The Pittsburgh Steelers for a few years were openly talking about a 30-point standard for their unit as a reasonable score that they could average on a per-game basis, such was the talent that they had all over the unit.
The closest they were able to get to hitting that goal came in 2014, when they averaged 27.3 points per game. They were able to hit the 30-point mark in seven games, but even that was not even half of the schedule. They also reached the plateau seven times in 2015, including in six consecutive games, but only averaged 26.4 points.
They kind of stopped talking about it after that, and they only reached it four times last year. Through eight games this season, they haven’t done it once. And when you look around the league at the other teams who have failed to do so, it is not good company that they keep.
Only six teams in the NFL, including the Steelers, have failed to come up with at least 30 points in any single game during the 2017 season, and Pittsburgh is the only one among them with a winning record. Only Washington among the others is even at a .500 record.
The other four teams have no more than three wins, the Chargers and Bears each hitting that low bar. Even worse are the Giants and Browns, who have just a single victory between them.
Every single other team in the league—26 out of 32—has been able to put up 30 points in a game at least once, and the vast majority have done so more than once.
One might simply argue that the statistic is largely meaningless; and truth be told, one would be right. After all, among those other teams with at least one 30-point game under their belt this season are the Colts, the Bengals, the Broncos, and the 49ers.
Ultimately, it doesn’t mean a great deal whether or not a team scores 30 points. It doesn’t matter at all provided that they win; and the Steelers have the second-best record in the NFL, behind only the 8-1 Eagles.
The only reason that the 30-point discussion is even being had is because it was the Steelers, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who made it a discussion. Touting the weapons at their disposal, they argued that this should be a high-scoring offense.
And it hasn’t been. In fact, they rank 20th in the league, averaging just 20.9 points per game, which would be their lowest mark since 2011 when they averaged 20.3 points for the season. That is the only time in Roethlisberger’s career in which the Steelers averaged below 21 points per game.
They do fare better on a per-drive basis, ranking 12th in the percentage of drives that end in scores. They also rank 15th in points per drive. Neither of those are good, but not as bad as 20th. And hey, they did score 29 points.