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Analyzing the Steelers Week 9 win over the Colts, by the numbers

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It took key contributions in all three phases of the game to get the Steelers back to .500 on the season

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up their third straight win and fourth of the season as they got to .500 for the first half of 2019 with their 26–24 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field. It was an up-and-down game for the Steelers on both sides of the ball as neither team ever held more than a one-score lead. The most important number of all being the one added to the win column, here are some of the other numbers to help put in perspective the Steelers performance against the Colts in Week 9.


6

It has to be the first number discussed. The 96-yard “pick six” by Minkah Fitzpatrick in the second quarter put the Steelers right back into the game when they desperately needed it as the Colts were looking to take a two-score lead. The 96-yard return is the second longest in the regular season for the Steelers with the longest dating back to 1933. Of course, it must say “regular season” as James Harrison had a 100-yard interception return in Super Bowl XLIII.


2

The Steelers started the game offensively in a more promising manner than they had in quite some time. The Steelers achieved two first downs on the opening drive, matching their season total for the rest of 2019. The last time the Steelers had it first down in their opening drive in Week 1 against the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, the drive ended in the first of the Steelers two turnovers on the day.


5

Much had been said going into the game of the Colts strong offensive line. Regarded as possibly the top pass-blocking line in the NFL, the Colts and only surrendered 11 sacks on the season going into Week 9. The Steelers managed to notch five sacks against the Colts, the most they’ve given up in any game in 2019. Additionally, one sack was a fourth down strip sack by Bud Dupree who finished with two sacks on the day.


45

This number is both good and bad. Trey Edmunds had an impressive run in the first quarter which went for 45 yards on the first play of the Steelers second drive. Unfortunately, on the Steelers other 24 rushing attempts they could only manage to equal 45 yards, giving them 90 on the day. Granted, the Steelers did lose 2 yards rushing on the final two plays of the game when Mason Rudolph took a knee to run out the clock. While he was very effective in the passing game, Jaylen Samuels only had 10 rushing yards on eight attempts.


4

One of the biggest differences in the game was Chris Boswell going 4/4 on his field goals against the Colts. Adding a season-long 51 yarder as time expired in the first half gave this Steelers’ fan confidence he was going to knock through anything on the day. The 15-yard personal foul penalty which set up the final kick of the half certainly was costly, especially with the score differential only ended up being two points.


17

Turnovers are important, but points off of turnovers are even more beneficial. Over half the Steelers points came off of their defensive takeaways yet again this week. The first seven points came off of the pick six by Minkah Fitzpatrick with another touchdown coming after Bud Dupree’s strip sack in the third quarter. It was disappointing when the Steelers got their final turnover in the red zone and were not able to convert it into a touchdown. But 17 points off of three turnovers is still a positive statistic.


13

Jaylen Samuels’ record-breaking performance as a receiver out of the backfield needs to be noted. Going for 73 yards, Samuels averaged 5.6 yards per reception and caught all 13 balls that were thrown to him, setting a franchise record for receptions in a game by a running back. Unfortunately, his final reception ended in a fumble which allowed the Colts to take the lead in the fourth quarter.


2/3 vs. 2/9

It was a tale of two haves for the Steelers defense, with the most telling statistic coming in the Colts third-down conversions. In the first half, the Colts converted two first downs on only three attempts. Unfortunately, the Colts were advancing the ball and not even getting to third down as they did not have a punt in the first half. But in the second half, the Steelers did much better at holding the Colts on third down as they only converted two out of nine with one of them being the horrible pass interference penalty on Steven Nelson. Of course this is not taking into account the Colt’s fourth down conversions which finished as two for three on the day.


So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Colts. While many of these numbers are encouraging, the most important number is getting the win. Do these numbers accurately describe what transpired at Heinz Field on Sunday? Were there any other numbers not listed which really stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.