The Pittsburgh Steelers head into the their Week 3 game against the St. Louis Rams with a 1-1 record and while their defense was certainly shaky in their Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots, they did show some noticeable improvement last week in their win over the San Francisco 49ers.
While we only have two weeks’ worth of stats to go on, one defensive category sticks out to me the most and that’s the amount of explosive plays of 20 or more yards allowed.
Through two games, the Steelers defense has only given up a total of three explosive plays and two of those came in the second half of last week’s game.
Last season, the Steelers defense gave up 61 plays of 20 yards or more and that was the most allowed since 1999 when 64 allowed, according to my research.
Explosive plays and turnovers are two very important stats when it comes to determining outcomes of individual games so you can see why it’s perfectly fine to be excited about the low number of 20-plus plays allowed so far this season.
Sunday, the Steelers defense will face a Rams offense that has managed to register 9 explosive plays in their first two games of the season. All nine of those have come through the air with tight end Jared Cook leading the way with 3 of them.
If the Steelers defense can hold the Rams offense to three or less explosive plays on Sunday, I really like their chances of winning assuming the offense doesn’t turn the football over multiple times.
In case you’re curious, the Steelers offense has registered 11 explosive plays in their first two games while the Rams defense has allowed 9 such plays.