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Old 01-02-2013, 04:00 AM   #1
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Arrow The scoring problem has nothing to do with the passing game

Total non-passing TDs by NFL team (2012)

33 - New England
28 - Washington
25 - Carolina
24 - Houston
22 - Baltimore
22 - Seattle
21 - Chicago
21 - Minnesota
21 - New York Giants
21 - San Francisco
20 - Denver
19 - Tennessee
18 - Miami
17 - Detroit
17 - Indianapolis
17 - New York Jets
17 - Tampa Bay
16 - Buffalo
15 - Cincinnati
15 - Cleveland
15 - New Orleans
14 - Arizona
14 - Atlanta
13 - Green Bay
13 - San Diego
12 - Dallas
11 - Philadelphia
10 - Kansas City
10 - St. Louis
9 - Pittsburgh
6 - Jacksonville
4 - Oakland

This season, the Steelers ranked 22nd in the NFL in TDs scored, with 36. Of those 36, 27 were scored by passing, eight by running, one by defense, and zero by special teams. Only four teams had fewer TD runs. Only three teams had fewer defensive TDs. No team had fewer special teams TDs. And as you can see on the chart above, only two teams had fewer non-passing TDs overall.

Conversely, only seven teams had more TD passes than the Steelers this season -- and this is with Ben Roethlisberger missing three-and-a-half games, and the backup QBs combining for one lonely TD pass.

As I've illustrated elsewhere, Roethlisberger was on pace to throw 33 TD passes in 16 games at the rate he was throwing them when he played.* If the Steelers had 33 TD passes, they'd rank 5th in the NFL in that regard, but still only 15th in total TDs. If they could rank in the top five in TD passes but still only be midpack in total TDs, then this proves that the scoring problem has nothing at all to do with the passing game.

It should also be noted that eight of the top dozen teams on that chart are playoff teams, but only two of the bottom dozen are. For that matter, only four playoff teams have scored fewer than 20 TDs by means other than the pass. In other words, there's a strong correlation between versatility in scoring TDs and the likelihood of making the playoffs.

(*: I am fully aware that playing 16 games could have resulted in fewer than 33 TD passes for Roethlisberger, but it could have just as easily resulted in more than 33 TD passes, for all we know.)
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