The Steelers offense vs the Bengals, a look at each down.

With all the debate going on over the offense, and me not able to sleep I decided to look at the play by play for the Steelers offense.

Decided to break it down focusing on 1st down running plays and passing plays, then go from there showing what they did on second down and so on.

This post is rather long, but shouldn't be too hard to follow.

OK, let's look at the breakdown for the results on each down:


Runs on 8/27 first downs.


First down runs = 28 yards on 8 carries (3.5ypc): 2,2,3,10,-3,9,5,0


On the 5 yard gain we ran on second down.


First down passes = 111 yards on 19 throws 5.84(ypa) 13 of 18 with one sack (72.2% complete) sack was for -9 yards which would bring average down to 5.37(ypa)


Plays went for 11,4,11,11,3,0,10,0(1st&20),11,11,-9(sack),1,16,0,9,8,5,0,0    **no passes were completed for zero yards this game, all 0's are incomplete passes**



Second Downs


Nineteen times the Steelers faced 2nd downs averaging 2nd and 8.63 yards for the first.  Let's look at how they got there.

1st downs on 1st: 8 times (no second down) (1 run 7 passes)

2nd and 1-3 yards: 3 times (1 run 2 passes)

2nd and 4-6 yards: 2 times (1 run, 1 pass)

2nd and 7-9 yards: 6 times (4 runs, 2 passes)

2nd and 10 yards: 5 times (1 run, 4 passes)

2nd and 11+ yards: 3 times (1 sack, 2 penalties followed by passes)


And now what we did on those downs:


Runs on 2nd and:

6 for 5 yards

5 for 3 yards

9 for 4 yards

10 for 7 yards

1 for 4 yards

2 for 1 yard



Passes on 2nd and:

8 for -5 yards (sack)

8 for 3 yards

7 for -7 yards (sack)

7 for 1 yard

10 for 0

8 for 0

1 for 3 yards

20 for 46 yard penalty

17 for 0

10 for 16 yards

15 for 0

10 for 7 yards

10 for 0


Third Downs


The Steelers faced 15 3rd downs, average of 3rd and 7.5.  I'm going to break this down by yardage, and if we converted.


3 of 15 converted.

3rd and 1:         2 runs 1 conversion.

3rd and 2-3:     3 passes 0 conversions 1 turnover

3rd and 4-6:     3 passes 0 conversions

3rd and 7-10:   3 passes 1 conversion 1 sack

3rd and 11+:    4 pass plays, 1 conversion on scramble


And now each third down distance and the results of our plays.  Again all passes for 0 are incomplete passes.


Runs on 3rd and

1 for 12 yards

13 for 15 yards (Ben scramble)

1 for 0 yards



Passes on 3rd and

5 for 0

14 for 12 yards

6 for 0

10 for 21

8 for -7 (sack)

17 for 0

2 for interception

5 for 0

3 for 0

15 for 0

3 for 0

10 for 0



Fourth downs


Just for closure the other 11 plays we ran on offense, 4th downs.


28 yard field goal



33 yard field goal

35 yard field goal



4th and 1, Ben sneaks for 1 picks it up

34 yard field goal


Incomplete pass, over on downs.



That's all for the stats.  On to the analysis.


If 1st down success rate is measured as 4 or more yards, our first down success rate was 13 of 27.  That's not too bad.  It is under 50% but no way should a team with 13 of 17 wins on first down end up with 12 points off a lot of good field position.


3 runs, 10 passes.

Meh (2 or 3 yards):

3 runs, 1 pass

Boo! (0 or 1 yard):

1 run, 6 passes

Fire Bruce!  (loss)

1 run, 1 pass

There were also two 1st and 20, a 1st and 5 and apparently a 1st and 8 that I don't remember.

13 wins, 9 bad first downs,and 4 that were in the gray.  You can do well with those results.


We did  worse on second down.


4 first downs, (1 run (Ben scramble), 2 passes, 1 by penalty)

4 brought us within 3 yards of the first down from 5 or more yards out. (runs of 5,3,7, pass of 7)

9 gained 1 or 0 yards (1 run 8 passes)

2 sacks.

That is a miserable bunch of second downs.  11 were bad, 4 were wins, 4 were alright to good.

We had 5 2nd downs of 6 or fewer yards, we threw on 1 of them for a first, the other we ran for a first down, 2 3rd and 1 and a 3rd and 2.  The passes were mostly bad.  What we are seeing at this point is the Steelers did well on second when they did well on first down, the problem is most of their first down wins there was no second down.  Four of fourteen second and 7+ plays can be said to have done well, one of those off a penalty for a first down.  Two more brought up 3rd and 5, the rest (8 plays) consist of 5 incompletions, 2 sacks and the Matt Spaeth one yard catch and fumble.

Third Down we did just as bad or worse.

20% conversion rate with the glaring problem being 1 conversion and 1 turnover on 3rd and 3 or less.  If you want to criticize the offense look no farther than 3 passes on 3rd and 2 or 3 and a stuffed run on third and 1.  Third downs were pathetic.  They were long for the most part, but long or short we did just as bad.

I don't mind the third down sacks unless they take us out of field goal range.  Throwing it away any other time is just giving up.


So overall I'd say we did solid on first down, bad on second and horrible on third downs.  Jeff Reed made 4 field goals and looked bad on that return.  The guy has no agility, change direction slightly and he can't do anything to you.  That's just not being in football shape.  You can say he isn't trying to make the tackle, but I'd say he's out of shape and that's the best he can do.  Get in shape Skippy, there's no excuse for the condition you are in unless you are injured.

To me this doesn't look like bad play calling, it looks like an offense that got beat.  Good man coverage always takes Hines out of the game, and they took Wallace out too with that rookie playing so well.  I was hoping we'd see a big day from Heath, but Ben was missing him and then just didn't go back to him.  I'd like to see more throws to Mendenhall, he seems to do well on them.


As for running the ball Mendenhall was getting swarmed and most of his carries brought up 2nd and long.  When we faced 2nd and long we lost, we did much better throwing on first down.  Our O-line looked like it was getting some push, but the holes were closing fast.  This would have been a good game for Bettis, he would have gotten 4-6 on most of those carries, but not many in the league can do that right now.  Oh, Cedric Benson can, and did it to us.  Even though we didn't let him do much, he was getting 2-3 yards after contact.  Mendenhall isn't that type of runner.

Let's hope Troy comes back 100% for the playoffs.  That's right, we're still making the playoffs.  I'd say I'd like to face Cincinnati for a third time but Baltimore said the same thing last year after we squeeked out two wins in the regular season, and look how that turned out.

Thanks for sticking out the post, hope you liked it.

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