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Offensive Line Plays A Big Role In Low Scoring Offense Output As Of Late


I spend a ton of time watching and breaking down the play of the offensive line as most well know. A reader emailed last night to ask if I could break down all of the Steelers games this season to see how many times the offensive line was guilty of hurting or killing a drive. I do not have time to do the whole season right yet, but I did parse the data from the last 3 games and it paints a pretty clear picture on how the offensive line has hurt the offensive scoring production.

Over the last 3 games, the Steelers offense has had 28 true possessions. Those 28 possessions have resulted in 9 field goals and 2 touchdowns. In those 28 possessions though, the offense ineptitude can clearly be pinned on the offensive line play. In the tables below, you will see the drives from the Bengals, Ravens and Bills games. I omitted the one play kneel down series and the one play Rashard Mendenhall drive that resulted in a fumble. They key columns to look at are at the end of each drive. Those columns track the flags, sacks allowed, running back stuffs for no gain and running backs thrown for a loss. all of which are key offensive line stats that need to be taken into account when judging these drives.

You can clearly see that over the last 3 games, only 6 drives had no penalties, sacks or running back stuffs or thrown for loss during them. Of those 6 drives, 2 ended in touchdowns, 1 with a field goal and 3 ended in punts. 14 of the drives included only one instance of those key stats and the offense ended up punting 9 times, kicked 4 field goals and 1 ended with an interception. Which I should really just throw that drive out, but will not. The remaining 8 of the drives included more than 1 instance of those key stats and the offense managed a field goal 4 of those 8 drives.

If you go back and look at the play-by-play and or re-watch the games, several of these key stats were drive killers. It is hard enough for the Steelers offense to overcome 1 of these things happening on a drive as it often times puts the offense in much more predictable down and distance situations. 6 clean drives out of 28 is a mere 21%. That is pretty bad. Just 4 more clean drives likely would of changed the offensive scoring output dramatically in the last 3 games. That is just a little over 1.25 more good clean drives a game. If you go back even further through past games, I am sure it will paint the same story, maybe even worse.

The offensive line will not magically improve drastically over night or at this point in the season, but they can work on the penalties and technique. Of the 13 penalties listed in the last 3 games, only 1 was on tight end David Johnson, who really is a part of the offense line if you think about it. If the line can just minimize penalties and only slightly improve, you could see scoring improve by another 10 points a game. That is huge. We shall see.

Bengals
Drive # Start End TOP Obtained Begin LOS # Plays YDS PEN YDS NET YDS 1st DWNS END LOS RESULT FLAG SACK STUFF TFL
1 9:58 5:26 4:32 Kickoff PIT 30 8 27 0 27 2 CIN 43 Punt 0 1 0 0
2 2:08 0:26 1:42 Punt PIT 30 3 7 0 7 0 PIT 37 Punt 0 0 1 0
3 9:45 5:24 4:21 Punt PIT 8 7 40 0 40 2 PIT 48 Punt 0 0 1 0
4 2:21 0:21 2:00 Punt PIT 20 13 75 0 75 4 CIN 5 FG 0 1 0 0
5 15:00 8:34 6:26 Kickoff PIT 30 10 64 -10 54 3 CIN 16 FG 1 0 0 0
6 6:49 12:27 9:22 Punt PIT 18 15 80 -30 50 5 CIN 32 Punt 3 2 0 0
7 9:50 5:34 4:16 Punt PIT 32 7 45 0 45 1 CIN 23 FG 0 0 0 0
8 1:52 0:00 1:52 INT PIT 12 4 16 0 16 1 PIT 28 Punt 0 0 1 0
Ravens
Drive # Start End TOP Obtained Begin LOS # Plays YDS PEN YDS NET YDS 1st DWNS END LOS RESULT FLAG SACK STUFF TFL
1 14:16 11:49 2:27 Punt PIT 38 6 10 0 10 1 PIT 48 Punt 0 1 0 0
2 10:34 9:09 1:25 Punt BLT 45 3 9 0 9 0 BLT 36 Punt 0 0 0 0
3 1:59 13:00 3:59 Kickoff PIT 20 6 13 0 13 1 PIT 33 Punt 0 1 1 0
4 12:04 9:52 2:12 Punt PIT 20 5 35 0 35 2 BLT 45 INT 0 0 1 0
5 5:27 0:46 4:41 Punt PIT 15 11 47 -10 37 3 BLT 48 Punt 0 0 1 0
6 15:00 10:54 4:06 Kickoff PIT 20 8 53 0 53 3 BLT 27 FG 0 0 1 0
7 7:13 12:46 9:27 Kickoff PIT 20 16 74 5 79 5 BLT 1 FG 1 0 2 3
8 11:11 9:46 1:25 Punt PIT 16 3 2 -5 -3 0 PIT 13 Punt 1 0 0 0
9 8:14 4:43 3:31 Punt PIT 13 5 37 -5 32 1 PIT 45 Punt 0 1 0 0
10 3:13 2:51 0:22 Fumble BLT 9 3 9 0 9 1 BLT 9 TD 0 0 0 0
Bills
Drive # Start End TOP Obtained Begin LOS # Plays YDS PEN YDS NET YDS 1st DWNS END LOS RESULT FLAG SACK STUFF TFL
1 15:00 7:06 7:54 Kickoff PIT 22 13 73 5 78 6 BUF 1 TD 0 0 0 0
2 5:57 14:45 6:12 Punt PIT 22 14 56 -5 51 4 BUF 27 FG 1 0 0 2
3 13:05 4:55 8:10 Punt PIT 23 11 37 -15 22 4 PIT 45 Punt 2 3 1 0
4 1:42 0:03 1:39 Punt PIT 18 8 59 -5 54 4 BUF 28 FG 1 0 0 0
5 8:29 4:54 3:35 Fumble PIT 19 6 46 0 46 2 BUF 35 Punt 0 0 0 0
6 3:45 2:17 1:28 Kickoff PIT 31 3 8 0 8 0 PIT 39 Punt 0 0 0 0
7 11:25 6:19 5:06 Kickoff PIT 20 9 60 -10 50 3 BUF 30 FG 1 1 0 1
8 2:51 0:46 2:05 INT PIT 6 6 30 -15 15 1 PIT 21 Punt 2 0 0 0
9 13:50 12:04 1:46 Punt PIT 4 3 -3 0 -3 0 PIT 1 Punt 0 1 0 0
10 9:20 2:14 7:06 Punt PIT 20 13 58 0 58 4 BUF 22 FG 0 0 2 0

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