The passing defense has been a source of frustration not just for the fans this season, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers players. I wrote yesterday about safety Will Allen’s challenge to his teammates to cut down significantly on the passing yardage that they surrender over the final six-game stretch.
After averaging 233 passing yards allowed per game through the first quarter of the season, the passing defense has surrendered a great deal more yardage by volume since then. Over the course of the last six games, the Steelers have allowed a total of 1753 passing yards, an average of 292 yards per game.
For the season, the team ranks 28th in the league, giving up 278.4 yards per game. But as I touched on yesterday, one area in which the team has greatly improved is cutting down on the big plays allowed, and I have the data to back it up.
The Steelers have given up 31 explosive plays through the air this year, which is tied for the 10th-fewest this year. But on a per-pass basis, they actually give up the fifth-fewest big plays in the league. Pittsburgh’s five plays of 40+ yards or more also ranks favorably, giving up the eighth-most per pass attempt faced. Here is the chart below:
|Team||Attempts||20+ Plays||Attempts Per 20+||40+ Plays||Attempts Per 40+|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||342||26||13.15||2||171|
|St. Louis Rams||347||27||12.85||4||86.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||368||31||11.87||8||46|
|Green Bay Packers||362||32||11.31||11||32.91|
|New England Patriots||393||35||11.23||10||39.3|
|New York Giants||410||39||10.51||6||68.33|
|New York Jets||377||39||9.67||6||62.83|
|San Francisco 49ers||351||38||9.24||8||43.88|
|San Diego Chargers||309||35||8.83||9||34.33|
|New Orleans Saints||348||44||7.91||13||26.77|