Monday, December 17, 2007

A Little Perspective Goes a Long Way

"When you hit adversity, you see what type of players you have on your team . . . [w]ho's going to quit? Who's going to keep fighting? The encouraging thing is we fought to the end."

A quote from a Steelers player after yesterday's game? Actually it's a statement that Hines Ward made -- December 4, 2005 -- in the aftermath of a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that seemingly ended Pittsburgh's playoff hopes. All fans of the Black & Gold know what happened after that: the team won its final four regular season games (including a game in the dome at Minnesota) to finish at 11-5, made the playoffs, and went on to win the fifth Super Bowl in franchise history.

The 2007 edition of the Steelers compares favorably, statistically speaking, to that 2005 team. Here's a look at some of the numbers through fourteen games:
  • Net rushing yards: 2005, 1,672 v. 2007, 1,952

  • Net passing yards: 2005, 2,413 v. 2007, 2,598

  • Avg. number of offensive plays per game: 2005, 55.93 v. 2007, 63.43

  • Points scored: 2005, 295 v. 2007, 331.

  • Net rushing yards allowed: 2005, 1,154 v. 2007, 1,168

  • Net passing yards allowed: 2005, 2,711 v. 2007, 2,444

  • Avg. number of offensive plays allowed: 2005, 58.86 v. 2007, 57.57

  • Points allowed: 2005, 234 v. 2007, 211

Clearly everything is relative. The doom-and-gloom surrounding the team now is but a temporal thing. If the Steelers can win their next two games, thereby clinching the division, this two game losing streak will be a distant memory -- at least until they face Jacksonville during Wild Card Weekend.

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