The Pittsburgh Steelers failed to record a single turnover in either of their first two games. Over the course of the next seven, however, they turned things around and nearly averaged two per game, with a total of 13 interceptions and fumbles recovered.
Over the last two games, there’s been just one turnover, while the offense and special teams have given the ball away five times. The defense dropped an easy interception against the New York Jets a week ago in the red zone, but that same player—William Gay—jumped a route on Monday night for his second pick six of the year.
But they failed to record a sack against Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, and while they did manage to bring down Michael Vick a handful of times in New York, the majority of those sacks, perhaps all but one, were glorified scrambles and only sacks by name.
Sacks and turnovers, in fact, have been especially difficult to come by on the road. In four of the team’s six road games, the defense has recorded either one or zero sacks. The Steelers totaled two sacks in those four games, with two games of registering zero quarterback takedowns.
The Steelers have totaled seven sacks combined in the other two games, with three coming against the Carolina Panthers and four against Vick and the Jets, as previously mentioned, though, again, calling two or three of those sacks is really quite a stretch.
On the season, that’s nine sacks total in six home games, while the Steelers have managed 11 sacks in five games at Heinz Field. While they may still average out to a pedestrian 35 sacks during the course of a full regular season, it’s certainly better than the 24 prorated sack per game figure of their road defense.
Of their 14 total takeaways on the year, only six have come on the road, for an average of just one takeaway per game, though that includes three touchdowns on two interceptions and a fumble recovered in the end zone on special teams. Meanwhile, the defense has registered eight turnovers at home in five games.
Again, neither figure is overly satisfying, but the fact of the matter is that splash plays on defense have been even harder to come by on the road.
Meanwhile, 10 of the Steelers’ 16 turnovers have come on the road, including five of Ben Roethlisberger’s interceptions—three in the last two games—and both fumbles lost by Antonio Brown. The Steelers have only turned the ball over multiple times while playing at home once, and they also got the ball back twice on defense.
Of course, it’s normal for a team to have a higher turnover differential at home than on the road (for the record, the Steelers are +2 at home and -4 on the road), the six-point differential goes a long way in explaining some of the team’s troubles away from home.