Aros wrote:We need those three to be SOLDIERS this Sunday or we have little chance to win. Forget Wilson, Lynch, Rice, Tate...If our DLine can't step up and stop the run, we're done.
Two back-to-back 50+ point games and everyone's talking about an 11-5 finish and a run to the SB. One stat comes out and now "we're done."
You all want to know what else has happened since that SF game where our run defense began to have issues?
We've gone 5-2. The two losses came by 3 and 4 points, on last second plays, on the road. We've outscored our opponents in those 7 games by 234 to 113.
We've held 3 of our 7 opponents under 85 yards rushing as a TEAM, and held 2 others under 136. What's the big deal about 136, you ask? It's the number of rushing yards we put up on SF in their own house.
We've forced 18 turnovers after forcing only 9 through that SF game. Meanwhile, on offense, we've only turned the ball over 6 times versus 11 times in the 7 games through the SF game.
But wait, there's more...
Our last 2 games are at home. So far this season, the only team that put up more than 20 points on us at home was a Patriots team that happens to lead the league in scoring by nearly 100 points. Here are the opponent point totals for every other game we've played at home this year: 7, 12, 20, 7, 0.
What's more, in our last 3 games (Chicago, Arizona, Buffalo), our offense has put up more than 450 yards and scored 13 TDs. Our defense has allowed 4 TDs, and only ONE of those was on the ground.
Complain all you like about our run D, but they've only allowed 8 TDs all year on the ground. That's 6th best in the entire league. The pass D has only allowed 13 TDs all year through the air, and that's the best in the league.
And if you need context, well here it is...
Opponents MATTER. They do. We're not out on a field against "Random Team A" or "Random Team B" every week. These opponents have their strengths and weaknesses, and those will almost always be reflected in the results we see on the field.
In the first 6 games, we faced the Cards, Cowboys, Packers, Rams, Panthers, and Patriots. The first three of those teams haven't been good rushing teams in years. The Rams have an aging Steven Jackson who has never done well against us. The Panthers' run game has been awful until the latter half of the season. The Pats are the only team that really dedicated themselves to the run that we stepped up and dominated. Since then, look at who we have faced. Adrian Peterson. Frank Gore. C. J. Spiller. Matt Forte. Reggie Bush.
Peterson, Gore, and Spiller happen to be the featured backs for the 2nd, 4th, and 6th ranked rushing teams this year. It's ridiculous to expect a defense to put up similar results against Peterson and Gore as they do against Beanie Wells and Shonn Greene. But still, why is no one talking about how we held Matt Forte to almost EXACTLY the same stats that San Francisco did? Same 21 attempts, and we gave up 3 more yards (63 vs. 66). Should SF be in panic mode over their run D, too? They gave up twice as many run yards to the Rams on their own turf as we did playing in St. Louis.
We've only really had one game where our run defense really performed poorly against an opponent that it should have handled, and that's the Miami game. And that Miami game served as a wake-up call for the team, because we haven't lost since. Plus, we've held teams to an average of under 100 yards per game since. Our YPA since the Miami game has been 4.2, which is lower than our season average.
In the end, we've got 3 games out of 14 that really skewed our run defense stats. Two of those games were against top rushing offenses in SF and Minnesota. The third was the anomaly against Miami. In those three games, our opponents rushed 87 times for 607 yards. That's 7.0 YPA. That's 41% of the total yardage we've given up on the ground ALL SEASON in 3 games. And all three of those games are being included in Sando's stat.
Do you know what the result is when you look at the other 5 games? Our opponents in the other 5 games ran the ball 114 times for 461 yards. That's 4.0 YPA. That average would be good for 7th in the league, and is well below the league average of 4.3.
Now, I'm not saying that we can just ignore the SF, Minnesota, and Miami games. They happened. But what I am saying is that those three games do not DEFINE our run defense. The ugly YPA we've got as a result of those games has not spread throughout each of the games we've had since the SF game. We're not giving up massive YPA against EVERY team we face. We had 3 bad run D games out of 14. That skewed our averages. The sky is NOT falling.