Hopefully this is not the last installment of By The Numbers as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their regular season finale. The Steelers need to beat the Bengals and then rely on outside help in order to make the playoffs. Here are all the numbers you will need to know heading into the Steelers’ final game of the 2018 calendar year.
3 – Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has taken a beating from the Bengals over his career – 55 sacks in 31 career games against Cincinnati, including nine games in which he has been sacked three or more times. Incredibly though, the Steelers’ offensive line have done a good job as of late, keeping their quarterback clean from the likes of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Roethlisberger has been sacked just three times in his last five games against the Bengals. A clean pocket to operate in has paid off, as the Steelers are 5-0 in their last five against Cincinnati and Roethlisberger has thrown nine touchdowns to just three interceptions.
8 – Last time Stephon Tuitt went up against the Bengals, he arguably had the best game of his season. The fifth-year pro had one sack, seven tackles and two quarterback hits during the Steelers’ 28-21 road victory over Cincinnati earlier this year. Red-hot, Tuitt has a chance to repeat history and have another dominant showing as the defensive end has been a nuisance for opposing quarterbacks over the last two months. Including that first Bengals game, the Steelers’ defensive end has recorded at least one quarterback hit in his last eight games, with 14 total quarterback hits in this span and five sacks. While he was a slow starter, Tuitt managed to turn his season around against the Bengals and can now close out a dominant season against the same team he started it against.
32 – In one regard, Sunday’s game will be a battle of two last place teams in one statistical category. The Steelers have the league’s worst starting field position at the 25.5-yard line, while the Bengals’ defense is giving up a league worst 37.8 yards per drive and 2.57 points per drive. Having the league’s worst starting field position is not a winning strategy but Roethlisberger has been able to bail his team out of these situations. Roethlisberger has engineered many long drives over the 2018 season and with the Bengals’ defense up next, he could be in store for a couple more long drives this Sunday.
67.9 – Cincinnati’s replacement for Andy Dalton is 25-year old Jeff Driskel. A former sixth round draft pick, Driskel is nothing to write home about, at best he is a game manager. One of his glaring weaknesses this season has been his slow starts as Driskel has an abysmal 67.9 passer rating in the first half. He is completing just over 50-percent of his passes with one touchdown to one interception. The Bengals have not allowed Driskel to challenge defenses down the field as just 11 of his 30 first half completions have gone for first downs. The Steelers will have a shot to get ahead early and never look back.
300 – It has now been four games since Dalton was lost for the season and the Bengals offense has struggled without him and A.J. Green. The Bengals have failed to produce more than 300 yards of offense in three of their last four games. The silver lining though is that the Bengals have rushed for over 100 yards in all four of their previous games as they have relied on Joe Mixon a lot more. The Steelers currently have the sixth ranked run defense in the NFL and if they want to run away with this game, they will have to make sure that Mixon does not run away from them.