It’s the football games played in December in the NFL that can make or break a team’s season. With the Steelers falling for the second straight week, their 16-10 loss to the New York Jets has them on the outside of the AFC playoff picture looking in. The Steelers no longer control their own destiny, but must hope that the chips fall in the right place for them to make the postseason. Before moving on to the final regular-season game, here are several key numbers from the Steelers’ Week 16 loss to the New York Jets.
The Steelers kept their 22-game streak of consecutive games with at least one turnover going as they had two interceptions in the first half against the New York Jets. It was the two turnovers by Devlin Hodges which lead to a change in quarterback in the second quarter. As for the other side of the ball, the Steelers defense had one takeaway which set up their lone touchdown of the day at the very end of the first half.
After settling for a 49 yard field goal with 1:18 left in the first half, The Steelers turned a T.J. Watt strip sack and fumble recovery into an opportunity to get another score before going into the locker room for halftime. With just 0:04 left on the clock, Mason Rudolph connected with Diontae Johnson for a 29-yard touchdown. All the points the Steelers scored on the day came only 1:14 apart.
After storming back to tie the game, the Steelers failed to get on the scoreboard in the second half. It was the first time in the 2018 season for the Steelers did not score in the second half of the game. The Steelers were held scoreless in the first half of the game twice in 2019 against the New England Patriots and at the Cleveland Browns. Unsurprisingly, all three games in which the Steelers did not score in a half were all losses.
Returning to the unfortunate form they had at the beginning of the season, the Steelers only converted 3 first downs on 14 opportunities. It was the sixth time in 2019 where the Steelers only had three third-down conversions not including the one game they had only two. Their conversion rate of 21.4% is their second worst in 2019 with their 2 for 11 performance in Cleveland being the only other lower percentage.
4 vs 2
Once again, the Steelers surrendered more acks than which they registered. While T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree each hada sack to add to their impressive totals for 2019, the Steelers were not able to bring down Sam Darnold any other time throughout the game. Offensively, the Steelers surrendered four sacks on the day, three of which were of Devlin Hodges and one against Mason Rudolph.
The Steelers held the Jets to 85 rushing yards on 32 attempts on Sunday. With an average of 2.7 yards per carry, it was the Jets third lowest average of the season. The only other lower average came in Week 3 against the Patriots and in Week 10 against the Giants. It was the second lowest average the Steelers defense has allowed in 2019 with the only game in which team held a team to less yards per carry being in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Steelers only had one trip into the red zone the entire game against the Jets. The drive occurred in the second quarter when the Steelers had moved 56 yards on six plays to the Jets 19 yard line. On the only play of the game the Steelers had in the red zone, quarterback Devlin Hodges threw an interception in the end zone. It was the final play before the Steelers chose to make a change at quarterback.
With 10:13 left in the game, the Steelers faced a second and seven at the New York 29 yard line while trailing by three points. Over the next two plays, the Steelers lost 17 yards and had to settle for a punt rather than a field goal attempt. The Steelers lost 9 yards on a sack of Devlin Hodges followed by an 8 yard loss on a fumbled snap. On the next drive, the Jets scored another field goal to take a six point lead instead of merely breaking a tie.
So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Jets. It was a disappointing game where the Steelers surrendered control of their own destiny when it comes to the 2019 postseason. Were there any other numbers which stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.