The Steelers made a big change in their offense this week as they decided to go with Devlin Hodges at quarterback against the Cleveland Browns. In all, Hodges has logged almost two full games under center with his one start being a win against the Los Angeles Chargers. The big question for Week 13 is will the offense look different with Hodges under center?
In this weeks installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at the Steelers’ lack of offensive production on the season, over the last month, and their overall offensive continuity.
The Steelers have had 133 offensive drives in 2019. Specifically, this number does not include drives which included only kneel-down plays. When compared to other teams, it puts the Steelers solidly in the top 10 of the NFL for the most number of offensive drives. This number will be used as a reference for the next several categories.
Of all the drives the Steelers have had on offense in 2019, they have finished them off with a touchdown 19 times. Unfortunately, this means the Steelers are averaging less than two offensive touchdowns per game on the season. Only 14.3% of the Steelers drives finish with them scoring a touchdown. Other NFL teams who have only scored 19 offensive touchdowns in 2019 are the Jets, Jaguars, and Dolphins. The only teams who have fewer offensive touchdowns are the Broncos (17), Bengals (16), and Redskins (14). The Steelers are the only team on the list with more than four wins.
Not only have the Steelers scored 19 touchdowns on offense in 2019, they have had 19 drives end with a turnover. So the Steelers offense is just as likely to commit a turnover then they are to find the end zone. The last time the Steelers finished a season with as many turnover as offensive touchdowns was 1998.
Through 11 games, the Steelers have 43 drives where they have not gained more than 5 yards. With 19 drives ending in touchdowns and 21 drives ending in field goals, the Steelers are more likely to gain 5 yards or less on a drive than they are to score points.
In the month of November, the Steelers only scored four offensive touchdowns, one in each of their four games. All four touchdowns came through the air as the Steelers did not have a rushing touchdown in the month of November. The Steelers also had two defensive touchdown to add to their total for the month along with eight field goals. Even with the lack of production, the Steelers managed to go 3-1.
Part of the reason the offense has struggled in 2019 may be the lack of continuity of players on the field. When comparing the Steelers offensive starting lineup in Week 12 of 2019, only three of those players started the game in Week 1 of 2018. Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, and David DeCastro are the only players who started in both games. If looking at Steelers who started the majority of the games in 2018, there were two more Steelers that started in Week 12 which fit into this category: Matt Feiler and Vance McDonald. So other than the offensive line and tight end, the Steelers are starting all new players at the other positions of running back, quarterback, and wide receiver.
So there are some numbers when it comes to the Steelers offense both recently and on the 2019 season. When it comes to Week 13, can Devlin Hodges give the offense the much-needed boost in production? Can the defense step up yet again if the offense can get going? Please leave your answers in the comments below!