In 2005, everything seemed to go just the Steelers way even when things went wrong.
The roster has certainly changed for the Steelers between 2005 and 2012. Very few players remain on the roster from that Super Bowl winning team back in 2005. But have the circumstances?
In 2005, the Steelers were 7-5 at this point in the season as are the 2012 Steelers. Both teams were pretty much in a need to win out scenario to make the playoffs. If you don’t feel the 2012 Steelers are in that position, you haven’t been following the Bengals very closely then. Both teams have similarities that aren’t very eery, but kind of make you go ‘hmmmm.’
– The 2005 offense averaged 24.3 pts/gm vs. the 2012 offense is averaging 21.2 pts/gm. Only three points separate the two teams. The interesting thing to point out is that the Steelers were ranked 9th in scoring back in 2005. Seven years later, and the Steelers rank 20th in scoring. My how times have changed.
– The 2005 defense gave up 16.1 pts/gm and was ranked outside of the top 10 in total defense vs. the 2012 defense giving up 19.2 pts/gm and is ranked as the top defense in the league. If anything, it’s impressive to note that despite the huge increase in offensive production across the league in seven years (where 21 points is only 20th out of 32 teams) the Steelers have only increased that average by three points.
– The Steelers started three different quarterbacks in 2005 and 2012. Charlie Batch started two of those games BOTH seasons. (Ok that’s a little eery)
– Between Willie Parker and Jonathan Dwyer with Isaac Redman combined are averaging close to the same amount of yards per game. Willie ran for 80 yds/gm but ran til the wheels came off. Dwyer and Redman have split carries for the most part this season and average 82 yds/gm combined rushing.
– Big Ben’s QB rating from 2005 is 98.6 and is 100.0 in 2012.
So though there’s some similarities and correlations between the 2005 and 2012 teams. The biggest difference between the 2005 and 2012 teams – turnovers. The 2005 Steelers had a takeaway/giveaway differential 0f +7. The 2012 team is at a dismal -11. Yoi. That’s painful and a big deal. One of the few things that defined the Steelers that season was their ability late in the season for splash plays. It’s what got them trough the playoffs and to the Super Bowl.
The other difference is age. 2005 was younger than 2012. But the team since being called old, slow and done tends to buck that trend throughout the season. At times they may show a bit of the grey hairs, but they keep finding ways to fight and pull out wins.
Both the 2005 and 2012 teams have heart and grit, there’s no denying that. Both teams were backed into corners. The 2005 team was able to continue to stay hot, play physical football very late in the season, and lifted the Lombardi Trophy in February. Does the 2012 team have the same kind of heart and grit? If the game against the Ravens showed us anything I would say it certainly exists. Whether they can sustain those efforts and end up like the 2005 Super Bowl team is yet to be seen. I’ve got a strange feeling about this roster after the Ravens game that they’ve hit a very defining moment and we will see a new team emerge out of the ashes in Baltimore.
Are the 2012 Steelers like the 2005 Steelers? Only if they win the Super Bowl. They may need another fate wielding shoestring tackle, but I don’t know if that is in the cards. There are glimmers within the numbers and similarities, but to recreate what that team did seven years ago may only be a once in a lifetime deal.
Numbers gathered from http://www.pro-football-reference.com/