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After Matt Canada was promoted to Offensive Coordinator, there were off-season talks about the Pittsburgh Steelers would go below the middle more often. That didn’t work out. Ben Roethlisberger is still in the shotgun.
According to data from footballoutsiders.com, the Steelers’ use of the shotgun in 2021 is practically the same as it was in 2020. In fact, it has increased from 82.8% to 83% . As last season, the Steelers use shotguns at the fourth highest rate in the NFL.
However, the shotgun benefits the Steelers, at least if average yards per game compared to the rest of the NFL is an indication of that. While the league in general tends to have better average yards per game with the shotgun than without (more passing games), the Steelers’ profit averaged 1.6 yards per game in the shotgun vs. without the ninth best in the league. Last season, the Steelers averaged 2.2 yards better per game in the shotgun than under the middle, the third best differential in the league.
The Steelers have been short on property downs this season Distances much better. According to official NFL statistics, the Steelers have implemented all four of their third-and-1 chances and eight of their 10 third-and-2 trials this season.
Last season the Steelers only managed to get fourth downs gain 51% of the time they needed 2 yards or less (35 out of 68). In 2019 the Steelers were even worse: 47% conversion rate in third or fourth place and going 1 or 2 (18 for 38).
This season the conversion rate is 80% in third or fourth place fourth and short run a significant improvement over the combined 50% the Steelers have put together over the past two seasons.
For the second year in a row, Roethlisberger is among the worst in the NFL when it comes to deep passes complete.
Defined as balls that are thrown more than 20 meters deep into the field and as compiled by Pro Football Focus, Roethlisberger has only completed 29.8% of such throws in the last two seasons (31 for 104). This is the worst rate of all NFL quarterbacks who have qualified in the last two seasons.
Only three out of 26 qualified passers-by have a worse completion rate for deep passes than Roethlisberger (28.6%) this season. Roethlisberger completed 30.3% of the low passes last season, the third worst completion of 20 qualified passes.
The second NFL game in the last 93 years with three brothers ended with a 28-21 win for the # Steelers of TJ and Derek Watt. J.J.’s Texans fell to 0-3. https://t.co/SXucebeeuG
This week the news comes that J.J. Watt could face end-of-season surgery, a comparison between him and his little brother T.J. can be visited again.
T. J. Watt, the star-outside linebacker for the Steelers, has 56.5 career bags. That’s the fourth most popular in NFL history with 67 games. But most of it isn’t even in his own family. J. J. had 60 in his first 67 games; only Reggie White had more with 70.
TJ Watt also ranks second in NFL history (as statistics were recorded in such categories) for QB hits (127) and tackles for loss (67) in seventh place. He ranks way behind his big brother in every statistic: J.J. had 170 QB hits and 112 TFLs in 67 games.
The only defensive value the little brother wins in 67 career games is forced fiddling. T. J. Watt has 20, which is far faster than J.J.’s 12. Only Dwight Freeney, 23, had more in his first 67 games and only James Harrison (32) has more forced fumbles in Steelers history. Harrison played 177 games to reach his total, however.
Chris Adamski is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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