Super Bowl Comparison – Offensive Line & Defenses
I continue the Super Bowl comparisons with a look at the Offensive Line and Defenses.
Arizona attempted 630 passes and was sacked 28 times. That averages a Sack every 22.5 pass attempts. Pittsburgh attempted 506 passes and was sacked 49 times. That’s a Sack every 10.3 pass attempts. I realize Kurt Warner has a quick release and Big Ben is more likely to try and make a play with his feet that could lead to additional Sacks, but clearly Arizona has better pass protection. Arizona has even improved in the playoffs allowing just three Sacks in 92 pass attempts (30.7). Pittsburgh is prety much a constant with five Sacks in 59 attempts (11.8) What about run blocking? Pittsburgh outran Arizona 1690 to 1178. However, their yards per carry was 3.7 while Arizona’s was 3.5, which put them 29th and 31st in the league. Plus, Pittsburgh had just two more rushing TDs than Arizona. In the playoffs Pittsburgh is averaging 3.1 yards per carry, but they did face Baltimore, which has to count for something. Arizona is at 3.3 yards per carry in the playoffs. Pittsburgh has a slightly better run protection, but overall the Cards have the better unit.
Now let’s turn to the Defenses. Pittsburgh not only has Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, but they also lay claim to the league’s #1 Defense. They allowed just 237.2 yards per game, which was almost 100 yards more than Arizona (331.5). They also led the league in fewest points allowed at 13.9. Arizona was 28th at 26.6. Besides Harrison, Pittsburgh was led led by Troy Polamalu (7 INTs), James Farrior (133 Tackles), and LaMarr Woodely (11.5 Sacks). Arizona was led by Karlos Dansby (119 Tackles), Adrian Wilson (75 Tackles, 2 INTs), and Rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (4 INTs). In the playoffs Arizona has narrowed the gap, but Pittsburgh clearly has the better Defensive unit.