Steelers’ Rat In The Hole Bites Mayfield
By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 21, 2020

We don’t want you to think that this is “pick on quarterback week” here at FirstDown PlayBook but this past weekend was pretty brutal in the games we saw. We watched several college football games where pick sixes changed the game.

Then we tuned in on Sunday and saw more of the same. Yesterday we highlighted the fact that even Aaron Rodgers was not immune. Today we look at what got Baker Mayfield.

The Steelers get the Browns into a 3rd and 3 on their first possession. The Browns lined up in a 3×1 formation. They dial up a double slant with a flat route to the three receiver side.

This is sometimes called the “Dragon” concept. It is typically read outside in, meaning that if the flat is open throw it. If the defense expands then work back inside. It’s really not a progression read but instead a “either or” because it happens fast.

The Steelers looked like they were in a two deep safety look right up until the ball left Mayfield’s hand. As soon as he let the ball go to the inside tight end on the slant he had to regret it.

What he likely did not notice was the slight outside leverage that was being played by the defensive players. This would have helped him smell the “rat’. The rat in this case was #39 Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The play side safety, Fitzpatrick dropped down to play the “rat in the hole”. This means that it was man free coverage with #39 Fitzpatrick free to play the short middle of the field and read Mayfield’s eyes.

Man free coverage is a very common coverage and one that does not need to be reserved for five man pressure. This is a very good coverage for high school and even youth football leagues if southing they are going to attack you with in breaking routes. Take a look…

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