Below are the stats I pieced together of 1st down plays from all 32 teams through week 9 of the season. They are sorted by best to worst using the TYP stat which is the average total yards per play on 1st down. The stats are also broken down by run and pass with averages for each as well as percentage of run versus pass plays on all 1st down plays. Keep in mind that these stats include EVERY 1st down play regardless of yardage.
Overall the Steelers rank 15th in the NFL on first down average yards per play of 5.54. They are 16th overall yards per rush on 1st down with an average of 4.15 and 4th overall in yards per pass on 1st down with an average of 8.32. Before the return of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers averaged 4.77 yards per carry and 6.44 yards per pass attempt on 1st down. Also since the return of Roethlisberger, there has been a shift back towards a more ballanced run pass ration on 1st down. Through the first 4 games, the Steelers ran 72% of the time on 1st down. In the 4 games since the return of Big Ben, the Steelers have run 65% of the time on 1st downs.
Ideally if the Steelers can keep their 1st down average at around the same level that it has been through the last 4 games, which is 5.84, they should win their share of ballgames over the last half of the season. Through the first 4 games without Ben they managed an average of 5.23 yards per play and went 3-1. It would also be advised to try to run a tad bit better on first down then they have over the last 4 games. Through the first 4 games they averaged 4.77 yards per carry on 1st down and since Ben returned they are only averaging 3.55 yards per carry on 1st down. Not making excuses, but the offensive line has really seen a flux of players this year and the best output was in the 1st and 3rd games of the season against the Falcons and Buccaneers. If the line gets any cohesion going forward, I suspect the next 8 games will be around a healthy 4.50 yards per carry or better.
NFL 1st Down Run & Pass Stats Through Week 9 2010
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