View Full Version : CHFF: Pittsburgh "D" Chases Legendary Status

12-08-2007, 08:28 PM
Sorry that I couldn't get the tables to format right in this article, but the stats speak for themselves....

CHFF: Pittsburgh D chases legendary status
2007 Steelers have quietly been the yin to New England's yang

There have been few better tests of the old great offense vs. great defense debate than we?ll see in Sunday?s much anticipated Pittsburgh-New England game.

It?s well established that the 2007 Patriots could wind up as the greatest offense of all time. Their 39.1 points per game would be No. 1 all-time, and they?re on pace to break several other individual and team scoring records.

But the 2007 Steelers have quietly been the yin to New England's yang, and have not only established themselves as the best defense in football this year, but as one of the best of the last 20 years. Naturally, this performance has received little hype among fans and "pundits" who always gravitate toward high-powered offenses.

No contest: the NFL's best D
There?s little doubt that the Steelers are the best defense around this year. They lead the NFL in all of the major categories, and by large margins. Pittsburgh has allowed:

4.1 yards per play, a full half-yard ahead of No. 2 Indy (4.6).
230.8 yards per game, almost 50 yards ahead of No. 2 Indy (277)
12.9 points per game, almost three points ahead of No. 2 Tampa (15.5).
14 defensive touchdowns, well ahead of No. 2 Indy/Tampa (19).
The Steelers are also in the top five in all three of our defensive Quality Stats:

Bendability Index: No. 4.
Defensive Hog Index: No. 4.
Defensive Passer Rating: No. 2 (69.4)
Yet the Steelers have been known more for their three close losses on the road to inferior teams (Arizona, Denver, the Jets) than their incredible defense.

Had they won one or two of those nail-biters, Mike Tomlin would probably be the front-runner for coach of the year and a James Harrison ?Fathead? would currently be in production.

Instead, the only headlines the defense have really made came when safety Anthony Smith opened his ill-advised mouth with a guarantee this week.

The new (and improved?) Steel Curtain
But at least you can understand his Smith's confidence.

The Steelers of 2007 are putting up defensive numbers equal or superior to all five of the franchise's Super Bowl champions, if you can believe it.


Team Points Per Game TDs Per Game Yards Per Play
1974 Steelers 13.5 1.5 3.6
1975 Steelers 11.6 1.21 4.2
1978 Steelers 12.2 1.17 4.2
1979 Steelers 16.4 1.75 4.1
2005 Steelers 16.1 1.39 4.6
2007 Steelers 12.9 1.17 4.1

The 2007 Steelers are a dead ringer statistically for the 1978 team ? quite a nice comparison, as that 14-2 Steelers team is generally accepted as one of the greats of all time. The comparison between the 2007 Steelers and their 1974 and 1975 teams is especially impressive when you consider that the mid-1970s was the depths of the Dead Ball Era. Nobody could score back then, which is why the NFL instituted so many rules changes to open up the offensive game in 1978. The 2007 season, meanwhile, is the height of the Live Ball Era, when even poor teams can score pretty regularly. Through it all the Steelers surrender a mere 12.9 PPG this year.

And in comparison to the best defenses of the past decade, they stack up quite nicely as well.

The 4.10 yards per play allowed by the 2007 Steelers is bested only by the 1999 Ravens, who allowed 4.06 yards per play.

The 1.17 defensive TDs per game allowed by the 2007 Steelers is fourth-best of the decade, behind the 2002 Bucs (1.13), 2001 Bears (1.13) and 2000 Ravens (1.0).

The 2000 Ravens and 2002 Bucs are both considered among the top defenses of all time, winning Super Bowl titles largely on the strength of their defenses.

Here?s how they stack up against the 2007 Steelers.


Team Points Per Game TDs Per Game Yards Per Play
2002 Buccaneers 12.2 1.3 4.2
2000 Ravens 10.3 1.00 4.3
2007 Steelers 12.9 1.17 4.1

Judging by those numbers, the 2007 Steelers (through 12 games, at least) have to be considered in in the same category as the last two great defenses of the decade.

And while the Steelers have played one of the easiest schedules in the league, they?ve played a representative schedule of offenses.

Their 12 opponents average 21.66 points per game in their non-Steelers games, almost exactly the league average of 21.7 points a game scored.

Will it matter on Sunday?
So, can the Steelers shut down the Patriots? Remember that while the Ravens and Eagles have been pushing New England to the limit, they did it with their offense more so than their defense ? the Patriots scored an average of 29.5 points a game in their two narrow wins.

No one has held New England to under 24 points all season (roughly twice Pittsburgh?s average allowed), and no road team has kept them under 31.

It?s a major test for the Pittsburgh defense (and the New England offense), one that will go a long way toward determining just how good both teams are in their specialty.

How will it play out? Damned if we know, but we can?t wait to watch and see.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22151170/

12-08-2007, 11:09 PM
great great great read. i am siked about our #1 D, if we had a better O line we would be able to smash all opponents and we would be the 12-0 team.

12-08-2007, 11:35 PM
nice article.. our biggest test is sunday and i think that will really tell us where this defense stands.. but as of now, they have really been overshadowed by the patriots offense. i keep seeing all the numbers on the pats offense, but nothing about the steelers d.. i really hope they come to play sunday and outshine the pats offense.

Galax Steeler
12-09-2007, 07:15 AM
Nice read I hope we can keep our deffense numbers a going again this week and shut down brady and new england.