The Pittsburgh Steelers had their most decisive win of the 2022 season with a 28-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Although the other outcomes didn’t all go their way to make the postseason, the Steelers finished strong by winning four games in a row, six of their last seven, and seven of their last nine since their bye week.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Browns.
The Steelers first offensive drive of the game ended in what appeared to be a Najee Harris touchdown but ultimately concluded two plays later with a fumble recovered by the Cleveland Browns. Fortunately for the Steelers, they turned around their turnover deficit with two interceptions, one from Levi Wallace and the other from Damontae Kazee. The interceptions gave the Steelers an NFL-leading 20 on the season. The Steelers finished the season 7-1 when winning the turnover battle.
The Steelers book-ended their 2022 regular season with seven sack performances by the defense. After getting seven sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, the Steelers got seven sacks of Deshaun Watson on Sunday with 2.5 coming from Alex Highsmith and 2.0 from Cam Heyward, the two players on the Steelers who finished with double-digit sacks.
The number seven is not only for the Steelers sacks, but thanks to some of those sacks the Cleveland Browns only had 7 total yards of offense in the third quarter. Although they had 31 rushing yards in the quarter, the Browns had no pass completions and -24 passing yards due to three sacks in the quarter.
While the Steelers notched seven sacks on Sunday, the offensive line got the job done against the Browns as they only surrendered one sack of Kenny Pickett on the day. Not only that, the Browns only had two quarterback hits on 30 Steelers drop backs. Both the sack and the additional quarterback hit came courtesy of Myles Garrett.
Even though Deshaun Watson passed for 230 yards, the Browns only had 173 net passing yards in the game because of the 57 yards lost on the seven sacks. Since the bye week, the Steelers have held their opponents to under 200 net yards passing in 8 of their final 9 games with the only exception being Week 11 versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Prior to their bye, the Steelers had surrendered more than 200 passing yards in each game.
With 148 rushing yards against the Browns, it was the Steelers ninth out of their final 10 games in which they rushed for more than 100 yards. In there first seven games, they only reached 100 yards as a team on two occasions. On Sunday, it was Najee Harris leading the way with 84 rushing yards on 23 carries followed by Jaylen Warren with 36 rushing yards on 6 attempts.
Although not normally looked at as a huge statistic, the Steelers had three punts for 144 yards and only one return for 5 yards. With 48.0 gross yards per punt, the net punting yards were 46.3 on average. This was the second-highest net punting average of the season for Pressley Harvin with the best being last week against the Ravens with 48.5 net yards per punt.
After starting the game 4 of 8 on third down for a 50% conversion rate in the first half, the Steelers followed it up with a second half performance of converting 5 of their 7 third downs for 71% in the second half. For the game, the Steelers finished 9 of 15 on third down for a 60% conversion rate. Since the bye week, the Steelers finished with a 50% or higher third-down conversion rate in 7 of their 9 games.
With 1:52 remaining in the first half, Kenny Pickett hit George Pickens for a 31-yard touchdown pass on a third and 15. The 31-yard hook up was the longest offensive touchdown by the Steelers during the 2022 season, and tied for the longest touchdown with the 31-yard interception return by Minkah Fitzpatrick in Week 1.
With the Steelers winning by a score of 28–14, it was the largest margin of victory on the season. Winning by 14 points, it was only the second time all season in which the Steelers won by multiple scores with the other being Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints where they were victorious 20–10.
Additionally, with the Steelers holding the Browns to 14 points, they finished the 2022 season holding their opponents to 17 points or less in seven-straight games and in eight of the last nine.
Attempting 29 passes during the game, the Steelers only completed 13 for a 45% completion percentage. Of those 29 passes, 10 of them were thrown to Diontae Johnson. Despite double-digit targets, Johnson only caught two of the passes for 38 yards. It should be noted Diontae Johnson also caught the Steelers two-point conversion pass, but it does not end up -n the stat sheet.
It’s the only number that matters each week. While the overall goal of the season is to qualify for the playoffs, the Steelers came up short in part two struggling early in the season. But the Steelers were able to add one last tally to their win column for the 2022 regular season. Finishing 9–8, the Steelers have a lot of positives to build on as they head into the 2023 offseason.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 18 win in perspective. The Steelers didn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the first half, but they ended up scoring their second-most points on the season.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.