Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Nov 2010

Steelers Holding up Steel Curtain Tradition

I crunch some numbers and come to the amazing conclusion that the Steelers defense is good. But seriously, folks, I think the chart on first downs runs is pretty interesting: the Steelers are more likely to stuff you than allow four yards or more on first down!

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 10 Nov 2010

16 comments, Last at 11 Nov 2010, 11:27am by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol


by drobviousso :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 11:36am

The thing that really stood out about last Monday's game was that they held Benson (ok, not the best back in the world) in check with their top two DE's injured and running a 2 down lineman nickel package for most of the game.

Brady's always been pretty good at reading the Steeler's zones, and I expect Welker to eat their lunch again this week.

by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 1:15pm

Welker, with the Pats, has played the Steelers twice.

The results were:

9 for 78, 1 TD.
4 for 30, 0 TD.

So, he averages 6.5 catches, 54 yards (8.3 yards per catch), and .5 TD's per game. And that is with Randy Moss drawing the safeties deep.

How exactly is that eating the Steeler's lunch?

by Eddo :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 1:17pm

I don't doubt the Brady part, but Welker really hasn't done anything since Moss left. I figure the tight ends will have good days, but at this point, I wouldn't trust Welker to produce much against any team.

by troycapitated p... :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 1:39pm

I presume the second game was 2 years ago with Cassel at QB, rather than Brady. That game was pretty one-sided as the Patriots had some trouble holding on to the ball.

by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 1:51pm


However, how can someone say Welker is going to eat the Steelers' lunch AGAIN when he has never even had 80 yards or more than 1 TD in a game against them?

For the record, I think the Pats will have quite a bit of success with the short to intermediate passing game as that is the Steelers D's weakness. I expect that Pats to throw the ball 50 times or more.

I also think the Steelers run game matches up well with the Pats.

I really have no idea how the game will turn out. I'd give the Steelers the edge because they are at home, but no outcome would really shock me.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 2:04pm

Wow, forgive the slip up. It's a minor thing.

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 3:52pm

I think Mendenhall looks like a beast this year and Wallace is quickly turning into one of the most dangerous receivers in the league. I hope I'm wrong but I expect the Steelers to trample the Pats. The haven't faced a team as balanced as Pit yet. Too young.

by FireOmarTomlin :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 6:30pm

trample the Pats with what OL exactly?

Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 7:31pm

I believe they are currently looking behind the couch cushions for left tackles. This will be only slightly less successful than their 'draft mid to late round left tackle' policy they've been working with.

by DGL :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 10:22am

It's an improvement on the "carry only seven offensive linemen, because hey, we can always plug in a tight end at left tackle" approach.

by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 11:27am

The problem is at Left Tackle, where Scott should be filling in. That wont hurt the running game (if that is what the guy above was referring to) as the Steelers tend to run off RT or up the middle more often than not. The starters (Pouncey and Adams) should be fine at those points of attack.

The injurys to the OL will have the most effect on protecting Ben's blind side on passing downs...and since the Pats, if their fans are to be believed, dont have much of a pass rush...it shouldnt be that much of an effect.

Like I said before, I dont know what to expect from this game. It could be a 1 point game or a blowout either way. It really depends on which way the ball bounces IMO.

by Geo B :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 12:04pm

Have to agree with drob here - love my Steelers, but have to think NE will do what they have done before, and the Saints did in the second half of this years game - drop the run and throw 3-6 yard passes, and the Steeler D dies the death of 1000 cuts. Hoping Dick LeBeau finds some new idea to throw them off - or the Steelers manage to run for 200 yards and keep NE's offense off the field.

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 12:05pm

Ain't no rust here

by JMM* (not verified) :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 12:06pm


Great article.

Maybe a team does have to run the ball to win. Hmm......

by Ezra Johnson :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 1:35pm

The simple truth is you have to be able to both run and pass to win. A balance might be more important than being all-world in one or the other. They have to respect your ability to do something, even if you don't necessarily have the numbers to show for it. If a defense can consistently drop 7 against you and still stop the run, you're in trouble. That's what's happened to Green Bay to some extent this year, and why their passing numbers are down. Conversely, if a team puts 8 in the box you have to have a passing game to overcome that.

by Kevin W (not verified) :: Wed, 11/10/2010 - 9:03pm

It all sounds good, but I still have this nagging feeling watching the Steelers that it is a mirage of a sort and that they have been exceptionally lucky this year.

And watching the defense wear down the last two weeks in the 4th only makes me more nervous as the larger games are coming up.

This Patriots game is bringing back horrible memories of several years ago when they threw 20-25 plays in a row and just humiliated us. And as to an advantage of being at home, my pereption is that the Steelers are more likely to lose an important game at home than on the road.

But hopefully this is just the ranting of a pessimistic Steelers fan and none of this will come to fruition and mike stomach lining will get a break this week.