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Anatomy of a Play

Anatomy of a Play: Vernon gets to Roethlisberger

2-12616.jpg's John Schmeelk takes a frame-by-frame look at a key play from Sunday's game:

The Situation: After allowing the Steelers to convert a third-and-17 on a quick screen to Eli Rogers, it's first-and-10 at the Giants 24-yard line with 1:35 to go in the second quarter. Already down 11-0, the Giants desperately need to keep the Steelers out of the end zone. Enter Olivier Vernon with some great Giants coverage.


The formation

The Steelers come out in 11 personnel with Le'Veon Bell next to Ben Roethlisberger in the shotgun, and Ladarius Green at the end of the line off left tackle at tight end. Antonio Brown is isolated on Janoris Jenkins at the bottom of the screen, with Eli Rogers in the slot and Cobi Hamilton outside to the top of the screen. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is on Rogers with Eli Apple on Hamilton.

Keenan Robinson and Jonathan Casillas are the Giants' nickel linebackers with a single-high safety look with Andrew Adams as a deep safety, and Landon Collins closer to the line of scrimmage. Romeo Okwara is in for the injured Jason Pierre-Paul at left end. Vernon, Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins are in their normal spots on the line.


The Coverage

The Giants' coverage is spectacular. Landon Collins has come down to cover Bell, where Roethlisberger is looking first. He passes on the primary option thanks to Collins' presence. Elsewhere, the Giants are manned up across the board, with Adams playing up top as the single-high safety, and Robinson reading the quarterback in the middle of the field. Casillas gets the tough responsibility of carrying Green up the seam.


The Second Read

Roethlisberger has gone to his second read on the other side of the field, but there's nothing there. Apple is all over Hamilton on the stop route, and there is no separation from Rogers on Rodgers-Cromartie coming out of the slot. The coverage is fantastic. Roethlisberger still has a good pocket here, but that is about to change.

Even though he isn't looking in their direction, Brown is blanketed by Jenkins. Green has a little separation on Casillas but not enough to make it an attractive option for Roethlisberger.


Vernon makes his move

Roethlisberger stays in the pocket, confident in his linemen. It looks like a very secure position, but it won't be for long. Vernon tried a power rush on left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, but he held his ground. This is where Vernon dislodges himself from the tackle and is about to come down the lane, almost using Hankins and Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster as a pick. Hankins makes this possible, since he was able to push Foster into the backfield with a power rush of his own.


The Sack

Roethlisberger tries to come back to his right at the last moment, but by that time, Vernon is already reaching out for him, bringing him to the ground. It sets up a second-and-17, and the Steelers are forced to kick a field goal at the close of the half.

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