Tag Archives: Matt Schaub

AFC North Stats ‘N At: And Then There Was One (Week 18)

shazier

via Times online

I’m still not over Saturday’s game. I don’t think anyone is. The repercussions from this game are going to be felt far into the future, I believe. But the irony for a post such as this is, the majority of the talking points from the game are philosophical and/or procedural.

Should anyone but the head coach be allowed on the field during an injury time-out?  Is there a difference between Ryan Shazier’s hit and Vontaze Burfict’s, and should they both have been flagged? For the answers to these and many other such questions, click here.

These and other storylines will doubtless be debated long into the off-season, but for now let’s turn to the comfort of statistics. There may be considerable confusion in the NFL right now as to what constitutes a catch, for instance, or when a play should be blown dead,  but there are some things which are black and white. Maybe looking at them will tell us something more about the game than just the drama of it does.

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AFC North Stats ‘N At, Regular Season Wrap

ABrown

 

Particularly as Saturday’s opponent is our old frenemy the Cincinnati Bengals, this post will serve both of the AFC North stats article and the opponent preview. After all, there isn’t a lot we don’t know about Cincinnati at this point.

 

Record Week 17

 

Point Differential:

  • Bengals +142
  • Steelers +104
  • Ravens -44
  • Browns -154

 

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AFC North Stats ‘N At, Week 16 Edition

USA Today Sports/Tommy Gilligan photo

Week 16 was not a good one for the Black and Gold. The AFC North was a mere .250 this week, and the sole winning team was the one which damaged the Steelers playoff hopes the most—the Ravens. Given the Steelers loss to said Ravens, the best scenario for the Monday night clash between the Bengals and Broncos would have been a Broncos loss, but that was not to be, either. And to no one’s surprise the Browns did not beat the Chiefs, although this had perhaps the smallest effect for good or ill on the Steelers. In other words, it was not a good week, and I don’t think most of us have recovered yet.

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AFC North Stats ‘N At, Week 14 Edition

RVR Photos—USA Today Sports

The best game of Week 14, bar none, had to have been the Steelers/Bengals clash in Cincinnati. It began well before the opening kickoff with a breach of the DMZ by notable peacemaker Vontaze Burfict and friends, who doubtless just wanted to make sure the Steelers felt welcome to Paul Brown Stadium. Apparently this friendly gesture was misinterpreted, as were further neighborly overtures during the course of the game. It was no wonder head coach Marvin Lewis was described as “glum” in his press conference. It’s very difficult to feel you’ve been misunderstood, and perhaps lost the game as a result.

Or possibly the glumness could be attributed to the loss of his franchise quarterback, through what could either be described as a “football play” or wildly inadvisable, depending on who is doing the describing. Stephon Tuitt is obviously a highly conditioned athlete, with muscles of steel, and Dalton’s thumb was no match for whatever portion of Tuitt’s anatomy it connected with.

But Dalton was not a victim of the peace process gone amok. A great many other Bengals were. In fact, the Bengals are seemingly getting a season’s worth of injuries in the span of a few short weeks after being remarkably healthy. All I can say is, we Steelers fans know all about how frustrating this is.

The end result was satisfactory from the Steelers point of view—a convincing win, with not a lot of collateral damage. The win was absolutely necessary, as the two teams positioned in front of the Steelers in the wild-card race both won on Sunday as well. However, for the first time since the loss to the Seahawks (or really, the earlier loss to the Bengals at Heinz Field) the faint possibility of the division title tantalizingly presents itself. It would still require essentially everything to fall the Steelers’ way, but it is a lot more possible than it was a week ago. All I ask is that it doesn’t come down to a Ryan Succop field goal and correct officiating…

While the Bengals’ remaining schedule is not particularly difficult, it will be interesting to see whether the “starter vs. off-the-bench QB” effect holds for young A.J. McCarron. By this I mean that a young QB can be relatively successful coming off the bench and playing a defense who has absolutely no idea what he is like. But a game’s worth of tape gives the next defense something to work with, and a week to prepare.

As for the Ravens and Browns, they were .500. The Ravens are now down to their third quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, and he was ineffective against the Seahawks, or so the final score of 35-6 would indicate. On the other hand, the Johnny Manziel-led Browns slapped 24 points on the 49ers. They are scarcely alone, though. The 49ers have given up an average of close to 23 points per game, while scoring an average of just over 14 themselves.

For what it’s worth, if the season ended today the Browns would have a top-3 pick (depending on the esoteric formulas used to divide them from the Titans and Chargers, the other 3-10 teams) and the Ravens would pick somewhere between № 4 and № 7, again depending on the way the NFL weights the relative claims of the 4-9 Lions, 49ers, Cowboys and Ravens. The Bengals would pick at № 28 or 29, the Steelers somewhere between № 22 and № 26. Naturally, I’m hoping the Steelers pick at № 32, but there’s a lot of football left.

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AFC North Stats ‘N At, Week 13 Edition

via Fox Sports

Week 13 in the AFC North saw the rich get richer (the Bengals,) the poor get poorer (Browns and Ravens), and the Steelers win big but still fall short securing a wild card spot. The AFC North contest last Sunday was Bengals/Browns, and the results were predictable.

This coming week features another—the Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Axis of Evil (Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, and Vontaze Burfict.) Like most such characterizations, the “Axis of Evil” is rather overstated. Andy Dalton may have fiery red hair, but he seems like a nice enough guy, if annoyingly proficient this year. Eifert deserves a chance to excel, what with all the injuries he has dealt with since coming into the league. I just hope he doesn’t do so against the Steelers.

Ah, but then there is Vontaze Burfict. After shredding Le’Veon Bell’s knee he exhibited not the slightest sense of remorse, or so it seemed to Bell’s teammates, who have made rather dark and portentous remarks about how such things come back to haunt people. While one might assume Burfict was merely pleased at making a big stop, his actions in the following week’s game indicate he’s just not a very nice person:

After the Burficting of the cameraman the Bengals decided to take the high road by issuing this statement:

He ([the cameraman] and all other people that work those jobs are fully aware those positions entail some physical risk because [they are] close to action and [the] course of the play is unpredictable.

Their official spokesperson might consider having someone edit his/her statements.

Okay, I’m getting really snarky now. Just getting prepped for the game, I guess. And to be fair, Marvin Lewis forced Burfict to apologize to the cameraman. I’m sure that made his $80,000 camera feel much better.

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