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Colts Film Breakdown: Pierre Desir Picks Off Big Ben

Posted Nov 14, 2017

Intro: Each week, Colts.com will take a look at a significant play from the previous week’s contest. This week’s installment examines cornerback Pierre Desir intercepting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on just the second play from scrimmage in Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

INDIANAPOLIS — This week's film breakdown looks at Indianapolis Colts cornerback Pierre Desir's interception of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on just the second play from scrimmage in Sunday's 20-17 Pittsburgh victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here's the All-22 development of Desir's play:

PRE SNAP

After a five-yard completion to wide receiver Antonio Brown on their first play from scrimmage, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger apparently doesn’t want to waste any time trying to get deep into Colts territory. On 2nd and 5 from the Pittsburgh 30, he lines up in the shotgun formation with running back Le’Veon Bell to his left. The Steelers have two wide receivers — one on each side — with two tight ends in their formation, and Roethlisberger sends Bell, one of the better pass-catching running backs in the league — into motion to the left. When no one moves to cover him, the Steelers know the Colts will be utilizing a zone defensive scheme.

The Colts come out in their base 3-4 defense, with three down linemen (Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods and Margus Hunt) up front, four linebackers (Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo on the outside and Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison up the middle), two cornerbacks (Rahsaan Melvin and Pierre Desir) and two safeties (T.J. Green and Matthias Farley). Desir, lined up one-on-one against Bryant on the right side of the field, seems to know what’s up from the start, and slowly starts taking a few steps backwards before the ball is even snapped.


THE COVERAGE

Upon the snap, Roethlisberger scans his options to his left during his quick three-step drop, but it appears he knows where he’s ultimately going with the ball the entire time. After a tumultuous season to this point — with trade requests and being demoted all the way to the scout team — Bryant was active on Sunday for the first time since Week 7, and this play was clear evidence of Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense trying to welcome him back into the fold in a big way. But the Colts didn’t make it easy on them from the start, as Hankins is able to get a massive push against center Maurkice Pouncey, quickly collapsing the pocket. Realizing his window to throw is quickly closing, Big Ben launches a deep, arching pass deep down the right sideline towards Bryant, hoping he can win in his one-on-one coverage against Desir.


THE PICK

But Desir has other plans. Because he gave himself a few extra steps before the snap, he’s able to keep his eyes on the quarterback as he runs with Bryant on his go route. Bryant, who is focused forward, doesn’t know exactly when the ball is thrown his way — but Desir does. He immediately begins tracking the pass high in the air, keeping Bryant to his right and pinned up against the sideline. Desir is untouched as he takes a leap around the Indianapolis 30-yard line and uses his length to reach forward with both hands and snatch the ball out of the air and come down safely with the pick around the 20.

Desir has played well in, really, his first true starting opportunity in his four years in the NFL. This play represented his first-career interception, and the Lindenwood product has also contributed 22 tackles and six passes defensed.


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