PDA

View Full Version : Are 2011 Steelers Simply Great at Home and Bad on the Road?



hawaiiansteel
10-13-2011, 02:01 AM
Are the 2011 Steelers Simply Great at Home and Bad on the Road?

Posted on October 13, 2011 by ted


The Steelers have been a true Jekyll and Hyde squad this fall. Pittsburgh (3-2) looked good in shutting out the abysmal Seahawks in week No. 2 and exhibited its best all-around performance of the season in a 38-17 win Sunday over a Tennessee squad that entered that game sporting a 3-1 record and the top-ranked defense in the NFL. Not so coincidentally, both of those games were at Heinz Field.

However, the Steelers have looked much worse on the road, getting blown out by archrival Baltimore, 35-7, in the season opener, squeaking by the still-winless Colts by a field goal in week 3, and then literally beaten up, battered and physically whipped by the Texans on both lines of scrimmage in week 4.

All offensive statistics back up the Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon. In home games, the Steelers are averaging 31 points, with offensive averages of 149 rushing yards, 277 passing yards, a 73 percent completion rate, and are yielding only 1.5 sacks per game. That is far better than the Pittsburgh offensive per-game road averages of 13.3 points, 84 rushing yards, 255 passing yards, a 58 percent completion rate, and 4 sacks per game.

Defensive differences are more pronounced, with the exception of Pittsburgh’s pass defense, which does not get tested as much on the road, because opponents are easily running on the Steelers. At Heinz Field opponents average 8.5 points, 49 rushing yards, 187 passing yards, a 63 percent completion rate, and are yielding 4 sacks per game to the Steelers’ stout defense. On the road, though, Pittsburgh’s opponents average 24 points, 149 rushing yards, 164 passing yards, a 54 percent completion rate, and are giving up just 0.5 sacks per game to a not-so vaunted Steel Curtain.

Finally, the Steelers have a combined turnover differential of negative-10 for their three road games, whereas their turnover differential is even (0) for home games.

How could the home-road performances be this different when the Steelers have long been regarded as the best or one of the best road teams in the NFL? The 2005 Super Bowl championship squad posted a better regular-season road record (6-2) than at home (5-3), and then became the first Super Bowl titleist to win four playoff games away from home, resulting in many fans purchasing “Pittsburgh’s Road Warriors” souvenir shirts.

The 2008 Super Bowl champs had the same 6-2 mark in home and road regular-season games; and the 2010 Super Bowl runner-ups went 7-1 during the regular season on the road, compared to just 5-3 at Heinz Field.

Generally, road games have not bothered the veteran-laden Steelers much, because their defense has consistently dominated over the years regardless of venue, and (I say this having been to Steelers’ road games in seven different cities) Pittsburgh easily has the largest and loudest road crowd in the NFL. The team almost never has a true road game like other franchises, because they regularly are supported by 10-25,000 Pittsburgh fans in opposing stadiums.

While Heinz Field is a lovely, scenic, venue that comes alive for playoff and key games, it fails to provide anywhere near the home-field advantage that Three Rivers Stadium did in the 1970s. Ticket prices have gone so high that many are now purchased by wine-and-cheese type transplants, many of whom came to the area for the white-collar medical or academic professions, and are rarely in their seats by the 10-minute mark of the first quarter for sunny and pleasant, 1:00 p.m. kickoffs.

In contrast, fans at Steelers’ road games, who generally live in or near the opposing team’s host city, are so excited to see their heroes in person that the majority arrive early enough to get drunk and loud during pre-game warmups, and then only intensify their spirits during the contest.

Now, I do not project such significant statistical differences to continue for home vs. road games all year. They are probably most attributable to the opposition, since the Steelers faced both the Ravens and Texans on the road and got Seattle at home. But that does not explain Pittsburgh’s struggles at winless Indy and brilliant play when hosting the Titans’ No. 1-ranked defense.

However, what can explain those successes and failures are matchups. The offensive line is obviously Pittsburgh’s weakest area; and that is one position group for any team that naturally encounters more problems in road games, particularly in pass protection due to crowd noise. But the Steelers faced three road opponents with outstanding edge rushers, something lacking on both the Tennessee and Seattle defenses. Moreover, they did so before the re-signing of Max Starks that seemingly helped shore up what had been their abysmal pass protection at left tackle.

Uncharacteristically, the Steelers’ main defensive problems this year have come in stopping the run, most visible by Houston (180 yards) and Baltimore (170) gashing them on the ground. But those teams also rank 5th and 9th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, whereas the two teams that traveled to Pittsburgh – Seattle and Tennessee – rank 29th and 32nd, respectively.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/10/2 ... -bad-road/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/10/2011-steelers-simply-great-home-bad-road/)

Doogie36
10-13-2011, 11:26 AM
The offensive line is obviously Pittsburgh’s weakest area; and that is one position group for any team that naturally encounters more problems in road games, particularly in pass protection due to crowd noise

Thank you!!! I couldnt of said it better myself. LOL Oh wait I did say this the past 2 weeks now!!! :Clap

Pahn711
10-13-2011, 01:02 PM
Of course its all about crowd noise, the silent count can wreak havoc on an inexperienced and/or non-cohesive line.

flippy
10-13-2011, 02:11 PM
Maybe Mike T is trying to mind fudge the NFL to cover up our weaknesses.

Our DBs are weak so we put on tape early in the season that teams can run on us so they don't try and pass so much. Helps us down the road against better teams.

NorthCoast
10-13-2011, 06:46 PM
Look, it aint rocket science. The goal is to win every home game...then you are already halfway to the playoffs (actually you are 3/4 away cause you only need to win 3 maybe 4 for a guaranteed playoff spot. every team tries to dominant at home... if you don't you have to pick up a game or two on the road to achieve the same goal.

hawaiiansteel
10-21-2011, 06:49 PM
News & notes: Steelers need to win on the road

Posted: Fri Oct 21, 2011.
Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com


PITTSBURGH - Last year the Steelers were legitimate road warriors. They played better away from home than they did at Heinz Field.

The Steelers were 5-3 on the North Shore but 7-1 on enemy turf. Faring well on the road was a key to winning the AFC North and advancing to the Super Bowl.

But going into Sunday's game in Arizona, the Steelers are 1-2 away from home. They were blown out in Baltimore, hung on to win in Indianapolis and lost in Houston.

"That's one of the things that we've talked openly about," coach Mike Tomlin said, "The reality is that if we have a desire to be the kind of team that we aspire to be, then we have to play better and win on the road. That's just the reality of the National Football League."

Even though the Steelers (4-2) are favored by 3˝ points, winning today at the University of Phoenix Stadium won't be easy.

Since Ken Whisenhunt became coach in 2007, the Cardinals are 24-13 at home. Against AFC teams at home, the Cardinals are 7-1 under Whisenhunt.

"We need to start winning some games on the road," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "Good teams do that."

SB43 NIGHTMARES

The last time the Steelers and Cardinals played each other, they met in a Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.

It's a game, won by the Steelers 27-23, that still haunts Whisenhunt.

"Sure it does," he said. "When you work so hard to get to one of those games and with the way it comes out, you obviously think about that. It's human nature. I mean, plus you see since it was one of the best Super Bowls ever you are always seeing clips or highlights from it, so I personally wanted it to go the other way but it is still something that you think about."

Is there anything the Cardinals can take from that Super Bowl loss and apply it to Sunday's game against the Steelers?

"Obviously if we get down to the 1-yard line, we are going to make sure we don't throw it to James Harrison," Whisenhunt said. "Hopefully we learn from that."

Whisenhunt was referring to Harrison's historic 100-yard interception return for a touchdown that's the longest play in Super Bowl history.

Harrison won't be playing against the Cardinals this time. He's been sidelined with a fractured eye orbital.

POUNCEY ON INJURY LIST

Center Maurkice Pouncey, the only Steelers' offensive lineman to play in every game this season, was limited at practice Thursday with an elbow injury. But that should not stop him from playing against the Cardinals.

But in the unlikely event Pouncey couldn't play, versatile O-lineman Trai Essex would step in.

"He'd be solid," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of the practice time Essex has had at center. "He's had a ton of work at it. There would be a drop off, but not a drastic one."

Also limited at practice Thursday were running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee), wide receiver Mike Wallace (hamstring) and linebacker Jason Worilds (quadricep).

Today, coach Mike Tomlin will provide the NFL with his official injury report.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local ... b19d2.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/steelers-need-to-win-on-road/article_634ca54b-4e66-53f3-8fe7-113c1dcb19d2.html)

RuthlessBurgher
10-22-2011, 01:24 PM
But in the unlikely event Pouncey couldn't play, versatile O-lineman Trai Essex would step in.

"He'd be solid," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of the practice time Essex has had at center. "He's had a ton of work at it. There would be a drop off, but not a drastic one."

Agree wholeheartedly with the former.

Disagree vehemently with the latter.