Week One Stats: Steelers Vs Buccaneers

Week Two of the preseason is coming upon us very quickly and soon enough the Steelers game against the Buccaneers will seem like a distant memory, however there are still things to examine from that game that could be foretold not just through tape, but also stats. 

Stats are things that can at the least be useful to developing the story of the game and supplementing the tape that we see is put out there. On the Steelers side of things, there are some incredible stats that show some interesting things that could be indicative of the season ahead either in usage or in performance. 

First off, I want to highlight what a great performance it actually was by Mason Rudolph, and PFF’s stats paint a clear picture of his progression to become a much more poised QB. When Rudolph was blitzed, he went 4/6 from the field with 83 yards and a touchdown. On two of those plays he took a hit, including the Zach Gentry touchdown thrown. Rudolph was far more poised than he ever was last year. That is growth.

Meanwhile Devlin Hodges got no help at all. Neither Rudolph nor Josh Dobbs had any receivers drop a ball, but Hodges had 3 drops on his record. On the night, his adjusted completion percentage, which gets rid of drops, was a sharp 84.6%, which led the team. By the way, when he was blitzed, Hodges went 6/7 for 56, so he was also sharp. 

It was not a great day for Chukwuma Okorafor or J.C. Hassenauer. Both surrendered 2 pressures in less than 20 pass blocking snaps, which is far less than ideal for both of them, but especially Okorafor. I charted Okorafor’s snaps and reps in pass protection the whole game, and I charted his win rate.. Okorafor’s win rate won on 84% of his snaps, which is actually quite good. The times he was beaten, were quite bad and technical mishaps, however, so he needs to clean that up. 

James Washington had an interesting game on multiple levels. His average route depth was 14.2 yards, which is pretty standard for what we saw from him last year. But one of my more favorite things to chart is the cushion rate that the Buccaneers gave Washington. Last year Washington had on average four yards of cushion each rep. The average cushion rate he had this week from 3.74 yards, but if you remove his deep reception against Vernon Hargreaves, who gave him 9 whole yards of cushion, Washington’s cushion rate falls all the way below 3. He saw far more bump and press this week than he did last season, and he beat it pretty soundly.

Ulysees GIlbert III had an incredible game blitzing. While he had the interception, Gilbert III logged two sacks and five total pressures, which led the team. The five pressures he logged were the highest of any ILB this week period. Two of those pressures were also QB hits. His athleticism and blitzing ability were on full display.

Tuzar Skipper was fantastic. His pass rush win rate of 36.8% led team on 38 pass rush snaps and 3 QB hits led the team as well. It was point blank period a strong game for the UDFA out of Toledo, and he will need to continue it to push towards a potential spot on the 53-man roster.

Those were the main ones that I wanted to highlight, but regardless there are so many stats that could be highlighted. Ola Adeniyi continued his ways with three pressures, for example. Regardless, this team will have a challenging game against Kansas City and we will see which guys were mere wonders and absolute studs. 

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