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Steelers Defense On Pace To Give Up 80 Explosive Plays In 2014

In the Sunday win over the Indianapolis Colts the Pittsburgh Steelers defense gave up seven more explosive plays of 20 yards or more and that now brings their total allowed on the season to 40.

To put that number into perspective, only the Jacksonville Jaguars (44) have allowed more explosive plays so far this season. Want more perspective? In one less game played, the Kansas City Chiefs defense has only allowed a league-low 20 explosive plays.

Want even more perspective? Last season the Steelers defense allowed 53 explosive plays and in 2012 only 37 were given up.

Here is another stat that will surely turn your stomach. The 40 explosive plays given up so far this season by the Steelers defense have resulted in 1196 yards gained and that equates to 42% of the total net yards given up this season.

Of the 33 passing explosive plays allowed so far this season by the Steelers defense, 22 were completed after the ball flew 20 or more yards past the line of scrimmage in the air.

Here’s something else for you to chew on. Of the 33 passing explosive plays allowed, 1002 yards were gained and of those yards 326 (32.5%) of them came after the catch was made.

So what is happening on defense that has led to all of these explosive passing plays? For starters, the Steelers pass rush, up until the last few games, hasn’t been great. However, as we saw this past Sunday against the Colts, quarterback Andrew Luck was still able to exploit the Steelers defense despite all of the pressure that was applied to him throughout the game.

On top of an inconsistent pass rush, the Steelers secondary has played poorly and I’m not just talking about cornerback Cortez Allen, who we have down for personally allowing at least eight of the 33 passing explosive plays. Nine of these passing explosive plays given up have gone to tight ends, so the linebackers and safeties aren’t off the hook either.

When you mix in a few more explosive plays that were a result of poor tackling, you can see that a lot of things need to be fixed defensively moving into the second half of the season.

If the Steelers defense can’t figure out a way to cut down on these explosive plays, they better hope that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a few more games left in him like the one he had Sunday against the Colts.

2014 Explosive Plays Allowed By Team Through Week 8 (Sortable)

Legend: GMS=Games Played * EXP/A=Explosive Plays Allowed * EXPYDS=Explosive Play Yards Allowed * EXP/AVG=Average Yards Allowed Per Explosive Play * NYDS/A=Total Net Yards Allowed * %NYDS=Percentage Of Net Yards Gained By Explosive Plays * EXP TD=Explosive play Touchdowns Allowed * EXP P=Explosive Pass Plays Allowed * EXP R=Explosive Run Plays Allowed

TEAM GMS EXP/A EXPYDS EXP/AVG NYDS/A %NYDS EXP TD EXP P EXP R
Jacksonville 8 44 1319 29.98 3059 43% 7 36 8
Pittsburgh 8 40 1196 29.90 2863 42% 6 33 7
Baltimore 8 36 1059 29.42 2771 38% 2 31 5
NY Giants 7 35 1060 30.29 2691 39% 6 28 7
Cleveland 7 34 966 28.41 2769 35% 5 26 8
Chicago 8 33 941 28.52 2979 32% 3 30 3
Arizona 7 32 998 31.19 2665 37% 6 31 1
Indianapolis 8 32 1027 32.09 2817 36% 3 27 5
Carolina 8 32 1090 34.06 3028 36% 8 24 8
Washington 8 31 956 30.84 2643 36% 7 27 4
New Orleans 7 31 962 31.03 2733 35% 6 28 3
Atlanta 8 31 1125 36.29 3270 34% 3 28 3
St. Louis 7 30 952 31.73 2635 36% 6 20 10
Philadelphia 7 29 1020 35.17 2685 38% 7 25 4
Oakland 7 29 815 28.10 2555 32% 3 25 4
Tennessee 8 29 875 30.17 3006 29% 4 26 3
NY Jets 8 28 1035 36.96 2566 40% 7 26 2
Cincinnati 7 28 827 29.54 2794 30% 2 25 3
Dallas 8 27 884 32.74 2816 31% 4 20 7
Tampa Bay 7 27 802 29.70 2869 28% 7 21 6
Green Bay 7 27 757 28.04 3034 25% 6 22 5
Houston 8 26 941 36.19 3037 31% 5 22 4
San Diego 7 25 823 32.92 2640 31% 4 23 2
Minnesota 8 25 766 30.64 2590 30% 6 22 3
Detroit 7 25 623 24.92 2323 27% 2 22 3
Denver 7 24 678 28.25 2207 31% 4 21 3
Miami 7 24 670 27.92 2259 30% 4 20 4
New England 8 24 683 28.46 2724 25% 4 23 1
San Francisco 7 22 671 30.50 2142 31% 6 17 5
Buffalo 7 22 715 32.50 2608 27% 3 19 3
Seattle 7 21 640 30.48 2213 29% 3 18 3
Kansas City 7 20 590 29.50 2160 27% 2 17 3
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