There was a lot to gripe about regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers in the month of September. After all, there was a reason Mike Tomlin spoke about the “September Stench” surrounding his team as the calendar turned to October. But one of the most blatant issues with the Steelers has been penalties.
In fact, the Steelers are the most penalized team in the NFL heading into Week 7, but the team is trending in the right direction. This from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Steelers have committed 21 penalties for 167 yards in their past three games after being penalized 37 times for 361 yards in the first three— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) October 18, 2018
21 penalties in three games for 167 yards is hardly something to write home about, but it is a far cry from the 37 penalties for 361 yards in their first trio of games.
The penalties have been numerous, and in almost every variety possible. Lining up illegally on a kickoff/punt, illegal hands to the face, illegal man down field and the always fun false starts to put the offense in an early hole regarding down and distance.
With that said, if there is one area of the Steelers which has played superb throughout the entire season, it would be the offensive line. Sure, everyone sees them keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright, but look at these penalty statistics:
Ramon Foster only Steelers offensive lineman to not be penalized this season. David DeCastro has one penalty (illegal downfield vs Bengals); Marcus Gilbert has two, but none in the past five games.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) October 18, 2018
Yes, the Steelers get penalized a lot, but very few of those penalties come from the offensive line. Throw in the fact this unit hasn’t allowed a sack, and only one quarterback hit, in the past two games, and it is safe to say this is one of the league’s best offensive lines.
The road ahead for the Steelers doesn’t get easier. Teams like the Ravens, Saints, Patriots and Chargers all await them in the second half of the season, and one thing the team can’t do is continually shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. By just eliminating the negative plays via penalty will immensely help the Steelers’ chances of not just winning games, but winning the AFC North division and punching their ticket into the postseason once again.