Pro Football Focus has posted the personnel grouping percentages used by all 32 NFL teams through the first four games of the season and the numbers posted for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense are not surprising at all considering what has transpired.
The Steelers have used their 11 personnel grouping (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) 65.63% of the time thus far. The 12 personnel grouping (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) has been used on 13.28% of the offensive plays run while the 21 grouping (2RB, 1TE, 2WR has been used 10.55% of the time.
Why is this not a surprise? Through the first four games of the season, the Steelers offense has been behind on the scoreboard for 126 of 129 offensive plays run this year in the second half of games. 80 of those plays were run in the fourth quarter and on all 80 the Steelers were down seven or more points. That certainly dictates more use of three wide receiver sets.
The Steelers would obviously like to lower their 11 personnel usage down by about 10% a game, but will only be able to do so if they start leading some games in the second half. This in turn should lower the passing attempts of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and hopefully limit the amount of sacks and hits he takes as well.