Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians after the Jets game;
“Coach said ‘Win the game.’ We had a play set thursday night, that that’s the play we would use and Ben made an unbelievable throw and Antonio got open. You can always play safe and run, punt, put your defense back out there but it’s not as nice as kneeling down”
1. “Win the game.” The coaching philosophy might well have been to run the ball, run the clock and make sure not to put your offense in a position of stopping the clock nor by doing so giving them a real opportunity to make the first down.
Rex Ryan countered a Steelers 4-wide receiver 1-tight end set with a base defense. That means you’ve got 4 defensive backs in there covering 4 wideouts including a tight end who runs and catches passes like a WR. In other words, despite the empty set, Rex anticipated the Steelers would run the ball. And because Ryan believed the Steelers would run the ball, in the event of a pass, there would be a mis-match somewhere. Ben found it with a linebacker covering a wide receiver. Ben to Antonio says that it’s all about going for the throat and not laying it off on the defense.
2. For those who still love to second guess Bruce Arians, who cavalierly say “I’d run the ball in such and such a situation, or throw it downfield” you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. BA spends some 90 hours a week prepping for an opponent. He knows the opponent like the back of his hand. That play was pre-packaged for that down and distance/situation on a thursday night before a sunday kickoff. There was nobody better prepared in all of the country to make that call at that moment sunday night.
3. The fact that you put the ball in the hands of #7 in the most critical situation of the biggest game of the year thus far is no big suprise. The fact that the ball landed in the hands of a little known wide receiver from Central Michigan is.
4. BA is also right in the fact that there is no greater satisfaction to a hard fought game than the kneel down. None.