Thursday, November 06, 2008

Looking Backward, Looking Forward

A couple of busy days (including the launch of a new blog) kept us from getting into the nitty-gritty of Monday evening's game, so we'll take a few moments to highlight a couple of items from that game, and also take a quick look at Sunday's matchup.

Steelers @ Washington
We're not sure if you picked up on this, but the Steelers' defense dominated the game.

A couple of statistics to underscore what you already know:
  • Clinton Portis gained 51 yards rushing on 13 carries. More significantly, he had 22 yards on a single carry in the first quarter, which means that on his twelve other carries he gained 29 yards.

  • We mentioned this while writing during the game but it is worth repeating: The Redskin wideouts were limited to nine catches for 55 yards ~ a per catch average of 6.11 yards. The unrelenting pressure the defensive front generated allowed the secondary and inside linebackers to play aggressively against what is an undersized receiving corps.

  • The Redskins' 221 total yards of offense was the first time they gained fewer than 300 yards since week one of the season (209 yards versus the Giants).

  • Coming into the game the Redskins had surrendered 16 sacks on the season ~ they gave up seven versus the Steelers; and the total yardage lost on those sacks was 45 yards
Indianapolis v. Steelers
Even with Ben Roethlisberger playing the Steelers' offense has struggled this season, and this week his presence is questionable. However in this week's opponent they go against a defense that, despite recent improvement, is also struggling:
  • In eight games this season Colts' opponents have managed to maintain possession of the football for 30 minutes or more in seven of those games.

  • They have given up 20 or more first downs in five of their last six games.

  • After surrendering 262 points in all of 2007, they have given up 177 in eight games this season.
Meanwhile the Colts' offense has fallen off a cliff:
  • In the last nine seasons (including 2008) the Colts have failed to score 400+ points only once (2002, 349 total points, a per game of average of 20.53). So far this season they have scored 167 points ~ a 20.88 per game average.

  • The Colts have rushed for 100 yards or more one time this season (114 yards versus Jacksonville), and their average gain per rushing play (3.3 yards) is at a nine season low.

  • Their average time of possession (26:33) is nearly three minutes below their previous low average (2006, 29:32); and there has only been one game in which they have possessed the ball for 30 minutes or more (32:04 versus Baltimore).
We're looking forward to being in Pittsburgh for this game; and the fact that the Steelers are 13-1 in Pittsburgh against the Colts franchise (includes Baltimore and Indianapolis), makes us even more hopeful.

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