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Kipper : Prior To Big Ben & Brown's Injuries, #Steelers Offense/QB Were Putting Up Best Numbers In Years

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
I had discussed this briefly in my last Steelers Blog Post about Ben calling out Todd Haley but giving Bruce Arians a free pass for the garbage he called on a game to game basis. You can read that HERE.
Simply put, Ben Roethlisberger should be sending praise towards Todd Haley and Mike Tomlin should be sticking up for Todd Haley for what he has to go through as an Offensive Coordinator this year. The injuries on Offense, the turnover on the Offensive Line alone are difficult to deal with. Prior to the Steelers game at Heinz Field against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers Offense was starting to really take off. In the previous 3 games against 3 teams with winning records - Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Washington Redskins, the Steelers Offense had put up 24, 27 & 24 points against those teams. The Steelers put up 431 Total Yards of Offense against Cincinnati on the Road. 335 Total yards against the Washington redskins and 349 Total Yards against the New york Giants on the Road. The Offense was hitting it's stride.
Then Antonio Brown got injured and the injuries started piling up with Ben Roethlisberger being next early in the Kansas City Chiefs game which followed the win in New York. Ever since then it's been a spiraling affect of injuries for the Offense that has coincided with a 3-4 record to go along. In that time, the Steelers have had to move Pro-Bowl Center Maurkice Pouncey to RG in multiple games and start there for 1 with backup Doug Legursky playing Center because of ongoing injuries with the vastly overpaid and useless Willie Colon. Mike Adams, a rookie himself who had been placing RT Marcus Gilbert, got injured prompting the Steelers to use Practice Squader Kelvin Beachum at RT. Antronio Brown continued to miss multiple games. Byron Leftwich, the 2nd string QB, got injured in a game against Baltimore, prompting the Steelers to start 3rd String QB Charlie Batch for 2 games.
That's a lot of injuries, a lot of injuries to main players. Tell me, exactly how smooth the New England Patriots offense would run with their Pro Bowl Offensive Linemen moving positions, starting a 3rd String RT, having to start a 3d String QB for 2 games, losing Wes Welker for multiple games. The results wouldn't be impressive, yet Steelers fans think that someone Todd Haley should polish a turd and churn out Gold.
The truth is, the Steelers Offense leading up the Kansas City Chiefs game was achieving statistical achievements that they haven't had in years and if they were granted the same benefit of health that New England, Green Bay, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston, Denver, this Offense would've probably been putting up their best overall numbers in team history. Offensive as a whole and for Ben Roethlisberger.
Here's where the Steelers were heading into the Kansas City Chiefs game :

Numbers '12League Rank Career Rank 2011 '11 League Rank

Points Per Game 23.9 14 -- 21st

Total Offense 367.2 14th -- 373.9 11th

Red Zone Scoring (TD) % 53.3% 15th -- 50.91% 13th

3rd Down % 51.28% 1st -- 45.75% 5th

1st Downs Per Game 21.8 9th -- 21.3 9th

Tome Of Possession 32.17 2nd -- 32.28 1st

Pass Yards 2203 9th -- 4077 9th

Passer Rating 101.1 -- 2nd 90.1 --

Completion % 67.1 -- 1st 63.2% --

Sack % 5.4 -- 1st 7.2 --

Interception % 1.1 -- 1st 2.7 --

Basically as you can see from the chart above, the Steelers were performing way ahead of 2011's mark or right around it in certain categories. What's impressive and amazing is that for a brand new offense, that the players had only performed 8 games worth and weren't completely comfortable with, this Offense was only about 6 yards per game below what they had accomplished in 2011. One thing Bruce Arians offenses could get you were yards between the 20's. That Offense had been in place prior to Bruce Arians coming in and once he was here, that Offense had been in place for 5 seasons. There was comfort and complete familiarity with it, yet in the places where it should've achieved greater results over 2012, it was barely doing so and in some cases under-performing.
One of the biggest achievements occurring were the fewer numbers of sacks per pass attempt Ben Roethlisberger was enduring. On top of that his completion % was at a career high and his Interceptions per Pass Attempt were at a career low. Todd Haley had Ben performing at the most efficient rate of his career. Yards per pass had decreased but Points per game increases, 1st Downs per game increased, Red Zone scoring percentage and 3rd Down Conversions increased. Across the board the 2012 Steelers Offense was either outperforming 2011's Offense and most of the Offenses during the Ben Roethlisberger era or it was within a couple of points/yards like Total Yards and Time Of Possession.
I explained earlier what proceeded since - Massive injuries and a lack of cohesion and chemistry Offensively due to those injuries. Combine that with an Offense that is still new and not completely comfortable and a drop off in Offense across the board should've been expected. However there's still some in Steeler Nation that feel that these injuries were next to nothing and that the Offense should've overcome it and performed to a Top 5 level. Anything less and let's blame Todd Haley. That in itself is bull**** and people making accusations like that should really question their ability to make rational common sense conclusions.
The Steelers Offense still has a chance to finish the season and go into the playoffs on a high note. There's no more Willie colon week to week injuries. Rookie David DeCastro is in at RG, moving Ramon Foster over and has played in the past 2 games. The Offensive Line as a whole has played in 2 consecutive games. Kelvin Beachum still isn't on the same level talent wise as Gilbert and Adams. He still requires help in Pass Protection and his run blocking is sub par but some chemistry can help out in spots like that as well. The Wide Receivers have been healthy in consecutive games and facing Cincinnati we will have a full healthy compliment of Running Backs. This is where the Offense should start asserting itself, much like it did against the first meeting against Cincinnati where cohesion and some comfort with the Offensive Playbook came together.
The Steelers have to beat Cincinnati, but if they do and the injury bug is behind him, this Offense is capable of putting up the numbers I posted above and more.

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