2020 South Side Questions: Can Steelers Build A Streak Of Turnover-Free Games?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Can the Steelers build a streak of turnover-free football after breaking a 25-game streak of at least one giveaway?

In the NFL, it’s not easy to protect the football for 70-plus plays per game, plus special teams. Last year, for example, there were only five teams in the NFL who turned the ball over fewer than one time per game on average, and only two had fewer than 15. The year before, only two teams had fewer than 16. You get the idea.

So far in three games, the Steelers have turned the ball over three times, including twice in week two, but none on Sunday in their 28-21 win over the Houston Texans. It was the first time since week 10 of the 2018 season in a win over the Carolina Panthers that they protected the ball well enough to have zero giveaways for an entire time.

It was also the most recent time that they had a streak of games without turning the ball, as they posted a clean sheet the week before that as well in a win over the Ravens—and in three out of four weeks in all. Back in 2016, they went three games without turning the ball over.

So far this year, Ben Roethlisberger has only thrown one interception, though he has had a few other throws that were ‘dangerous’. They have put the ball in danger with fumbles a few times, only losing two, one being Diontae Johnson’s on a punt return. This team can play error-free ball. Will they?

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