The Pittsburgh Steelers were quite successful in the early portions of the season in avoiding ways of beating themselves, particularly in terms of maintaining possession. They turned the ball over just four times in the first five games, including two games in which they played turnover-free football.
That changed on Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions against the Tennessee Titans, and it could have been worse, as James Conner and Chase Claypool both fumbled as well, but they were able to recover their own mistakes. Now, they face another major challenge in terms of security against the Baltimore Ravens.
You see, the Ravens have forced a turnover not in just every game this season, but in 19 consecutive games dating back to last year. Earlier this season, the Steelers ended a streak in which they turned the ball over in 23 consecutive games dating back to 2018. Can they now break Baltimore’s streak?
So far this season, they have recorded 11 takeaways, including three against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, who are the two other teams who make up the AFC North. Not a good sign for the Steelers, but, of course, also a meaningless sign.
Interestingly, the Ravens have only gotten three interceptions this year so far, two by Marcus Peters and one by Marlon Humphrey. However, they have produced 13 forced fumbles, with Humphrey leading the team with four on his own, and they have been able to recover a lot of them.
Conversely, the Steelers have intercepted eight passes, including six from the secondary, but they have only recorded a single fumble recovery, back in week two, and have only forced two fumbles on the entire season. Considering the fact that they forced 22 fumbles last year, this is certainly unusual.
The Ravens have only fumbled six times so far this year, and three of those fumbles have come from Lamar Jackson. He fumbled nine times last season, and 12 times as a rookie, so he is on course to match similar numbers this year.
As a team, however, Baltimore has only turned it over five times so far this year, which includes two interceptions by Jackson. That’s fewer than a single giveaway per game, so the Steelers will have their work cut out for them when it comes to trying to win the turnover battle.
Entering this past week’s slate of games, the Ravens shared the lead in turnover differential at plus-six. The Steelers were just behind them at plus-five, but of course, they are now down to plus-two following the Titans game. If they want to start righting the ship, they will have to start by ending Baltimore’s own takeaway streak.