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Author Topic: Analysis of Ben Roethlisberger's 10 INTs  (Read 630 times)
Gnutella
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« on: Nov 23, 2009 at 23:28 »

I posted this on another Steelers-related website, but I wanted to post it here too. Please let me know if my analysis is accurate...

Ben Roethlisberger's 10 INTs

INT #1 (vs Tennessee): Bad throw.
(The ball was thrown too late.)
Roethlisberger's fault? YES.

INT #2 (vs Tennessee): Low-percentage throw.
(A "Hail Mary" pass to end the first half.)
Roethlisberger's fault? NO.

INT #3 (at Chicago): Hit as he threw.
(The ball was thrown in spite of losing balance.)
Roethlisberger's fault? PARTIALLY.

INT #4 (at Cincinnati): Miscommunication.
("Hot read" receiver ran the wrong route.)
Roethlisberger's fault? NO.

INT #5 (at Detroit): Bad decision.
(The play and the pass were both telegraphed.)
Roethlisberger's fault? YES.

INT #6 (vs Cleveland): Bad throw.
(The ball was underthrown.)
Roethlisberger's fault? YES.

INT #7 (at Denver): Bad throw.
(The ball was thrown too wide.)
Roethlisberger's fault? YES.

INT #8 (vs Cincinnati): Bad throw.
(The ball was thrown behind the receiver in traffic.)
Roethlisberger's fault? YES.

INT #9 (at Kansas City): Unlucky bounce.
(The ball was thrown perfectly, but bounced off the receiver's hands.)
Roethlisberger's fault? NO.

INT #10 (at Kansas City): Hit as he threw.
(The ball wobbled off-course into the hands of a defender.)
Roethlisberger's fault? PARTIALLY.

Bad throw: 4
Hit as he threw: 2
Bad decision: 1
Miscellaneous: 3

Roethlisberger's fault: 5
Partially Roethlisberger's fault: 2
Not Roethlisberger's fault: 3

Discuss...
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CityofChamps1979
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 00:45 »

The issue isn't whether or not they are his fault.  Every QB, over the course of a full season, has INTs that should or should not count against his individual statistics.  The real issue is:

Why do we throw the ball so much, all the time?  Not to sound like an old fogie, but the issue is fundamental: three thins can happen when you throw the ball.  Two of those things are bad.  Why, then, do you throw it 2x as much as you run, when the run is effective? 

Again, the issue isn't: circumstances (ie tipped balls, pressure, etc) caused the interception; this issue is: those circumstances are the expected results when you throw the ball too much. 

Ben is great.  RM is pretty good, too. Ben would be better as the threat of what could happen if we don't run RM atcha.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 09:27 »

Good point, CoC1979, but I don't think the real issue is a pass/rush ratio per se.  In some games, against some teams, it just makes sense to come out slinging.  The upcoming game in Baltimore: the Ravens run D is still one of the best, whereas their pass D has been shown to be suspect.  Add in the ACL tear to Washington, and the Ravens could be starting rookie Lardarius Webb, who was primarily drafted as a kick returner.  That's where passing, and attacking Webb the way teams are currently attacking Gay, would make sense.  My take is that Arians won't exploit that weak link, because fuckhead never seems to understand that very basic notion. 

Arians's play-calling has been called many things: grab-bag, robotic, asinine, random, nauseating...  What he lacks seems to be a sense of the flow of the game, an instinct for what is working at any point in the game, and the ability to dictate (rather than be reactive).  When we're dominating, it's easy to call a game, because we have a wealth of talent out there executing, and they can hide these deficiencies.  (Contrariwise, debacles like the Chiefs game show that poor execution exacerbates bad calls, and even in games where Arians calls a decent series we can fizzle and flop.  But the point is, IMO, that Arians is sub-par, and execution issues account for far fewer issues than the chess game behind the laminated sheet.)

We definitely need to use Mendenhall more.  He's shown great flashes, a nice combo of speed and strength.   He definitely bulls for the extra yardage after contact better than Parker.  He may not break away as fast as Willie, but he'll move the chains more consistently.  Consider that Mendenhall is the same age as Knowshon Moreno (22), and how much lies ahead of him.  The issue is confidence -- his, and the coaching staff in him.  They seem reluctant to put the game on his shoulders.  Well, I think he can take some games on his shoulders, especially since we've seen real problems salting away leads in the 2H of games.

And THAT is exactly where I do think the pass/rush ratio is out of kilter.  There is no reason whatsoever to allow shitty teams like the Bears, Bengals (first loss) or Chiefs to get back into games the way they did.  No excuse.  This is piss-poor, and it's on Tomlin and Arians equally.  If you stake a lead, you damn well hold onto it.  Especially double-digit leads.  If you get up on a team like the Ravens or Vikings who defend the rush especially well, then you don't just run-run-run-punt, but you do have to begin to take the air out of the tires.  This is the real trick for an OC, one which Arians seems unable to handle: how do you pound the run, and still keep teams off-balance?  You need just enough passing to keep the defense honest, and you also need to change your looks.  I fucking CRINGE when we get to the RZ and line up 3 TEs because I, and everyone else in the civilized world, knows we are about to run up the gut for a lost down.  Why not pass out of the 3 TE, or run out of the 4-wide, or have some PAP when it looks to be a run, or whatever?  Arians couldn't disguise his looks if he had everyone wearing Nixon masks and set off smoke bombs on the field. 

Ben will be off sometimes.  I can live with it.  I cannot live with the ongoing follies of Arians, which we sometimes overcome and sometimes cannot.  The bottom line is that we're a great team between the 20s, sometimes, sporadically.  And we're a terrible team in the RZ, almost always.  We'll often have a successful opening drive, followed by sputtering follow-up drives, and a successful NH to end the half.  (Sound formulaic?  It is.)  Then nothing as we enter the 3Q, a lead wasted or the need to catch up and some manic Ben-magic at the end of the game.  Well, last year we caught the breaks, and this year the other teams are. 
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 11:52 »

The real issue is:

Why do we throw the ball so much, all the time?  Not to sound like an old fogie, but the issue is fundamental: three thins can happen when you throw the ball.  Two of those things are bad.  Why, then, do you throw it 2x as much as you run, when the run is effective?  

Because, quite simply, they can.  That's what happens when you have a franchise QB.  You put the ball in his hands and expect him to go out there and do whatever it takes to win the game.  

Are you suggesting that Ben should have less of an impact on the offense?  Would you say the same thing if Brady, Manning, Brees, et al. were the starting QB on the Steelers?

Offensively, the team needs to play to their strengths, but they also need to have an OC that knows how to maximize the weapons at his disposal.  Arians isn't capable of that.  I've been saying that since his hire.  This team wins in spite of him, not because of him.

With that said though, teams need to get lucky too.  A bad bounce here; a tipped pass there; a missed FG here; a dropped pass there; it all adds up.  Sometimes they're on the long end ('08) of those, sometimes they're on the short ('09).  It comes with the territory.  Variance is a bitch.
« Last Edit: Nov 24, 2009 at 12:03 by aj_law » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 11:59 »

Lack of execution does cost us at times.  But, at some point, isn't the OC responsible for getting the team prepared to execute?  Furthermore, how can we tell if it is a breakdown in execution or a breakdown in playcalling/preparation?

From Arians' track record so far, I believe it is the latter most of the time.
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 12:24 »

The real issue is:

Why do we throw the ball so much, all the time?  Not to sound like an old fogie, but the issue is fundamental: three thins can happen when you throw the ball.  Two of those things are bad.  Why, then, do you throw it 2x as much as you run, when the run is effective?  

Because, quite simply, they can.  That's what happens when you have a franchise QB.  You put the ball in his hands and expect him to go out there and do whatever it takes to win the game.  

Are you suggesting that Ben should have less of an impact on the offense?  Would you say the same thing if Brady, Manning, Brees, et al. were the starting QB on the Steelers?

Offensively, the team needs to play to their strengths, but they also need to have an OC that knows how to maximize the weapons at his disposal.  Arians isn't capable of that.  I've been saying that since his hire.  This team wins in spite of him, not because of him.

With that said though, teams need to get lucky too.  A bad bounce here; a tipped pass there; a missed FG here; a dropped pass there; it all adds up.  Sometimes they're on the long end ('08) of those, sometimes they're on the short ('09).  It comes with the territory.  Variance is a bitch.

The correct answer is that they need to do whatever it takes to win. If the team we're playing hasn't shown any ability to stop the run, then we should run the ball. If they can't stop the pass, then we should let Ben throw it around. If a team hasn't shown any ability to stop the run and the game plan calls for lots of Mendenhall, but the other team decides to put all 11 people in the box to stop us, then we should pass rather than continue to follow that plan. Vice versa if we planned to pass, but they drop everyone into coverage. These are all very basic things, but Arians has shown nothing to suggest that he understands any of it.
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 12:52 »

The real issue is:

Why do we throw the ball so much, all the time?  Not to sound like an old fogie, but the issue is fundamental: three thins can happen when you throw the ball.  Two of those things are bad.  Why, then, do you throw it 2x as much as you run, when the run is effective? 

Because, quite simply, they can.  That's what happens when you have a franchise QB.  You put the ball in his hands and expect him to go out there and do whatever it takes to win the game. 

Are you suggesting that Ben should have less of an impact on the offense?  Would you say the same thing if Brady, Manning, Brees, et al. were the starting QB on the Steelers?

Offensively, the team needs to play to their strengths, but they also need to have an OC that knows how to maximize the weapons at his disposal.  Arians isn't capable of that.  I've been saying that since his hire.  This team wins in spite of him, not because of him.

With that said though, teams need to get lucky too.  A bad bounce here; a tipped pass there; a missed FG here; a dropped pass there; it all adds up.  Sometimes they're on the long end ('08) of those, sometimes they're on the short ('09).  It comes with the territory.  Variance is a bitch.

The correct answer is that they need to do whatever it takes to win. If the team we're playing hasn't shown any ability to stop the run, then we should run the ball. If they can't stop the pass, then we should let Ben throw it around. If a team hasn't shown any ability to stop the run and the game plan calls for lots of Mendenhall, but the other team decides to put all 11 people in the box to stop us, then we should pass rather than continue to follow that plan. Vice versa if we planned to pass, but they drop everyone into coverage. These are all very basic things, but Arians has shown nothing to suggest that he understands any of it.

Maybe if you typed slower?
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 13:00 »

I'm not suggesting that Ben should have a lesser role at all, nor am I suggesting that he is in any way inferor to the Brady/Manning/Brees trifecta.  I'll take Ben any day of the week and twice every Sunday in the 4th Quarter, or when the pocket is breaking down, or in a playoff game when the chips are down.  He's clutch and a stud and as we dedicated Steelers fans know, he has that special quality - intangibles - that make him a winner.  

I think it is interesting to note that Brees has won nothing - not even a notable playoff game - while Manning's sole playoff success came when the Colts magically, inexplicably shifted gears into a Steeler-esque team model of running game, stout D, and timely passing.  D. Rhodes should have been the MVP of that Super Bowl, but just as Ben doesn't get the respect he deserves, people seem more than willing to fall all over themselves to crown Peyton.  I will say this about Dr. Manning, though: he is more than willing to hand off when the situation calls for it.  He puts up great numbers but will do anything to win, anything, and he trusts the players around him.  As defacto OC in Indy, he'll audible to a run if he sees something he thinks will work.  He's unselfish, and it is commendable.  I'd like to see Ben negate some of the dunderhead playcalls by doing his own Chicken Dance at the line and going with a designed play - just sometimes - rather than every pass play seeming like a sandlot duck-and-chuck.

Likewise, Brady has put up gaudy numbers since the Pats last title run but the 4th finger remains bare basically because of the "Luck Variance" principle AJ hit on.  You can control the bounces somewhat by minimizing the chances that they will occur.  Minimizing the likelihood of tipped-pass INTs or dropped balls by choosing smart playcalls and attacking an opposing team's weakness at the right moments, while also playing to your team strengths.  The Pats run a ton of short passes, high precentage plays that make up for their lack of a run game.  50/50 balance isn't the issue, careless ball control is the issue.  With the D banged up and not as LeBonecrushing as last year, the Luck Variance seems that much worse because some of those negative plays are turning into touchdowns the other way.  They can't protect the short field as effectively, and they aren't getting the turnovers they did during the title runs of '05 and '08.  

Last year was last year but the point is this - a three and out is better than a tipped pass INT.  As awesome as the offensive weapons appear to be, if they aren't properly utilized they can work against you.  Incompletions stop the clock.  Sacks push you out of field goal range.  Slow-developing sweeps at the edge of FG range are not high-percentage calls.  Even the worst defense will get in the backfield sometimes, so constantly throwing long-range passes, which need time to develop, is a recipe for disaster, beyond the increased likelihood of crazy mistakes like tipped passes or sacks.  That shit is how inferior opponents stay in games and have a chance to steal a W at the end.  Back the fuckers off with some smash-mouth even if the YPC isn't great.  It is philosophy to back the D up so you can get Wallace free.  Throw high-percentage short passes to get your guys some cushion.  These are the things we've been calling for all year.  Play to your strengths, protect your weaknesses, and stop being careless.  Who's running this team, Mike fucking Martz?  How many rings has that guy got?
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 24, 2009 at 14:04 »

I think there's a method to the apparent madness on offense. Here's what I think is going on. Our coaches believe that:

Our offensive line isn't very good. Our coaches know this and they know our opponents know it, too.

In particular, it can't handle a loaded front -- witness the ineptitude in short-yardage blocking or the handling of any big, tricky blitz.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that we lack any quality depth at blocking the edges -- we have no true fullback on the roster, Spaeth can't block, etc. -- and this means we can't go big very successfully either. We do have David Johnson, and he's got a future for this role, but he's a rookie.

To conceal these deficiencies, we feature down-the-field passing as our bread-and-butter. It's our base play-call, in other words. This is by design - it happens to take advantage of our QBs skill set and the collective abilities of our receivers (i.e., we have Holmes and Wallace to open the field with speed, and Ward/Miller/Moore to revel in the underneath space the speedsters open up).

The down-the-field passing is intended to push the safeties back, and keep them there. This helps the O-Line open running lanes for Mendy; it helps to discourage big blitzes, and so forth.

Bottom line, I think, is that the coaches do not believe that we can just line up and run the ball, but that it has to be set up, and that we'll only be successful running in spots. There is extremely little confidence on the part of the coaching staff that we can score TDs in the red zone with the run - the space we use to spread the defense is constricted, our O-Line is shit, and the gaps will be filled.

Added to all the above is the fact that we have no depth at RB. Parker's career looks over to me -- I see no pop, no speed, though he does play a smarter game and I believe has the desire and drive. And the coaches appear unwilling to use Moore for more than a handful of carries per game.

All the above is what I think the coaches think -- I'd like to see Mendenhall featured more, too, but I don't think our coaching staff is stupid and I think the gameplan has been what it's been for a reason.
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 25, 2009 at 08:00 »

Hmm. Interesting perspective.  Still, it doesn't explain BA ditching the run when it's clearly working, which it does.

 Still, I get what you are saying, and I can definitely see that perspective having at least partial validity.

Still, if any of that is true, we still have a multi-season problem on our hands. We clearly need to get younger on the DL AND OL, and also are on the cusp of having to get younger at DB (Clark is possibly gone, Carter inadequate, Townsend old).

If the OC is so down on our OL, why the lack of urgency the past few years?
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