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View Full Version : Steelers Running the Ball on 3rd Down


tony hipchest
09-11-2007, 09:42 AM
kirwan just gave a great breakdown how the steelers ran the ball 8 times on 3rd down against the browns. c. wilson picked up 37 yards on 3rd and 7. najeh converted 3 times (once from 3rd and 6). his greatest run of the day was the one where he bounced off 5 defenders. unfortunately he only picked up 6 yards but it was on a 3rd and 7. no way ken or bill would call more than 1 run from 3rd and 6+ in a single game, and everyone knew that 1 play would be a draw to verron.

with the past regime anything above 3rd and 2 was a passing down from shotgun formation it seemed. its pretty evident these 3rd down running lanes on sunday were open because the browns were playing past tendencies and expecting the pass. this unpredictability is going to do wonders for the offense down the line.

kirwan also made a great statement that many come away from that game thinking the steelers "opened it up". not true. they ran the ball 42 times and were very selective and calculating when they threw the ball. with no interceptions and a third of the completions going for touchdowns i have to agree.

onthebus36
09-11-2007, 10:31 AM
kirwan also made a great statement that many come away from that game thinking the steelers "opened it up". not true. they ran the ball 42 times and were very selective and calculating when they threw the ball. with no interceptions and a third of the completions going for touchdowns i have to agree.

I agree with that. The analysts who only watch highlights are all talking about the open offense. Collinsworth did that in the preseason completely missing that the Steelers ran over 40 times.

Al778416
09-11-2007, 11:23 AM
Most of those 3rd down runs where in the 4th quarter when the steelers weren't passing anymore. I think the reason we converted those thrid downs was that the browns were exhausted and beaten up.

Livinginthe past
09-11-2007, 03:28 PM
Its definitely taking a few lost 3rd down conversions by doing something unexpected to keep teams guessing down the road.

Predictablilty is a real 3rd down conversion killer.

Mosca
09-11-2007, 03:47 PM
The Steelers ended the game with 18 straight running plays.

Successful football is successful football. In TMQ, Easterbrook does an analysis of the evolution of the spread formation; he points out that teams now run more than half the time they line up in shotgun/spread.


Tom

delhess
09-11-2007, 09:25 PM
thats a great point tony, i must have missed kirwan saying that today. i am very impressed with tomlins approach so far, he seems very agressive, and i don't expect him to get conservative in big games.

Dino 6 Rings
09-11-2007, 09:32 PM
I believe Tomlin's approach will be, open it up, score points, allow the defense to dominate the other team and get them off the field as quick as possible. Build a lead by whatever means possible, then punish the other team into submission. Case in point, 18 straight running plays to Punish the Browns defense. That was awesome. I just sat back and watched with a grin, if that's what the future, I'm all about it.

Plus, the deep shot down field after a turnover is a an old Chuck Noll Terry Bradshaw tactic. Cowher never took that deep shot for fear of turning it right back over to the other team. I'm all about taking that chance and going for a knock out punch right away.

xXTheSteelKingsXx
09-11-2007, 09:33 PM
I know that this is a little offtopic but did anyone else notice the number of screens we were throwing on second and long in the first half? Maybe I'm just overreacting but I recall a few second and long screens that got sniffed out early and were unseccesful.

Dino 6 Rings
09-11-2007, 09:36 PM
Steelers are well known for their screens, so other teams will be game planning for them. They are tough to get off in this league already, and if its part of your known habits and other teams prep for them, they will be even tougher to get off. The thing about running screens now, is the fake screens we will be able to attack with later on. Ben will fake a screen left, then all of sudden pull the ball back and launch a deep ball on a corner that bit up on the screen and down the sidelines will be Holmes or Wilson just waiting with a grin as Hines Ward is sitting there laughing at the corner back who bit up.

HometownGal
09-11-2007, 09:40 PM
with the past regime anything above 3rd and 2 was a passing down from shotgun formation it seemed. its pretty evident these 3rd down running lanes on sunday were open because the browns were playing past tendencies and expecting the pass. this unpredictability is going to do wonders for the offense down the line.

Yep. In the past, our offense was so generically predictable. With the new offensive schemes that Arians and Tomlin are cooking up, i.e. running the ball on 3rd down - we are going to keep opposing D's off balance not knowing what to expect. Even though we were playing the Browns this past Sunday, the O was very exciting once they got their engines revved up. :thumbsup:

Galax Steeler
09-12-2007, 03:44 AM
I say keep it mixed up and the opponents a guessing seemed to worked pretty good sunday.

Elvis
09-12-2007, 07:54 AM
I agree galax
What ever is working, keep doing it til they stop ya. I love the fact that our coaches are mixing it up as well as they did. I just didnt understand why we stopped blitzing on defense alot in the 2nd half. Our offense running at the times they did helped make us unredictable and that is something different than what we are used to with Cowher at the controls. Now, dont get me wrong, I love what Bill did for our team and I thank him very much for the years that he gave us and all the good memories.
:tt02:

Jman
09-12-2007, 08:09 AM
I hate that everyone thinks 3rd and one is a great time to spread them out with 4 wides and throw the ball. What is wrong with 3 yards and a cloud of dust when you need one or two yards?

I actually don't have a problem with passing that situation. Stack receivers on both sides, and run drag patterns to create a "pic" and dump it off. Usually, it works. But I'm all about running the football. I'm even more so about the Steelers running the football.

tony hipchest
09-12-2007, 10:17 AM
kirwan breaks this down in greater detail in todays article and provides some excellent statistical data.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80240419&template=without-video&confirm=true

(check out the chart)

On my NFL summer camp tour a number of offensive coordinators said to me that the running game in the league today works best when you have at least one of the following three things ... a personnel grouping that has a heavy pass-to-run ratio, a formation that looks like pass or a down and distance that has a heavy pass to run ratio.

One coach said, "we intend to run the ball more on third down than we ever have in the past."

I wondered if the third down run philosophy could be a trend in the game for 2007.

Well, I took a long hard look at the third-down running game on opening weekend and not that all the teams intend to run the ball more in this situation but there are some very interesting numbers that should be discussed in game-planning meetings around the league.

On Week 1 of the NFL season, the 32 teams ran the ball 89 times on third downs. That works out to be 2.8 times per team per game. It includes quarterback sneaks on a few third and less than 1-yard situations, and the times the quarterback scrambled and ran on third down. But more often than not there were run plays called on third downs. For example, the Texans ran the ball eight times on third down from third and one all the way to third and 35. They converted six of the eight tries. In fact, around the league in those 89 attempts teams moved the chains 59 times or 63 percent of the time. That intrigued me, so I broke down the down-and-distance situations to see where the running concept fell off and it became ill-advised to use a rushing play. That offensive coordinator who told me his team was putting it up less on third down may be on to something.
.....

Finally, it goes back to the idea of what the defense thinks they are defending. Right now most computer scouting reports say it's just about all pass on third downs but a month from now it seems like those reports are going to be more balanced. How can offensive coaches look at a 90 percent success rate on third and one runs and keep throwing? How can a QB look at a pass defense on third and three knowing the run success rate is 60 percent and not check to a run? The tapes don't lie and this potential trend is going to get hotter.




this is why ben is being given the green light to go to the line on 3rd and 4, read the defense, check out of a pass play and audible to a run. arians is proving to be a trend setter and not one who is gonna be playing catch up to the rest of the league. with his mission statement pretty much being to achieve balance and unpredictability.

running out of 4 wr sets.
passing out of max protect 3 te sets.

it is all becoming so clear.

delhess
09-12-2007, 12:00 PM
and here's audio from todays show, i missed it yesterday tony, but he touched on it some in the opening today on mtc.

running on 3rd down.mp3 - 3.23MB (http://www.zshare.net/audio/36119634f51295/)

pk is a nfl junkie. he decided to research this after a conversation w/ a player. i love this breakdown. where else do you get that?

DACEB
09-12-2007, 12:47 PM
arians is proving to be a trend setter and not one who is gonna be playing catch up to the rest of the league. with his mission statement pretty much being to achieve balance and unpredictability.

running out of 4 wr sets.
passing out of max protect 3 te sets.

it is all becoming so clear.

It's amazing that someone (you know who you are, hint: you don't wear B&G) on this board could'nt grasp this philosophy.

Good read, thanks Tony

delhess
09-17-2007, 08:28 PM
i was watching the opening drive of the bills game, and they came upon a 3rd and 7. i immediately thought of this thread, and said to myself, "i bet they run the ball", then ben dropped back and set and i thought "well, i guess i was wrong" what happened next is ben tucked the ball and ran for a first down. looked like a designed run to me!

thanks to pk and tony i was able to watch the game in a different light, guessing what was going to happen. i love seeing trends like this and guessing what the next play will be :)