Two down, two to go.
Preseason Week 2 is now behind us. The Steelers have now played their second game, and this time many more of the typical starters saw the field. With just five or six players who are projected starters for the regular season not suiting up, there was a much better feel early on that this was much closer to the team who will take the field in Foxborough in a mere three weeks.
But did they Steelers perform in a manner where coaches and fans should be satisfied with the product at Heinz Field from the black and gold?
In my earlier Crunching the Numbers article, I compiled some statistics from the Steelers’ Week 1 game which are in need of improvement moving forward. Using those stats, let’s look actual statistics from Week 2 to help determine if our expectations were met in Saturday’s game.
I don’t care if it was a lot of backups. I never imagined the Steelers holding the Chiefs to seven points. I thought the goal of 24 was pretty ambitious, and I definitely took the over of 46.5 combined points. Not only was this was the top scoring offense in 2018, it was a team who put up 38 points last week with mostly reserve players. So any argument about the Chiefs backups not being as good is easily disputed. I’m calling this a great win for the defense. It was the fewest number of points the Chiefs have scored in a game since Week 15 of 2013.
Although they had more accepted penalties than their opponent, seeing the number of flags against the Steelers decrease from Week 1 to Week 2 is a good thing. Additionally, I think most of us can agree there should have been one less penalty for certain. The offensive pass interference call on Diontae Johnson was egregious to say the least. What is even more telling is if they did not overturn a missed call of that caliber, will they actually overturn any of these sorts of challenges throughout the 2019 season?
While some look at this statistic as meaningless, it is important that the Steelers cut the number of first downs surrendered almost in half. After giving up 31 in Week 1, only giving up 17 in Week 2 looks like an accomplishment. Coupled with the low number of points surrendered, it is a pretty telling statistic this time around.
When I set the goal for the Steelers to keep the Chiefs to under 400 yards of offense, I thought there was only a slight chance they could do it. I thought if Kansas City had the lead they might not push the ball down the field quite as much. But the Chiefs never led in the game, and the Steelers still held them to 315 yards of offense.
Even in such a low scoring affair, the Steelers managed to get the ball into the end zone on the ground this week. I felt Jaylen Samuels had a good game both rushing and in pass protection before he had his 14-yard touchdown. The Steelers got the job done on the ground with 4.0 yards a carry from 124 yards on 31 rushes.
So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers second game of the 2019 preseason, all of which they hit the mark. Which number were you pleased with the most? What was the most disappointing statistic? Is there another one not listed which really stands out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below!