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Crunching The Numbers: Home Openers at Heinz Field
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zhangzk Offline

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Crunching The Numbers: Home Openers at Heinz Field

Heinz Field is truly amazing for a Steelers fan. If you have never attended a game there , you need to move that item to the very top of your bucket list. Between the Lombardi trophies on display in the great hall or the feeling when the jumbotron goes black just before the stadium erupts to Renegade, it is an experience that almost can’t be described.With a home record of 99-36-1, the Steelers hold the third highest win percentage (73.2%) of any home team in their current stadium. Only Gillette Stadium (Patriots; 83.7%) and U.S. Bank Stadium (Vikings; 76.4%) hold a higher home team win percentage. As impressive as that is, the Steelers are even more successful in their home opening games. Since Heinz Field opened in 2001, the Steelers are 15-2 in their first contest at home each year. They are 8-1 when opening the first week of the season, and 6–1 when their first home contest comes in Week 2. The lone time the Steelers did not play at home in the first two weeks of the season was during the inaugural 2001 season when the September 11 attacks postponed the second week of the season and the Steelers did not play their next game at home until October.For the past three seasons, the Steelers have not played at home until Week 2. In each of those games, their opponents came in to the game with a record of 1-0. The Steelers have won all three of those games by an average of 16.7 points. Additionally, the Steelers are 12-1 in home opening games at Heinz Field that are played at 1 PM.There are a variety of statistical trends for the Steelers in their home opener that would be wonderful to replicate:Run! Run! Run!All 17 victories have occurred when the team has rushed 20 or more times, and 13 of those victories came with 30 or more rushing attempts. The Steelers are 11–0 when rushing for more than 100 yards in a game, and are still 4-2 when failing to reach the century mark.Cause-and-effect is a great question for each one of these games. Were the Steelers running the ball because they were winning or were they winning because they were running the ball? Either way, the attempts need to come. First and Foremost It’s all about the first half at Heinz Field in the opening game. The Steelers or 15–0 when leading or tied at half time. The only two times they have lost the home opener they trailed at the half.Give and TakeThe two losses both occurred when the Steelers were -2 in turnover ratio. They have taken care of the ball for the most part, with only two games with three turnovers or more (1-1). D is the KeyThe Steelers have never given up more than 30 points in the home opener. Outside of a loss to the Raiders in 2002 (30 points)and wins over the Browns in 2014 (27 points) and the Raiders in 2004 (21 points), The Steelers have not given up more than 18 points. The average points against in a home opener at Heinz Field for the Steelers is 13.6 points.Bouncing back in a big way.It’s an understatement to say that Ben Rothlisberger had a rough game last week. Three interceptions and two fumbles is the epitome of a disastrous outing. Steeler fans have realized that Ben bounces back rather quickly, and the numbers give much evidence to that statement.In the last 10 years (2007-2018), Ben has had seven games in which he has thrown three or more interceptions. After each of those games, the Steelers are 7–0 the following week. Additionally, Ben has only thrown three interceptions TOTAL in those seven follow-up games. It should be noted that after the game on December 19, 2011 where Ben threw three interceptions in San Francisco Stephon Tuitt Jersey , he did not play the following week due to a high ankle sprain. Charlie Batch lead the team to a 27-0 victory over the Rams in Pittsburgh. Ben did start the following week, which was a victory in Cleveland 13-9.[Image: nike_steelers_3734.jpg]
Another game of note was when Ben started the Monday night game in Washington on November 3, 2008 which was a week after he threw four interceptions against the Giants. Ben only played in the first half of that game in Washington due to a shoulder injury, but left the game with a 10-6 halftime lead. Byron Leftwich commanded the team the rest of the way for the 23–6 win Numbers For VictoryRun the ball 30 or more times for over 100 yards (this sounds very familiar).Hold the halftime advantage, keeping the run game in play.Bounce back by keeping turnovers to a minimum (I’m talking to you, Ben). Keep the Chiefs to 17 points or less.Between the great numbers in home openers and the tendency for Ben to play big after rough outings the week before, it’s shaping up to be a good scenario for the Steelers. But all the past numbers mean nothing when it comes time for kick off on Sunday. The man fans affectionately call “J-Wobble” had been MIA for the Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the first 5 games of the regular season. Javon Hargrave, the team’s 3rd round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, was, at times, on the bench watching Daniel McCullers get snaps over him.Not quite what the fan base was hoping for from No. 79 in 2018, not when his knifing defensive style could add a new dimension to the team’s defense. However, his style also is not the best for the defense stopping the run. This is the main reason why the fans have been seeing more Daniel McCullers throughout the first half of the season, but that changed in Week 6 vs. the Bengals.While Hargrave’s snap totals have been rather average so far this season, he played 21 snaps (34%) to McCullers’ 5. Hargrave represented himself well with 5 total tackles, 2 solo, 1 sack and 1 quarterback hit. Is it time for ‘J-Wobble’ to finally start being the nose tackle this team has needed solidifying the middle of the defensive line? Possibly, and the Week 6 win over Cincinnati sure was a step in the right direction. Time to dive into some other snap count nuggets from the Week 6 win:The Steelers continued to shuffle their outside cornerbacks opposite Joe Haden, but this time Coty Sensabaugh (35) played more than Artie Burns (29). This is usually flipped the other way.Pittsburgh loved their three tight ends on Sunday. Vance McDonald and Jesse James both led the way with 51 total snaps each Authentic Cameron Heyward Jersey , but Xavier Grimble got into the mix with 21 snaps of his own — this was a season high for Grimble.With Justin Hunter getting a helmet on game day, he cut into James Washington’s snaps with 14, while Washington played just 16 plays. It should be noted it was Hunter who sprung Antonio Brown on the game-winning touchdown with his controversial block/route/pick.So much for easing Vince Williams, who was coming off a hamstring injury, back into the lineup. Williams played 59 snaps, while Jon Bostic, who is healthy, played in just 33. I think we all remember seeing Williams trying to cover AJ Green, right? Not saying Bostic would have done better, but not sure there is a reason to keep Williams on the field so much.Terrell Edmunds the new iron man? Edmunds, for the second week in a row, logged every defensive snap of the game, but against the Bengals he was the only player to do so. He registered 61 defensive snaps Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, never taking a play off.To see all of the Steelers’ snap totals, check the grid below, or by clicking HERE. Wholesale NFL Jerseys
01-26-2019 03:22 AM
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