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View Full Version : I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings


LayingTheWoodley56
02-26-2012, 05:49 PM
Basically, I looked back on his stats, game-by-game, since he first took the helm in Baltimore all those years ago, and recorded how the amount of passes Ben attempted per game correlates with our win/loss record.

Now, as most of us will recall, during Ben's first two seasons (in which we saw great success, both regular season and postseason) he was a smart young quarterback with a knack for making big, creative plays who took relative care of the football and allowed our defense and running game to do much of the heavy lifting. While I wouldn't go so far as to place the demeaning "game manager" tag on him, he was certainly closer to that than he was to being a quarterback who could win games single-handedly with 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, a la Peyton Manning types (of which there are few.)

As the years have passed and he has matured as a pocket passer, we have transitioned towards a more pass-heavy offense, in keeping with the overall league-wide trend over the past few seasons. Thus, his win/loss record during that time when attempting a higher number of passes per game has improved, but it is still inferior to our win/loss record when he only throws the ball 29 times or fewer. Here are the numbers I came up with, in four separate categories.

10-19 attempts per game - 2004-2006: 11-0 2007-2011: 4-0 Total:15-0
20-29 attempts per game - 2004- 2006: 16-4 2007-2011: 20-5 Total: 36-9
30-39 attempts per game - 2004-2006:1-5 2007-2011: 21-9 Total:22-14
40-plus attempts per game - 2004-2006: 1-3 2007-2011: 7-7 Total: 8-10

When Ben was young, it became ingrained in my head that we played best when we established the running game, controlled the clock and allowed Ben to make plays while not overextending him. While the numbers show that his record throwing the ball more 30+ times since 2007 (2-8 before; 28-16 since) has definitely improved, it is still not within the dominance we have achieved when he throws the ball 29 times or less (27-4 before; 24-5 after.)

The numbers when he throws the ball 40+ times are almost definitely skewed by the fact that there have been times when a large deficit has necessitated airing it out in an attempt to catch up. I realize that there are likely some flaws in this study, but I went in expecting our numbers to be much more effective in the 29 and under-attempts range, and that's what it looks like. In light of the Rooney's comments that they would like to return focus to running the ball as has been the hallmark of Steeler teams past, perhaps these statistics show that that might be for the betterment of our offense.

This is not meant to be an indictment of Ben, because I wouldn't trade him for anybody. He has been nothing short of excellent in leading us to three Super Bowls and winning two. He has made all the plays that have been asked of him for the most part, behind patchwork O-lines and with boneheaded playcalling. I am only saying that (as most of us will admit) he is not the type of QB (like Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees) who can win a game exclusively throwing the ball with no running game or defense.

And that, my friends, is why returning to a more balanced offense will positively help our beloved Steelers. Hope you enjoyed.

lloydwoodson
02-26-2012, 05:57 PM
Good find. Evidence to support what we have all been saying.

LayingTheWoodley56
02-26-2012, 05:59 PM
Also, his playoff record bears out similar results:
10-19 attempts: 2-0
20-29 attempts: 4-1
30-39 attempts: 4-0
40-plus attempts: 0-3

The theory here? Keep Ben's attempts down at any cost! If we control the clock, run the ball well and play good defense, our QB is in a much better position to make the necessary plays to win the game instead of having to try to do it all himself.

60_MINUTES
02-26-2012, 06:12 PM
Basically, I looked back on his stats, game-by-game, since he first took the helm in Baltimore all those years ago, and recorded how the amount of passes Ben attempted per game correlates with our win/loss record.

Now, as most of us will recall, during Ben's first two seasons (in which we saw great success, both regular season and postseason) he was a smart young quarterback with a knack for making big, creative plays who took relative care of the football and allowed our defense and running game to do much of the heavy lifting. While I wouldn't go so far as to place the demeaning "game manager" tag on him, he was certainly closer to that than he was to being a quarterback who could win games single-handedly with 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, a la Peyton Manning types (of which there are few.)

As the years have passed and he has matured as a pocket passer, we have transitioned towards a more pass-heavy offense, in keeping with the overall league-wide trend over the past few seasons. Thus, his win/loss record during that time when attempting a higher number of passes per game has improved, but it is still inferior to our win/loss record when he only throws the ball 29 times or fewer. Here are the numbers I came up with, in four separate categories.

10-19 attempts per game - 2004-2006: 11-0 2007-2011: 4-0 Total:15-0
20-29 attempts per game - 2004- 2006: 16-4 2007-2011: 20-5 Total: 36-9
30-39 attempts per game - 2004-2006:1-5 2007-2011: 21-9 Total:22-14
40-plus attempts per game - 2004-2006: 1-3 2007-2011: 7-7 Total: 8-10

When Ben was young, it became ingrained in my head that we played best when we established the running game, controlled the clock and allowed Ben to make plays while not overextending him. While the numbers show that his record throwing the ball more 30+ times since 2007 (2-8 before; 28-16 since) has definitely improved, it is still not within the dominance we have achieved when he throws the ball 29 times or less (27-4 before; 24-5 after.)

The numbers when he throws the ball 40+ times are almost definitely skewed by the fact that there have been times when a large deficit has necessitated airing it out in an attempt to catch up. I realize that there are likely some flaws in this study, but I went in expecting our numbers to be much more effective in the 29 and under-attempts range, and that's what it looks like. In light of the Rooney's comments that they would like to return focus to running the ball as has been the hallmark of Steeler teams past, perhaps these statistics show that that might be for the betterment of our offense.

This is not meant to be an indictment of Ben, because I wouldn't trade him for anybody. He has been nothing short of excellent in leading us to three Super Bowls and winning two. He has made all the plays that have been asked of him for the most part, behind patchwork O-lines and with boneheaded playcalling. I am only saying that (as most of us will admit) he is not the type of QB (like Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees) who can win a game exclusively throwing the ball with no running game or defense.

And that, my friends, is why returning to a more balanced offense will positively help our beloved Steelers. Hope you enjoyed.



good read and well thought out but it just not that easy... while you make some good points and I agree we need the balance its not as easy as just running more... You have to be able to run the football... In those early years we had Jeff Hartings at center.. Alan F at guard marvel Smith LT and Starks at R tackle.. and by the way we had a full back................ now for the past couple of years we have the worst o line in football ( After injuries of course.. it starts out a little better then it finishes most of the time but none the less ) Jon Scott, Chris K. Pouncey. Foster Gilbert... along with no full back

bottom line is our team has been throwing because we had to.. yes I agree some of that is BENS fault and BA and of course Tomlin for wanting to throw.. but bottom line is we can run until we get a full back.. and fix the line.. both of which i hope happens in this years draft

Riddle_Of_Steel
02-26-2012, 06:14 PM
Not that I disagree with the findings thus far, but to give Ben all the credit he may be due in this equation....

In general, the quality of our offensive line has also declined over the same period of time that his passing attempts have increased.

In 2004 - 2005, we had one of the league's best blocking units.
In 2006, it started its decline (and sacks went way up), but was still pretty serviceable. many of teh sacks were due to lots of factors (the bike accident, Cowher's daydreaming of being elsewhere).
In 2007, we at least still had Faneca at LG and Simmons was okay at RG until the diabetes ruined him.
By 2008, we were dealing with a patchwork line that could only muster a 23rd ranked run game and allowed a league high sacks.
This last year, I think that poor blocking unit finally came to a head. Jonathan Scott was no offensive tackle. Kemo is playing like he doesn't want to anymore.

I don't think we can evalutate Ben compared to Manning, Brady, etc. unless we provide him with a descent blocking unit like those fellas have.

LayingTheWoodley56
02-26-2012, 06:19 PM
The concerns about the line are definitely valid. That's why I made sure to say that I'm not calling this foolproof. If anything, you could say that the organization needs to look at what we were able to do when we had a good line and running game and didn't have to rely on Ben so much, and use that knowledge to look towards shoring up the line.

Riddle_Of_Steel
02-26-2012, 06:22 PM
Good study though.

6RingsAndCounting
02-26-2012, 06:22 PM
That 20-29 pass attempt range is where I think we need to keep it

lloydwoodson
02-26-2012, 06:53 PM
Obvious points to consider are that Ben would have thrown more in an effort to come from behind in a game that was already lost. Also, the Steelers have not been able to establish an effective running game against most good run defenses. From Willie forwards good run defenses have held the Steelers to under 50 yards many times regardless of who the back is. There obviously was not a lot of creativity in the run game and I think that will change going forward.

Ricco Suavez
02-26-2012, 07:00 PM
We pass too much, yet the season averages do not bear that out. I have read how we are pass happy yet we are no where near the top of the league more in the middle and balanced. If you want more of an offense like SF or Baltimore than spend money on a line first then have a very dependable brusier back like Rice or Gore.

Listen I would love to see us grind out some games and I do not like my QB to drop back 40 times a game, but in the offense Arians ran it is what it WAS!!!. I hope Haley brings out the best of both. With some talent on the O-Line hopefully we can run somewhat effectively, not 1-2 yds first down, 2-3 yds second down, and then 3rd and long all night long. Even Brady showed how a good QB is less than effective if put in 3rd and long constantly.

And when we do run the ball I hope we do better than 9 carries for a two yd average and then bust one for 20+ and suddenly we are averaging 4 yds a carry and the fans say something like why did we quit running we were effective. Nine carries for 18 and one burst make the stats look good but it does not help your offense to move the ball effectively and consistently.

FrancoLambert
02-26-2012, 07:39 PM
Will somebody please see to it that a Mr. Todd Haley receives this valuable information.
:sofunny: :tt02:

LayingTheWoodley56
02-26-2012, 07:53 PM
That 20-29 pass attempt range is where I think we need to keep it

I strongly agree. Clearly, 15-0 record or not, Ben is too good of a quarterback to throw the rock less than 20 times a game. Around 25-27 attempts, I think, would be ideal. It's getting impossible not to throw it at least that much in today's NFL.

Bayz101
02-26-2012, 08:02 PM
We we're more successful with a balanced offense when we had a offensive line to support it. We haven't had that in years, and that's why he's attempted more passes:

Our runners can't get more than two yards behind this line at any given time. I don't think the amount of passes Ben throw's really tell's a story, because honestly, we won our most impressive game this year (Pats) and Ben threw it 50 times. I think it's the offensive line more than anything, and we won't go far with what we have.

Good read though, thanks for posting.

zcoop
02-26-2012, 08:04 PM
We pass too much, yet the season averages do not bear that out. I have read how we are pass happy yet we are no where near the top of the league more in the middle and balanced. If you want more of an offense like SF or Baltimore than spend money on a line first then have a very dependable brusier back like Rice or Gore.

Listen I would love to see us grind out some games and I do not like my QB to drop back 40 times a game, but in the offense Arians ran it is what it WAS!!!. I hope Haley brings out the best of both. With some talent on the O-Line hopefully we can run somewhat effectively, not 1-2 yds first down, 2-3 yds second down, and then 3rd and long all night long. Even Brady showed how a good QB is less than effective if put in 3rd and long constantly.

And when we do run the ball I hope we do better than 9 carries for a two yd average and then bust one for 20+ and suddenly we are averaging 4 yds a carry and the fans say something like why did we quit running we were effective. Nine carries for 18 and one burst make the stats look good but it does not help your offense to move the ball effectively and consistently.

Agreed, we were pretty balanced based on the data at NFL.Com. Like it or not but the game of football has changed. We are no longer in an era where offenses can force their will on quality opponents by running the ball alone.

Based on the data, we played well but turned the damn ball over too much to win. We were -13 and 4th from the bottom in the Give/Takaway column. That stat alone tells a story.

Ricco Suavez
02-26-2012, 08:21 PM
If Ben is a real problem with the offense, its not in how many times he passes. His problem this year is the number of turnovers he committed, both interceptions and fumbles. If Haley can cut this number down either with a game plan that better protects Ben (thus cutting fumbles first and pressure interceptions) or quicker routes and/or a better line, we will be all right with number 7 behind center.

I have sang to the heavens that we are not far from being a very good offense. No wholesale changes need be made, no 3 yds and cloud of dust mentality. Cut down on turnovers first, cut down on stupid mistakes, (like the kind Kemo specializes in), and hopefully our number one defense does not have another year of being last in causing turnovers.

I believe in game plans that limit the number of times a QB will drop back to pass, but plans do not always go as planned. A good coach can and should change as the game dictates (example of why Arians was released) and if game #2 of the season means Ben passes 19 times, so be it. If game #3 comes around different team different type of personnel, different weather, and he needs to pass 40+ then go for it. I hope Haley is what he appears to be, a coach who does what is needed to win.

6RingsAndCounting
02-26-2012, 09:46 PM
I wasn't upset with our balance as much as I was with our redzone production. I think that was our real problem.

ricardisimo
02-27-2012, 02:11 AM
Improve the O-line this year;
Call decent, high-percentage plays in a less-than-predictable fashion;
Practice run blocking during the week.

Problem solved. The change doesn't have to be anything overly dramatic, and it doesn't have to be 50/50 run-to-pass.

kan_t
02-27-2012, 02:19 AM
When Ben threw a lot. It might mean that the Steelers had already been behind in the game, thus made them a greater chance of losing the game and led to an ugly win-loss record.

BLACK_AND_YELLOW
02-27-2012, 02:39 AM
We need to have a balanced offense end of story.

ricardisimo
02-27-2012, 04:54 AM
When Ben threw a lot. It might mean that the Steelers had already been behind in the game, thus made them a greater chance of losing the game and led to an ugly win-loss record.
Yes and no. I'm remembering an awful lot of games these past three years where we had a hefty lead and Ben would come out throwing. Picks would tend to follow. Just hand the damned ball off when you're winning.

EbonySteel86
02-27-2012, 09:33 AM
An established running game can turn Ben into one of the most dangerous qb's in the history of the game. Not to mention, have him play a lil longer cause at the rate he's going, he'll end up with a career ending injury before his mid 30's. I know we can run the ball, I've seen them do it with this backfield. Can't tell me after alllllllllll these years the PITTSBURGH STEELERS, forgot how to run the ball??? I ain't buying it!

chitownpit
02-28-2012, 09:52 PM
That 20-29 pass attempt range is where I think we need to keep it

right on , whats the use of drafting all these recievers if you throw it 12-15
times a game? they are our future , protect ben like he was when he was a
rookie and you will see great numbers

lardlad
02-28-2012, 10:37 PM
You could make the argument that in those games where we passed the ball 40+ time a game... We pretty much had to because we got really behind because if turnovers or ST mistakes, or just played real bad. I think a few made this point already, but I think it is worth entwining again.

6RingsAndCounting
02-28-2012, 11:12 PM
You could make the argument that in those games where we passed the ball 40+ time a game... We pretty much had to because we got really behind because if turnovers or ST mistakes, or just played real bad. I think a few made this point already, but I think it is worth entwining again.

There's no doubt that is one of the main reason we would throw 40+ times, but we even when you're behind you don't want to abandon the run completely. The last three games he threw 40+ times and we were 1-2. The game that really sticks out for me is the Cleveland game, he threw the ball 44 times which is ridiculous, considering he got hurt that game and we still decided to continue to throw against a terrible run defense. Also, the Denver game when Redman was running wild and we completely gave up on him.

Fastandfaster17
02-29-2012, 10:09 AM
Also, his playoff record bears out similar results:
10-19 attempts: 2-0
20-29 attempts: 4-1
30-39 attempts: 4-0
40-plus attempts: 0-3


I would like to see teh amount of attempts broken down into quaters with the score attached to support the evidence. If were down two touchdowns going into the fourth and ben has only thrown 25 times, of course he is going to end up throwing it 15+ more times and it most likely is going to be in a loss.

The statistical way to look at it is to show games 30 and above plus score going into the 3rd quater, did those throws vs ball control win or lose us the game.

Steelerfreak58
02-29-2012, 10:39 AM
Its not just about establishing the running game a big part of it is scoring TD's instead of settling for 3 pointers. How many games did we have to watch the team move down the field well controlling the game only to stall in the red zone and walk away with 3 points?

Ball control is paramount but converting TDs in this current environment is just as important. Its the big reason Arians is gone.

EbonySteel86
02-29-2012, 11:13 AM
Its not just about establishing the running game a big part of it is scoring TD's instead of settling for 3 pointers. How many games did we have to watch the team move down the field well controlling the game only to stall in the red zone and walk away with 3 points?

Ball control is paramount but converting TDs in this current environment is just as important. Its the big reason Arians is gone.

Exactly! Throwing td's in the red zone is very difficult when you have no running game threat. Arians just couldn't understand that...smh!

Lokki
02-29-2012, 04:21 PM
Exactly! Throwing td's in the red zone is very difficult when you have no running game threat. Arians just couldn't understand that...smh!

^^ Truth

cloppbeast
02-29-2012, 08:49 PM
I'd like to see what Ben can do with some proper leadership. I hope Haley gets in his face.

Steel Peon
03-01-2012, 10:23 AM
It's probably been mentioned already, but I didn't want to read the whole thread, so I'm saying that games we lost, in which Ben had more attempted passes, are games in which Ben himself dug us the hole he was trying to climb out of. I'm not saying he needs to be perfect, but I don't think Arians gave him enough constructive criticism about when to be smart and not force the ball. A Clowns fan I know even said the same thing about Bruce, in that he was never afraid to have his QB air it out and go for the home run, but the reality was that Clev never had a home run hitter, and had his players swinging pointlessly. The Steelers have hit plenty, but rarely have they been deep passes from Ben.......it's usually a gadget play, a great developing run, or YAC by whoever........in the playoffs where it matters anyways.

Ben is a great hitter.......but the home run is not his most dangerous weapon, case closed.

Oh yeah, and nice sig Lokki! :chuckle:

FanSince72
03-02-2012, 09:35 AM
You could make the argument that in those games where we passed the ball 40+ time a game... We pretty much had to because we got really behind because if turnovers or ST mistakes, or just played real bad. I think a few made this point already, but I think it is worth entwining again.

I was thinking along those lines as well and I would add that in many games where we threw excessively, it was also because the O-line was so banged up and pieced together that a running game was almost impossible to establish, so we had little choice but to pass.

Once again, statistics can mean many things, depending on how you read them or in what context they're used.

That said, while I like a more pass-first style overall, I DO think there is such a thing as "Too Much" passing and we HAVE been trending that way lately.
A little more running would be good for the soul.

Dalarin
03-04-2012, 10:05 AM
When did Gore and Rice become bruisers Ricco? That would be like calling Brady a scrambler.

Ricco Suavez
03-04-2012, 10:27 AM
When did Gore and Rice become bruisers Ricco? That would be like calling Brady a scrambler.

Well they do not tippy toe around behind a line do they?

6RingsAndCounting
03-04-2012, 11:33 AM
Well they do not tippy toe around behind a line do they?

I would say Gore definitely is, Rice is more balanced. They both are downhill runners though.

LayingTheWoodley56
03-04-2012, 11:55 AM
If you read the entire initial post, I alluded to the fact that the 40+ numbers are almost definitely somewhat skewed by whatever number of times we were down big and had to throw a lot to catch up. I looked back on those games and a few of them (the 2010 game against the Patriots when they lit us up sticks out in my mind) were indeed some of our more lopsided losses. Others were not though, and it forces me to conclude that the Pittsburgh Steelers are just not a shootout team, but there's nothing wrong with that.