Digging Deeper Into The Magic Number Stat That Browns GM Michael Lombardi Taunts

Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post had an interesting breakdown Tuesday morning of a stat Cleveland Browns general manager Michael Lombardi likes to rely on that encompasses total rushes and total completions by a team over the course of a regular season as it relates to winning percentage and teams making the playoffs. Fortenbaugh\’s conclusion is that the magic number over a course of a season is an average of 50 or more when the total rushes are added to the total completions and divided by the amount of games.

This stat certainly is interesting, but I wanted to look at from several different angles as it relates to not only the Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 season, but by game by game across the league in addition.

In the 512 games played last year, there were 228 instances when a team had a magic number of 50 more in a game, and those teams had a combined record of 153-73-2 (67.1%) in those games. Keep in mind that there were 54 games that both teams had a magic number of 50 or greater, and those games are included in that record. However, when a team had a magic number of 50 or greater, and they held their opposition to less than 50, those teams had a combined record of 127-47 (73%).

Now, let\’s throw out the magic number for a minute and look at straight differential of that stat in the head to head games from 2012. When one team had 9 or more combined rushing attempts and completions than their opposition did the combined records came out to be 113-29-1 (79%).

If you want to look at a real magic number, you can use 42. Last season, when a team held its opponent to 42 or less combined rushing attempts and completions, and they put up more than 42 themselves; the combined record was 102-21 (82.9%). That\’s a better winning percentage than the TOX Stat that I like to track every year.

So what about the Steelers last season? Offensively they averaged 47.9 combined total rushes and completions a game and that is of course 2.1 less than the magic number of 50 that Fortenbaugh points to. However, defensively the Steelers only allowed a 43.1 average in 2012, and that was the best in the league.

While it\’s obvious the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to injury pretty much killed the season, it is even more obvious when you consider that through their first nine games of the season the Steelers offense was averaging 51.3 combined rushes and completions per game. Over the course of the final seven games, the offense averaged 43.4 combined rushes and completions per game and 45.3 in the three games that he missed.

So how important is the magic number of 50 to the Steelers since Roethlisberger was drafted? You might be surprised to know that the Steelers only hit the 50 number once over the course of the last nine seasons and that happened during Roethlisberger\’s rookie season.

I think the real magic in this stat lies in the differential more than it actually does with the number 50, but I do intend on diving deeper into it in 2013 as I feel it will be worth tracking.

2012 Steelers Offensive & Defensive Sum Of Passes Completed & Rushing Attempts By Week

WEEKOPPW/LOFF RUSHOFF COMPOFF TOTDEF RUSHDEF COMPDEF TOTDIFF
1at DENL, 19 – 312622482719462
2NYJW, 27 – 1028245222103220
3at OAKL, 31 – 3420365621244511
5PHIW, 16 – 143022522320439
6at TENL, 23 – 26222446222547-1
7at CINW, 24 – 1729275621143521
8WASW, 27 – 1227245121163714
9at NYGW, 24 – 2035215622103224
10KCW, 16 – 13291645351146-1
11BALL, 10 – 132718452320432
12at CLEL, 14 – 20202040341751-11
13at BALW, 23 – 2026255121163714
14SDL, 24 – 34172239362157-18
15at DALL, 24 – 27172441213051-10
16CINL, 10 – 133114451624405
17CLEW, 24 – 10281543262248-5

Sortable 2012 NFL Regualr Season Offensive & Defensive Sum Of Passes Completed & Rushing Attempts

TEAMOFF RUSHOFF COMPOFF TOTDEF RUSHDEF COMPDEF TOTDIFFOFF AVGDEF AVGDIFPLAY
NE52340292541536978414157.849.08.8Y
DEN48140288340432172515855.245.39.9Y
HOU50835486239030869816453.943.610.3Y
DET3914458364203467667052.347.94.4N
WAS5192918103633937565450.647.33.4Y
GB4333748074183137317650.445.74.8Y
ATL3784228004113377485250.046.83.3Y
SEA53625979536832769510049.743.46.3Y
NO370423793457370827-3449.651.7-2.1N
DAL3554347894413207612849.347.61.8N
MIN486300786427391818-3249.151.1-2.0Y
PHI413367780479292771948.848.20.6N
SF4922897814073377443748.846.52.3Y
IND4403397794283347621748.747.61.1Y
BAL444334778492335827-4948.651.7-3.1Y
KC5002737734822797611248.347.60.8N
NYJ494272766495266761547.947.60.3N
PIT4123547663912996907647.943.14.8N
CIN430335765423346769-447.848.1-0.3Y
CHI4702877573883507381947.346.11.2N
OAK376376752444347791-3947.049.4-2.4N
BUF442309751470306776-2546.948.5-1.6N
SD411338749406347753-446.847.1-0.3N
CAR462284746416371787-4146.649.2-2.6N
STL410332742442362804-6246.450.3-3.9N
NYG409323732449341790-5845.849.4-3.6N
MIA440293733431353784-5145.849.0-3.2N
TB416311727377410787-6045.449.2-3.8N
CLE396328724457378835-11145.352.2-6.9N
TEN378318696483374857-16143.553.6-10.1N
ARI352337689506270776-8743.148.5-5.4N
JAC358328686545341886-20042.955.4-12.5N

Steelers Offensive & Defensive Sum Of Passes Completed & Rushing Attempts (2004-2013)

YEAROFF RUSHOFF COMPOFF TOTOFF AVGDEF RUSHDEF COMPDEF TOTDEF AVGDIFF
200461822884652.935726962639.113.8
200554922877748.640231571744.83.8
200646931278148.840831972745.43.4
200751128279349.636129265340.88.8
200846030376347.739030169143.24.5
200942835177948.737231969143.25.5
201047129876948.133336369643.54.6
201143434177548.439928968843.05.4
201241235476647.939129969043.14.8