Entering Week 17 of the 2019 NFL season, the Steelers needed help in order to make the playoffs. With scenarios where the Steelers could get in whether they won or lost, being able to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, who were resting many of their players, was the only thing the Steelers could control. And while the Tennessee Titans easily defeated the Houston Texans to wrap up the last seed in the AFC playoffs making the Steelers game irrelevant, there was still pride on the line as the Steelers battled the Ravens on the rain-soaked field in Baltimore. Unfortunately, the Steelers came up short in a lot of areas to make the game not competitive down the stretch.
So here are some of the numbers which led to the Steelers loss on Sunday in Baltimore. With some of the historically poor numbers, putting them in context with past performances will be provided.
Everybody knew the Baltimore Ravens were going to run the ball. It rained the entire game, and the Ravens MVP candidate quarterback Lamar Jackson was inactive. But even knowing the Ravens were going to be rushing, the Steelers defense still managed to give up 223 yards on the ground. It was the most yards surrendered on the ground by the Steelers since Week 5 of 2017 season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the large number of rushing attempts the Steelers surrendered, Baltimore completely dominated the time of possession. Holding almost a 19 minute advantage, it was the greatest difference in time of possession for the Steelers since Week 8 of 2003 when the Steelers were defeated by the St. Louis Rams in the game where the Rams had a 20-minute advantage.
With weather being one factor, the Steelers struggled mightily in passing the football. Quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for 95 yards in the air, but losing 18 yards on two sacks, the Steelers officially had 77 yards passing on the game. Is the lowest total since they only had 21 yards in Week 2 of 2010 when they defeated to the Tennessee Titans 19–11. The last time the Steelers had this few passing yards in a loss was the opening game of the season in 1994 against the Dallas Cowboys when they only had 71 yards passing.
The Steelers only completed nine passes on the day in Baltimore. Although nine completions is concerning, the fact that it was on 25 attempts made the passing game even worse. With only a 36% pass completion rate, it is the lowest the Steelers had since Week 10 of the 2000 season.
One bright spot for the Steelers what is the running of Benny Snell Jr. who rushed for 91 yards on 18 attempts. The Steelers only had a total of 91 yards rushing on the day as Devlin Hodges had -1 yards rushing due to a kneel down and Kerrith Whyte Jr. had one rushing yard on three attempts.
5 vs. 0
The Steelers officially had 12 drives on the day against the Ravens. Throwing out the final drive of each half where the Steelers took a knee and where they ran one play, of the remaining 10 drives the Steelers had five of which were they did not achieve a first down. Of these five drives, two of them were there drives which were the first possession of each half. Comparing this to the Ravens, they achieved at least one first down on every drive they had in the game.
The Steelers second drive of the game was 75 yards on 10 plays which ended with a 4-yard Benny Snell Jr. touchdown run. Other than this drive, the longest drive of the day was only 28 yards. It was actually the Steelers next possession after their touchdown drive which was 28 yards on 8 plays and resulted in to first downs before ending in a punt.
While the Steelers only scored 10 points for the third consecutive game, this specific number of 10 is in regards to the number of first downs the Steelers had in the game. It was the fewest first downs they have had in 2019. The last time the Steelers had this few first downs in a game was the aforementioned Week 2 game of 2010 against the Tennessee Titans.
So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Ravens. The Steelers struggles on offense have been apparent for the last several weeks, but in their season finale they reached a new level of ineptitude. While weather was one factor in the game, both teams had to play in the rain and the Ravens still managed to score 28 points to secure the victory while many of their starters sat out.
Were there any other numbers which stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.