Steelers vs Chiefs: Numbers Crunch

A statistical breakdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-12 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

– Not nearly as many records broken this week as last week. But Antonio Brown broke his record of most receiving yards in a season. He now was 1570.

Markus Wheaton had two catches today, giving him 50. He joins Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Heath Miller as Steelers to hit the half-century mark this season. It is the first time in team history four players have caught 50 passes in a season.

– A couple records were tied today. Brown has matched the franchise record for touchdowns in a season with 12. That record has been held by three players: Buddy Dial, Louis Lipps, and Hines Ward. Chance to break it next week.

– Bell has tied Jerome Bettis for the fifth most rushing yards in a single season with 1341. He will break it next week.

– Speaking of Bell, after just rushing for one touchdown in his first ten weeks, he’s rushed for seven in the last five contests.

– The Steelers’ back is on pace for 82 receptions this year. If that happens, he’ll be one of just four different players in franchise history to haul in that many. Ward, Brown, and Yancy Thigpen are the others.

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked just once Sunday. He’s been sacked only four times in as many weeks. Four sacks or fewer over a four game span has happened twice in his career. A span from November 17th-December 8th last year and the first four games of his NFL career, September 19th-October 10th, 2004.

– Doing what Ben does best, he threw his 30th touchdown of the season Sunday. It’s only the second time in his career he’s thrown 30. He needs one more touchdown for 250 in his career, the 18th QB in NFL history to achieve that.

Side note: The “Big 3” QBs taken in the 2004 draft, Ben, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning, are all separated by just nine TDs. Manning has the most with 258.

– And his 25 attempts was the first time all season Roethlisberger has been asked to throw fewer than 30 times.

– Hats off to the Steelers’ special teams unit yesterday. The Chiefs had a potent kick return unit with Kniles Davis and De’Anthony Thomas but neither had a kick return longer than 29 yards. It broke an eight game streak of the Chiefs taking a kick back at least 30 yards.

Digging a little bit further, the Steelers have allowed only eight kick returns of 30+ yards in 2014. And only two of them have been longer than 31 yards (although one was Jacoby Jones’ 108 TD). Still, it’s an outstanding number and a stark difference from where this coverage unit was at a few years ago.

– The Chiefs may not have a high potent offense but this is the first time they didn’t score a TD since December 30th, 2012. A span of 31 games.

– One hidden reason for the Steelers’ success? They haven’t been penalized more than five times or more than 50 yards since Week Nine against the Baltimore Ravens. Impressive after the terrible start to the year in that department.

– As Dave Bryan pointed out, the Steelers had six sacks for the first time in almost two years. December 23rd, 2012 against the Cincinnati Bengals was the last time.

– The six sacks today make up for a quarter of what the defense had all year long (24) coming into Sunday’s contest.

– Three Steelers had at least 1.5 sacks today. That’s the first time a trio of Steelers have done that since 2010 when it was accomplished by James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons.

Cameron Heyward currently is tied with Jason Worilds for the team lead in sacks (6). If Heyward is able to remain in the top spot, he’ll be the first Steelers’ defensive lineman to tie or outright lead the team in sacks since Aaron Smith’s eight in 2004.

– In four of the last five games, the Steelers have held their opponent to under 100 yards rushing.

– A win next week would put the Steelers at 6-2 at home, their best record at Heinz Field since 2011.

– Over the last two seasons, the Steelers are 6-1 in December.

– Your utterly useless fact. Sunday’s 20-12 score was the first victory by the Steelers of such a score. They were involved in a 20-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers in 1970.

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