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Running the Numbers: Steelers’ Tendencies | The DC Times

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Running the Numbers: Steelers’ Tendencies

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My latest Running the Numbers post is a breakdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive tendencies. . .

7: Number of passes from Pittsburgh on second-and-1.

Only five teams in the NFL have more passes than runs on second-and-1: Pittsburgh, Dallas, New Orleans, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. The down-and-distance represents a unique opportunity for offenses to maximize upside without much risk, yet most teams take the “sure thing” and run on second-and-1 at nearly a 70 percent clip.

On his second-and-1 passes, Roethlisberger has three touchdowns and a 140.5 passer rating. He connected with Mike Wallace on a 40-yard touchdown just last week that came on second-and-1.

17.2: Percentage of Roethlisberger’s passes that utilize play-action.

You’d think the Steelers would use more play-action than they do; even though their rate is nearly twice that in Dallas, it still ranks only 20th in the NFL. Roethlisberger has a 71.0 completion percentage and 104.9 passer rating on play-action looks in 2012.

10.6: Percentage of Roethlisberger’s passes that travel at least 20 yards.

When you think of the Steelers’ receivers, you think of speed. Wallace joins Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown as three of the fastest players in the entire NFL, regardless of position. Because of that, defenses tend to be cautious with the trio, playing off so as to not surrender big plays. There’s evidence of that in the Steelers’ wide receiver screen usage, which leads the league, and Roethlisberger’s deep-ball rate, which ranks him only 26th in the NFL.

The Steelers have been relatively unable to capitalize on their deep looks, too. Roethlisberger has actually completed fewer than half as many deep passes as Mark Sanchez. Wallace, Sanders and Brown rank 18th, 38th and 46th in the league in deep-ball rate. Nonetheless, I think the lack of big plays downfield is more telling of how defenses play the Steelers than any problem inherent to their offense.

Check out the whole post at DallasCowboys.com.

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