Numbers Crunch: Steelers vs Titans

By Alex Kozora

A statistical analysis of the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans Monday night.

– We have to start with the star of the show – Le’Veon Bell. His 33 rushes are the most by a Steeler since Rashard Mendenhall. His 204 yards rushing the most since Willie Parker in December of 2006.

It’s only the 5th time since the turn of the century a different Steelers’ back had at least 33 carries. Jerome Bettis did that three times.

And since 1960, Bell is only the 9th different back to achieve that feat. It equals the amount of times Franco Harris or Rocky Bleier had at least 33 totes. Harris holds the single-game attempts record with 41.

Those rushes are arguably the most efficient game of anyone in Steelers’ history. Bell averaged 6.2 YPC. Of the previous 16 instances of a Steeler with that many carries, none averaged 6 YPC and only one – Barry Foster in 1992 – had 5+.

Bell is the first 200 yard rusher with at that many carries.

– Bell’s 204 yards rushing last night was one fewer of his total in his previous four.

– By my initial count, LeGarrette Blount played one snap Monday night and did not have a touch. There’s a reason why. Sit the plodder and run your best guy to victory.

– The Steelers controlled the ball in a way they haven’t in quite some time. They won time of possession 39:49-20:11. They’re the only team in the NFL to have 39+ minutes of TOP in two games, doing so against the Indianapolis Colts, too.

The Titans ran just 39 plays on offense Monday night. By comparison’s sake, Bell had 35 touches.

Those 39 plays are tied for the third fewest allowed by Pittsburgh since the merger in 1970. A team hasn’t run 39 plays against the Steelers since 2003…against the Titans.

Side note, the Steelers hold the record for fewest opposing offensive plays allowed in a game since 1970 when the Cleveland Browns had just 28 snaps against them in 1999. The Steelers would win that day, 43-0. Richard Huntley scored three touchdowns.

– I realize this is an example of statistics lying because Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t been playing good football the last two weeks. But he’s completed at least 65% of his passes for five straight weeks. He hasn’t done that since the first five contests of the 2009 season.

– The Titans had the 11th best defense on 3rd down coming into Monday night, allowing a 39% conversion rate. The Steelers converted 7/13 tonight, 53.8%.

Bouncing off that, the Steelers have been on fire on 3rd down over the last month. 27/51, 52.9%. Before that, the Steelers had been converting only 40% of their third downs.

– Since October 12th against the Browns, Antonio Brown is catching exactly 75% of his targets. 54/72. Has to be one of the best percentages in the league.

Just for a quick comparison, and I swear I picked this receiver off the top of my head, Jordy Nelson has caught only 61.9% of his passes during that same timeframe.

– Antonio Brown has a lot of crazy stats this year but this one might just take the cake. He has more receptions, yards, touchdowns, first downs, and 20+ yard plays than the entire Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver group.

Shaun Suisham booted his 200th career field goal Monday. Tied for 58th place all-time. Not too shabby but far from the podium.

– Defensively, William Gay recorded his second pick six of the season. He’s just the seventh Steeler to do that in franchise history and the first since Chad Scott in 2001.

Markus Wheaton is averaging 24 yards per kick return. Far better number than either Dri Archer (17.9) or LeGarrette Blount (20.6).

– Three negative stats.

– Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times on 32 dropbacks. He hasn’t been sacked that many times on fewer dropbacks since October 2nd, 2009 when the Houston Texans sacked Big Ben five times on 30 attempts.

– The Steelers’ defense allowed the opposing offense to complete their longest pass of the season for the second week in a row. A 67 yarder to the New York Jets and 80 yards Monday night.

Zach Mettenberger wasn’t sacked Monday night. The Steelers had sacked an opposing rookie quarterback in their last six opportunities. Last time they didn’t was in November of 2011 against Andy Dalton.

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