Welcome to the BTSC Steelers Week 4 Statistical break down. Below is a breakdown of the Steelers most recent game, taking a look at what they did well, and what areas they need to work on heading into Week 5. In week three, following the Steelers 34-3 loss to the Eagles, the stats showed that the Steelers were abysmal across the board. In week four, following a dominant 43-14 win, the stats showed that Pittsburgh bounced back in a big way.
All stats are from the NFL, except for DYAR and DVOA rankings, which are from Football Outsiders.
Running Games: As you may have heard, this past week marked the return of Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell from his three-game suspension. This is what was written in this space last week about that subject:
The good news for Pittsburgh is that Le’Veon Bell returns this week and should offer an immediate jolt to the offense. Kansas City is ranked only 16th in rush DVOA so Bell should have plenty of room to run.
Bell ran 18 times for 144 yards, which is an average of 8-yards a carry. Not too shabby. Bell gained the bulk of his yards in the second half when the Steelers were already up 29-0 and were trying to run the clock. As well as Bell played, it was DeAngelo Williams who had the lone rushing score of the day, scoring on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter for his third rushing touchdown of the year. Williams added 4 carries for seven yards to the Steelers rushing total. Last year when Bell was healthy, Williams averaged four rushing attempts a games. It will be interesting to see how the Steelers choose to split carries going forward.
Passing: A week after one of the worst games of his career, Ben Roethlisberger stepped up his play against the Chiefs. Roethlisberger was 22-for-27 with five touchdown passes and 300-yards. He had as many incompletions as touchdown passes, a mind boggling stat. For the first time this season he had no turnovers. Roethlisberger led all quarterbacks in DYAR week four and is tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns with 11 on the season. Roethlisberger completed passes to nine different receivers, including touchdown passes to four different receivers.
Sammie Coates was the leading receiver with 79-yards on six receptions. Coates also had the longest play of the day when he snagged a 47-yard pass from Roethlisberger. Antonio Brown only had four receptions, but two were for touchdowns, and the other two were for first downs. A productive day for Mr. Brown as he continues to climb the DVOA and DYAR receiver boards. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Marcus Wheaton caught their first touchdowns of the year.
Defense: It’s clear the shellacking Philadelphia gave the defense hurt the players’ pride, because the Steelers defense dominated in week four. Alex Smith finished with 287-yards passing and two touchdowns, but the majority of the stat padding came with the game well out of reach. Smith finished 26th out of 32 starting quarterbacks in DYAR this week. Smith only picked up five first downs in 15 chances, which hurt his overall stats. The Steelers had two takeaways this game, both which gave Pittsburgh favorable field position in Chiefs territory. More importantly, the Steelers were able to convert both opportunities into touchdowns.
The Steelers were able to bottle up the Chiefs offensive weapons like running back Spencer Ware, who had 82-yards on 13 carries, but 46 of those yards came on a long run in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach. The Steelers didn’t allow any Kansas City receiver more than 78-yards receiving. The Steelers defended six passes, including two by Artie Burns.
The big story of the game on the defense was the four sacks of Alex Smith, quadrupling their season total. Cameron Heyward led the way with three sacks, while Vince Williams had one. All together the Steelers had six quarterback hits. If this is a trend the Steelers can keep up, the rest of the NFL is going to be in for a rude awakening.
Vince Williams deserves a special mention. Filling in for Ryan Shazier Williams had 16 combined tackles to lead the Steelers. The next closest was Lawrence Timmons with eight.
Efficiency: The Steelers were 6/11 on third down while the Chiefs were 8/17 and 2/3 on fourth down. The Chiefs averaged 5.0 yards per play compared to 7.9 for the Steelers.
The Red Zone: The Steelers were a perfect three for three in the red zone while the Chiefs were two for three. However, both Chiefs touchdowns came in the fourth quarter when they were down 36-0. Red zone efficiency continues to be a strength of the team.
Turnovers: Stephon Tuitt was able to force a fumble that was recovered by Ross Cockrell. Later, Jarvis Jones was able to get an interception. Both were converted into touchdowns by the Steelers.
The Steelers committed no turnovers.
Penalties: The Chiefs committed seven penalties for 40-yards while the Steelers committed nine for 68-yards.
Under Pressure: The Steelers only gave up two sacks and four hits to Roethlisberger. The offensive line did a fine job of keeping Roethlisberger up. Guard BJ Finney deserves some special recognition for holding his own in his first regular season start. The Steelers currently rank 11th in adjusted line yards, so credit goes to both the offensive line and the running backs for sustaining a punishing ground attack.
The Steelers are now 3-1 and back in the ranks of elite team. Just about the only thing that went wrong for the Steelers Sunday night was another batch of injuries. Hopefully most of the new injuries are just minor bumps and bruises that the players can play through. The Steelers take on the Jets this Sunday in Pittsburgh.