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Old 01-03-2012, 06:09 AM   #1
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Default Steelers by the numbers

Steelers by the numbers
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 12:31 am | Updated: 12:53 am, Tue Jan 3, 2012.

Times pro football writer Mike Bires makes some "by the numbers" observations as the Steelers' prepare for Sunday's wild-card game against the Broncos:

10-3: Three years ago, Ben Roethlisberger agreed to an eight-year, $102 million deal that made him the highest-paid player in Steelers' history. The franchise believes it is money well spent. Roethlisberger holds 39 passing records and is tied for first in five other categories.

But more impressive than those statistics is his ability to win games. After Sunday's victory over the Browns, he's now 80-33 in the regular-season play. His winning percentage of 70.8 is second only to Tom Brady (76.9) among active NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 starts.

Like Brady, Roethlisberger also knows how to win in post-season play. Brady is 14-5 in the playoffs. Roethlisberger is 10-3.

By comparison, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco are 4-3. The great Peyton Manning is only 9-10 in playoff games.

1: By no means have the Steelers been perfect on defense. They've struggled to create turnovers. Their 15 takeaways this season - 11 interceptions, four fumble recoveries - is their fewest during the Super Bowl era. On three occasions this season, they've allowed running backs to rush for over 100 yards in a game. That's very un-Steelerlike. And they allowed the Ravens to win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 6 by giving up a 92-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes of play.

Still, for the fourth time in eight years, the Steelers are the NFL's best defense. They rank No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in passing defense and No. 1 in scoring defense by allowing only 14.2 points per game.

11: Mike Wallace's contribution in the 13-9 win over the Browns was minimal - just one catch for 11 yards. That's his lowest output since catching two passes for 11 yards on 12/10/2009 in a 13-6 loss in Cleveland under extremely cold and windy conditions.

In the first 15 games this season, Wallace had averaged 788 receiving yards per game.

For Wallace, who was named to the Pro Bowl squad last week, this has been a season of two different halves. After eight games, he had 43 catches for 800 yards and five touchdowns. But in the last eight games, he's tailed off dramatically with only 29 catches for 393 yards and three TDs.

Here are two theories that might explain Wallace's drop in production.

First, defenses are paying more attention to him. If they aren't doubling up on him, teams are at least making sure he doesn't beat them deep. In the first half of the season, Wallace had two long TD catches on 81 and 95 yards. His longest TD catch of the second half of the season went for 25 yards.

Secondly, Antonio Brown has developed into a legitimate threat and Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target. Brown, who took away Hines Ward's starting job on Nov. 13, was targeted 10 times in Cleveland. Roethlisberger threw in Wallace's direction only five times.

For the season, Wallace has 72 catches for 1,193 yards. Brown is right behind with 69 for 1,108.

337: Guess who's the fourth-leading receiver in Steelers' history? Here's a hint: He's a tight end.

That's right. By catching two passes in Cleveland, Heath Miller now has 337 catches in his career. He moved past Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann (336).

By the time he's done playing, Miller will likely rank No. 3 on the Steelers' all-time receptions list. He'll never catch Hines Ward (1,000). He may catch John Stallworth (537) someday. But with 21 catches next year, Miller will definitely move ahead of Louis Lipps (358).

Miller, the Steelers' first-round pick in the 2005 draft, has 51 catches this year.

46.5: On Sunday in a wild-card game in Denver, the Steelers will face Tim Tebow for the first time, and linebacker James Farrior for one is looking forward to playing against the man who's caused quite a stir in the NFL this year.

"I have to admit I was a fan of Tebow Time and I've been cheering for him," Farrior said. "But it's totally different now. He's a unique quarterback, no doubt about it. He's different breed. He's something we haven't seen in a long time."

Yes, Tebow is a different breed. He's a strong, muscular young man of 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds who ranks second among all NFL QBs with 660 rushing yards. But as a passer, well, Tebow obviously has limitations.

He's only completed 46.5 percent of his passes. He's the only starting QB in the league to connect on less than 50 percent of his throws this year.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers by the numbers

In the first 15 games this season, Wallace had averaged 788 receiving yards per game.


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