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mesaSteeler
12-12-2009, 06:25 PM
Daily Overtime! From Super Bowl Champions to Super Disappointments
Tim Miller
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/307273-daily-overtime-from-super-bowl-champions-to-super-disappointments

December 11, 2009

It is hard to believe what a difference a year makes, and that story holds true in the hearts of Pittsburgh Steeler fans. After defeating the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl, the Steelers have potentially sealed their fate as a non-playoff factor in 2009. Sitting at 6-7, the Steel Curtain has lost five straight games including last night's embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns. Something has to give with this team.

Easy answer is to blame this season on defensive leader Troy Polamalu missing quite a chunk of the season due to injury. During the last five games, the Steelers defense has averaged giving up 21 points per game. That stat seems deceiving however, as I can only really see the loss of Polamalu effecting the loss to the Chiefs (27- 24) and the Raiders (27-24). The other three games, the defense gave up 18 points to Cincinnati, 20 points to Baltimore, and 13 points to Cleveland. In those three games, the Pittsburgh offense managed scores of 12, 17, and 6. That averages out to a little more then 11 points per game. The offense was a huge cause behind the team's downfall this season.

After checking out each games stats this year for the Steelers, I have come up with a conclusion. This team seems to depend on a balanced attack to score points. Any lob sided passing attack has been the downfall to this team. Getting the run game consistent with the passing game clearly keeps the defense un-even. When Tomlin keeps calling Roethlisberger's number, however, the score seems to be on the lower side.

Not including the Baltimore game due to the fact that Pittsburgh had to use their third string quarterback and attempt to rely on their running attack against the sixth ranked run defense, the Chiefs game where they threw 15 more times then ran their running backs to score 24 points (clearly missed Polamalu here-- Chambers 4 for 119), and the Raiders game where an even attack of 24 passes and 24 runs earned the Steelers 24 points again (again missing Polamalu-- Gradkowski threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns) let us analyze games from this season.

Week #1- Pittsburgh carries the ball only 22 times, while causing Big Ben to throw 43 times. The Steelers do win the game, but only score 13 points in a victory against the Titans on opening night.

Week #2- Another low rushing total as Ben hands off 19 times, but drops back 35 times leading to a low scoring 14 points. Not enough to beat the Bears who score 17.

Week #3- Pretty even totals as Willie Parker carries 25 times, and Ben throws 31 times to tally 20 points. Not enough again as the Bengals put 23 on the board. (Another game possibly cost by no Polamalu. Up to three out of six without him where a team scored 20 or more points.)

Week #4- Very even totals as the running game gets the call 32 times, and the passing game gets 33 plays. With that even total the Steelers score 38 on a pretty good Chargers team.

Week #5- A little more lob sided approach, but it is the Detroit Lions they played. 18 carries, while Ben threw 30 passes to put 28 points on the board.

Week #6- Pretty even again against the Browns at home. To score a win and put 27 points on the board, the Steelers ran the ball 29 times, and decided to use their throwing attack 35 times.

Week #7- Offense was not really needed here. Running backs took the load 15 times, and let Ben throw 26 times. This led to a 27- 17 win over the Vikings. Defense did the job here.

Week #8- Bye

Week #9- A near even ratio allowed the Steelers to earn their last victory by scoring 28 points against a good Denver defense. 26 carries in this game, and close to that was 29 passing attempts.

Week #10- Here is where they started dwindling. Fourteen plays divided the rushing attack from the passing game in this loss to the Bengals. Oh yeah, they only scored 12 points here. 16 carries for the backs, and Ben dropped back 40 times.

Week #11- Again, I feel no Polamalu cost the Steelers this game. 14 more passes then rushes did help the team get 24 points however in a loss to the Chiefs in overtime.

Week #12- Another loss, but without Ben, Charlie Batch, or Polamalu, eight more carries still kept the Steelers in this game against the Ravens till the very end.

Week #13- The Bruce Gradkowski showcase was another game without Polamalu. Giving up three touchdowns to Gradkowski was surely a sign that Polamalu was missed on the defense. A dead even ratio of run and pass did help the Steelers score 24 points however.

Week #14- This one stuns me. Yes, the Browns did sack Ben eight times so give them some credit. However, in subzero temperatures, against the fourth worst rushing defense in the league (giving up 148.1 rushing yards per game) why would the Steelers throw thirteen more times then run the ball? This method would show in the score as the Steelers only put six measly points on the board.

So what I can see, three games were clearly lost because Polamalu was not on the field. However, they still had chances to win games without him. One week was lost due to the fact of a first timer having to quarterback the team against a division rival on the road, but those four are excusable. Injuries are part of the game, and their is not much that a game plan can due to replace guys such as Polamalu or Roethlisberger in those four games. In the three other losses, the game plan sure effected those outcomes. All three games featured the quarterback dropping back at least thirteen more times then the offense handing the ball off. Without the even ratio of run to pass, this offense was predictable at times. With an overage in the passing attack, the Steelers scored thirty points within those three games. Very easy to figure out... ten points per game usually will not cut it in the NFL. Polamalu is the easy excuse, but play calling has sure had it's fine share in the disappointment as well.

Preacher
12-12-2009, 06:50 PM
MESA... Thanks.


This is EXACTLY what I am arguing.

Smashmouth will not work. Throwing the ball 50 time wont work.

BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE.

StainlessStill
12-12-2009, 07:08 PM
MESA... Thanks.


This is EXACTLY what I am arguing.

Smashmouth will not work. Throwing the ball 50 time wont work.

BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE.

Problem is, we need to be BALANCED in EACH QUARTER. We came out mixing it up quite nicely in the first halves, but the second half hit and all of a sudden Arians wanted to replace Bens 7 with 18. This all in the midst of LEADS, where running becomes evident in what your trying to do as far as clock management and timing goes. We blew out wad big time and we lost 7 games because of it.

Preacher
12-12-2009, 07:11 PM
Problem is, we need to be BALANCED in EACH QUARTER. We came out mixing it up quite nicely in the first halves, but the second half hit and all of a sudden Arians wanted to replace Bens 7 with 18. This all in the midst of LEADS, where running becomes evident in what your trying to do as far as clock management and timing goes. We blew out wad big time and we lost 7 games because of it.

Not necessarily. If you remember 2005, we came out with the pass, and then closed up shop with the run.

That's fine... but it also makes us able to run in the beginning if the pass doesn't work.

StainlessStill
12-12-2009, 07:18 PM
Not necessarily. If you remember 2005, we came out with the pass, and then closed up shop with the run.

That's fine... but it also makes us able to run in the beginning if the pass doesn't work.

Mainly in the playoffs. We were such a run first heavy team at the time with the re-emergence of Willie and the Bus (also a 2nd year quarterback) that defense's were stuffing the run and made Ben beat us in the playoffs.

Believe it or NOT, Whisenhunt KNEW this and put his players in the best position to win, and he opened up the passing game and let Ben breathe AND believe. Amazing what a good OC can do, eh?!!?!?

Preacher
12-12-2009, 08:19 PM
Mainly in the playoffs. We were such a run first heavy team at the time with the re-emergence of Willie and the Bus (also a 2nd year quarterback) that defense's were stuffing the run and made Ben beat us in the playoffs.

Believe it or NOT, Whisenhunt KNEW this and put his players in the best position to win, and he opened up the passing game and let Ben breathe AND believe. Amazing what a good OC can do, eh?!!?!?

My point however, is what a balanced offense can do. I lift that to be front and center.

A "Smashmouth" run team will not be able to win teh SB, because teams consistently focus on and shut down the run. IF you can't pass, you can't win.

There has been surprisingly few 100 yard rushers in the SB. You would think maybe 12 in teh last 15 years. However, only 5 of 15 games have produced a hundred yard rusher, and 2 or 3 of those barely made over 100 yards, while a couple others were just under. One of them (colts) was definitely set up by the pass.

So my point stands. Balance. Because running may get you to the playoffs, but it will NOT WIN THE SB for you. You MUST have passing to win the SB.

The ONLY team to buck that trend? Ravens.

And thus... my continual mantra. BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE.

If Bruce Arians can give us balance... and game plan according to conditions/who we are playing. Then I am happy with him. If not, then I want someone who can bring the balance.