Week 7 Offensive Charting Notes

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into their bye week, but before we get there I wanted to get to the offensive charting notes from their last game against the Patriots on Sunday. It might have been a loss, but there were still some interesting charting curiosities.

  • Personnel packages:
    • 11: 43/76 (56.6%)
    • 12: 18/76 (23.7%)
    • 13: 13/76 (17.1%)
    • 21 2/76 (2.6%)
  • It was interesting to see a decreased variety of personnel packages, particularly considering the number of injuries they dealt with at the wide receiver position. They sparsely used two-back sets, and never did so in conjunction with multiple tight ends. The near 60 percent usage of the 11 personnel number also seems high given that they only had two receivers start and finish the game healthy.
  • To me, the most interesting charting note from this game is the fact that starting tight end Jesse James came off the field for 18 plays, seeing snaps on only 58 snaps—and this was never a product of them going without a tight end. Instead, Xavier Grimble took over those snaps.
  • Grimble, in fact, saw 42 snaps during the game, including the 18 with James on the sideline, plus the vast majority of the 12 personnel looks, and, of course, all of the 13 personnel looks.
  • I do have a pretty strong theory for why that might be, and it has to do with their evident view of their respective receiving abilities. While James played 58 snaps, he only lined up as a receiver eight times. Grimble aligned as a receiver 29 times, or just under 70 percent of his playing time.
  • This did include every snap on the Steelers’ final three drives, amounting to 19 snaps, and 12 of his snaps as a receiver.
  • With Antonio Brown limited to 60 snaps and two other receivers not playing at all, and Sammie Coates being highly limited, Darrius Heyward-Bey saw 65 snaps, and Cobi Hamilton played over 50 snaps a week after seeing only a handful. They clearly like him, even if he was forced into action.
  • Landry Jones only used play-action five times, but to great effect, completing all five passes for 108 yards, including gains of 19, 21, and 51 yards.
  • The Patriots blitzed frequently, but often without bringing extra rushers. They even blitzed with three rushers once. Against 19 blitzes, Jones was 11-of-19 for 121 yards with an interception, averaging 6.4 yards per pass attempt.
  • The Steelers’ offense gained 145 yards after the catch, though that doesn’t include 25 yards’ worth of deductions for passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage. Factoring that out, plus a holding penalty that wiped out a play with 11 yards after the catch, the offense gained 109 yards after the catch, which is still a good amount.
  • Average depth of target: 8.35
    • Antonio Brown – 10.7 (11 targets)
    • Darrius Heyward-Bey – 10.9 (9 targets)
    • Cobi Hamilton – 15.8 (6 targets)
    • Sammie Coates – 23.5 (2 targets)
    • Le’Veon Bell – .15 (13 targets)
    • Jesse James – 9 (1 target)
    • David Johnson – 4 (1 target)
    • Xavier Grimble – 5.6 (5 targets)
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