The Pittsburgh Steelers got back to their winning ways and won their third-straight road game this season. Getting the sweep of the NFC South, the Steelers staved off elimination for the 2022 postseason despite the remaining odds being almost immeasurable.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Panthers.
Although the Steelers did not have any takeaways in the game, they played clean in the turnover department and finished even on the game. As much as it helps to get takeaways, not turning the ball over made a huge difference in the Steelers outcome this week.
At the end of the first quarter, the Steelers led the Panthers 7–0 despite Carolina being inside the Steelers 10-yard line. It was the sixth time this season the Steelers led at the end of the first quarter, and their record is 6–0 in those games. When the Steelers are even or trailing at the end of the first quarter, they are 0–8 on the season. Although the Steelers did not hold their lead in all these games, getting started by putting points on the board helps to continue implementing their plan throughout the game.
After getting a penalty on the opening kickoff of the third quarter which pinned them at their own 9-yard line, the Steelers manufactured a 21-play drive which took 11:43 off the clock and ended in a Mitch Trubisky rushing touchdown. The Steelers rushed for 52 yards on 14 plays and passed for 54 yards on 6 of 7 passing. The Steelers had 106 offensive yards because of the 15-yard taunting penalty on Diontae Johnson. The Steelers also converted 5 of 5 third down opportunities on the drive.
After giving up 215 rushing yards in Week 14, the Steelers held the Panthers to 21 rushing yards on 16 attempts. After rushing for 223 yards and 185 yards in their last two games, The Panthers simply couldn’t get going on the ground against the Steelers defense. Going into Week 15, there were only five NFL games in which a team was held to under 30 yards rushing. With this game against the Panthers being the sixth, the Steelers now are responsible for two of the six games as they held the New Orleans Saints to 29 rushing yards in Week 10.
This is the number of Panthers points directly on Marcus Allen. After back-to-back sacks to end the third quarter setting up a Carolina 4th and 27 just inside midfield, Allen ran into the Panthers huddle on their sideline during the intermission. The 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty gave Carolina a first down at the Steelers 34-yard line and led to a Panthers field goal.
12 of 16
The Steelers were able to continue their drives throughout the day in part to a fantastic third-down efficiency. Converting 12 of their 16 third downs, the Steelers moved the chain 75% of the time while holding the Panthers to only four third down conversion on 11 attempts for a 36% conversion rate. Of the four failed third down conversion for the Steelers, one was on their field goal drive late in the fourth quarter as they decided to run on third and six in order to run down the clock and kick a field goal where having the clock move was a higher priority than running a play to convert the first down. On that drive, the Steelers had already converted 3 third-down attempts, one of which was a third and 14.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson was targeted 10 times in the game on Sunday. More importantly, Johnson caught all 10 passes thrown his way. With only three receptions for 16 yards at halftime, Johnson added seven more catches in the second half for 82 yards for a grand total of 10 catches for 98 yards. Additionally, 33 of the yards by Johnson came after the catch.
One place where the Steelers could clean up their play was in the penalty department. With seven penalties for 81 yards, six of the penalties came in the second half and cost the Steelers 76 yards in all.
1 vs. 3
One of the bigger factors in the Steelers win was their ability to finish drives with touchdowns. The Steelers reached the red zone three times against the Panthers and finished all three times with touchdowns. When it came to the other side of the ball, the Panthers also reached the red zone three times but were only able to score one touchdown and twice settled for field goals. The four point difference on those two drives was ultimately the difference in the game.
While some are thinking this number doesn’t matter because they are already focused on Aprils draft, the ultimate goal for this team is to win football games. On Sunday, the Steelers were able to add another tally to their win column. Even if the notion of the postseason is all but gone, continuing to win games and establish a winning mentality will help carry this team through the offseason.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 14 win in perspective. The Steelers made some major corrections in key areas and got out of town with a victory.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.