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Steelers Ravens Series – Explosive Plays & Turnovers – Fox Tox Stats


One stat that former Ravens head coach Brian Billick brought to the attention of stats enthusiast a few years back was what he termed as the Fox-Tox rating. Basically the stat takes the differential of explosive plays, a play of 20 yards or more and adds it to the differential of the turnovers gained and lost to come to come up with this rating. The video below describes it in more detail, but it is pretty simple.

With the Steelers set to take on the Ravens this Sunday, I thought we would look how this stat shakes out in individual games in the series dating back to the 2000 season. The two teams have met a total of 25 times during that span with the Steelers winning 15 of these games.

As you can see in the table below, the Steelers have had a minus TOX stat 7 times and only won twice when that happened. When they have had a positive 2 or better TOX stat in a game, they are 12-1 and when they have had a zero or positive 1 TOX stat they are 1 and 4. Plus 2 seems to be the magic number for the Steelers.

GAME SCORE TURNOVERS BIG PLAYS TOTAL TOX
Week Date PIT BAL PIT TO BAL TO PIT BP BAL BP PIT TOX BAL TOX
1 9/3/2000 0 16 1 0 3 2 0 0
9 10/29/2000 9 6 1 3 2 2 2 -2
8 11/4/2001 10 13 1 1 2 1 1 -1
14 12/16/2001 26 21 0 1 6 1 6 -6
Division 1/20/2002 27 10 1 4 3 2 4 -4
8 10/27/2002 31 18 1 5 4 1 7 -7
17 12/29/2002 34 31 2 4 4 9 -3 3
1 9/7/2003 34 15 1 2 4 0 5 -5
17 12/28/2003 10 13 5 2 1 4 -6 6
2 9/19/2004 13 30 3 0 5 3 -1 1
16 12/26/2004 20 7 2 1 5 1 3 -3
8 10/31/2005 20 19 2 3 1 3 -1 1
11 11/20/2005 13 16 2 2 3 0 3 -3
12 11/26/2006 0 27 3 0 1 1 -3 3
16 12/24/2006 7 31 3 3 3 4 -1 1
9 11/5/2007 38 7 1 4 3 1 5 -5
17 12/30/2007 21 27 3 1 3 2 -1 1
4 9/29/2008 23 20 1 1 3 3 0 0
15 12/14/2008 13 9 2 2 3 1 2 -2
ConfChamp 1/18/2009 23 14 1 4 4 2 5 -5
12 11/29/2009 17 20 1 2 4 4 1 -1
16 12/27/2009 23 20 2 3 5 2 4 -4
4 10/3/2010 14 17 1 2 2 2 1 -1
13 12/5/2010 13 10 1 1 4 2 2 -2
Division 1/15/2011 31 24 2 3 2 1 2 -2

Explosive plays are nothing new to the Steelers as they had 77 regular season plays of 20 yards or more last year while giving up just 40. With Mike Wallace another year experienced and both Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders heading into their second year now, the Steelers offense looks to built to be even more explosive this year as has been evidenced so far this preseason. Defensively the Steelers look to return the same starting secondary they had last year that was notorious for not giving up the big play.

On the Ravens side of things they have added receiver Lee Evans, who they hope to use to stretch the field much the same way the Steelers use Wallace. Evans has been hampered by a foot injury since being acquired from the Bills, but the injury is not deemed as one that will prevent him from playing Sunday. If he is hampered, that leaves rookies Tandon Doss and Torrey Smith left to pick up the slack. That will be a tall task if that happens. The Ravens look like they have shaken up the secondary as well as it is being reported that Cary Williams will start on one side likely opposite Domonique Foxworth. Chris Carr and rookie Jimmy Smith will likely get snaps at some point on Sunday.

On the surface, neither team is likely to have a good game running the ball against the other, so this game figures to be decided purely on turnovers and big plays once again. You have to like the Steelers chances if they can win the turnover battle by one as well as just make one more explosive play than the Ravens do. We will know Sunday.

I will be tracking this stat for the Steelers all season along with the other 31 teams to see where everyone ranks.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FZF5NGGMPOZGGWY6RC5D5X5HCM Kingdoom

    An interesting stat. What concerns me is not the record with a negative or +2 TOX as that is to be expected when good teams face one another. My connern is the record when the TOX is zero or +1. It shows me that the Steelers cannot win a close game without depending on at least one big play to get them over the hump. They have difficulty winning a game where the opposition doesn’t make a critical mistake. They cannot grind out a win.
    It would interesting to see this stat compared to some other better teams such as NE, Indy, SD, and the like.

  • dimdem

    I don’t think that you can draw that kind of inference just from looking at the final TOX. A 0 might mean that you didn’t make any big plays. It might also mean that you made several big plays but also had several turnovers or gave up as many big plays as you made.

  • Phantaskippy

    I think the +1,0,-1 record stems largely from our defense and offensive style, which are designed more towards big plays. Our Defense is designed to stop big plays and force long marches, increasing the odds of our defense making a big play, while Bruce Arians offense, and Ben’s play style are geared towards big plays in the passing game.

    If our opponent is making big plays on offense, and our defense doesn’t force turnovers then we aren’t going to have a good game.

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