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Analyzing the Steelers Week 3 loss to the Browns, by the numbers

The Steelers offense seemed to come alive in the first half but failed to come through down the stretch.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season is underway and the Steelers fell short for the second-straight game as they suffered their second loss in five days. Dropping to 1-2 and 1-1 in the AFC North, the Steelers now have 10 days to get ready for their next game at home against the New York Jets.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Browns.


I generally highlight the Steelers turnover margin as the first stat in this article. Although the Steelers technically had a -1, it did not affect the outcome of this game in any way. In fact, all it did was change the score as the Steelers were trying to desperately pull something off and go 96 yards on the final play of the game. Instead, it went down as a fumble recovery for a touchdown for the Browns. The Steelers did a good job of taking care of the ball otherwise, but they also were unable to force any takeaways on the night.


One statistic that looks really bad is the Steelers only had one third-down conversion in the game. While that sounds awful, the Steelers didn’t have any third down conversions in the first half because on their two touchdown drives they never reached a third-down play and therefore were only 0–3 in the half. Their only third-down conversion came on the third play of the second half when the Steelers converted a third and 9 with a 14-yard pass to Chase Claypool. Unfortunately, the Steelers failed to convert their next 5 third down opportunities.

6.8 vs. 4.3

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was moving the ball well in the first half even though it took them several drives to get going. For the half, the Steelers gained 6.8 yards per play as they had 197 yards on 29 plays. This was more than a yard better than the Browns who were 5.7 yards per play. But in the second half, the Steelers saw this number drop significantly down to 4.3 yards per play. While the Brown’s number dropped as well, it was still better than the Steelers at 4.9 yards per play.


This number is actually going to be used multiple times. In the game, the Cleveland Browns ran 16 more plays than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since they both had the same number of passing plays, the Browns ultimately had 16 more rushing attempts than the Steelers. The use of the number 16 still isn’t done as the Steelers, after running for 88 yards in the first half, only had 16 rushing yards on six attempts in the second half.

4.7 vs. 4.5

With a large discrepancy in the number of rushing attempts by each team, the Steelers actually ran the ball more efficiently than the Cleveland Browns. For the game, the Steelers averaged 4.7 yards per carry as they had 104 rushing yards on 22 rushing attempts. Although the Cleveland Browns ran for 171 yards, it was on 38 rushing attempts which left them with a 4.5 yards per carry average.


While the Steelers held an advantage in rushing the quarterback in the first half of the game, the Steelers only managed one quarterback hit in the second half against Cleveland. With three quarterback hits and one being a sack in the first half, the Steelers kept the Browns from touching Mitch Trubisky in the first half as they had no quarterback hits or sacks. But in the second half, Cleveland caught up as they ultimately finished with one sack and two quarterback hits. The Steelers only quarterback hit in the second half was a sack by Alex Highsmith who had 1.5 on the night. The only other person to register a quarterback hit for the Steelers was Larry Ogunjobi who also split the sack with Highsmith.


For those tuning in to this primetime game to see the Steelers up-and-coming tight end, they had to wait a long time for him to get into the action. Pat Freiermuth went over 50 minutes of clock time in this game before he even saw his first target. Not even having a pass his way until 8:46 left in the game, which was a failed third-down pass attempt, Freiermuth did end up with two catches for 41 yards on the night on back-to-back plays.


Once again, the Steelers came out on the wrong side of the time of possession difference. With more than 12 minutes advantage to Cleveland, that’s almost the equivalent of an extra quarter. Although the Steelers were 3:30 behind in the first half, it was the difference of more than eight minutes in the second half which took its toll on the Steelers defense.

5 on 5

This needs a little bit of an explanation. During the game, I recorded how many yards were gained on first down by each team and broke it down by quarters. The Browns were fairly consistent with their yardage with a game average of 5.39 yards per play with their lowest quarter being 5.0 yards per play in the third quarter and their best being 6.83 yards per play in the third quarter when looking only at first down. The Steelers did even better on first down for the entire game with a 6.62 yard per play average. The Steelers had 6.43 yards per first down play in the first quarter and 7.56 yards per play in the second quarter. Their biggest output was in the fourth quarter with 10.16 yards per play mainly because of the three big plays on their field goal drive when they were pushing the ball down the field. Ultimately, the stat that stands out like a sore thumb is the Steelers yardage on first down in the third quarter. On five different first down plays, the Steelers only gained a total of 5 yards. It did not help that this contained the only negative play on first down by either team on the night where the Steelers lost 4 yards. But failing to score and significantly move the ball throughout the quarter was apparent based on their first-down production.


With another tally going in the loss column, the Steelers have a big fat zero to add to their win total for the 2022 season. With all those other numbers contributing in some way, this is ultimately the only one that matters.

So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 2 loss in perspective. Even though the defense kept the score under 20, the offense continued to struggle to put points on the board as the Steelers fell to 1-1.

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