Football Outsiders put out their annual Defeats rankings for 2019, and the Steelers were well represented.
As you can see, T.J. Watt led the NFL in defeats. What are defeats?
A defender is credited with a defeat any time he makes one of the following plays:
A tackle that results in a loss of yardage, including sacks.
Any play that results in a turnover, including tipped passes which are then intercepted.
Any tackle or tipped pass that leads to a stop on third or fourth down.
So when Minkah Fitzpatrick tipped a ball and Kam Kelly intercepted it, Minkah Fitzpatrick got a defeat. When Joe Haden got a hand on the ball to break up a third down pass, he got a defeat. When Devin Bush ran down a running back short of the stick on third down, he got a defeat. Every time any player tackled a player behind the line of scrimmage, they got a defeat.
The Steelers had 8 players make the article for ranking in the top 20 at their position.
So let’s look at where the Steelers ranked on this list:
- T.J. Watt: 36 defeats, #1 overall, #1 Edge Rusher
- Cameron Heyward: 26 defeats, #9(t3) overall, #1(t2) Interior Lineman
- Bud Dupree: 25 defeats, #12(t7) overall, #5(t5) Edge Rusher
- Joe Haden: 19 defeats, #4 Cornerback
- Terrell Edmunds: 15 defeats, #15(t7) Safety
- Minkah Fitzpatrick: 15 defeats, #15(t7) Safety
- Mike Hilton: 15 defeats, #7(t6) Cornerback
- Javon Hargrave: 12 defeats, #17(t8) Interior Lineman
T.J. Watt led the entire league with 5 more defeats than any other player, and was tied with Bud Dupree and Joey Bosa for the most run defeats by an edge rusher.
Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick tied for defeats, but while Fitzpatrick was pass defeat heavy (11), Edmunds had more run defeats (9)
Minkah Fitzpatrick not being high on the list, and Steven Nelson not showing up shouldn’t surprise anyone, as teams avoided both of them quite a lot in 2019. The other three main defensive backs for the Steelers all show well on these lists.
Finally, the article points out that while Devin Bush missed the list, it wasn’t by much, as he recorded 18 defeats while the bottom of the linebacker list ends at 20 defeats.
With all these Steelers ranking highly, you would expect the Steelers defense to rank high in team defeats, and you would be right, with the Steelers tied for first with the Buffalo Bills with 203 team defeats.
The entire Football Outsiders article can be seen HERE.