The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers have had an up-and-down season. After reaching the low in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers came back to Heinz Field and took down the division-leading Ravens, only to drop even lower with the first-half effort on Thursday night in Minnesota. The Steelers fought hard over the last third of the game to come back, but it was simply too much to overcome.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Vikings.
The Steelers managed only 66 yards of offense in the first half against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. On 26 plays, the offense only managed 2.5 yards per play. The Steelers only had 29 rushing yards and 37 net passing yards through the first 30 minutes of the game. The Steelers also only had five first downs, two of which came by way of a penalty. To make it even worse, the Steelers were 1–7 on third downs for a 14% conversion rate.
On the other side of the ball, the Minnesota Vikings put up 300 yards on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of the game. With 15 first downs, Vikings rarely got into a third down situation as they were only two of six for a 33% conversion rate. Of the 37 plays they ran in the first half, the Vikings averaged 8.1 yards/ play. With 176 rushing yards and 124 net passing yards, the Steelers simply could not slow down the Vikings as they put up 23 points in the first half.
The Steelers surrendered 205 rushing yards to running back Dalvin cook too many believe wasn’t even going to play in the game due to a shoulder injury. Coming on 27 carries, Coke average 7.6 yards per rush. In the first half alone, cook Rush for 153 yards an average 10.9 yards per carry and it was when he had his two rushing touchdowns. It was the first time in NFL running back one over the 200 yard mark since week 17 of the 2020 season and set the 2021 single-game rushing record by 20 yards.
The Steelers gave up 29 points to Minnesota Vikings before they got on the scoreboard. Trailing by this many points, no team in NFL history has ever come back from this much of a margin. The fact the Steelers had the football with a chance to tie at the end of the game was the first time a come back to this magnitude happened in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers did next to nothing on either side of the ball to the first 2/3 of the game. It wasn’t until the Steelers received the ball 8:45 into the third-quarter that they put together a scoring drive. Through the first 38:45, the Steelers trailed 29–0. Over the last 21:15, the Steelers outscored the Vikings 28–7.
Although this statistic is usually one of the biggest determining factors in the outcome of the game, Steelers managed to be on the plus side of the turnover margin. Only having one turnover themselves which came early in the third quarter, the Steelers were able to claw back into the game thanks to two Ahkello Witherspoon interceptions. Had the Steelers not come up with the two takeaways, both of which led to touchdowns, the point margin would not have been nearly as close as it ended up being.
One player who seemed to be giving it all throughout the entire game was rookie running back Najee Harris who finished with 104 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. On the night, Harris finished with 94 rushing yards on 20 carries which equated to a 4.7 yards per carry average along with one rushing touchdown. Harris also added three receptions on three targets for 10 yards and a receiving touchdown.
5 v 0
Coming into the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL with 37 sacks followed closely by the Minnesota Vikings with 36. Unfortunately, Minnesota won the sack battle as they got to Ben Roethlisberger five times where the Steelers failed to bring down Kirk Cousins at all on the night.
46.0 v 37.8
In what was “the game with in the game,” the two punters who spent training camp with the Steelers faced off as Jordan Berry signed with the Vikings following his release from the Steelers. On the night, Pressley Harvin had six punts for 258 yards with a 37.8 net yard average and a 43.0 gross punting yard average. As for Berry, he only got half as many punts and had 146 yards on three points with a 46.0 net yard average and a 48.7 gross yard average.
The Steelers fell short of their ultimate goal in this game and were unable to add another number to the win column. The Steelers now fall back to .500 and are 6–6–1 on the season with four games remaining.
So there are some numbers to try to help put the Steelers Week 14 loss to the Vikings in perspective. Although the Steelers did fight their way back and came up just short as time expired, it was their shortcomings through the first 2/3 of the game which put them in such a terrible position. Now with 10 days off until they face the Tennessee Titans, hopefully the Steelers can pull it together for the final quarter of the season.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.