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Analyzing the Steelers Week 10 tie with the Lions, by the numbers

If winning is the goal, then the Steelers came up short on Sunday.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer on a winning streak, but they still haven’t lost in five-straight games. With the Steelers finishing in a tie following 70 minutes of football, they have basically eliminated the need for tiebreakers for the rest of the season unless another AFC team also ends up with a tie. More than anything, the Steelers need to regroup, hopefully get healthy, and start a new winning streak. But for now, there are plenty on numbers to point out from their latest contest.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers tie with the Lions.


This stat got moved to the front because it was the biggest part of the game. The Steelers ended up -3 in the turnover department as they did not have any takeaways in the game. Had the Steelers come up with a key interception, they may have won the game. Also, if they hadn’t him fumbled even just one of their two turnovers in overtime, we may be talking about an ugly win rather than a disappointing tie. The fact that the Steelers did not lose the game when they were -3 in the turnover department is quite surprising.


In all, the Steelers surrendered 229 rushing yards to the Lions. While the total looks terrible, the worst part is 189 of those yards were in just the second and third quarters. The Steelers gave up 94 yards on the ground in the second quarter and 95 yards in the third quarter. The Steelers only surrendered 20 rushing yards in the first quarter and 20 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.


Ben Roethlisberger was out. The Steelers were down one of their top receivers with another out for the season. It was raining heavily for a large portion of the game. Yet the Steelers offense, running 81 total plays, had 50 passing attempts in the game. Mason Rudolph finished 30 for 50 with 242 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. To say it lightly, attempting to throw the ball this many times seems like a bit of a stretch.


The Pittsburgh Steelers received the opening kickoff and proceeded to march down the field in 10 plays for 83 yards to score a touchdown 5:20 into the game. For the next 64:40 of time on the clock, the Steelers did not find the end zone. Although it appeared the Steelers had a rushing touchdown from Najee Harris in the second quarter, it was called back on an offensive holding penalty.


When it came to the Detroit Lions offense, most of their damage was done in their two drives in the second quarter and the opening drive of the third quarter. In 17:01 of clock time, the Lions rushed for 179 yards and had 191 total yards of offense which equated to 62.4% of their total yardage which finished at 306 yards. Additionally, all 16 of the Lions points came on these three drives in this part of the game.


The worst number of everything from this game are the four key injuries which occurred in where players did not return to action. Cornerback Joe Haden was lost in the first half with a foot injury along with guard Kevin Dotson with an ankle. The Steelers other starting guard, Trai Turner, did not return to the field after half time. What many fear was the most significant injury, T.J. Watt injured his knee and hip on the same play at the end of the third quarter and did not return.


Despite throwing the ball 50 times, the Steelers were quite successful when it came to the run. The Steelers ultimately finished the game with 145 rushing yards on 31 attempts with a 4.7 average. Najee Harris led the way with 105 yards on 26 carries while Mason Rudolph added another 36 yards ion four carries. Benny Snell accounted for one rush for 4 yards on the day. Despite going over the 100 yard threshold, the Steelers did not win the game which ended a 21-game streak. Taking into account this game and their tie in 2018, the Steelers have now gone 25 straight games where they have rushed for 100 or more yards and have not lost.

193 vs 89

Between punts and kickoffs, the Steelers were dominated in return yards on Sunday. With both teams getting a combined eight returns, the Lions had 193 return yards with 71 yards on three punt returns and 122 yards on five kickoff returns. As for the Steelers, they finished with only 89 return yards which came via 54 yards on six punt returns and 35 yards on two kickoff returns.


I admit this is a completely made up number. I really have no idea what the total is at this time but will update this article when it is available on Monday. It just felt as if the Steelers had far too many missed tackles in Sunday’s game. While I’m sure it wasn’t as many as 47, it sure did feel that way. Since missed tackles is not an official NFL stats, I generally do not get the information until Pro Football Focus releases their grades on Monday. So the real number is yet to come…

UPDATE: According to PFF, their number of missed tackles in the game was 10, four less than the Steelers overtime win against the Seahawks in Week 6. Personally, I think half of those missed tackles came on the touchdown run in the third quarter.


It wasn’t a win, but it wasn’t a loss. And while it is deflating, the Steelers technically have half of a game in the win column after Week 10. It’s nothing to brag about, so the Steelers are best to just move on and get ready for Week 11.

So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 10 tie in perspective. While their performance wasn’t enough to get the win, the multiple injuries seem to be looming just as large as the troubling play on the field.

So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.