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 #StartEndTOPObtainedBegin LOS# PlaysYDSPEN YDSNET YDS1st DWNSEND LOSRESULTFLAGSACKSTUFFTFL
19:585:264:32KickoffPIT 308270272CIN 43Punt0100
22:080:261:42PuntPIT 3037070PIT 37Punt0010
39:455:244:21PuntPIT 87400402PIT 48Punt0010
42:210:212:00PuntPIT 2013750754CIN 5FG0100
515:008:346:26KickoffPIT 301064-10543CIN 16FG1000
66:4912:279:22PuntPIT 181580-30505CIN 32Punt3200
79:505:344:16PuntPIT 327450451CIN 23FG0000
81:520:001:52INTPIT 124160161PIT 28Punt0010
Ravens
Drive #StartEndTOPObtainedBegin LOS# PlaysYDSPEN YDSNET YDS1st DWNSEND LOSRESULTFLAGSACKSTUFFTFL
114:1611:492:27PuntPIT 386100101PIT 48Punt0100
210:349:091:25PuntBLT 4539090BLT 36Punt0000
31:5913:003:59KickoffPIT 206130131PIT 33Punt0110
412:049:522:12PuntPIT 205350352BLT 45INT0010
55:270:464:41PuntPIT 151147-10373BLT 48Punt0010
615:0010:544:06KickoffPIT 208530533BLT 27FG0010
77:1312:469:27KickoffPIT 2016745795BLT 1FG1023
811:119:461:25PuntPIT 1632-5-30PIT 13Punt1000
98:144:433:31PuntPIT 13537-5321PIT 45Punt0100
103:132:510:22FumbleBLT 939091BLT 9TD0000
Bills
Drive #StartEndTOPObtainedBegin LOS# PlaysYDSPEN YDSNET YDS1st DWNSEND LOSRESULTFLAGSACKSTUFFTFL
115:007:067:54KickoffPIT 2213735786BUF 1TD0000
25:5714:456:12PuntPIT 221456-5514BUF 27FG1002
313:054:558:10PuntPIT 231137-15224PIT 45Punt2310
41:420:031:39PuntPIT 18859-5544BUF 28FG1000
58:294:543:35FumblePIT 196460462BUF 35Punt0000
63:452:171:28KickoffPIT 3138080PIT 39Punt0000
711:256:195:06KickoffPIT 20960-10503BUF 30FG1101
82:510:462:05INTPIT 6630-15151PIT 21Punt2000
913:5012:041:46PuntPIT 43-30-30PIT 1Punt0100
109:202:147:06PuntPIT 2013580584BUF 22FG0020

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.