I'm not a huge stat guy. I believe that they usually don't tell the full story. However, I noticed throughout the season that the Steelers' offense played really well against 3-4 teams. Now, I'm sure some will say that we run a 3-4 defense so our offense is used to it. That may be true, but our offense's success against the 3-4 only seems to be growing. Maybe our guards get exposed against good 4-3 DTs. Maybe Hartwig is not good in space against 4-3 MLBs. Whatever it is, the difference in offensive production is surprising. Here are our 2009 results for Rush yards and Net yards against 4-3 and 3-4 teams.

Games against 4-3 teams…

Tenn – Rush -36 Net 357
Chi- Rush 105, Net 308
Cin- Rush 102, Net 373
Det- Rush 82, Net 344
Minn- Rush 107, Net 259
Cin- Rush 80, Net 226
Oak- Rush132, Net 401
Total- Rush avg. 92, Net avg. 324

Games against 3-4 teams…

SD- Rush 177, Net 497
Cle- Rush 140, Net 543
Den- Rush 173 Net 375
KC- Rush 114, Net 516
Balt- Rush 153, Net 298
Cle- Rush 77, Net 218
GB- Rush 65, Net 537
Balt- Rush 48, Net 286
Mia Rush 202, Net 403
Total-Rush avg. 128, Net avg. 408

Even though our worst game was against a 3-4 defense (Cleveland the 2nd time), we averaged 36 more yards per game rushing and 86 more yards total against 3-4 defenses. Our five best rushing games and five best total net yardage games came against a 3-4 defense. In 7 of the 9 games against 3-4 defenses, we either had a top five rushing game or a top five net yardage game.

BTW, next season we play only seven 3-4 defenses, down from nine this season.