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Johnny's Week 15 Steelers Defensive Stat Sheet: A Hairless Defense Comes a Hair Short


So the Steelers lost to the Jets, but they still got into the playoffs.  Not for a second, do I buy the "we backed" into the playoff blabber that I have heard.  The Steelers won 10 games (so far), 3 of those with out their franchise QB, and earned a playoff spot.  As it stands right now, the seeds would be 1. Patriots 2. Steelers 3. Chiefs 4. Colts 5. Ravens and 6. Jets.  That seems pretty perfect to me, because I think we are a better team than the Chiefs.  Also, that means the Patriots would have to face the Ravens, Jets or Colts, three teams that are capable of running with them.  I will not dive too much into that though, because this is a stat post and not a playoff post.  Congrats to the Steelers for making the playoffs though!

Stat of the week: James Farrior has 676 career tackles as a Pittsburgh Steeler.  Only Carnell Lake has more recorded tackles with 677.  Farrior will undoubtedly become the All-Time leader in tackles in Steelers history this Thursday.  Congrats James!


Defensive Ranks

Category Stat Week 15 Rank Week 14 Rank Trend
Points Per Game 15.7 T-1st
2nd --
Total Yards Per Game 291.8 3rd 4th
Yards Per Play 4.7 2nd T-2nd --
Rush Yards Per Game 63.4 1st 1st --
Yards Per Rush Attempt 3.0 1st 1st --
Rush TDs Allowed 5 T-1st T-1st --
Pass Yards Per Game 228.4 24th 23rd
Yards Per Pass Attempt 6.6 8th T-7th
Passing TDs Allowed 14
T-4th 5th
Sacks 40
QB Rating Against 77.4 6th 6th --
Turnover Ratio +14 T-2nd 3rd

The defense played another good game, that in my opinion, was thwarted by the Special Teams play (you will be able to see the huge difference in field position in the next section).  Our offense finally put some points up on the board, but it is still not enough.  17 points on 378 yards should still be seen as a failure, especially when you consider we were 11 for 17 on 3rd downs.  We will need more production in the post season.

Anyway, the biggest gripe I had with the Steelers from Sunday was the Sanchez bootleg touchdown.  Not a single player on the left side was aware enough to create the edge.  I am not sure who's responsibility it was, but you have to imagine that LeBeau had a word with someone after that play.  It is a great play by the Jets, but it should have been stopped.


Field Position


Steelers: 9
:8 (the KO return makes 9)

Average Starting Field Position

Steelers: Own 22
Jets: Own 38 (100 used for KO return)

Average Starting Field Position for Season

Steelers: 30.69 (12th)
Opponent: 29.96 (17th)
Differential: +0.73 (15th)

Special teams was the most important aspect of this game.  With the Steelers trailing late in the game, the Jets pinned the Steelers twice inside the 10 yard line.  Additionally, the Jets put the Steelers in an early hole without their offense ever having to step onto the field, which clearly boosted their confidence from the get-go.  Unfortunately for the Steelers, the Jets might have one of the top 5 special teams in the league.  In both returns and coverage they fair very well.  That is why they boast the 2nd best starting field differential in the NFL with +4.65, a considerable amount more than the Steelers +0.73.  Some of their great ST numbers: 26.3 yards per KO return (4th), 35 punts inside the 20 (2nd), 20.2 yards per opponent KO return (4th), and 9.0 yards per opponent punt return (8th).


Corner Back Stats


Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Def.
Ike Taylor 3 2 66.7 20
10.0 4 0 0 0
Bryant McFadden 12 9 75.0 88 9.8 31 0 0 0
William Gay 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0



Name Thrown At Rec Catch % Yds AVG YAC TD Alwd INT Pass Def.
Ike Taylor 81 47 58.0 601 12.8 176 1 2 4
Bryant McFadden 106 75 70.8 812 10.8 196 6 1 5
William Gay 58 41 70.7 472 11.5 161 5 0 6
Anthony Madison
5 3 60.0 24 8.0 10 0 0 0
Keenan Lewis 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
LEAGUE AVG 58 35 60.7 -- 12.3 -- 3 2 5



Quick Slants

  • Stop in the Name of Love for Your Life: To the average fan, James Harrison had a bad game Sunday because he was shut out of the sack category.  Then, they might realize that he had 10 tackles, which means he was around the ball quite often Sunday.  In fact, 6 of his tackles were considered "Stops", or a play that constitutes and offensive failure.  Those 6 stops give Harrison 48 for the year, the most for any 3-4 OLB.  Lawrence Timmons is the only player on the team with more stops (52, 3rd amongst 3-4 ILBs), because he is an ILB and gets to flow to the ball instead of creating an edge like Harrison.  In case you were curious James Farrior has 47 and Woodley just 25.
  • Carolina Blues: The Carolina Panthers have the 32nd ranked pass offense, which averages 170 yards a game, which is 25 less than the 31st ranked team.  Additionally, their TD/pass ratio is 0.42, or in other words they throw two picks per touchdown thrown.  A contributing factor to their terrible pass offense is that they have given up 43 sacks so far this year (T-31st).  This should be a good week for a secondary and there should be no need to rush Troy Polamalu back.
  • Chasing Post-Merger History: In 2000, the Baltimore Ravens had the best rush defense I have ever seen.  They gave up only 970 yards all year (60.6 per game) with a 2.69 yards per rush average.  The 2010 Steelers have a chance to break that 970 yard mark this season.  So far, they have given up just 887 yards (63.4 yards per game) with a 3.02 yards per rush average.  They would have to hold each of their opponents under 41 yards to break the record.  Anything is possible, right?  Pay no attention to the fact that the next two teams we play average over 100 yards a game and that Troy is inured.
  • Santa without his Sack: In their 4 losses the Steelers have just 4 sacks or about 1 per game.  In their 10 wins they have 36 sacks or about 3.6 per game.  I see a correlation.
  • Who is that Guy?: Football Outsiders, the creators of DVOA, do a nice break of how teams match-up with #1 WRs, #2 WRs, Other WR, TE, and the RB.  Or in other words, which skill player is most effective against a defense compared to the rest of the league.  The Steelers rank 7th against #1s, 2nd against #2s, 24th against Other WRs, 14th against TE, and 10th against RBs.  That might be hard to believe with the way Bryant McFadden plays, but like I have said McFadden generally does not give up big plays.