By Alex Kozora
It’s painfully obvious to write that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is still in its infancy but the first two weeks give us our first glimpse into the year. From a charting standpoint, we’ll break down some of the notable stats. I chart the defense, Nick Richetta charts the offense. Go tweet some praise to him for his work.
– The Steelers offense has only been in opposing territory on 52 of 132 snaps. A paltry 39.4%.
– They have a healthy 7.8 yards per play on first down.
– However, they’re only 2/5 on converting < 3rd and 4.
– Off playaction, the Steelers have completed six of eight passes for 78 yards.
– The Steelers have run 50 plays out of the no huddle. They’re averaging 6.36 yards per play. Compare that to 6.16 when not using the no huddle. On the surface, not a huge difference.
– The Steelers have been in 21 or 12 personnel on just 20 snaps. That number is significantly lower than what I thought it would be.
– On average, the Steelers are facing 3rd and 6.5.
– Another surprising figure. Ben Roethlisberger has only been under center on 28 snaps. That comes out to 21%.
– Darrius Heyward-Bey has received 16 snaps this season.
– Le’Veon Bell has outsnapped LeGarrette Blount 109-14.
– Combined, Matt Spaeth and Will Johnson have played 20 snaps. Seventeen and three, respectively.
– There have been 135 snaps out of 138 attempted plays. Two false starts and one neutral zone infraction creates the discrepancy.
– Of those 135 snaps, 100 (74.1%) have been run out of the Steelers’ base 3-4 defense. 29 have come out of nickel, 21.5%. The remaining six, 4.4%, were out of goalline, all from last week’s contest versus the Baltimore Ravens.
Compare that to the 2013 defense which was in subpackage football – nickel or dime – 57.9% of the time.
– Quarterbacks have thrown 67 passes against the Steelers’ defense. Remove 13 of those that have been designated as “N/A” on my chart – typically due to a bootleg or quick throw where it was impossible to determine how many defenders were rushing – and you’re left with 54. Of those 54, the Steelers have rushed four or fewer defenders 37 times, 68.5%.
– Quarterbacks have completed 64% of their passes against the Steelers’ defense. 41/64. Sample size is too small to take seriously but much higher compared to 2013, where the Steelers’ allowed only a little over 57% of passes to be completed.
– The Steelers’ run defense is allowing 4.8 YPC on the season. If you take into account just second down rushes, the Steelers have faced 23 carries for 222 yards and two touchdowns. That is 9.8 YPC. Even if you factor out a 41 and 17 yard run in the 4th quarter against Baltimore, the Steelers still are allowing 7.8 YPC.
– They are, however, doing a nice job on first down, allowing 3.3 YPC.
– Although I likely use a more stringent “target” system than sites like Pro Football Focus, Cortez Allen has allowed only 4 of 8 catches for 39 yards and no touchdowns.
– I’d love to see past figures because numbers are relative, but here’s what appears to be an alarming figure. One that throws a big wrench into Dick LeBeau’s philosophy of forcing 3rd and long. 16 of opposing offense’s 3rd downs have been five yards or closer.
– 75 of 135 snaps have taken place in Steelers’ territory. That’s over 55%.
– Rookie Stephon Tuitt has logged just 22 snaps in 2014. Cam Thomas has 91. A number I’d like to see balanced out.
– Ditto for Brett Keisel, though he hasn’t played terribly. But he has 89 snaps. It’s not just about the short-term. It’s about keeping players fresh for later in the season.
– Lawrence Timmons played every single snap in 2013. He has missed eight already. One more than the number of missed tackles he’s had.
– Troy Polamalu is the only Steelers’ defender not to miss a snap this year.