Steelers 2017 Week 15 Offensive Charting Notes

It has been virtually months since we have last had to write about a Pittsburgh Steelers loss. Actually, literally months, since they last lost on October 8. Frankly, I’ve gotten quite used to writing about wins, and I’m not sure I like it too much having to talk about losses. But hey, 11-3 is still pretty good. And the offense actually did well in the game. So let’s talk about it.

  • Personnel groupings:
    • 11: 55/67 (82%)
    • 12: 2/67 (3%)
    • 13: 4/67 (6%)
    • 22: 6/67 (9%)
  • I don’t suppose anybody would really be surprised that the Steelers chose to attack the Patriots primarily using 11 personnel, and a heavy dose at that. Even considering the fact that they held a lead for much of the game, and even played most of it without Antonio Brown, that is a heavy
  • Of course, they were also playing without Vance McDonald, once again, and the last time he played, they did run a lot more packages out of two-tight-end sets, so perhaps they would have done so more against New England had he been available. But fullback Roosevelt Nix only got six snaps.
  • The Steelers clearly didn’t have much of a contingency plan in Brown’s absence. For the most part, they just one-for-one replaced him with Darrius Heyward-Bey following his injury, who played 28 of the 46 snaps after that. He frequently ran in the spot Brown ordinarily would run in plays. That will not be the case this week.
  • It’s interesting to note that the Steelers ran the ball out of the shotgun formation quite a bit against the Patriots. On their 30 rushing attempts, including those negated by penalty by excluding scrambles, 19 came with Ben Roethlisberger in shotgun formation, which is a high percentage even for the Steelers, who primarily run out the shotgun anyway.
  • I believe Le’Veon Bell’s carry on a sweep was the first of his career in which he was not lined up in the backfield at the start of the play. At least I cannot recall ever charting such a play over the course of the past few seasons.
  • The Steelers used Heyward-Bey a couple of times at tight end as well as at halfback. JuJu Smith-Schuster took one snap aligned in a tight end position.
  • Considering the circumstances, I felt that Eli Rogers was sparsely used. I felt that his ability to separate in man coverage would have been a boon against the Patriots, especially after Brown’s injury. He did catch a touchdown pass.
  • On 35 dropbacks, Roethlisberger used play action six times. One play resulted in a sack, another a no-play completion. On the other four, he completed three of four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.
  • The Patriots blitzed on about a quarter of the snaps, nine of 35 dropbacks. They rushed six twice, including on play before the game-ending interception. But overall, Roethlisberger completed nine of 10 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown against the blitz.
  • Average depth of target – 8 (31; 30 official)
    • Darrius Heyward-Bey – 3 (1 target)
    • Xavier Grimble – 5 (1 target)
    • Antonio Brown – 11.7 (3 targets)
    • Jesse James – 10.8 (5 targets)
    • Le’Veon Bell – 1.5 (6 targets)
    • JuJu SmithSchuster – 5 (6 targets)
    • Eli Rogers – 7.5 (2 targets)
    • Martavis Bryant – 13.7 (7 targets; 6 official)
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