified in blue. Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Terrance Williams.
Key Blocks 1
Key Blocks 2
Key Blocks 3
Key Blocks 4
Elliott lengthens his stride and Terrance Williams makes a move that illustrates the entire play perfectly. He sees his guy hit the turf THEN HE TURNS UP-FIELD looking for another guy to hit. He finds one. The last one.
Key Blocks 5
And that’s it. When the perfect play is called in the perfect situation and then perfectly executed this is what you get. Perfection. How do you define perfection by the way? 83 yards and six points does it just fine. Or perhaps …….
Two offensive linemen downfield blocking.
Check Out Detailed Video Explanation Below
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