The Pittsburgh Steelers have started the 2020 NFL season with a record of 2-0 and are looking to push it to yet another game in the win column this Sunday against the Houston Texans. While some may feel the Steelers are getting by and merely finding a way to win, some of the numbers they have produced so far would make for an outstanding season should the Steelers duplicate them through the next 14 games.
In this installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at some of the statistics the Steelers are projected to reach if they can keep pace with what they have produced in the first two games of 2020.
With 10 sacks through two games, the Steelers are currently on pace to set the NFL record for a season if they were to reach 80 for the 2020 season. The record was set in 1984 by the Chicago Bears with 72 sacks. After the first game, the Steelers were on pace for 48 sacks as they were averaging three sacks a game, but when they upped their average to five per game it became a whole new ballgame. Even if the Steelers average were to be 4.0 sacks per game, they would eclipse 60 for the season with a total of 64 sacks which is a number that has not been reached since the 2000 New Orleans Saints had 66 sacks in the season.
To turn to individual statistics, even though he was shut out in Week 1, T.J. Watt had 2.5 sacks in Week 2 which has him on pace to eclipse 20 for the year. Were Watt to reach the 2o sack mark, it would be a single-season record for the Pittsburgh Steelers and would have him tied for 11th all time since 1982 when sacks became an official individual statistic. The all-time record for the season is 22.5 by Michael Strahan in 2001, and if T.J. Watt were to reach 20 sacks he would be 0.5 behind the mark his brother J.J. has reached twice.
By hauling in two interceptions in Week 1 and another one and Week 2, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘s are on pace to hit 24 picks on the year. Last season, the Steelers had 20 interceptions by 10 different players. The last time the Steelers hit 24 interceptions in a season was in 1993.
After adding on the one fumble recovery the Steelers have had over two games, the total amount of takeaways the Steelers are projected to have for 2020 is 32. If so, the Steelers would come up six shots of the mark they reached in 2019 when they lead the NFL with 38 takeaways.
In his triumphant return from elbow surgery which cost him all but 6 quarters of the 2019 season, Ben Roethlisberger has returned and has thrown for 540 yards in two games. Going over the 300 yard mark in Week 2, Ben Roethlisberger is now on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards on the season. While it is not the 5,129 yards he threw for in 2018, Roethlisberger has only gone over 4,320 yards in a season three times in his career.
40 & 8
Along with Roethlisberger‘s 4,000 yards, he is on pace to throw for 40 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Roethlisberger has never reached the 40 touchdown mark as his career high was 34 in 2018. Additionally, the only time Ben Roethlisberger has had single digit interceptions in a season where he appeared in more than 13 games was in 2014 when he had nine picks in 16 starts.
With 250 total rushing yards, the Steelers are on pace to hit 2,000 rushing yards as a team in 2020. The last time the Steelers hit this many rushing yards in a season was 2007 when they rushed for 2,168 yards. Interesting enough, none of the running backs on the Steelers are on pace to eclipse 1,000 yards on the season as the yards have been almost evenly split between Benny Snell Jr. and James Conner. While this trend will most not likely continue through 2020, if the Steelers were to have two rushers go over 900 yards it would be a very welcome site as they have not had two running back’s reach this number in the same season since Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier in 1976.
So there are some numbers in regards to the Steelers when it comes to projecting their totals for 2020 based on the very limited sample size so far this season. Will the Steelers achieve these numbers for 2020? Perhaps. Will they achieve all of them? Highly doubtful. But if the Steelers can continue to stack wins along the way, some of the statistics will be byproducts of the teams success.