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Johnny's Week 7 Defensive Stat Sheet: Steelers Phumbling Their Way to Victory

Michael and I are having a competition on who can write the longest titles without confusing the readers.  However, I am not sure my comment makes any sense, so I might have lost.  Moving on, we have a few layout changes in the Stat Sheet.  From her on out, we are going to make the stat sheets two posts: one for offense and one for defense.  Hopefully, it will make everything easier to read and the posts will not be so long.

Stat of the week: Stolen Borrowed from Canal Street Chronicles: "In Week 7, there were 737 points scored, an average of 52.6 per game (14 games). That was the second-highest average in any week since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Week 7 in 1983 averaged 54.4 points per game (761 points, 14 games)."  Well our first "shoot out" of the year actually ends up falling below average in points.


Week 7 Ranks

Category Stat Week 7 Rank Week 6 Rank Trend
Points Per Game 13.7 1st
1st --
Total Yards Per Game 299.3 4th 6th
Yards Per Play 4.8 T-4th 4th --
Rush Yards Per Game 63.7 1st 1st --
Yards Per Rush Attempt 2.8 1st 1st --
Rush TDs Allowed 2 T-3rd T-4th
Pass Yards Per Game 235.7 24th 24th --
Yards Per Pass Attempt 6.8
T-15th T-21st
Passing TDs Allowed 4
T-1st T-1st --
Sacks 18
8th T-8th --
QB Rating Against 74.8 8th 7th
Turnover Ratio +9 2nd 2nd --

I was thinking about writing an article about trying to explain why teams get so many pass yards against our defense, but I can do it right here.  Our defense has faced 377 snaps, 7th least in the NFL if you care.  In those 377 plays, teams have elected to pass 63.7% of the time against our defense (6.5% above league average).  That ranks the 4th most in NFL and means teams only run 36.3% against the steel curtain.  Using the table above, it is easy to understand why teams want to pass against us.  They are getting 6.8 yards per pass against us and only 2.8 yards per rush.  The Miami Dolphins, for example, averaged 3.0 yards per rush and 6.7 yards per pass.  Therefore, they elected to pass on 63.8% of the time.

Side note, I have a bad feeling we are going to see that QB Rating and other pass numbers go up as we are set up to face 3 very good pass offenses in a row.  We are going to need to get after the QB early and often to keep their offense off balance.


Field Position


Steelers: 11
Dolphins: 11

Average Starting Field Position

Steelers: Own 35
Dolphins: Own 35

Average Starting Field Position for Season

Steelers: 32.73 (3rd)
Opponent: 30.10 (22nd)
Differential: +2.63 (7th)

We dropped off a lot in opponent field position.  You can credit that to giving Miami two free passes inside of our 30 on those first two fumbles.  Turnovers suck.


Corner Back Stats


Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Defl.
Ike Taylor 7 4 57.1 42 10.5 18 0 0 0
Bryant McFadden 5 5 100 44 8.8 19 0 0 0
William Gay 3 2 66.7 28 14.0 22 1 0 0



Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Defl.
Ike Taylor 43 26 60.5 271 10.4 88 1 1 1
Bryant McFadden 45 33 73.3 354 10.7 69 2 1 2
William Gay 18 13 72.2 147 11.3 62 1 0 3
LEAGUE AVG -- -- 62.1 -- 11.7 -- 1.5 1 2



Quick Slants

  • Some more interesting stats from Football Outsiders, defensive line stats.  The Steelers have stuffed (a tackle at or behind the LOS) 23% of the runs against them (5th).  Also, the defense is allowing only 0.74 2nd level yards (yards between 5-10 yards past the LOS), which ranks 2nd in the league.  Lastly, the D has only given up 0.07 open field yards per carry (yards gained 10+ yards past LOS), the best in the league.
  • Where should you run?  Our opponents have had the most success running toward the left side of our line (their right tackle) with a 3.63 yards per carry.  They have had the least success running at Casey Hampton (their C/Gs) with 3.04 yards per carry.  Towards the right side of our line the average is 3.34.  Running outside teams have averaged 3.17 to the right outside and 3.14 to the left outside. Good thing we kept the Big Snack, no? Oddly enough, teams have chosen to run 65% of the time towards Hampton, which is the 2nd largest portion of runs in the league.
  • Lawrence Timmons now has 62 tackles on the season, which is just 16 tackles shy of his career high.  Timmons was rather quiet this past Sunday as he only recorded 3 tackles and just 2 stuffs.  I could be wrong, but it sure did seem like they were running away from Timmons.
  • I have been a bit concerned about Ike Taylor this year.  He has not been the same shut down corner he used to be.  This week he finally got to play bump-and-run with Brandon Marshall.  He lined up 2 or 3 yards away from Marshall, instead of the 10+ yard cushions we usually give.  Marshall was thrown at 8 times all day and Ike manned 6 of those.  He only allowed 3 receptions for 27 yards (4.5 avg) to Marshall.  That is very impressive considering Marshall is averaging a 64.6 Ct% and 12.5 Y/R this year.
  • LeBeau's defense is dependent on a solid pass rush.  One way to measure that is by sack totals, however that does not paint an accurate picture.  A couple of other pass rush stats that are used are QB Hits and QB Pressures/Hurries.  In all but one game this year the Steelers have had at least 10 QB Pressures.  The only game they did not was when they had just 4 in the loss to the Ravens.  In that game we only had 1 sack and 2 QB hits.  Equivalently, against Miami we only had 1 sack and 2 QB hits.  The games we have have had the best numbers getting to the QB are the two blowouts against the Buccaneers and Browns.