Stats & Info: Maurkice Pouncey
October, 4, 2013
By Sunny Saini and Doug Clawson, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesPoor line play has contributed to the Steelers and Giants starting 0-4 this season.
Check out Dean Oliver's in-depth analysis of the specific problems the Steelers and Giants face with their offensive lines.
The Steelers and Giants have combined to win four of the last eight Super Bowls but are off to their worst starts since 1968 and 1987, respectively.
Pittsburgh is the first team since the 2005 Houston Texans to fail to record a takeaway in their first four games. New York has been outscored by 85 points, the worst mark in team history through a season's first four games.
The bad news for the Steelers and Giants -- in addition to the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars -- is that since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, only one team has started 0-4 and made the playoffs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That would be the 1992 San Diego Chargers.
Let’s take a look at some numbers to support why the Steelers and Giants are off to such bad starts.
The Steelers' offensive line struggles have been evident all season, especially after losing Maurkice Pouncey for the season in Week 1 when he tore two ligaments in his right knee.
Pittsburgh is averaging 58 yards per game on the ground, fourth fewest in the league. The Steelers' 232 total rush yards are their fewest through their first four games since 1935.
Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 15 times this year and has fumbled three times on sacks. Both totals are the most in the NFL.
The Steelers are allowing 27.5 points per game, which would be their most in a season since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. They are tied with the Giants for the fewest sacks in the NFL (four).
Eli Manning is off to arguably the worst start of his career. He has thrown a league-high nine interceptions, most in his first four starts of a season.
His Total QBR of 30.0 ranks 29th in the league, worst in his first four starts to a season since 2006.
The Giants can’t stay on or get off the field, a recipe for a bad team. They have converted a league-low 23 percent of third-down plays, and they have allowed opponents to convert a league-high 50 percent on third down. That includes allowing the Chiefs to convert 9-of-16 third downs in Week 4.
The Giants' pass rush has been running on fumes all season. In fact, it extends into last season as New York has gone nine straight games without sacking the quarterback more than twice.
The last time the Giants had more than two sacks was Nov. 25, 2012, when they got to Aaron Rodgers five times in a 38-10 win.
Two of the four sacks they have this year have come with four or fewer pass rushers, or a sack on 1.9 percent of opposing QB dropbacks.
As recently as their 2011 Super Bowl season, the Giants' four-man pass rush sacked opposing quarterbacks on 7.3 percent of their dropbacks, tied for second in the league.
January, 19, 2011
By Trevor Ebaugh and John Parolin | ESPN.com
This week’s edition of Chalkboard Stats examines a key third-down play from the Week 15 clash between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward to convert a crucial 3rd-and-17, a similar down-and-distance as the 58-yard strike to Antonio Brown that set up the game-winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round.
Using the diagram above, let’s take a closer look at the play and the accompanying statistical analysis.
A) Jets' "Amoeba" defense helps to disguise pressure
New York showed heavy pressure from Roethlisberger’s left, with only defensive lineman Shaun Ellis (No. 92) lined up in a three-point stance. Pittsburgh’s offensive line anticipated pressure from Kyle Wilson (No. 20), Calvin Pace (No. 97) and Jason Taylor (No. 99), as all three lined up outside Steelers left tackle Jonathan Scott (No. 72). Mike linebacker David Harris (No. 52) also showed pressure to Ellis’ left, drawing attention from right guard Ramon Foster (No. 73) and right tackle Flozell Adams (No. 71).
For the second year in a row, the Jets sent defensive back pressure on more dropbacks than any NFL team, allowing a passer rating of 87.1, despite conceding 7.9 yards per pass attempt (28th in NFL). This is one of many disguises they use when sending secondary pass rushers.
B) Big Ben’s pump fake deflects the blitz
Roethlisberger had the league’s highest passer rating this season (105.0) in the face of a defensive back blitz among quarterbacks with at least 70 attempts. Only Aaron Rodgers (9.3) averaged more yards per attempt against secondary pass pressure than Roethlisberger (9.1).
This play was one example of how Roethlisberger can beat a blitzing defensive back by himself. When Cromartie rushed at the snap, Roethlisberger pump-faked, drawing a jump from Cromartie and extending the play. While Roethlisberger’s pocket presence and sheer size are assets for the Steelers quarterback in fending off secondary pressure, the pump-fake has become his signature move. Roethlisberger used the pump fake five times on the Steelers’ final drive of Super Bowl XLIII, completing three passes for 59 yards and the game-winning touchdown to Santonio Holmes.
C) Roethlisberger buys time inside the pocket
Once Cromartie bit on the fake, it bought Roethlisberger some more time through his mobility inside the pocket. “Big Ben” stepped to his right while keeping his vision directed downfield.
Roethlisberger had the second-highest yards per attempt (8.5) this season passing inside the pocket (min. 100 attempts), posting a 102.8 passer rating and throwing 19 touchdowns. On this play, Roethlisberger spotted Ward (No. 86) approaching the first down marker, and identified a throwing lane over Harris at the seam between the deep zones of defensive backs Brodney Pool (No. 22) and Dwight Lowery (No. 26). Roethlisberger controlled his momentum, set his feet and found Ward.
D) Ward finds the sticks and makes the play
Roethlisberger passed for nine first downs on third down and 11 or more yards-to-go this season, tied for the second-most in the NFL. While teammate Emmanuel Sanders was tied for third in the league with four first-down receptions on third-and-11 or more, it’s the veteran Ward who was trusted to make the play here, and he delivered.