The Steelers’ defense proved their ability to adapt to their opponent’s offense on Sunday. In two particular instances, this stood out in a big, big way.

Game-planning in the NFL is based on studying film to get an idea of your opponents’ play-calling and execution tendencies. But there’s a nugget of truth that often gets overlooked when we think of game plans: Your opponent has been doing the same thing, and they’re probably not going to behave the same way as they did last week. This means game plans mostly go out the window as soon as the ball is kicked off.

The teams that win most consistently are often the ones that adjust well on the fly. The New England Patriots have long fallen into this category. Despite not always being loaded with talent, they are always competitive — even dominant.

The Steelers have been criticized at times during the last several years for what appears to be poor game-planning and in-game adjustments. More often than not, though, the problems are actually in-game recognition and execution by players, and the margin for error in the NFL is painfully thin.

Today, we’re going to look at four plays, in pairs. The first play shows situations where the Ravens successfully executed, and the second shows how schematic adjustments and pre-snap recognition by the Steelers totally changed the outcome the next time around.

1st Quarter, 15:00 Remaining, 1st & 10, BAL 25

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