Monthly Archives: November 2015

Steelers Lose Shootout to Seahawks (By the Numbers)

 

Roethlisberger’s 456 yards wasn’t enough. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks faced off in a rematch of Super Bowl XL, with the loser being out of the outside of the playoffs, looking in at the hunt for Super Bowl 50. The Seahawks won the shootout 39-30.

The 30 points scored by the Steelers is the most a Seahawks opponent has scored and they still won. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Seattle Seahawks were 0-5 when allowing their opposition to score 20+ points. With the victory, the Seahawks stopped their two game losing streak at home. They have not lost 3 consecutive home games since 2008. .

The 456 passing yards by Ben Roethlisberger is the most given up by a Pete Carroll Seattle coached defense. The Steelers defense came into the game as the 4th worse pass defense in the NFL (278.4 ypg). Russell Wilson and the Seahawks gained 480 through the air.

Pittsburgh gained 436 total yards Sunday. Seattle came into the game giving up only 303.5 yards per game, that was good for 2nd in NFL.

The 4 interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones combined, 2 for each, led to 19 Seattle points.

After having only one penalty in the first half, the Steelers finished the game with 8–many of which very controversial–for 76 yards, while the Seahawks had 6 for only 65 yards.

Wheaton had a career day, 9 receptions for 201 yards and a TD. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Markus Wheaton caught 9 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks defense, mostly Richard Sherman focused on Antonio Brown, opening up opportunities for Wheaton and Bryant. Brown caught 6 passes for 51 yards, while Bryant caught 5 for 69 yards and added a rushing touchdown.

Pittsburgh won the time of possession 32:00 to 28:00, and the 3rd down efficiency 7/13 (53%) to 5/11 (45%).

Pittsburgh is 3-1 against the NFC West in 2015. Next up for the Steelers, the 6-5 Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night football which will have major AFC Playoff implications.

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Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 12)

It was a great week for the Scarlet and Gray. First, a win over arch rival Michigan, and then several former Bucks made an impact in the League.

Safety Kurt Coleman had a 36 yard interception return for a pick 6 to help the Carolina Panthers beat the Dallas Cowboys 33-14 on Thanksgiving Day and stay undefeated at 11-0. Coleman also collected 3 tackles and batted down another pass. His interception was his fourth on the season. Panther wide receiver Ted Ginn junior had no catches, while his counterpart Corey “Philly” Brown did not play due to a shoulder injury.

Rookie wide receiver Devin Smith got his # pro touchdown for the Jets in New York’s 38-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins. He totaled 2 catches for 33 yards on the day.

Defensive lineman Cam Heyward, safety Will Allen and linebacker Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the Seattle Seahawks. Heyward collected 2 tackles, had a blocked extra point, and one sack of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Allen collected 4 tackles, while Shazier had one tackle before leaving the game in the first half under the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Some other notable NFL Buckeye efforts:

Mike Nugent of the Cincinnati Bengals made 4 extra points and a field goal  for 7 points to help the Bengals move to 10-2 with a 31-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis had 9 tackles for St. Louis in defeat.

Carlos Hyde rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries, and caught one pass for 10 yards for the San Francisco 49ers in their 13-19 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Wide receiver Brain Hartline, safety Donte’ Whitner of the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.

OSU in the NFL (Week 11)

A couple of Buckeyes in the NFL fared better in week 11 than the ones still sporting Scarlet and Gray in Columbus.

Kurt Coleman celebrates his 4th interception of 2015. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bob Leverone

Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman collected 3 tackles and an interception, while wideout Ted Ginn Junior grabbed 5 catches for 37 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers in their 44-16 win over the Washington Redskins. The interception for Coleman was his fourth in 2015, while the touchdown for Ginn was also his fourth on the season.

Ginn Jr. catches his 4th TD pass of 2015 for the Panthers. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bob Leverone

Linebacker A.J. Hawk had 2 tackles, while kicker Mike Nugent scored 7 points on 4 extra points and 43 yard field goal for the Cincinnati Bengals in their 34-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It was their 2nd loss of the season. They still hold a 3 game lead in the AFC North division.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins had 5 tackles and a pass break up for the Philadelphia Eagles in their 45-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jenkins’ 5 tackles put him over the 500 mark for his career. The Eagles are now 4-6.

Linebacker James Laurinaitis collected 8 tackels for the St. Louis Rams in their 16-13 loss at the Baltimore Ravens.

Running back Daniel “Boom” Herron of the Buffalo Bills and defensive back Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots face off on Monday Night Football.

Several other former Bucks were missing in action in week 11. San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde issued the 49ers loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a foot injury. Carolina Panthers wideout Corey Philly Brown missed the game versus Washington with injury. While safety Will Allen, linebacker Ryan Shazier, offensive tackle Mike Adams, and defensive lineman Cam Newton of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and wide receiver Brian Hartline and safety Donte Whitner of the Cleveland Browns were all on a BYE week. The Steelers return to action at Seattle in week 12, while the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens.

Steelers-Seahawks Keys to Watch


The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t likely to win the AFC North with the 8-2 Cincinnati Bengals sitting at the top 3 games up on the Black & Yellow with 6 games remaining and only one head to head matchup. Yet, the Steelers are going for the NFC West crown. Pittsburgh is 3-0 against the NFC West this season, beating San Francisco, St. Louis and Arizona. Now, fresh off the BYE week, here comes the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle is now 5-5 after beating the San Francisco 49ers 29-13. This matchup has huge playoff implications in both the AFC and NFC. Both teams need a victory to stay in the Wild Card hunt, as each isn’t likely to win its division.

FiveThirtyEight.com, a site that uses statistical analysis to predict each week’s games, gives the reigning NFC Champions a 65% chance to beat the Steelers. ESPN’s FPI only gives the Steelers a 42% chance to win. The odds makers in Vegas are giving the Steelers +3.5. Take those numbers for whatever they’re worth to you. Anyway, here are some keys for Pittsburgh to get win number 7 on the season.

The Seahawks are 0-5 when allowing their opposition to score 20+ points. The Steelers average 23.6 points per game. But, with Roethlisberger in the lineup, they average 25.7. It seems simple to say all Roethlisberger and the Killer B’s need to do is out score the Hawks, but in this case, if they can hit that mark, that’s half the battle.

My favorite stat to watch during a game is third down efficiency.  The Seahawks defense is 4th in the NFL at 32%. The Steelers offense is 26th at 35% in converting. A team’s ability or inability to get off the field on defense, or stay on the field when on offense aids their effort to win. Keep your eye on this stat throughout the game. If the Steelers are winning in this area, they’re likely to win.

The other key stat to watch, is of course turnovers. The once vaunted “Legion of Boom” only has 4 interceptions on the season. This season, they’ve only created a total of 11 turnovers. The Steelers are +5 in the turnover margin on the season. Their defense has created 18 turnovers in 2015, 9 interceptions and 9 fumbles. Edge Pittsburgh.

Seattle’s D gives up 303.6 yards per game. That’s 2nd in the NFL behind the Denver Broncos. Pittsburgh Offense is 6th in the NFL at 384.9 yards per game. This is strength on strength. Yards per game stats can be deceiving because one team may be playing from behind, while the other has gone into a prevent just to salt the game away. The Seahawks have blown a 4th quarter lead in all 5 of their losses.

Lastly, if the Steelers are to move to 7-4, they’ll have to stop the number 1 rushing attack in the NFL. Seattle average 148.6 yards per game, and has a balanced attack with Marshawn Lynch–who didn’t play Sunday against San Francisco due to an abdomen injury that may require surgery–and QB Russell Wilson. Pittsburgh is 5th in the league against the run, allowing only 93 yards per game on the ground.

One more key-note: Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are 6-2 in his tenure after the break. Kickoff is Sunday at 4:25 PM in Century Link Field.

 

What a Difference a Ben Makes

Roethlisberger may be the best “backup” QB in the NFL. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

 The Pittsburgh Steelers finally have a reliable backup quarterback! It’s two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. Okay, of course I’m joking. 

But Roethlisberger, who was probable to play coming into Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns, entered the game on the second series in relief of Landry Jones when he sprained his his left ankle.

All #7 did in his “backup role”, was throw 3 touchdowns on 22/33 passing for 379 yards. The most by any relief QB in NFL history. He was 18-23 for 286 and 2 touchdowns in first half alone. Roethlisberger didn’t just target his number one option Antonio Brown (more on him later) he connected with 6 other receivers. 

While the Steelers got the win, 30-9 to move to 6-4, there was some bad to go along with the good. 

  First the good. Both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant went over 100 yards receiving and caught touchdown passes from Roethlisberger. Brown, fresh off his franchise record 17 catches for 284 yards, added another 10 catches for 139 yard, 2 touchdowns and a two point conversion. Bryant caught 6 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. Each were also able to draw 4 pass interference penalties of 29, 35,38 & 39 yards for a total of 141 yards, which led to 10 points.

The Steelers defense forced 3 turnovers and collected 4 sacks of Johnny Manziel.

Now the bad, and you could say ugly. Surprisingly, the Steelers struggled to get the Deangelo Williams and the running game going against a Browns defense that was ranked last in the NFL, giving up 147.6 ypg via the rush entering Sunday’s matchup. Williams carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards. That’s  3.2 yards per carry. At one point in the second half, the Steelers had a total of 8 rushing yards. For the game, they amassed a team total of 60 yards, the fewest this season. They were also 1 of 6 in the red zone.

The Steelers pass defense gave up a career high 372 passing yards to Johnny Manziel. He was 33/45—that’s an .733 completion percentage—and a touchdown on the afternoon.

Also, Pittsburgh lost the time of possession battle 32:43 to 27:17; keeping the defense on the field for log stretches is what will kill them against more formidable offense they’re are likely to see if they make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh has now beaten Cleveland 9 times out of the last 11 meetings. Coach Mike Tomlin still has never lost to the Browns at Heinz Field, he is 9-0, and 14-3 overall in the regular season. 

The Steelers have a BYE next week, then play at the Seattle Seahawks on November 29th.

Buckeyes on Sunday and Monday (Week 10)

Sunday marked the beginning of a major stretch for the current Ohio State Buckeyes, and for several former Bucks, who are searching for their own championship in the NFL.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk had 2 tackles and a sack, and kicker Mike Nugent scored 6 points on two field goals of 30+ & 42 yards for the Cincinnati Bengals’ only points in their first loss of the 2015 season. The AFC North leaders are now 8-1, and have a 3 game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Safety Will Allen collected 9 tackles and forced a fumble, defensive end Cam Heyward 2 tackles and a sack, linebacker Ryan Shazier had 5 tackles and a sack for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 30-9 victory over division rival Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh is now 6-4 and holds the top Wild Card spot in the AFC.

Safety Kurt Coleman had 5 tackles an interception and a pass break up, while wide receiver Ted Ginn Junior had 4 catches for 45 yards to help the Carolina Panthers stay undefeated at 9-0, by beating the Tennessee Titans 27-10.

James Laurinaitis had 6 tackles for the St. Louis Rams in their 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. The “Little Animal” now has 66 tackles on the season.

 

 

Steelers-Browns Preview

Pittsburgh is 4-1 vs. Cleveland in the last 5 games.

We all know what happened when Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury for 4 games in September. The Steelers went 2-2, and the offense looked like a shell of itself. The only good news about his latest injury, is that Pittsburgh will play the 2-7 Cleveland Browns before heading to the BYE week.

But, since this is a “rivalry game”–even though Pittsburgh has won 4 of the last 5, 8-2 in the last 10, and are 27-6 versus Cleveland since the Browns franchise returned in 1999–this isn’t a guaranteed victory for the Black & Yellow. The Browns won the most recent meeting, 31-10 in First Energy Stadium last October. And, that was with Pro-Bowl QB Ben Roethlisberger at the helm.

With all that being said, this Sunday’s matchup in Heinz Field will be far more interesting than the win-loss records show. Here are a few keys to look forward to in this weekend’s game.

• Cleveland is last in the NFL against the rush. They give up 147.6 yards per game, and have allowed a league high 11 and 4 runs for over 20+ and 40+ yards, respectively.

The Steelers are 5th in the league in rushing, averaging 133.4 yards a game and a league high 13 runs over 20 yards. Although most of that was done with the now injured Le’Veon Bell, his replacement DeAngelo Williams, did significantly contribute to those numbers in the three games he started in the place of Bell this season. Williams is also coming off his best day as a Steeler, 170 yards, 2 touchdowns and 55 receiving yards against the Oakland Raiders. With Landry Jones making his second career start, you can expect to see more Williams.

UPDATE (11/13/15): Johnny Manziel has been announced the starter for Sunday according to several sources. “Johnny Football” is completing only 51.8% of his passes for 561 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 3 games (2 starts) he’s appeared in, in 2015. His passer rating is 42.0.

Browns quarterback Josh McCown is expected to be back at the helm for Cleveland this week after missing last Thursday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. McCown is completing 65% of his passes with a 95.2 passer rating on the season.

The Steelers give up 273 passing yards per game (7th worse in the NFL), and have allowed 30 plays of over 20+ yards, 11 plays over 40+ yards on the season. The Steelers D will need to step it up to avoid losing to another NFL bottom cellar dweller like Kansas City Chiefs.

• While Landry Jones is 0-1 as a starter (and threw 3 interceptions in that game versus the Chiefs), in relief of backup Michael Vick against the Arizona Cardinals and Roethlisberger against the Oakland Raiders, Jones played very well and helped Pittsburgh win those games against playoff caliber teams. Hopefully, he and offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be more prepared for his second start.

• Antonio Brown looks like the best wideout in the League again fresh off his career, and Steelers franchise record 17 receptions for 284 yard performance. But, only one of those catches came after Roethlisberger left the game with a foot injury. It happened to be the most important of the game, because it set up the game winning field goal.

However, Brown was missing in action for a majority of Roethlisberger’s last injury stint. His NFL record of 35 consecutive games with 5+ catches for 50+ yards was broken and he only went over 100 yards once. That was in the loss to Kansas City.

In order to beat Cleveland, Jones will have to hook up with Brown often versus a Cleveland secondary that gives up 254 yards a game. Brown doesn’t need to have half the production he had in his career record-breaking performance, just enough so the Cleveland secondary can’t load up the box to assist their weak run D.

• Steeler fans will want to pay close attention the Jets-Bills matchup on Thursday night. Each are in position to gain the final two AFC Wild Card spots Pittsburgh will need to win in order to make the postseason. If Buffalo wins, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo will have identical 5-4 records headed into Sunday.