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A Look at Some of the Steelers Early Season Team Numbers

I'm going to spit out a few stats that I found interesting. Hopefully we can discuss which we find most important, which are most indicative of the new coaching regime, which might not last, etc. Anyway, here goes:

1) The Steelers lead the NFL in 3rd down % at 55.6% At the moment, this stat is not entirely indicative of a team's success, as a number of teams in the top-15 are either winless or have sub-.500 records. As I suspected though initially, the top 6 teams on 3rd-down in 2006 all made the playoffs.

2) Pittsburgh also has the 2nd fewest Penalty Yards on offense through 3 games, trailing only the New York Jets. The Steelers have only been penalized 11 times for 67 yards. What's that mean? Few holding penalties, limited false starts, and perhaps most importantly, no drive-killing 15-yard unecessary garbage penalties. On defense, we've been penalized a bit more, but in my mind, you don't want to be never be penalized on defense - it can be indicative of a lack of agressive play. Agressive penalties are ok, bone-headed ones are not. For now, we're doing a nice job avoiding the bad kind of both sides of the ball.

3) Pittsburgh is 2nd in the NFL in Time of Possesion. On average, we're holding the ball for 34:21 per game, nearly ten minutes more per contest than our opponents. That's huge. While it is definitely keeping our defense fresh for the time being, we'll have to continue shuttling in fresh bodies on offense if we're to sustain that dominance over the course of a long season.

*Totally random, non-Steelers related stat here, but would you believe me if I told you the Raiders were giving up 41.4 yards per kickoff! That's freaking insane! Fortunately for them, Janikowski kicks it out of the endzone more often than not, but when he doesn't, opposing teams basically start at midfield. Ay yay yay.

4) The Steelers are 2nd in the NFL in Yards Allowed per Game, and 1st in the NFL in 1st downs surrendered per game. No need to explain the importance of these stats.

5) Oh my god! We wasted a 4th round draft pick on a punter who is 2nd to last in the NFL in Yards Per Punt! Oh wait, he's also only punted nine times, and 6 of those have landed inside the 20. Not to mention that not one of his punts has been returned yet? The kid hasn't even had a chance yet, and I'm just fine with that.  

6) Sticking with the special teams...Jeff Reed leads the league in FGs Made, and Total Points Scored. I'd rather Reed not lead the league in FGs made - it's a pretty stat, but obviously indicates drives are stalling.

7) Allen Rossum is 2nd in the NFL with a 37 yard per Kick Return Average. Insta-dividends. Thank goodness the Rooneys didn't waste the money on Antwaan Randle-el. We've got a plenty capable return-guy, and a much better receiver in Santonio Holmes - all for much less money than ARE would have cost.

That's it for now. Let's try to do this throughout the season. Last year was pretty interesting in that we fared well in a number of significant statistical categories, yet failed to win more than we lost obviously. For now, at least, the stats most certainly don't lie.