Well That Was Definitely … Something

Let’s start with this: The Denver Broncos beat the Steelers at their own game on Sunday.

Outside of Pittsburgh, hell, even still in Pittsburgh, there is this perception that the Steelers are a grind-it-out, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense that hands the ball off to Jerome Bettis, Bam Morris, Barry Foster, Franco Harris or John Henry Johnson 50 times a game and grinds out tough yards by blasting into the line every play. The reality is the Steelers are a downfield passing team that throws the ball more than it runs it (and they have been for about five years now) and beat teams by making big plays on offense and not allowing big plays on defense. It’s been a pretty good recipe, and it’s won a lot of games (and Championships) in recent years.

On Sunday, we were in bizarro world. Not only did the Steelers give up more big plays than they made, they were absolutely dominated in that area. By Tim Tebow. By an offense that over the previous three weeks that regressed back to the stone ages.

During the 2011 season the Steelers had the best Yards Per Pass differential in the NFL with an incredible margin of +2.4. The second best mark in the NFL belonged to Houston, which came in at 1.7. The Denver Broncos were 27th at -1.2. Even more, that differential was the best in the NFL over the past four years, and for the fourth time in the past five years the Steelers allowed the fewest yards per pass in the NFL.

On Sunday? The Broncos averaged 15 yards per pass. The Steelers averaged six.

I’ll repeat this, because I still can’t convince myself that it actually happened: When Tim Tebow dropped back to pass on Sunday and put the ball in the air, the Broncos had an average gain of 15 yards. This is a quarterback that was reportedly in danger of losing playing time to Brady Quinn, former first-round afterthought that washed out with the Cleveland Browns, and hadn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2009.

How incredible is it for a quarterback, any quarterback, to average 15 yards per pass against the Steelers? Well, let’s just check out the eight-worst performances by the Steelers defense in that area during the Mike Tomlin era so far:

1. Tim Tebow (2011): 15.0
2. Tom Brady (2007): 8.7
3. Kevin Kolb (2011): 8.7
4. Bruce Gradkowski (2009): 8.4
5. Tom Brady (2010): 8.1
6. Jay Cutler (2007): 8.1
7. Kurt Warner (2008): 7.6.
8. Joe Flacco (2011): 7.4

So there you go.

I’m not sure if it was a run of injuries that never seemed to stop, or a poor defensive game plan or the worst performance by a Steelers cornerback since Donnell Woolford wore the black and gold, but the Steelers gave up passing plays of 51, 30, 58, 40, 17 and 80 yards, almost all of them at the expense of Ike Taylor, who started to play like a cornerback on the wrong side of 30 over the second half of the season.

If the Steelers weren’t going to get a home playoff game (which I figured they would need if a return trip to the Super Bowl was going to happen) this was the matchup I wanted. I never imagined it playing out like that. If the Steelers were going to lose I figured it would be a blizzard by some absurd score of, I don’t know, 5-4.

When we look back on the 2011 season for the Steelers, we’ll look back at three things: 1) Injuries, 2) the defenses inability to force turnovers and the offenses ability to create them, and 3) A team that just couldn’t play quality football away from Heinz Field, finishing with a 5-4 road mark (including playoffs) and getting outscored by 176-148 margin, against some not-great teams.

I still think the window for this team is still open, mainly because they have the single most important position in the NFL (quarterback) secured, and have an impressive collection of young, talented skill players on offense. But there are areas that need addressed, and tough decisions that need to be made (Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Casey Hampton … I think they would all do the Steelers a huge favor salary cap wise if they just simply retired, but that’s probably not going to happen).

And hey, at least we don’t have to watch the Steelers practice squad call-ups go into New England next Saturday night and get demolished. So there’s that.

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  • Cols714

    Terrible loss. But as others have pointed out, it really wasn’t the Steelers year.

    Yes, of course the window of opportunity is still wide open. Ben is only 30. They have him for at least 4 more years and maybe more. The entire offense is young and pretty good.

    The defense needs some work, but they’ll get it done.

    Sucks that the season is over already.

    • Smooth K

      The Steelers are old on defense and needs to get younger. Hampton, Kiesel, Smith,Farrior, Gay, Clark, hell even Harrison needs to go. Harrison has drown so much heat from the NFL, and can’t seem to get a break on his roughing the passer penalties. William Gay is just a joke. I would have cut him last season. This guy gets burned on a constant level. We need some players that can get interceptions. We can’t produce any defensive turnovers. The Steelers haven’t had a great CB since Rod Woodson!!! The NFL is changing and so do the Steelers defense. It’s a passing league now and we need to finally address our corner situation. We need to change our OC for sure this year. It just seems like we need some new blood in a lot of places. Hell, if Tomlin keeps making bonehead decisions his time might be up also. Just so everyone knows that I’m a black man and just tell it like it is. I don’t want anyone thinking it’s a race thing. When you play your QB 3 out of the last 4 weeks on a bum ankle. You need to evaluated on how you manage a Superbowl caliber team. High ankle sprains take time to heal. Hell Pouncey had one last year and couldn’t play in the Superbowl. It sucks that we lost the game, but I feel we can make another run with the proper front office business decisions this off season.

      • David

        Good points. I agree, we need major help in the secondary. And O-line. If we were to get another Woodson and Marvel Smith, I think we’d be set.

        Just imagine, being able to defend against the pass, and give Ben time to throw to Brown/Sanders/Wallace.

        • DJAnyReason

          Rod Woodson was on the NFL 75th anniversary all-time team.

          If your team needs “another [Rod] Woodson” to compete, you’re in trouble.

          • Smooth K

            It’s not that we need another Woodson. It’s that we can’t create any interceptions. The only guy that get any picks in the secondary is Troy!!! You have to get some picks and be able to generate more turnovers. This defense was not #1 in the league. Everytime I’ve watched them I’ve seen major flaws. When they play teams that can pass the ball, They are screwed. Any adequate QB can throw on this defense. The days of the big hitting safety are gone. The league doesn’t allow you to touch receivers anymore. It’s like flag football out there. You have to adjust to things or fall behind. We need faster, more athletic DB’S. The Ryan Clark type of players in the secondary are dinosaurs in this NFL.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

            I think you are in some ways contradicting yourself.  You say it’s a passing league and therefore we need better corners.  The thing is, it is a passing league because there aren’t corners who can do what you’re asking out there.  Certainly not enough to have several on one team.  The Steelers, with their average corners, have beaten plenty of good quarterbacks.  The ones who have given them problems are Brady, Brees and Rodgers (and they give everyone problems). 

            Those guys are all good quarterbacks who can read defenses.  They can quickly find the bad matchup and accurately deliver it.  Hell, Brees and Brady have been abusing defenses all year but not with WRs.  They have been using TEs and running backs.  Corners aren’t going to stop that.  Even if you have 3 Revis’ on your team, Rodgers will just throw it to the guy covered by your 4th corner because his 4th receiver is better than your 4th corner.  There are more good WRs out there than there are good CBs.  And some of these quarterbacks are so good they can make average receivers look really good.

            The NFL wants offense and has adjusted the rules to get it.  When they put in some of the newer passing-friendly rules 10 years ago the defenses adjusted by trying to kill the quarterback with pressure.  Now you can’t even do that because you can’t hit the QB high, you can’t hit them low and even if you hit them in the middle you better not do it too hard!

          • Smooth K

            Bob you have great points, but the team only had 14 take aways!!!! You have to be able to take the ball away also to win. Need more ball hawkers for DB’s. You right about them can’t even hitting the QB. The league is becoming a game as Troy would say ( pansies ) it’s a joke. If I wanted to see Arena Football I would buy a ticket for that crap. These guys know what they signed up for when they sign there contracts. This is a physical game. I understand they don’t want anyone killed on the field, but this is the same people that sell videos of the hardest hits of the NFL!!! They protect QB like Brees, Brady, and Rodgers. While Mike Vick gets killed every week. Hell I remember when Harrison body slammed Vince Young and didn’t get a roughing the passer penalty!!! If you even breathe on Brady you will get flagged. If you’re going to protect these QB’s it shouldn’t be by name. All QB’S should get the same treatment. Ben might have his issues of the field, but the guy is a gamer. Broken nose, fractured foot, bad thumb, sprain ankle, this guy plays. I would like for him also to get those BREES,RODGERS, BRADY, calls also. Those quarterbacks are likable and Ben is not. Just like the dog killer in Philly, and the mental case Young also on the Eagles. If you’re a likable guy the NFL will look out for you. I love James Harrison, but calling the commish a faggot doesn’t help your cause. Did he think he could say those things without paying a price later on? That’s the only reason I think his time in Pittsburgh is up. Plus he’s declining in production and is on his way downward.

          • Anonymous

            Brady is likable? I thought everone hated him.

          • Smooth K

            Intropy are you serious? Tom Brady is the reason anyone can’t touch a QB now!!! Remember he blew out his knee against KC? You can’t even grab a QB lower leg because of that crap. The NFL loves this dude my man. It’s like he’s Gods favorite son.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah. He’s href=
            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CreatorsPet. That’s part of why he’s so hateable.

          • David

            DJ, sometimes when I look at our secondary, I wish we did have Rod back. From the SB last year to yesterday’s debacle.

            We need a playmaking CB. One who gets INTs and is a threat to score defensively on every play. We haven’t had that since Rod and Lake were let go.

            I don’t know. If memory serves me right, the last CB/S to score for us besides Troy was–Ty Carter vs. the Broncos. Right?

          • David

            Oops, I forgot about Troy. He is a threat to score every play. But we still need a CB.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder why the Steelers haven’t been able to put together consecutive good seasons since 2005.

    • Hawk_Eye

      Never should have won in 2005.

    • Cols714

      I don’t know, 12-4 is a pretty good year. Let’s face it, it’s really hard to get to the Super Bowl and when your team comes in as beat up as the Steelers it’s even harder.

      That being said, losing yesterday was terrible. I fully expected to win that game and then would have been happy with the season. As it is, this week totally sucks. Especially since now either Baltimore or NE is going to the Super Bowl.

      • Anonymous

        I like to draw the line at making the divisional round, either a bye or on playoff win.

    • Cols714

      I don’t know, 12-4 is a pretty good year. Let’s face it, it’s really hard to get to the Super Bowl and when your team comes in as beat up as the Steelers it’s even harder.

      That being said, losing yesterday was terrible. I fully expected to win that game and then would have been happy with the season. As it is, this week totally sucks. Especially since now either Baltimore or NE is going to the Super Bowl.

  • John

    If we had just beaten the Ravens at home we wouldn’t have had to go to the west coast to play Denver…we would have been able to rest Ben and made a run. Disappointing, I never expected it to end tonight.

  • TO

    Personnel is one thing, changes definitely need to be made.  Dumping Hampton, Smith, Ward, Farrior and/or Foote, Suisam, Kemo is a start.  I’d like to see Colon and Clark shown the door as well.   Outside of being well past their prime and having big contracts, these vets are too complacent and too buddy-buddy with the coaching staff.  It’s unclear if the FO and staff will have the stomachs for this though.

    I think the coaching problems are becoming more and more clear.  I’m not sure what if anything can be done about the comically poor clock managment.  That is on Tomlin.  If he can’t recognize it’s any issue, then I don’t think this team will whiff another SB.   Outside of the less than great work of Arians (although I don’t think it’s terrible, as many do) I think Ben is too close with him, and someone new needs to come in and bring a new system.  Additionally, it’s time for Lebeau to retire.  Sure, #1 rated D etc., but the facts are this D has struggled mightly versus good teams and the stats are padded by playing the likes of Andy Dalton, Senaca Wallace, Tyler Palko etc.   His D has been a joke versus legit teams such as NE, GB, NO.   Again, unclear if the Rooneys and Tomlin will have the stomach for this.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

      “Additionally, it’s time for Lebeau to retire.  Sure, #1 rated D etc.,
      but the facts are this D has struggled mightly versus good teams and the
      stats are padded by playing the likes of Andy Dalton, Senaca
      Wallace, Tyler Palko etc.   His D has been a joke versus legit teams
      such as NE, GB, NO.”

      That’s a strange statement.  Aren’t every
      defense’s numbers improved by playing crappy teams?  If defenses pad
      their stats against bad teams, why aren’t the defenses of the AFC and NFC
      West the top 1-8 defenses in the league?

      Likewise, complaining
      that the Steelers defense doesn’t dominant the three top offenses in the
      league doesn’t  make much sense.  Those offenses have been tearing up
      EVERY defense in the league.  If Rodgers wasn’t sat down in week 17,
      all three of those QBs would have passed for 5,000 yards.  I don’t know
      why anyone would expect any defense to consistently beat those
      offenses.  And the fact of the matter is that the Steelers did beat the
      only one of those teams they played this year!  The Patriots had their
      worst game against the Steelers defense!

    • GlennW

      I think we might be getting a bit carried away in the wake of this inexplicable defensive performance.  (Well, at least half of the explanation is that Tim Tebow played the best game of his NFL career– two of those 5 long completions were perfect passes to well-covered receivers who made tough catches where admittedly both Gay and Taylor didn’t know where the football was, but maintaining tight coverage *and* finding the ball is not as easy as some would make it sound.  And all five long completions were spot-on accurate, which is not something anyone expected from Tebow, I don’t think, which is why LeBeau didn’t provide help to his excessively maligned CBs, and paid dearly for it.)

      In the pass-happy NFL this defense really had only one tough test in the regular season, against New England, which it passed with flying colors.  Across the board against weaker offenses the defense handled the pass very well, better than last season.  So was it all a fluke?  I think we make a few replacements of some of the older defenders but otherwise we heal up to play for another day.  For one thing, I am not running Ike Taylor out of town, which seems to be the prevailing sentiment but quite unfair imo

      • Anonymous

        Schaub was a legitimate test that they passed.

        • GlennW

          I rated that one as inconclusive at best.  We played from behind all day and were never really in it, and as such Schaub only had to throw 21 times and posted a 100.9 passer rating.  Plus Andre Johnson blew out his hamstring in the 1st quarter.  Definitely looked like a test of the pass defense going in, but the game didn’t play out that way.

    • Cols714

      Clark had a pretty good year last year. Why would you want to get rid of him? And Colon is still young and good.

      Yes, the defense is getting old, but don’t you think that statements like “…I don’t think this team will whiff another SB.” are over the top? They’ve been in the Super Bowl practically every other year since they’ve drafted Big Ben. They’ll always be in contention, but sometimes it just isn’t their year. 

      As far as getting new coordinators, I’m definitely open to the idea. Not as a scapegoating, but just to get some new ideas into the organization. 

      • TO

        Colon hasn’t played in two seasons and has an injury where the odds are stacked against him returning at all, let alone as the player he was previously.
        Clark is an average player, at best.  His best skill is hitting defensless WRs.  How many picks does he have in his career?  Look it up, averages less than 1 a year.  I’d be open to him returning at the vet min., but even then, he is a complacent vet that is too close with the staff. 

    • Cols714

      Clark had a pretty good year last year. Why would you want to get rid of him? And Colon is still young and good.

      Yes, the defense is getting old, but don’t you think that statements like “…I don’t think this team will whiff another SB.” are over the top? They’ve been in the Super Bowl practically every other year since they’ve drafted Big Ben. They’ll always be in contention, but sometimes it just isn’t their year. 

      As far as getting new coordinators, I’m definitely open to the idea. Not as a scapegoating, but just to get some new ideas into the organization. 

    • David

      Yes, if we can find that Rod Woodson and Marvel Smith in the next draft, we’ll be set. All the guys in your 2nd sentence should retire/be let go.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    I know that this is going to be OverreactionBlog for awhile but people should settle down.  The coordinators don’t need changed.  The offense is built around Roethlisberger and Roethlisberger’s game is built around extending the play.  As soon as his mobility was compromised, so was the offense.  Likewise, the defense is fine.  Injuries crippled that unit all year and they still ended up being one of the better defenses in the league (though this year was a down year for defenses in general).  LeBeau does not need to retire.

    The Broncos game came down to a calculated gamble they made on defense.  They decided to play the majority of the game in “zero” coverage to stop the running game.  Which they did.  However, for that to work you need to your corners to hold up without safety help.  Which they did not.  The Steelers decided that there was no way that Tebow could throw accurately enough to beat them.  Based on his season to-date that seemed like a good bet.  It just turned out to be the wrong one. 

    Shit happens, try again next year.

    • David

      Here here. Let’s get healthy and some help on the O-line and secondary.

    • David

      Here here. Let’s get healthy and some help on the O-line and secondary.

  • Cols714

    What’s going to be worse? The Ray Lewis love fest or the Tom Brady love fest in the weeks leading up to the SB?

  • Cols714

    What’s going to be worse? The Ray Lewis love fest or the Tom Brady love fest in the weeks leading up to the SB?

    • GlennW

      Brady.  I for one will root for Ray Lewis to crush Brady a few times, if it comes to that.  (But then again, I think I’m in the minority in this forum in that I don’t despise Ray Lewis, and actually hold some respect for his overall career.)

  • DJAnyReason

    I made noise about this in the game comment thread, but that was really one of the worst officiated games I’ve ever seen.  Going into OT I commented to my fiancee that no matter who won, the losing team’s fans could legitimately argue that the refs had screwed them over.  Flagrant holds on both sides went uncalled.  The team seemed to have no concept of what is and isn’t legal in pass defense.  The backwards pass by Ben that was whistled dead on the field.  The non-Roughing the Passer. Uncalled facemask against Tebow.  The play Tomlin challenged, which inexplicably was not called either an incomplete pass or a fumble on the field.  It was really really atrocious, and leaves more of a sour taste in my mouth than any season I can remember.

    • GlennW

      On top of this, referee Ron “Old Man” Winter just always seems perpetually confused, which he probably is.  I guess I don’t have as sour a taste in my mouth though because I think the Broncos got the worst of the officiating and yet still won, if only because the blown call on the lateral was far and away the most impactful of the entire game, and where the correct call would have effectively ended the game for us.

      > The play Tomlin challenged, which inexplicably was not called either an incomplete pass or a fumble on the field. 

      I think there might have been some initial confusion here, but this play was definitely called as a completion but down-by-contact (no fumble) on the field.  That’s the decision that was sent to replay review.

      • Anonymous

        Equally impactful was the missed roughing the passer on Ben’s interception. If both those are called that’s +1 fumble recovery and -1 interception which is pretty much a wash.

        • GlennW

          Maybe, but you have missed calls like this one all game (like Tebow being twisted by the facemask), with the roughing not being connected to the INT, merely circumstantial.  The forward pass/lateral decision is a binary one that can’t be “missed”– it’s a black or white call that must be made– and in this case I’m not quite sure how the line judge blew the call directly in front of him.

  • Billy B

    Dick LeBeau shows his mastery of football history.

    Broncos: We use a 1950s-style offense.
    Steelers: Oh yeah? Then we’ll use a defense from 1920. So there!

    Dick LeBeau is one of the most successful assistant coaches of all time because he created a defense designed to confuse even the most experienced quarterbacks. In this game, he threw that all away and used simple man-to-man coverage without any zone blitzes (that I could see) simply because the opponent’s quarterback was inexperienced. This makes no strategic sense. In effect, the Broncos managed to use their own weakness to dictate a gameplan to the Steelers defense. Anytime you can use your own weakness to prevent your opponent from doing what they do best, you have greatly increased your odds of victory. 

    • GlennW

      You make a good point here.  In hindsight, LeBeau reduced the defense to one so simple that even Tim Tebow could beat it.  It was basically a challenge to Tebow to not screw up against the most basic defense he would ever see, even though our defense is poor at forcing INTs regardless.  By contrast, a few weeks ago the Patriots played their usual base defense, allowed the Broncos to run all over them for a while, but still won easily when Tebow and his receivers couldn’t execute against an actual modern NFL defense, however mediocre.

      • JCRODRIGUEZ

        First off, I have not seen any replay of any kind since that last play, so I could easily be wrong, but now, after two days of nightmares related to this loss, I think that I finally know what the hell happened with our defensive game plan.
         
        We were hiding Farrior.
         
        Yep, it seems that we could not trust him anymore to take care of any pass coverage duties, and Troy needed to be an extra ILB, to avoid the usage of TE’s and RB’s on the passing game.
         
        LeBeau thought that he rather gamble on the low percentage probability of Tebow hitting consistently big plays, versus the certainty that they will mercilessly exploit Farrior.
         And if Foote was not even an option, then we should have in our Top 3 priorities for this off season an upgrade at ILB.

    • Edward Lyman

      There seems to be some truth there, but there is also some nuance as well that I wuld like to see someone unpack for us. For example, the last play of the game: Ryan Mundy shows blitz, then drops underneath Demarius Thomas. Inexplicably, Tebow’s release is faster than ever before, and he hits Thomas in stride. That play was set up by a whole game of press man coverage.

  • Rob D

    From Ed Bouchette at PG:
    “The season ended the same way it began — with a disjointed performance
    by the defense in which they were outexecuted, outperformed and
    outschemed by an 8-8 team. The offense didn’t come to life until it was
    almost too late. Maybe the number of injuries to key players finally
    caught up to the Steelers. But the mistakes against the Broncos were
    made by the key players who remained, and that has not been their
    standard.”That’s pretty much how I see it too. This team fully healthy is a contender. Watching an undersized McClendon try to play NT was the moment when I realized we had emptied our bag of competent reserves. Lebeau had just an awful day but I am sure he bought into the “Tebow can’t throw the ball accurately” meme just like everyone else did. As I said early in the week, never underestimate anyone in an NFL uniform. For one game, Tebow did his Stan Humphries imitation and basically destroyed the best pass d in the league. 10 completions for 316 yards!! Ran for 50 more. 5 completions over 30 yds. Steelers never laid a hand on him. And that’s because they had one pass rusher with Woodley basically gutting out a performance. What happened to the ‘exotic” packages Lebeau used to employ? Polamalu coming in untouched, Farriro up the middle on a stunt, Corner blitzed from nowhere? It’s all in the past. Lebeau underestimated Tebow just like he did with Brady for years (in Brady’s case, make hm complete 15 passes to get to the end zone..Brady completes 20 and yawns.) I am not calling for Lebeau to retire. But he’d be smart to acknowledge he got smoked in this one. It happens. And the Steelers would be wise to be sure they have his successor in mind.

  • Cols714

    I’m surprised to see so much Ryan Clark hate in this thread. The guy has been a good player, especially this past year. And he wasn’t even on the field last night.

    Some guys, like Harrison, can do no wrong in the fans eyes. Even though he was burned by Tebow multiple times yesterday and got no pressure.

    Other guys, like Clark, Gay, and Colon, get no love no matter how well they play.

    I’m 99% sure that the Steelers will retain Gay, Colon and Clark for next year. And deservedly so. Less I guess for Colon, but two freak injuries does not make a trend. A third however….

    Next year, draft a LG, find a young safety (Clark and Polamalu are getting up there in age), and a ILB to play next to Timmons (who I felt had a good game yesterday).

    Do that and be healthy in the playoffs.

    • Sarah

      SPeaking of Troy – is it just me or did he look out of position a lot? Like he was guessing wrong frequently?….In fact I’ve thougt the same thing about him several games recently…

      • Rob D

        Not just you,Sarah. He was OOP a lot. He’s a rambling, gambling man and this year he lost quite a few gambles. But that’s his game, much like we live or die with BEn’s scurries and improv’s outside the pocket. I like to see Troy playing near the line of scrimmage where he is a disruptive force for good, truth and the American Way..wink

    • Anonymous

      And a nose tackle.

      • Cols714

        This too. Although I question using a high pick on a guy that will most likely be a two down player.

        Hampton really declined this year. Much more than I thought. He played very well in 2010. Farrior too. 

        • GlennW

          Again, in a pass-crazy league I think we can compromise a bit at NT and live with it.  Hoke has always generally gotten the job done when we’ve needed it (including this season before he got hurt) and I think you can find another player to do that if backed by strong LBs.  I wouldn’t reach here either.

          • Sarah

            Starks and Hampton have ACL injuries poss surgery.
            Keisels groin injury termed serious.
            Ouch….

          • Anonymous

            But Hoke’s time is about up too. I definitely wouldn’t reach, but I would keep NT on the BPA list.

  • http://www.xufe.com/England-Npower-Championship/  Npower Championship

    Good post.The Steelers are a downfield passing team that throws the
    ball more than it runs it and beat teams by making big plays on offense and not
    allowing big plays on defense. It’s been a pretty good recipe, and it’s won a
    lot of games in recent years.