The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 11 games into their 2015 season, and they have already attempted nine two-point conversions. Including the first attempt on Sunday, the team has converted on six of them, which ties a record for the most successful two-point conversion attempts in a season.
The two teams prior to have reached that mark in a single season were the 1994 Miami Dolphins quarterbacked by Dan Marino and the 1997 Minnesota Vikings. The Dolphins that season went 10-6, winning the division and finishing third in scoring offense, advancing to the divisional round. The Vikings finished 9-7 and finished fourth in a very tough division, finishing 11th in scoring offense.
In case you were wondering, the Dolphins attempted two-point conversions 10 times to reach their six successful attempts, coming out with 12 points rather than the expected 10 from a standard point after attempt.
Interestingly, in each game in which they failed on a two-point conversion, they came back later in the game to make up for it. On their first two scores during a Week Four loss, for example, a rushing attempt with the Dolphins already trailing by 28 failed, but Marino came back to throw for a successful conversion soon after. Miami ended up losing 35-38.
It’s worth noting that each of Miami’s two-point attempts came either in high-scoring close games, when they were trailing by a lot, or in the fourth quarter to try to bring it to a 10-point deficit. In other words, their usage of the two-point conversion was relatively frequent, but still fairly typical.
The Vikings, meanwhile, converted on six of nine two-point attempts during the 1997 season, three of which came on receptions from Cris Carter, and another two on quarterback sneaks. As was the case with the Dolphins, Minnesota’s two-point attempts were in fairly conventional circumstances, usually in the fourth quarter, excepting the season finale, in which they looked to take a 24-10 lead in the second quarter. After failing the first two-point attempt, they tried again and failed on the next drive, but won by 11. They converted six of seven up to that point.
This is all to put into perspective just what Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have done this season, which is seemingly unprecedented, or at least quite rare, which is to use the two-point conversion as a proactive weapon.
Six of the Steelers’ nine two-point conversion attempts this season have come in the first half, including twice in the second quarter in an effort to gain a four-point lead, rather than a three-point lead with an extra point. Others have come simply on the first score of the game.
Pittsburgh is on pace to attempt roughly 13 two-point conversions this season, and to make roughly nine of them, which would blow away the record. Of course, the new extra point rule has factored heavily into this, but so far the Steelers are really the only offense doing it consistently as a proactive tool.
Eight of those two-point conversion attempts, by the way, have come in the seven games in which Ben Roethlisberger has played. So if you consider their modus operandi with him at the helm, we could be looking closer to 10 makes in about 15 attempts by season’s end.