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Steelers snap totals vs. Ravens could point to end of the OLB rotation

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football, but when looking at the snap totals from the game, there are some clear lines you can draw from this information.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Pittsburgh Steelers have to wait through two NFL Sundays before they get the chance to remove the nasty taste of the 23-20 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens from their mouths, looking at the statistics and data following the game certainly can be an eye-opening process. No statistics can be more telling than the overall snap totals for the game. The trust the coaches show in players is something which can't be overloooked.

In the Week 4 matchup against Baltimore, the most glaring statistic was Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin's usage of their two OLB combinations. The starters, Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats, were outplayed and used more than the James Harrison and Bud Dupree combination.

James Harrison played 48 of the defense's 79 plays, and Dupree played 45 of those 79 plays. Compare these numbers to Jarvis Jones' 26 and Arthur Moats' 39 and you can see a clear disparity between the two combinations of pass rushers.

The Steelers had been following an every-other-series approach to rotating the pair of linebackers, but got away from that against the Ravens, especially when the game mattered most in the 4th quarter and in overtime. It was Harrison and Dupree, who was spelled by Moats on occasion, who were on the field despite the normal rotation. Some may point to Jones' lack of run-stopping ability, but no matter how you want to describe the decision, Jones was hardly on the field when the game was on the line.

Take a look at the snap totals for the rest of the Steelers following the Week 4 loss.

Offense: (63 Plays)

Ramon Foster: 63
David DeCastro: 63
Cody Wallace: 63
Kelvin Beachum: 63
Marcus Gilbert: 63
Michael Vick: 63
Le'Veon Bell: 62
Heath Miller: 60
Antonio Brown: 60
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 51
Sammie Coates: 27
Markus Wheaton: 18
Will Johnson: 17
Chris Hubbard: 11
DeAngelo Williams: 6
Roosevelt Nix: 2
Alejandro Villanueva: 1

Looking at the overall numbers for the offense, what might be most stunning is the lack of playing time given to DeAngelo Williams. Only getting 6 snaps, 3 carries in the last two games, certainly seems the Steelers are following the same script as 2014 when LeGarrette Blount's lack of playing time eventually resulted in him being released after not getting the ball enough. Although Williams certainly doesn't seem to be the type to walk out o his new team, his lack of playing time is something to watch as the season continues.

Defense: (79 plays)

Lawrence Timmons: 79
William Gay: 79
Antwon Blake: 79
Will Allen: 77
Mike Mitchell: 77
Stephon Tuitt: 76
Cameron Heyward: 66
Ross Cockrell: 54
Sean Spence: 49
James Harrison: 48
Bud Dupree: 45
Arthur Moats: 39
Vince Williams: 30
Jarvis Jones: 26
Steve McLendon: 22
Cam Thomas: 14
L.T. Walton: 5
Robert Golden: 4

On the defensive side of the ball, other than the disparity among the OLBs, Stephon Tuitt's snap totals compared to defensive captain Cam Heyward were somewhat of a surprise. Tuitt has proven to be every bit of a steal as a second round pick as was thought on draft day in 2014. Also, Ross Cockrell seems to have entrenched himself as the team's No. 3 defensive back, but that could all change when Cortez Allen returns from a knee injury.

Snap totals aren't a perfect science, but certainly paint a picture as to how the coaches were using players, and in this game against the rival Ravens, there are major conclusions which can be drawn from these statistics.