A Look At The Steelers Defense Last Season Against The No Huddle

In previous post about the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line play last season, one of the commenters stated that he couldn\’t stand seeing Casey Hampton being forced to play on obvious passing downs because of the no huddle offenses the team faced. Following that comment, another person stated that once teams saw Hampton and Brett Keisel in the game, damn near all of them went no-huddle almost immediately.

I wanted to see just how accurate both of these statements were so I went back and pulled the charting data from each game to have a look at the defense versus the no huddle last season.

According to our charting data, opposing offenses only ran 43 no huddle plays against the Steelers defense last season with 17 of those plays taking place in the Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders. Of those 43 plays, 30 of them were pass plays with 18 of them going for completions for 200 yards and one touchdown.

On the 17 running plays ran out of the no huddle against the Steelers defense last season, offenses gained 97 yards with one touchdown. It is important, however, to keep in mind that 64 of those yards and the one touchdown came on the long run by Darren McFadden in the game against the Raiders.

The total yards gained on those 43 plays was 297 for a 6.91 average per play number.

So how many plays was Hampton in for? You might be surprised to know that our data only shows him being on the field for 15 of those 43 plays. 8 of those were pass plays while the other 7 were of course runs. On those 15 plays that Hampton was in the game for, offenses gained 131 yards with 64 of those yards coming on the aforementioned McFadden touchdown run. So essentially, when Hampton was on the field, offenses gained 8.73 yards per play as opposed to 5.93 yards per play when he wasn\’t.

So what about when Steve McLendon was on the field as the nose tackle against the no huddle? That occurred on just 5 plays that went for 42 yards and a touchdown which equates to a 8.4 yards per play average. All 5 of those plays were pass plays, just in case you are curious, and the one touchdown was a 28 yard pass to Anquan Boldin from Joe Flacco.

Will teams run more no huddle against the Steelers defense in 2013 in effort to catch them in their base package more often? I think we can assume that the New England Patriots will try to.

Will having McLendon being the starting nose tackle this year enable the defense to provide more pressure up the middle? It\’s hard to say based on the small sample size of no huddle plays that he was in on last year, but I think this is what the original commenter was trying to suggest. At least now you know the facts and stats from last season as Hampton wasn\’t on the field against the no huddle as often as many thought he was.

  • Matt Manzo

    Awesome researching! I freakin love you guys! Who was manning the NT when Hampton or Mclendon weren’t there?

  • SteelersDepot

    They were in the nickel and thus no nose tackle

  • Randy Neff

    Any offense would love to catch defenses in their base while running the no huddle. Especially if it is a quick tempo no huddle. If the big uglies can’t get off the field it is a problem. Of course there’s the issue of teams running the ball out of the no huddle. It’s all about matchups and exploiting them.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Hey, that was me that said that 😀 lol, and I was in the stands for that Oakland game. Tough, tough loss!

    I’d be interested to see how well Casey did against the no-huddle throughout his career. I know I’ve seen the Steelers struggling to get him off the field a few times stuck playing against the no-huddle, although apparently not much last year.


    At least the mods are tuned in here…I was the other post referred to…good pick up.

    I overstated it seems but I’m going back to the DEN playoff game (I know it was altitude) too that game was not so much due to no huddle, but Casey & Brett were gassed. I thought Peyton picked on them with the no huddle last year.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    My question to this article (seeing as how the Steelers have a defense-first reputation) is: Do we have an answer for the no-huddle? It can’t be to try blitzing every time. That plays right into a QB’s hands. And it really bothered me that Carson Palmer (of all people!!) was able to use that against us so easily.

    I’m tired of watching our defense stay on the field for long, sustained drives of 5-6 yards at a time — eventually ending in points, and leaving our guys out of gas.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I hate the no huddle as a way to gain a personnel advantage…and I think it’s unsportsmanlike to snap the ball when the D is changing…Lining up quickly at the LOS and never snapping the ball for ever really sux when I’m using my DVR. The union should have a problem with it too. There are 90 guys active on game day, why keep just 22 on the field?

    I’d like to see a mandatory quicker pace ion first and second downs with both teams being allowed to quickly substitute occasionally, maybe every third or fourth play? But, I’d like to see the D allowed to substitute on major situational changes like redzone, third and short, 2nd and 20, etc.