Johnny's Week 10 Steelers Defensive Stat Sheet: Handled by the Bearded Lady

I cannot take credit for the Tom Brady nickname above.  All credit goes to user Burgernazi for the hilarious metaphor.  Anyway, this game reminded me of that Sublime song I've Seen Better Days.  Indeed we have seen better days.  However, I feel like this is usually where we Steelers fans usually sit at the midway part of every season (sans 2004).  Are we a contender or a pretender?  The wait and see approach is always the best way to determine that, but it's not now, is it?  We want to know now what Dick LeBeau will do to adjust the defense.  We want to know now if Keenan Lewis or Crezdon Butler will get some PT.  We want to know now how Shaun Suisham will kick in crunch time.  We will have to wait and see.

Stat of the week: Hines Ward had caught at least one pass in 186 straight games going into Sunday's game against the Patriots.  The streak ended when a Patriots hit the defenseless WR on a helmet-to-helmet hit and gave him a concussion which prevented him from returning.  Ward's record ends just 4 games behind Marvin Harrison's 190 games and miles behind Jerry Rice's 274 game streak.

Defense

Week 10 Ranks

Category Stat Week 10 Rank Week 9 Rank Trend
Points Per Game 18 5th
1st
Total Yards Per Game 315.4 9th 4th
Yards Per Play 5.0 T-6th T-4th
Rush Yards Per Game 63.2 1st 1st --
Yards Per Rush Attempt 2.8 1st 1st --
Rush TDs Allowed 4 T-4th T-3rd
Pass Yards Per Game 252.2 26th 24th
Yards Per Pass Attempt 7.0 T-18th T-16th
Passing TDs Allowed 11
T-6th T-3rd
Sacks 24
10th
T-5th
QB Rating Against 84.9 18th 15th
Turnover Ratio +8 3rd T-1st

Ouch!  You had to know this one was not going to look good.  The only category the Steelers did not drop off in rank was in the rushing averages.  However, they did a little "regression to the mean" by giving up their first game of 75 yards this season. Actually, they gave up 100 yards all together on the ground to the Patriots with a 4.3 yards per carry.  I would not say the rush defense got exposed.  It was just that Brady spread out the Steelers so well in the passing game that it opened a lot in the middle.  It was a nightmare.  One good not efor the defense is that they held the Patriots to a 30% 3rd down completion rate.

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Field Position

Drives

Steelers: 12
Patriots: 11

Average Starting Field Position

Steelers: Own 29
Bengals: Own 37

Average Starting Field Position for Season

Steelers: 32.28 (4th)
Opponent: 31.75 (27th)
Differential: +0.53 (14th)

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Corner Back Stats

Weekly

Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Defl.
Ike Taylor 3 3 100 81
27.0 27 0 0 0
Bryant McFadden 10 8 80.0 71 8.9 27 0 0 1
William Gay 8 5 62.5 61 12.2 17 3 0 0

 

Season

Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Defl.
Ike Taylor 58 34 58.6 439 12.9 148 1 2 1
Bryant McFadden 72 56 77.8 584 10.4 120 5 1 4
William Gay 40 28 70.0 318 11.4 115 5 0 4
LEAGUE AVG -- -- 61.2 -- 12.2 -- 2.5 1.5 3.5

 

Pick who you want to abuse is how teams should approach the Steelers secondary.  There are only 8 CBs in the league that have given up 5 or more TDs and the Steelers are the only team with two of them on their roster.  On the surface it appears that teams are picking on McFadden more considering he has been targeted 32 more times than Gay this year.  However, Gay is only a nickle DB, so he has seen less snaps (309 to Bryant's 593).  McFadden has dropped into coverage 393 times and been thrown at 72 times, meaning that QBs target him 18.3% of the time.  Gay has dropped in coverage 233 times and been thrown at 40 times, which means he was targeted 17.2% of the time.  For comparison, Ike was targeted 14.6% of the time.  If you are wondering why that does not add up to 100%, remember that LBs and Safeties drop into coverage too.

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Quick Slants

  • Laying the Balsa Wood: Through 9 games this year LaMarr Woodley has 5 QB sacks and 4 QB other QB hits.  In 2009, he finished with 14 sacks and 15 QB hits.  However, he has 32 QB pressures this year and only had 31 last year.  I assume his QB pressure number is higher because he is not getting to the QB.  Is he getting held?  Double-teamed?  Whatever it is, the lack of getting to the QB is really hurting our pass defense.  Maybe, we need to start using our 2nd round draft pick, Jason Worilds, more often to keep James Harrison and Woodley fresh.
  • Mack and the Buck: One of the stat websites I use ranks every position by pertinent numbers that go with that position.  For ILB the rating is calculated by looking at QB sacks, hits and pressures, tackles, missed tackles, stops, and coverage.  Out of all the ILB in the league, the Steelers have 2 of the top 6.  Lawrence Timmons is rated 1st, just over Jets LB Bart Scott and James Farrior comes in at 6th just below 49ers LB Patrick Willis.  Timmons gets a high ranking because of his sack total, tackle total, and his leading 39 stops.
  • He's Going Deep (TWSS): After Sunday's 2 touchdown game, Mike Wallace has 7 receiving touchdowns on the year.  At his current pace he will end up with 12.44 touchdowns.  The Steelers single season receiving TD record is 12, which is shared by Buddy Dial ('61), Louis Lipps ('85), and Ward ('02).  Also, he should finish with above 1,000 yards, which took former teammate Santonio Holmes 4 seasons.
  • Bearded Lady's Protection:  Through 9 games the Patriots have only given up 13 sacks and 28 QB hits.  The 13 sacks ranks 2nd in the league and the QB hits ranks 3rd in the league.  The Steelers were already at a disadvantage with their starting DEs out and they met the worst team possible for that situation.  The Steelers D is dependent on pressure and when they do not get it you will see something similar to Sunday.
  • Under Pressure: I was surprised to see that the Steelers generated 20 QB pressures on Tom Brady.  Ziggy Hood, Woodley, and Farrior all accumulated 4 themselves.  However, we only hit Brady 3 times.  That is actually not our worst game as far as getting to the QB goes.  Against Baltimore we did get a sack, but we only had 2 QB hits and 4 pressures on top of that.  It is no surprise to me that there seems to be a direct correlation between hitting the QB and doing well on defense this year.  In all our losses this year we had 6 or less QB sacks and hits.
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