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Analyzing the Steelers’ Week 6 win over the Bengals, by the numbers

The percentage of drives ending in a punt and the lack of sacks surrendered headline the positives from Sunday.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images


The Steelers have had 128 offensive snaps (including two-point conversions) over more than two games since the last time Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked. Of those 128 plays, 80 have been drop-backs by the quarterback which have resulted in 52 completions. Additionally, Ben has scrambled and rushed for a first down on two different occasions.

Over the last 13 quarters played, the Steelers have only given up one sack. During this time, the Steelers have run 202 offensive plays, 133 of which were intended to be passes. In last 3 and 1/4 games, Ben has been sacked 0.752% of the time he has dropped back to pass. In the same time period, the Steelers’ defense have recorded 11 sacks.

To put it in perspective, over the course of Ben Roethlisberger’s career he has been sacked an average of 2.36 times per game he has played. Based on that average, Ben should have been sacked 7.67 times over the last 3.25 games. Instead, he has only been sacked once.

Kudos to the offensive line, tight ends, and running backs for keeping Ben upright.


No, this is not the combination to my high school locker. These numbers represent the offensive snaps recorded by Vance McDonald, Jesse James, and Xavier Grimble against the Bengals. Those snaps equate to 70%, 70%, and 29% of offensive plays. With two tight ends logging such a high percentage of snaps, it shows the Steelers used a lot of 2 TE and 3 TE formations. On top of those snap counts, Chuks Okorafor played eight snaps lined up as a tight end. Comparatively, the Steelers third, fourth, and fifth receivers only logged 16, 14, and 2 snaps respectively.

The tight ends were also quite efficient with their receptions. On 17 targets, the three TE’s had 14 receptions for 129 yards, equating to 9.21 yards per reception.

7 for 77

On the Steelers game-winning drive, they moved the ball 77 yards on 7 plays in 1:08. Ben Roethlisberger was 4/7 in passing attempts for 72 yards (the other five yards were on a penalty). JuJu Smith-Schuster had three receptions for 41 yards while Antonio Brown had the 31-yard touchdown reception.


Of the 10 drives the Cincinnati Bengals had on Sunday, six of them ended in a punt. In the previous four games, the best punt percentage the Steelers held was against the Falcons at 36% while the lowest percentage of drives ending in punts was against the Chiefs at 17%. The mark of 60% against the Bengals was the second best for the Steelers in 2018 only behind the Week 1 game against the Browns (63%).


Although forcing a punt is considered a successful defensive stand, the better statistic would probably be the percentage of drives where the offense scores points of some kind. To give a better representation, any drive which only consists of the offense taking a knee to end either half will not count as a drive. With the Bengals scoring on three of their ten drives, the Steelers’ defense held Cincinnati to a 30.0% scoring rate, which is the exact same percentage as the Falcons game.

In the Steelers two losses to Baltimore and Kansas City, those teams each had a scoring rate of 54.5%. The top mark on the season for the Steelers was against Cleveland, who only scored on 15.8% of their drives.

Even though this statistic does not take into account giving up a touchdown versus a field goal, it still represents how often a team can get off the field without surrendering points. With the effectiveness of the Steelers’ defense being highly questionable early in the season, it is definitely a step in the right direction when they are holding offenses to points on less than 1/3 of their drives over the last two games.