FanPost

On Turnovers and Why the Steelers Need to be Losers in the Red Zone.

I'm sure we all know that winning the turnover battle generally = success at this point, but I think it might be more important than we realize.

2013 Steelers turnover ratio in losses: 1:4 (4/16 overall and 0/11 during the 0-4 start to the year)

2013 Steelers turnover ratio in wins: 5:1 (10/2 overall and 8/1 the last 3 weeks)

The only game the Steelers have won whilst losing the turnover battle was against the Ravens (Heath lost a fumble), and that game was about as close as they come; Suisham ended it with a 42 yarder as time expired (and the Ravens actually the won the yardage battle 287-286).

The only game Pittsburgh has lost whilst winning the turnover battle? At Oakland, thanks to a couple of short missed field goals and a gift 93 yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage. The Steelers turned it over two times in that game while Picking off Pryor twice and recovering a fumble (the Raiders only won the yardage battle by 3).

Clearly protecting the ball and forcing turnovers is a good thing. The question is, why are we excelling in those areas now, as opposed to the beginning of the year? I don't really feel like doing more research at the moment, but if I had to guess I'd say we are pressuring the QB better (just look at what Worild's has done the last couple of games) and we aren't forcing the issue on offense - most likely a byproduct of not being behind early and having a somewhat improved running game (Bell has at least forced opposing defenses to respect the run, even if we aren't putting up big rushing numbers).

Not sold that it's all about the turnovers yet? What about that other thing the Black n' Gold have struggled mightily with this year - Red Zone Efficiency (31st in the league at 42.86% coming into Sunday):

2013 Steelers Red Zone TD Percentage in losses: 52.63%

2013 Steelers Red Zone TD Percentage in wins: 31.25%

In their six losses, Big Ben and company have essentially been league average in the red zone (the Chiefs are ranked 17th at 52.63%). But in wins? Pittsburgh has been worse than the Jaguars (dead last in the NFL at 34.62% overall).

Obviously, as our dear coach might say, its no surprise that the teams at the bottom of the red zone efficiency chart are generally, erm, not good. And while we'd all prefer some more PA to Will Johnson in the end zone, the Steelers can probably survive their red zone woes if they can keep dominating the turnover battle. Ideally though, they can start to play more like losers inside the 20.

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