Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Steelers @ Arizona: A Statistical Review

Each week during the 2008 season we offered up a statistical matchup of the Steelers and the team they were playing. Given the magnitude of the win on Sunday we thought we would look at the team numbers (as opposed to team and individuals) that the Cardinals and Steelers generated during Super Bowl XLIII and compare those with their respective average performances in both the playoffs and regular season.

Super Bowl XLIIIPlayoff Avg.Regular Season Avg.
Arizona Net Yards - Offense407362.0365.8
Steelers Net Yards - Defense407244.0237.2
Arizona Net Rushing - Offense33111.073.6
Steelers Net Rushing - Defense3344.080.3
Arizona Net Passing - Offense374251.0292.1
Steelers Net Passing Allowed - Defense374200.0156.9
Arizona Points - Offense2331.6726.69
Steelers Points - Defense2319.013.94
Steelers Net Yards - Offense292308.5311.9
Arizona Net Yards - Defense292324.3331.5
Steelers Net Rushing - Offense58108.5105.6
Arizona Net Rushing - Defense5877.3110.3
Steelers Net Passing - Offense234200.0206.3
Arizona Net Passing - Defense292247.0221.3
Steelers Points - Offense2729.021.69
Arizona Points - Defense2720.6726.63
Super Bowl XLIIIPlayoff Avg.Regular Season Avg.
Arizona - Yards per punt return174.07.2
Steelers - Yards per punt return2.514.16.0
Arizona - Yards allowed per punt return2.510.613.1
Steelers - Yards allowed per punt return177.76.2
Arizona - Yards per kick return18.221.021.7
Steelers - Yards per kick return20.018.120.3
Arizona - Yards allowed per kick return20.320.825.0
Steelers - Yards allowed per kick return18.221.419.1
Arizona - Net Punting35.035.134.1
Steelers - Net Punting35.032.735.6
Arizona - opponent net punting35.043.840.0
Steelers - opponent net punting35.036.238.5
Super Bowl XLIIIPlayoff Avg.Regular Season Avg.
Arizona - turnover differential-1+90
Steelers - turnover differential+1+5+4
Arizona - time of possession26:5933:1630:09
Steelers - time of possession33:0134:5031:29


What we see is that the Steelers defense mostly accomplished what it wanted. They made Arizona one-dimensional (i.e. they could not run effectively), they kept them from scoring (at least for most of the game) despite having given up huge yardage through the air.

On offense the Steelers performed near their averages except rushing the football, where Arizona's defense performed very well. Despite that fact the Steelers managed to gain a substantial advantage in time of possession.

Finally, Steelers' special teams ~ with the notable exception of the punt return and punt coverage units ~ matched or beat the Cardinals; and though the punt coverage unit gave up a big return to Steve Breaston, Mitch Berger's net average was still his best of the postseason.

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