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.
Posts Tagged ‘Hines Ward’
Over the past couple of years, I have analyzed some of the top running backs in NFL history, both on Checking the Numbers (here) and at Behind the Steel Curtain (here and here). In each of these analyses, I have shown that, on a per game basis, Terrell Davis was one of the top RBs in NFL history. In some analyses he showed up as a top 3 player, but in all he was at least top 10. The knock on him has been that he did not play long enough for serious consideration, although for a 4 year stretch, he was every bit as good at Emmitt Smith and very close to Barry Sanders. So, as I did recently for Hines Ward, I am going to look at how Terrell Davis’s playoff numbers compare with other greats in NFL history.
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 week, I’ve decided to take a little break from the game reviews that I had been doing and just post a review of the NFL weekend as a whole with my thoughts on several things that happened in various games. I’ll probably do a couple of posts on how a few different teams are looking to this point in the season as well this week. There were a few things that caught my attention this weekend that I felt like talking about so, I figured I would put down here on the blog. For example, there were the outstanding defensive back plays of Champ Bailey and Darren Sharper, the continuing wussification of the quarterback position by the NFL, a touchdown that was dropped in the endzone that was overturned and ruled a TD, and a few others.
A few months ago, I read a post on Pro Football Reference.com’s Blog that analyzed what Marvin Harrison’s career would have looked like if he didn’t have Peyton Manning as his QB. That reminded me of a question that I’ve heard asked about Hines Ward: Since he’s always played on a run first team, what kind of numbers would he have if he were on a more pass happy team? Of course, as with the Harrison analysis, there is really no way of knowing. But, I thought it would be entertaining to complete a simple calculation to get an idea of how many catches and receiving yards he might have if given more opportunities to catch the ball.