Adam Schefter of ESPN posted an interesting infographic on his Twitter account Thursday morning that depicts the top average yards per play posted by offenses since the 1970 NFL merger. That information shows how just how prolific the offenses of the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers have been so far this season. So, how does the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 offense currently stack up to those three teams and is there any other per play data worth taking a closer look at?
For starters, the Steelers offense enters Week 11 of the 2018 regular season with a per play average of 6.27 and according to the NFL’s stats, that ties them with the New Orleans Saints for sixth overall.
That 6.27 per play average is also great for the Steelers from a historical perspective as according to Pro Football Reference, it’s the best posted by the franchise through 9 games played dating back to 1970. In fact, only three other times (2015, 2014, 2011) has a Steelers offense had a per play average greater than 6.0 dating back to 1970 through 9 games played.
Now that we’re done highlighting the Steelers offensive per play average and how good it is so far this season, let’s turn our focus to the team’s defense when it comes to that same stat.
The Steelers defense now enters their Week 11 regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars having allowed a per play average of 5.21 yards and that’s currently fifth-best in the NFL. However, historically speaking, that 5.21 per play average isn’t great when it comes to the Steelers franchise dating back to 1970, as you can see in this data aggregated from PFR. In fact, that number somewhat pales in comparison to the 4.80 number the Steelers defense had posted in 2017 through 9 games played.
Now is probably a great time to remind everyone that the Steelers defense allowed an average of 8.3 yards per play to the Chiefs offense back in Week 2. Since then, however, the unit has allowed 5.09 yards per play and just 4.49 yards per play in their last 5 games.
Now back to the 2018 stats.
When you look at per play average differentials around the NFL through the first 10 weeks of the 2018 regular season, the Steelers 1.06 stat is second only to the Chargers (1.28). That 1.06 per play differential is also the ninth-best for the Steelers franchise through 9 games played dating back to 1970.
The Steelers will play the Chargers on Sunday night in Pittsburgh a few weeks from now and as I have stated a few times already on the podcast and in previous post, that will likely be the next great measuring stick for the 2018 team on both sides of the football.
By the way, the Steelers will play a Jaguars team this Sunday that has averaged just 5.45 yards per play on offense entering Week 11. Jacksonville’s defense, however, has allowed a per play average of just 5.22 yards, which is basically the same number the Steelers defense has allowed.