What's Buzzing:

How did Rivers target the Steelers 'Zero-Pressure?'

National Football Post

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

QB Philip Rivers threw three TD passes in the Chargers 34-24 win over the Steelers this past Sunday in Pittsburgh. The first TD came on the double-move (Stutter-Go) vs. Cover 3 (3-deep, 4-under) with two more vs. Cover 0 or “Zero Pressure” (man coverage with no safety help).

Let’s go to the All-22 tape and focus on the Steelers pressure defense, break down the route schemes and talk some technique in the secondary.

1. “Whip” route vs. Cover 0: Posse personnel (3WR-1TE-1RB)

View gallery

.
Playbook

- Posse personnel on the field in a Doubles formation with the Chargers using short, divide motion to bring WR Malcolm Floyd into the core (create room to run the “Whip” route).  Off of quick play action Rivers will target Floyd as his primary read to the closed (strong) side of the formation.

- In Cover 0, DBs are taught to play with an inside shade to take away the slant or any inside breaking “hot” read. Use the sideline as your help and play for the ball to come out. And technique is the key.

View gallery

.
Playbook

- Floyd is matched up vs. Kennan Lewis. The Steelers CB plays the proper technique on the snap: slide the feet, mirror the release and maintain that inside leverage throughout the initial stem.

- Where does Lewis get in trouble? Look at his feet. This is called a “bucket step” (step behind). When you take that false step as a DB you lose the bend in your base, stand up and now have to bring your feet back to a position where you can drive on the route with speed. This puts Lewis in a tough spot vs. an outside breaking route.

- This ball has to come out. The Steelers have a free runner off the open (weak) side edge. Even with the RB blocking pressure to the closed side (Polamalu), the Chargers’ QB has knows he has to get rid of the ball quickly.

View gallery

.
Playbook

- Ball placement plus the route lead to six points for San Diego. Rivers puts this throw on the upfield shoulder of Floyd who is working vs. a CB pinned to the inside.

2. "Back-shoulder" Fade vs. Cover 0: Posse personnel (3WR-1TE-1RB)

View gallery

.
Playbook

- Doubles Slot formation from the Chargers with WR Denario Alexander aligned as the backside X receiver. This is an easy read for Rivers with the Steelers showing pressure (no safety in deep middle of the field). Throw the back-shoulder fade and let your WR go make a play.

View gallery

.
Playbook

- CB Josh Victorianis is playing with a “bail” technique (open hips, zone turn and carry the WR from a press-alignment). I’m not a big fan of using the “bail” in Cover 0 because it’s tough on the CB vs. a vertical concept. Instead, I would like to see the CB jam at the line to re-route the WR or use a “taxi” technique (inch off at the snap to catch the release). Playing a “bail” is advanced as I see it. And if you can’t pin the WR to the sideline vs. the 9 (fade) route it can lead to problems.

View gallery

.
Playbook

As I said above, let your WR go make this play. Rivers throws the 9 route and that allows Alexander to climb the ladder and finish the route. For Victorian, he does a nice job of carrying the 9 route, but because he has his back to the sideline on the “bail” technique, he has a hard time finding the ball and playing up through the hands of the WR.

Cover 0 in the Red Zone?

When it comes to playing defense in the red zone, Cover 2 and Cover 0 are the top calls from my perspective. Here, the Steelers are sending blitz pressure. But to see success your DBs have to rely on technique. The ball is going to come out—now go make a play.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41

Follow @footballpost on Twitter for the latest news
This story originally appeared on Nationalfootballpost.com
View Comments (12)
  • Blues even series on Backes' OT game-winner, beat Stars 4-3

    Blues even series on Backes' OT game-winner, beat Stars 4-3

    David Backes gave the St. Louis Blues a big gift on his 32nd birthday, with another overtime goal to go home even. What a serenade of ''Happy Birthday'' for the Blues captain from his teammates after Backes scored off a rebound during a power play … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Baseball-Highlights of Sunday's MLB games

    May 1 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Sunday's Major League Baseball games: Giants 6, Mets 1 Hunter Pence homered and finished with three RBIs and the San Francisco Giants stole four bases on their way to a 6-1 win over the New York Mets, whose … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Jefferson Responds to Barkely

    Jefferson Responds to Barkely

    The Cavaliers' Richard Jefferson responds to Charles Barkley's comments from last week. … More »

    NBA.com - 7 minutes ago
  • Red Sox beat Yankees 8-7 to complete 3-game sweep

    Red Sox beat Yankees 8-7 to complete 3-game sweep

    BOSTON (AP) -- Christian Vazquez hit a two-run homer over the Green Monster to break a seventh-inning tie Sunday night, sending the Boston Red Sox to an 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees and a three-game sweep of their archrivals. … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • May 1st: Top 10

    May 1st: Top 10

    The best of the best from Sunday's Playoffs action highlighted in the Top 10. … More »

    NBA.com - 11 minutes ago