Over at Behind the Steel Curtain, the esteemed maryrose wrote an excellent post summarizing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ issues from this season. Overall, I agree with his assessments, but there is one area where we don’t see it the same. While he did point out the short yardage and goalline deficiencies in the Steelers offense, he is willing to give Arians credit for improving the offensive output this season by over 1000 and 21 points. Maryrose asks how Steelers fans can be so hard on Arians after a season with a 4000 yard passer, two 1000 yard receivers, and a 1000 yard rusher. At the same time, we seem to be willing to give Lebeau a pass for the defensive struggles. He has a good point there, but I think there are very legitimate reasons for that.
Archive for the ‘Pittsburgh Steelers’ Category
Wow, what a game! Yesterday afternoon, I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in a game that went about the way I expected, until the final drive. For most of the game, I had steeled myself for the inevitable meltdown I was sure would come. Even so, despite my best attempts to not care about the fourth quarter, I was really nervous in the final minutes. But, when Mike Wallace caught that TD pass from Big Ben with no time left on the clock, I yelled like a little kid. I’m normally pretty reserved, so this is unusual for me. But, anyway, that was among the best finishes to game that I can ever remember. Here are my thoughts on the game.
Earlier this season, there was talk on Behind the Steel Curtain that the Pittburgh Steelers’ defense is not playing championship caliber football this season. Early on, most fans were ecstatic about the offensive production, although the offense left points on the field. While I agree that the Steelers defense is not as dominant as it was last year, I put more of the blame on the offense and special teams. Having seen the games this year, I am convinced that the problem with the team lies more in mental toughness than anything else. In at least two of the losses, the team dominated in most categories but found ways to lose. Offensive and special teams miscues have spelled doom for this team on multiple occasions so far this year.
I added a little more information about Hines Ward’s rankings that I thought was interesting.
A little over a week ago, I wrote a post showing how high Hines Ward ranks among NFL WRs in playoff yardage. So far this year, he and Ben Roethlisberger are having historic seasons in terms of passing and receiving yardage. As of the time of this writing, both are leading the league in respective passing and receiving yardage. I wrote in the previous post on Hines that he was on pace to have over 1400 receiving yards. After his game on Sunday against the Browns, he is now on pace to have nearly 1600 receiving yard this season, which would be a career high and a Pittsburgh Steelers record (currently held byYancey Thigpen with 1398 yards in a season). Ben is on pace to have over 5000 passing yards this season, which also would be a Steelers record (currently held by Terry Bradshaw with 3724 yards in a season). With two Steelers on such a historic pace, for this franchise, at least, I wanted to see how they compared with other players’ performances after the first 6 games of the season.
Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans are already convinced that Hines Ward deserves to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires. Currently, in his 12th season in the NFL, he is ranked 17th in career receptions, 31st in career receiving yards, and tied for 28th in career receiving TDs. Some would, and have, argued that he doesn’t have HOF worthy statistics, and you can’t just say he should be in because he is the greatest blocking receiver in NFL history. If he retired today, and that were the extent of his accomplishments, I would agree. But, he should play another 3 or more years, including this season. Currently, he is on pace for about 100 receptions and over 1400 yards this season. Although he has yet to catch a TD pass this year, based on his productivity in past years, it’s reasonable expect at least 5 receiving TDs this season. Those numbers would put him at 11th in career receptions, 22nd or 23rd in career receiving yards, and 22nd or 23rd in career TD receptions. Just a couple more years of what would be mediocre production for Ward would put him in the top 10 in every receiving category.
I think that those numbers would be enough to get him in when you consider his other accomplishments: 2 Super Bowl rings (more to come?), a SB MVP, and a rule named after him. When the NFL Network announced the most recent round of HOF candidates a couple of weeks ago, they had two HOF voters on the show. One said that she believed that a major consideration for whether a player is HOF worthy is whether you could tell the story of the NFL without them or not. I think it’s clear that you cannot tell the story of the NFL without Hines Ward. His blocking down the field is so physical that they had to change the rules because of the hit he put on Keith Rivers in the 2008 season, breaking his jaw. The hit was legal then. Anyway, that was a long introduction to get to my latest piece of evidence in favor of Hines Ward being HOF worthy.
So far this year, there has been a lot of discussion among Pittsburgh Steelers fans about why the team has not been able to put teams away when they’ve had the chance. In only one game so far have they outperformed their opponents in the 4th quarter, and that was in week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans outplayed them for most of the first three quarters, but as they did in so many games in 2008, the Steelers fought back and clawed out a tough win. Since then, though, Pittsburgh has been outplayed in the 4th quarter of every other game, with the worst performance coming in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals. I commented on these issues in my Around the NFL post, but I wanted to take a more detailed look at what the team’s statistical performance looked like. In this post, I will review the Steelers’ per game statistics to this point in the season compared to their numbers from last season. Since there seems to be much debate as to who is at fault for the two losses, I thought it would be worthwhile to compare the performance of each unit. All statistics come from Pro-Football-Reference.com.
This weekend, on Sunday Night Football, we will see what looked like one of the top matchups of the year prior to this season. In another matchup of top quarterbacks, the San Diego Chargers will travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers. I’m sure there will be some discussion about Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers being in the same draft class, and many previews will talk about how this is the third meeting in less than a year between these teams. But, to me, the main story is that both teams have struggled early in the season, with the Chargers winning a very close game in Oakland in week 1 and losing to the Ravens in week 2, and the Steelers twice losing second half leads in the last two weeks. While it has become expected almost for San Diego to struggle early in the year under Norv Turner, Pittsburgh has generally started strong since Mike Tomlin has taken over. So, will we see the Steelers get back to their winning ways this weekend, or will they find another way to lose? Or, will the Chargers just play outstanding football and overpower the ailing champs? (more…)
On Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears met for a game in which the Steelers were considered by many to be heavy favorites. However, there were also those who called this a must-win game for the Bears, already in this young season. As we now know, the Bears won a hard-fought, close game, but how did each team look compared to what we would expect statistically? As I did with a few games last week, here I wanted to look at this game from my own analytical perspective.
This past Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans matched up for what turned out to be a game with a playoff feel to it. Both teams fought hard, with the type of hitting usually reserved for Steelers-Ravens games. It wasn’t a pretty game on either side. Both had their chances and missed on some of them. In the end, the Steelers prevailed, overcoming a game where they lost the turnover battle and were outplayed badly at times. There are plenty of recaps out there reviewing the game, but here I wanted to look at this game from my own analytical perspective. (more…)
The defending Super Bowl Champion Pittburgh Steelers (it’s wonderful to say, isn’t it? ) faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL history last year. In running that gauntlet, they posted a 12-4 record, then went on to win an NFL record 6th Lombardi Trophy. This year, the Steelers expect to compete again for the prize, bringing back the vast majority of last years’ starters. But how will their schedule compare with that of 2008? That is the question that this post looks to answer. (more…)