The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of Detroit on Sunday with their sixth win of the season, out of eight games, which was also their third in a row, the first time in 2017 they have been able to string together more than two wins consecutively.
And they did it without Martavis Bryant, seeing rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster explode for one of the biggest receiving days in team history, 193 yards on seven catches, including a 97-yard touchdown.
What do the charting numbers say about the game? Who played, when did they play, and in what role? How effective were certain packages in certain situations? The Excel spreadsheet knows all. Here is what I gather from my own charts.
- Personnel groupings:
- 11: 42/65 (64.6%)
- 12: 5/65 (7.7%)
- 21: 2/65 (3.1%)
- 22: 13/65 (20%)
- V-32: 3/65 (4.6%)
- So a week after seeing by far the biggest shirt toward run-heavy personnel of the season—the first and only game in which the usage of three-receiver packages dipped even close to 50 percent, let alone below—we find ourselves back to normal, seeing the Steelers use their base offensive set almost two thirds of the time.
- It is interesting that it’s almost all or nothing, though. If it’s not 11, with three receivers, a running back, and a tight end, it’s usually 22, with two tight ends, a fullback, a running back, and just one receiver.
- Unsurprisingly, most of that came in the fourth quarter. Surprisingly, it was ineffective. Just 2.8 yards per carry on 10 rushes out of 22 personnel. Only three of the 10 runs were ‘successful’ plays.
- The Lions were one of the heaviest blitzers against the Steelers this season, doing so on 10 of 34 dropbacks. It didn’t work out so great for them. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t sacked and completed eight of 10 passes for 130 yards, including plays of 40 and 41 yards.
- Tight end Xavier Grimble saw 26 snaps, but only five as the lone tight end. He was not targeted, thought the bulk of his snaps were on running plays.
- Both Justin Hunter and Eli Rogers played roughly the same number of snaps with roughly the same number of targets and roughly the same impact. They both had one third-down conversion, albeit Rogers’ via penalty.
- Smith-Schuster only came off the field when the Steelers went into the 22 or victory formation packages.
- Just out of curiosity, the Steelers averaged about 2.5 yards per 19 running plays when he was on the field against the Lions.
- Roethlisberger interception came out of an empty set with Antonio Brown as the only wide receiver on the field.
- Average depth of target – 11.9 (34 targets; 31 official)
- Darrius Heyward-Bey – 24 (1 target)
- Antonio Brown – 15.3 (11 targets; 10 official)
- Jesse James – 5.3 (4 targets; 3 official)
- Le’Veon Bell – -2.3 (3 targets)
- JuJu Smith–Schuster – 11.4 (10 targets)
- Eli Rogers – 13.5 (2 targets; 1 official)
- Justin Hunter – 19.3 (3 targets)