Steelers among most aggressive in red zone

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might not have been happy with the "dink and dunk" passing attack, but he couldn't complain about offensive coordinator Todd Haley's play-calling in the red zone.

The Steelers were among the most aggressive teams in the league in throwing the ball into the end zone. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 59.3 percent of Pittsburgh's touchdown passes were caught in the end zone. That was tied for the ninth-highest in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In total, the Steelers scored 16 times when throwing into the end zone. There were only five teams who had more, and none of them will surprise you considering their quarterbacks: the Denver Broncos (24), Green Bay Packers (22), Atlanta Falcons (20), New Orleans Saints (19) and San Diego Chargers (17).

Unfortunately for the Steelers, being aggressive didn't translate into much success. Last season, in Haley's first season, Pittsburgh scored touchdowns on 27 of 49 trips in the red zone (55.1 percent), which ranked 14th in the NFL. In 2011, in Bruce Arians' last season as offensive coordinator, the Steelers reached the end zone on 27 of 53 possessions inside the 20-yard line (50.9 percent), which ranked 18th.

The Baltimore Ravens ranked just behind the Steelers in catching 59.1 percent of their touchdown passes in the end zone. But the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are different stories.

The Browns only scored seven touchdowns off passes thrown in the end zone, which highlights the conservative style of former coach Pat Shurmur. Only the Carolina Panthers (five), Kansas City Chiefs (three) and Arizona Cardinals (three) had fewer than Cleveland.

Of the Bengals' 28 touchdown passes, which ranked seventh in the NFL, only 12 came on throws to the end zone. That's only 42.9 percent, which was the seventh-lowest in the NFL. It shows that a majority of the Bengals' touchdown passes came as a result of runs after catches.

Thanks to AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky for passing along this information.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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