There are times when an NFL offense is gauged by one thing — the scoreboard.
Those who believe this simple statistic tells the whole tale of the tape certainly have reason to believe so. After all, you have to score points to win the game, but what if there was more to it than just points scored?
A perfect example of this would be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense in Week 15 in their 17-10 win over the New England Patriots.
The Steelers offense, which averaged just shy of 30 points a game heading into Week 15, mustered just 17 points, but what they accomplished was keeping Tom Brady and company off the field, and converting when it mattered the most.
You used to hear this all the time when talking about an NFL team playing a Peyton Manning led unit. ‘The best defense is an offense which can sustain drives and keep Manning on the sideline.’
That is exactly what the Steelers did to Brady and company on Sunday by not going three-and-out once throughout the entire game. You might want to re-read that last sentence again...because it is true.
Take a look at the drive chart from the Week 15 game:
That’s right, the only drives which resulted in plays of under 5 were kneel downs at the end of the half, and at the end of the game.
To me, this is efficiency.
Should there have been more points scored by the Pittsburgh offense? No doubt about it, but when you aren’t scoring, you hope to at least put together some drives to allow your defense to rest, and keep the opposition off the field. On a day when the offense’s best starting position was their own 28 yard line, gaining at least one first down can help flip the field position to aid the defense.
Throw in the fact the Steelers finished 2-for-3 in the red-zone, and I would say it was a fairly efficient outing for the unit. Perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. But efficient? No doubt about it, and against the Patriots in Week 15 it was good enough to notch a victory.
If you can’t see the above drive chart, click HERE.