With just three games to go, we're getting a clearer idea of how some individual and team statistics will shape up when the final game is played at Heinz Field against Cleveland in three short weeks. Let's take a look at several of them:
* 2008 is shaping up to be the first year since 2004 that the Steelers won't finish the year with a 1,000 yard back. Unless the miraculously unexpected occurs, both Willie Parker (597 yards) and Mewelde Moore (521 yards) will finish well under 1,000.
* The Steelers have never had three players with at least 50 receptions in a single year. With three games remaining, the Steelers have an outside shot of having not only 3 players with 50 catches, but possibly even 4. Hines Ward is already clear with his 60 receptions; Santonio Holmes might join him as early as this week (44 receptions); and Mewelde Moore and Heath Miller have a ways to go, but are in range with 37 and 32 receptions respectively.
* The Steelers are currently 26th in the league in Yards Per Game. Since the league expanded from 16 teams to 26 teams in 1970, the Steelers have never fared as poorly on offense as they will have in 2008 if current trends hold.
* Conversely, the Steelers defense is just three games away from finishing the year with the fewest yards per game allowed for the 7th time in franchise history.
* It would also be the 5th time in franchise history that the Steelers defense finished ranked first in fewest points per game allowed.
* The Steelers' opponents are currently on pace to attempt just 368 rushing attempts against our defense. That figure would be the lowest since 2004 (358),
* With 7 Interceptions in 2008, Troy Polamalu joins elite company in the single season INT list for Steelers. Willie Williams ('95), Darren Perry ('94), Donnie Shell ('84, '80) and Jack Ham ('72) also had 7 INTs. Rod Woodson ('93) and Mike Wagner ('73) had 8 INTs; and of course, Mel Blount set the franchise record in 1975 with 11 INTs. It's doubtful Polamalu will reach Blount, but he has a good shot at either tying or surpassing Woodson and Wagner's mark of 8 for 2nd place on the single season franchise leaderboard.
* The Steelers 2008 defense currently has 45 sacks which puts them on pace for exactly 55 for the year. This would match the team record of 55 sacks, set in 1994 and then matched in 2001.
* In 2002, 5 different Steelers players had at least 5 sacks, the only time such a feat has been accomplished since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. The Steelers of course are being carried by James Harrison's 15 sacks and LaMarr Woodley's 11.5 sacks. But three other players have a chance to also reach 5 sacks. Aaron Smith has 4.5, Lawrence Timmons has 4, and James Farrior has 3.5 sacks.
* Since 1988 when forced fumbles began to be recorded, no Steelers players has forced more than James Harrison's 7 in 2008. For comparison's sake, that's equal to or greater than the career total of quite a list of current and former players, including Troy Polamalu, Aaron Smith, Chad Brown, Kevin Greene, et al. Harrison's 7 forced fumbles are the single season franchise record, one better than Gregg Lloyd in 1995 and 1991.
We'll do this again at the end of the season, and perhaps before the finale against Cleveland.