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Old 02-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #1
LayingTheWoodley56
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Default I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

Good find. Evidence to support what we have all been saying.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

Quote:
Originally Posted by LayingTheWoodley56 View Post
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
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

Good study though.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

That 20-29 pass attempt range is where I think we need to keep it
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: I just did a little study on Ben - interesting findings

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.
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