According to Pro Football Reference, yesterday was the 25th game in franchise history in which the Pittsburgh Steelers put up over 500 yards of offense. They went 19-4-1 in the 24 previous games, and yesterday’s loss makes them 19-5-1 now.
Their 17 points scored, however, is the lowest that they have ever put up in a 500-yard effort, the only other time that they ever put up fewer than 20 points being in a 24-19 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs back in 1986. The second-fewest points up to that point also came against the Chiefs in 2009 during a 27-24 overtime loss.
In other words, basically never before in franchise history has there been a game in which there was so great a disparity between their ability to move the ball down the field and their ability to put points up on the board. Obviously, shutouts and things like that would be excluded from the conversation.
The Steelers put up 527 yards of total offense against the Broncos’ defense yesterday, so their 17 points works out to an inefficient 31 yards per point. And of course there were a variety of reasons for why it ended up like this.
The Steelers opened the game with a 52-yard, 10-play drive that ended in a 48-yard field goal attempt, which was blocked. On their second possession, they held the ball for over six minutes over a 12-play drive that spanned 74 yards.
One more yard and they would have gotten seven points. Without that one yard, they got zero. That was the drive on which Xavier Grimble caught a 23-yard pass before getting into a big collision at the one-yard line, which resulted in him fumbling the ball out of the end zone for a Broncos touchback.
Each of their first four drives, and six of their drives on the day altogether, spanned at least 50 yards, including a one-play, 97-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Each of their four drives that ended in a turnover gained at least 30 yards, and going all the way up to the 54 yards that they traversed on the final possession of the game that ended in an interception by a defensive lineman in the end zone.
The offense managed to avoid going three-and-out even one time, ultimately accumulating a total of 25 first downs on the day on 76 offensive plays with an average gain of just under seven yards per play. But they also averaged just 1.55 points per possession, and that is not going to cut it most weeks. It certainly didn’t yesterday.