Now that the Steelers 2019 season has concluded, the long off-season has begun. As we move through the remainder of the NFL post season and beyond, it’s time to look back at some of the numbers the Steelers put up (a failed to put up) this past season. There are some numbers that are great, while others are definitely short of the mark. Either way, let’s put some context behind a few of the statistics for 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers produced during the season.
Since we started on a high note looking at takeaways, it’s time to shift gears and look at one of the low points from 2019.
When Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season entering elbow injury during Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season, most people predicted the Steelers’ offense would take a major hit. While many didn’t foresee the Steelers stepping up their defense, especially after adding Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers were still able to turn out a season where they were still in playoff contention through Week 17. Although the Steelers did exceed many expectations after the loss of Roethlisberger, their shortcomings on offense were still very apparent.
When it comes to the NFL, the most important statistic of all is wins and losses, and the only way a team can win a game is if they have more points than their opponent. Even though some teams rely heavily on their defense, the team must put up enough points in order to win the game. As for the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers, their points scored as a team hit its lowest point in over 20 years.
The Steelers only scored 289 points in 2019, which gives an average of 18.1 points scored per game. Unfortunately, if the Steelers were able to meet their average points scored over the last three games, they would have gone 2-1 instead of 0-3. Instead, 2019 ended up being the fewest total points scored by the Steelers since 1998 when they scored 263 points.
While the Steelers 2019 point total was close to being historically low, there were still five NFL teams which scored less points than the Steelers in 2019. The Steelers also finished with a negative point differential for the first time since 2003. Ironically, this was the last season in which Ben Roethlisberger did not quarterback the majority of the Steelers’ games.
The Steelers also saw their biggest reduction in points scored from one season to another since the strike-shortened season of 1982. The Steelers scored 428 points in 2018, so they came up with 139 points less than the previous season. The only other time the Steelers had dropped off that much in the points scored department over a single season was in 1982. It should be pointed out that not only did the Steelers play seven less games in the 1982 season, they actually averaged more per game than in 1981. The only other season in which the Steelers had a 100-point reduction from one season to the next was from 1997 to the aforementioned 1998 where the Steelers only scored 263 points.
Although it appears to be a simple solution to the points scored department with the team’s Hall of Fame quarterback exiting for the year after only six quarters, the Steelers points output during Ben Roethlisberger’s time under center in 2019 actually brought the point totals down. With the Steelers only scoring 13 points in the first game and a half before Roethlisberger exited, they would have only scored a projected 139 points on the season at that pace. But remember, the Steelers were going up against one of the league’s best defenses in the New England Patriots for four out of those six quarters.
When it comes to scoring points, it is truly a team effort. If the Steelers defense would not have put the ball in the end zone three times on the season (along with a special teams touchdown) as well as setting up the offense for some short fields due to takeaways, it could have been a very long season with an an even more inept offensive performance. On a similar note, since the defense was holding down their opponents so well, the Steelers offense may have not been pushing the issue of getting the ball down the field in order to put up so many points on the board. Either way they decide to fix the problem, the Steelers will need to find a way to increase their point differential in 2020 in order to increase their winning percentage.