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Thread: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

  1. #1
    Pro Bowler BigRob's Avatar
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    Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    Dave Villioti has a point.

    "The Steelers are simply awful on “yard-to-go” situations. They’re not able to ever run for the first down. FICTION: This was my belief as well, and I had a handy explanation, and sought the data to offer support. Guess what? It really wasn’t there. I’ve postulated a number of times that the Steelers’ perceived difficulty on “yard-to-go” was due to their not having invested adequately in their offensive line, and no longer having a back with “lean,” ala Jerome Bettis.

    Comparing “yard-to-go” situations from ’04 and ’05, with a line consisting of three No. 1 draft choices, a 2, and a 3, with that of the ’08 and ’09 seasons and an offensive line that’s highest pick was a No. 3, yielded some results which were expected, and another that was surprising.

    In the ’04 season, the Steelers converted 71.7% of their “yard-to-go” challenges, moving the sticks on 33 out of 46 chances, running on 42 of those plays, 31 times (73.8%) successfully. Three of the 11 stoppages came on consecutive second, third and fourth-down carries by Bettis during a winning effort at Cleveland.

    In ’05, the success rate was nearly identical, converting 40 out of 56 opportunities (71.4%), including 39 successful yard-to-go runs out of 53 attempts (73.5%). Again, two of the unsuccessful attempts were against the Browns, this time in Pittsburgh, on consecutive third and fourth-down attempts by Bettis and Charlie Batch.

    In ’08, reputed to have the worst offensive line of any previous Super Bowl champion, the Steelers struggled on yard-to-go. They converted at a rate of only 51.7% (30 out of 5, running successfully 57.4% of the time (27 out of 47). Notably, the Steelers attempted to gain the down by passing with yard-to-go 11 times in ’08, compared to only four times in ’04 and three times in ’05.

    There were memorable but not fatal failures in the championship season of 2008. The Steelers didn’t convert either yard-to-go opportunity in the Monday Nighter vs. the Ravens, but lived to tell about it. Mewelde Moore was stonewalled in consecutive attempts from the one-yard line against San Diego, but the Steelers won without scoring a touchdown. The following week, his failure to convert inside the Colts’ five-yard line was key in a losing effort. The Steelers were stopped on the goal line against the Cowboys as well, and later during the Divisional Playoff game against the Chargers, but won both games.

    With my theory one step away from apparent validation, it fell flat on its face in examining the ’09 campaign. The Steelers, in this non-playoff year, converted 40 of 53 yard-to-go chances (75.4%), running successfully on 35 of 45 attempts (77.8%). Both marks were the highest of the four-year period.

    There were certainly some notable failures this year as well, some contributing to the Steelers spending January in front of their fireplaces rather than on the gridiron. Commencing with the opener vs. Tennessee, a third-and-one handoff to Mewelde Moore late in the fourth quarter was unsuccessful, and the Steelers kicked to tie the game on fourth down. Fortunately, they converted a key third-and-one in overtime on a slant to Santonio Holmes, and won the game. Perhaps the most damaging failure came at Paul Brown Stadium on the Steelers’ first possession, when a failed Willie Parker attempt on third down from the Bengals’ one resulted in a field goal attempt, and an eventual loss. We all remember the failed third and fourth-down tries in the shadow of the goal line against Oakland, as well as the infamous sack on third-and-1 on the shores of Lake Erie on a frigid Thursday night. 4."
    Here comes the BOOM!

  2. #2
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    short yardage situations and yard to go are different. I'd be curious of the conversion rate on 3rd and 3 or less this past season. It's not just the yard to go situations that killed the Steelers this past season. Moving the chains with 3rd and 3 or less is critical, that's a manageable situation and I beleive the Steeler offense failed too often in those instances.

    The other thing that the yard-to-go analysis doesn't factor in is the situation in the game. Of the stoppages on 3rd and 1, how many occurred during the 1st half of games and how many occurred when a first down may have iced the game in the second half or 4th quarter.

    Like any analysis I don't believe it to be complete and, if you watched the Steelers this year it was obvious that converting short yardage situations was an issue. I know what my eyes saw.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    This year we called some good plays on short yardage. I especially liked the one with mendenhall and moore in the backfield. It was unexpected and well drawn up.

    Still, the Steelers don't get a good push on short yardage. Colon sometimes does, but Kemo, Hartwig, and Essex are not getting it done in the trenches. A fullback would help as well. I think a stronger center and RG could really help.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    We were much better this year in short yardage. Mendenhall is going to be really good.

  5. #5

    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    My slight breakdown on this -

    First of all I only have the 2009 data - so I can't really compare it to anything, but I looked at all of the 3rd (or 4th down) and 3 yards (or less) and this is what I found.

    Rushing First Downs Made (by a Running Back) - (14)
    Passing First Downs Made - (16)

    Rushing First Downs Made by a QB - (
    6 by Ben running for a first down
    2 by Dixon.

    Penalty by Defense - (2)

    Attempts not made - (21)
    9 attempts Rushing
    12 attempts incomplete pass or sack.

    ** Something I don't think Ben / Arians gets any credit for is how unpredicatable they are on 3rd and short - however is it because they don't have faith in the run?? Or because they want to keep the defense off balance? Personally I think it's because they don't think the Offensive line can win the battle for 3 yards on a run.

    ** However I really dislike how many times Ben had to "go over the top" or run for a first down - the kid simply doesn't need the extra hits.

    ** Personally I think we need to draft a top flight Center, and if a Guard lands in the second round - great, but the Steelers may believe that the Guards are fine with Urbik, Stapleton, Essex and Kemoeatu returning.

    ** One interesting note - the Steelers had several 3rd down attempts versus the Packers but none of them were for 3 yards or less.

    L.B.

  6. #6
    Pro Bowler BigRob's Avatar
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonbull
    My slight breakdown on this -

    First of all I only have the 2009 data - so I can't really compare it to anything, but I looked at all of the 3rd (or 4th down) and 3 yards (or less) and this is what I found.

    Rushing First Downs Made (by a Running Back) - (14)
    Passing First Downs Made - (16)

    Rushing First Downs Made by a QB - (
    6 by Ben running for a first down
    2 by Dixon.

    Penalty by Defense - (2)

    Attempts not made - (21)
    9 attempts Rushing
    12 attempts incomplete pass or sack.

    ** Something I don't think Ben / Arians gets any credit for is how unpredicatable they are on 3rd and short - however is it because they don't have faith in the run?? Or because they want to keep the defense off balance? Personally I think it's because they don't think the Offensive line can win the battle for 3 yards on a run.

    ** However I really dislike how many times Ben had to "go over the top" or run for a first down - the kid simply doesn't need the extra hits.

    ** Personally I think we need to draft a top flight Center, and if a Guard lands in the second round - great, but the Steelers may believe that the Guards are fine with Urbik, Stapleton, Essex and Kemoeatu returning.

    ** One interesting note - the Steelers had several 3rd down attempts versus the Packers but none of them were for 3 yards or less.

    L.B.
    I keep hearing that the Steelers are very high on Legursky and that is partially why Shipley signed with the Eagles. They may feel that Legursky is the center of the future.
    Here comes the BOOM!

  7. #7
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    A couple of things- Tomlin explained away THAT failed 3rd & short vs the Ravens (empty backfield) as the coaches not believing Mendenhall can convert on 3rd & short with any great consistancy.

    The Steelers were widely reported to chase Alex Mack, Eric Wood & Max Unger in last years draft, before settling on Shipley & extending Hartwig.

    Do they see an issue with short yardage & the push from the interior OL?
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  8. #8
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRob
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonbull
    My slight breakdown on this -

    First of all I only have the 2009 data - so I can't really compare it to anything, but I looked at all of the 3rd (or 4th down) and 3 yards (or less) and this is what I found.

    Rushing First Downs Made (by a Running Back) - (14)
    Passing First Downs Made - (16)

    Rushing First Downs Made by a QB - (
    6 by Ben running for a first down
    2 by Dixon.

    Penalty by Defense - (2)

    Attempts not made - (21)
    9 attempts Rushing
    12 attempts incomplete pass or sack.

    ** Something I don't think Ben / Arians gets any credit for is how unpredicatable they are on 3rd and short - however is it because they don't have faith in the run?? Or because they want to keep the defense off balance? Personally I think it's because they don't think the Offensive line can win the battle for 3 yards on a run.

    ** However I really dislike how many times Ben had to "go over the top" or run for a first down - the kid simply doesn't need the extra hits.

    ** Personally I think we need to draft a top flight Center, and if a Guard lands in the second round - great, but the Steelers may believe that the Guards are fine with Urbik, Stapleton, Essex and Kemoeatu returning.

    ** One interesting note - the Steelers had several 3rd down attempts versus the Packers but none of them were for 3 yards or less.

    L.B.
    I keep hearing that the Steelers are very high on Legursky and that is partially why Shipley signed with the Eagles. They may feel that Legursky is the center of the future.
    Partially right- Larry Zeirlein is high on Legursky, calling him 'one to watch'. Unfortunately for Larry Z, he no longer has a job...
    Schiavone's Race Career:

    Starts- 9
    Wins- 1
    2nd- 4
    3rd- 0
    Other- 4

    Prizemoney- $28,050.00


  9. #9
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    We were 27th in the league on number of 3rd downs per game this season (6th last season).

    We were 21st in # of 3rd down conversions (14th last season).

    We were 17th in 3rd down conversion % ( 18th last season).

    We were 10th in # of 1st downs (16th last season).

    We were 9th in 1st downs per play ratio (21st last season).

    What does it all mean? Means there are probably more than one way to skin a cat. What is interesting is the lack of 3rd down opportunities this season compared with last, but we improved greatly on getting first downs (presumably on 1st or 2nd down). This, to me, smacks of a big-play offense rather than a 3 yd cloud-of-dust one.

  10. #10
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Re: Steeler Short Yardage misnomers

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadman
    Quote Originally Posted by BigRob
    Quote Originally Posted by Lonbull
    My slight breakdown on this -

    First of all I only have the 2009 data - so I can't really compare it to anything, but I looked at all of the 3rd (or 4th down) and 3 yards (or less) and this is what I found.

    Rushing First Downs Made (by a Running Back) - (14)
    Passing First Downs Made - (16)

    Rushing First Downs Made by a QB - (
    6 by Ben running for a first down
    2 by Dixon.

    Penalty by Defense - (2)

    Attempts not made - (21)
    9 attempts Rushing
    12 attempts incomplete pass or sack.

    ** Something I don't think Ben / Arians gets any credit for is how unpredicatable they are on 3rd and short - however is it because they don't have faith in the run?? Or because they want to keep the defense off balance? Personally I think it's because they don't think the Offensive line can win the battle for 3 yards on a run.

    ** However I really dislike how many times Ben had to "go over the top" or run for a first down - the kid simply doesn't need the extra hits.

    ** Personally I think we need to draft a top flight Center, and if a Guard lands in the second round - great, but the Steelers may believe that the Guards are fine with Urbik, Stapleton, Essex and Kemoeatu returning.

    ** One interesting note - the Steelers had several 3rd down attempts versus the Packers but none of them were for 3 yards or less.

    L.B.
    I keep hearing that the Steelers are very high on Legursky and that is partially why Shipley signed with the Eagles. They may feel that Legursky is the center of the future.
    Partially right- Larry Zeirlein is high on Legursky, calling him 'one to watch'. Unfortunately for Larry Z, he no longer has a job...
    Well, he'll be able to "watch" him very intently then.

    Pappy


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

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