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Steelers rank last in play-action rate and yards per play-action dropback since 2016, per PFF

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus posted an interesting graphic on Twitter today of how the Steelers are in their own category when it comes to running play-action, which isn't often.

According to Linsey, since 2016, the Steelers have a 12.3% play-action rate (last) and 6.1 yards per play-action dropback, which also ranks last.

The reason for the lack of play-action is a combination of the Steelers' running game being horrendous the last three years and Ben Roethlisberger not really being fond of turning his back to the defense. He would rather be in the shotgun to have a better read at the coverages.

According to Michael Lombardi of The Athletic, Roethlisberger last season was in the shotgun on 573 of his 608 passes. The Steelers also ran a lot of empty sets with four wide receivers on the field in 2020 and Roethlisberger attempted only 34 passes with two receivers on the field last season, per Lombardi.

"(Roethlisberger) hates playing under center, never wanting to turn his back to the defense, thus eliminating the play-action passes that might help the Steelers’ offense make chunk plays down the field," Lombardi wrote.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers run more play-action with Matt Canada as the new offensive coordinator and whether Roethlisberger would commit to the idea. Roethlisberger being in the shotgun on 573 of 608 passes last season is just way too predictable. Hopefully, Roethlisberger adapts to some change and the Steelers get back to running more play-action.


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