The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t give their fans anything to cheer about this past Sunday. Coming back to Pittsburgh 0-1, the Steelers are in need of an impressive showing against the Seattle Seahawks and, more importantly, a win. While the Steelers’ struggles when traveling to the West Coast are well documented, when those opponents come east to Heinz Field is a completely different story.
Although historical stats do not guarantee anything when it comes to quality of play and statistical outcome on a particular game, it can show some possible trends. In this week’s installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at how the Steelers have fared at Heinz Field against the NFC West, particularly the Seattle Seahawks. Additionally, we’ll answer the question as to how the Steelers respond when coming home to Heinz Field after opening the season on the road.
In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers have always played their first two games as one being on the road and one at home. When the Steelers opening on the road and returning to Heinz Field for Week 2, they are 6-1 since 2007. The single loss came last season in 2018 when the Steelers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 42–37.
In the six Week 2 victories at Heinz Field under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have an average margin of victory of 19.0 points. Even if you were to include the five-point loss in 2018, the Steeler still have an average margin of victory of 15.6 points. So the Steelers have not only won when they have come home to Heinz Field for Week 2, they have done so decisively. In these games, they have averaged 29.6 points scored
In a more appropriate scenario for Week 2, how did the Steelers respond when returning to Heinz Field with a record of 0-1? The Steelers are 3-0 at home after losing on the road in Week 1 under Mike Tomlin. Most recently was in 2015 when the Steelers lost to the New England Patriots 28–21 and returned to Heinz Field to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 43-18. The other years include 2012 when they beat the New York Jets 27-10 after losing in Denver 31-19 and in 2011 when, after falling to the Ravens 35-7, they bounced back against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 by a score of 24-0.
Speaking of the game against the Seahawks in 2011, the Steelers have hosted Seattle twice in the history of Heinz Field. In both cases the Seahawks were shut out, so in the history of Heinz Field, Seattle has yet to score a point. While I do not expect this trend to continue in 2019, it is still an interesting tidbit of information. The other game the Seahawks played at Heinz Field was in 2007 when the Steelers were victorious 21-0.
To broaden the scope beyond just the Seattle Seahawks, the entire NFC West has never won a game in Pittsburgh in the Mike Tomlin era. In the six games played since 2007, the Steelers are 6-0 while managing three shut outs. The average score in these games is 29.5 to 7.83. The closest opponent has come to beating the Steelers at Heinz Field under Mike Tomlin was in 2015 when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 25–13 in a game started by Michael Vick with the second-half victory led by Landry Jones. With that said, every game against the NFC West at Heinz Field under Tomlin has been a double-digit victory.
To piggyback off the previous answer, the Steelers currently have a seven game winning streak at home against the NFC West. The Steelers have only lost one game to the NFC West at Heinz Field, and it was the first of such games they ever played in Week 8 of 2003. The Steelers fell to the St. Louis Rams by score of 21-33 in a match up of Marc Bulger versus Tommy Maddox. Since week 10 of the same year, the Steelers have racked up seven straight wins at home against the NFC West.
So there are some numbers which could give a glimmer of hope for the Steelers Week 2 match up returning to Heinz Field. Do you think these historical statistics matter? Does the Steelers past success at Heinz Field in this sort of game play an important role this time around ? Please leave your answers in the comments below!