Inside The Stats: Steelers Offensive Distribution In Week 2 Vs. New York Jets

September 16, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley (left) talks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) on the sidelines against the New York Jets during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said after the game things wouldn't have been much different had Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis played in Pittsburgh's 27-10 win over the Jets in Week 2.

That doesn't necessarily seem like a true statement.

The Steelers passed the ball more often - and much more effectively - in the victory, including a 6-for-9 streak on first downs from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

However, this game came down to the Steelers' ability to maintain possession in the second half. Nowhere was this highlighted better than a gutty 14-play drive that resulted in the final touchdown of the game.

On the longest drive the team has had since 2007 (10 minutes, 13 seconds), the Steelers ran seven times for 29 yards. Before that drive, they ran 21 times for 37 yards - 1.8 yards per carry.

Despite the abysmal numbers, Haley stuck with the running game, and it paid off.

The Jets looked tired on that long drive, and between Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, the last five runs were for six, one, four, seven and two yards from Redman for the touchdown.

The running game wasn't successful through three quarters - including a brutal third quarter in which the Steelers rushed three times for negative-two yards.

Steelers/Jets Coverage: Van Dyke | Roster Review | Big Ben Adapting | Welcome Back Clark | Offensive Play Totals | Defensive Play Totals | Game Story | Recap With Jets |

None of this takes the shine off Roethlisberger's performance, or the offense's desire to throw the ball more frequently. Take out three runs in garbage time - the last three plays the Steelers ran while holding a three-score lead - and the Steelers passed 52.5 percent of their plays (31 of 59). While they still ran on nearly 2/3rds of every first down opportunity, part of their overall offensive success was in Roethlisberger's ability to get completions on early downs.

He was 10-for-13 on passes on first and second down in the first half, and in that time they scored on three of their four possessions (two field goals and a touchdown pass to Heath Miller).

In the game, he 9-for-12 passing, with eight of those going for first downs. Without a running game to support him for most of the game, many of those were third-and-long situations, and he faced considerable pressure for much of the game.

To suggest Revis wouldn't have made a difference is silly, and Sanders is likely saying it to keep the credit focused on the Steelers' passing offense - which had an outstanding game. But even with a three-score margin of victory, Roethlisberger had to be as exceptional as he was for the Steelers to have won this game.


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