clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Chargers analytic breakdown by the numbers

The Pittsburgh Steelers' victory on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers was monumental in many ways. Let's take a look at some interesting statistics following the team's third win of 2015.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers last-second victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football had it all. Big plays, a down-to-the-wire finish and plenty of poor play in between. Looking back at the statistics from the game, and with some help from our friends at ProFootballFocus, we were able to break down the game in a unique way, giving you some positives and negatives to draw from the Steelers' third win of the 2015 season.

Antonio Brown recently made comments about wanting the ball more, and there's a reason why. Brown caught three passes on six targets on Monday night. The last time he was targeted six or fewer times in a game was Week 1 of 2014, and he hasn't caught fewer than five passes since Week 17 of 2012. Five of the targets from last night were into Jason Verrett's coverage. Brown is experiencing a true drought for the first time in his career, something which clearly isn't sitting well with the Pro Bowl receiver.

Michael Vick has never been an accurate passer, but on Monday night there was a specific side of the field that he struggled with. Vick struggled when passing to his right. On passes outside the right numbers, he completed just one of eight for nine yards, one interception and a PFF passing grade of -3.8.

How good is Le'Veon Bell? The man can do it all, whether it's catching passes out of the backfield, showing the patience to find the appropriate hole and getting the tough yards after contact. Le'Veon Bell's +3.9 rushing grade was the highest of all running backs this week. Of his 111 rushing yards, 88 came after first contact.

The Steelers' offensive line had been catching some heat from fans for their pass protection, but their run blocking has picked up the slack in Ben Roethlisberger's absence. In fact, besides Ramon Foster, the other four members of the offensive line all graded at least +1.0 for their run-blocking, with Kelvin Beachum (+2.4 run block, +4.6 overall) the standout of the group.

On the defensive side of the football, there wasn't anyone better than Cameron Heyward. Cameron Heyward set a personal-best grade last week with a +7.5, but he blew that away on Monday night with an incredible +9.8. As a pass- rusher, he tallied two hits and nine additional hurries together with some strong work against the run.

As for the outside linebackers, the rotation they've been utilizing has continued, but there was no one better than James Harrison on Monday night. In the 4-man rotation at outside linebacker, James Harrison was the most impressive player, turning his 26 pass-rushing snaps (39 total snaps) into a hit and six more quarterback hurries.

As great as Heyward was against the Chargers, it was a rare step backwards for Stephon Tuitt, but that step wasn't too far back for the second-year lineman. He didn't offer much as a pass-rusher but, thanks to some strong work in the run game (+3.4 run defense), Tuitt has climbed to 14th (out of 49) in our 3-4 DE rankings with a +6.0 grade on the year after finishing at -10.1 as a rookie.

Blitzing was a theme for the Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 and again in Week 6 against Philip Rivers. The Steelers blitzed 20 times on Rivers' 50 drop-backs. Both of Rivers' touchdowns came against the blitz, but his interception did too. Oddly enough, both of the Steelers' sacks came with a standard rush.

The Steelers made some strides in Week 5 and they'll need to continue this trend to beat the Arizona Cardinals at home in Week 6.