Hard to get weirder and wilder than what we saw Sunday afternoon but I’ll give it the ‘ol college try.
– Have to begin with the Steelers’ run defense because it’s offering the most amount of “crazy.” The Baltimore Ravens put up 265 yards on the ground against Pittsburgh. Been a long time since that’s happened. Most given up by the Steelers since the 1993 Seahawks hung 267 on them. That was the dynamic trio of Jon Vaughn, John Williams (who became a Steeler the following year) and QB Rick Mirer.
Heading into today, the Steelers were 0-21 when allowing 260+ yards on the ground. Previously, the most given up by Pittsburgh in a win was 254 by OJ Simpson and the 1972 Buffalo Bills, who lost to Pittsburgh 38-21 despite their ground attack.
Pittsburgh’s the first team to win despite giving up 260+ yards rushing since the 2018 Seahawks, who beat the Rams after allowing 273 yards on the ground. Since 2018 entering today, teams were 21-1 when rushing for 260+. Now make it 21-2.
– Let’s stick with the defense. Robert Spillane had his first INT since his senior season at Western Michigan. His last two interceptions have been pick sixes in very similar situations. Today was a first quarter 33 yard return for a TD. In 2017, it was a first quarter 35 yard return for a TD.
– Alex Highsmith recorded the first INT of his career, college or pro, today.
– Spillane and Highsmith make for the first pair of Steelers’ linebackers with an interception in the same game since James Harrison and Ryan Shazier did it in the 2016 opener win over Washington.
– No team handles Lamar Jackson as well as the Steelers. His Steelers/rest of the NFL splits.
Lamar Jackson vs the rest of the NFL: 446 for 704 (63.4%), 5290 yards (7.5 YPA) 51 TDs 8 INTs. 105.6 QB rating. 49 sacks 22 fumbles, 6.1 YPC, 14 TDs
Lamar Jackson vs Pittsburgh: 33 for 57 (57.9%), 381 yards (6.7 YPA) 4 TDs 5 INT. 65.0 QB rating. 9 sacks, 5 fumbles, 4.1 YPC, 0 TDs.
– Chase Claypool climbing up the Steelers’ rookie leaderboards. He’s tied Willie Asbury for the third most touchdowns by a Steelers’ rook in team history. Claypool had his 9th score of the season Sunday. He now trails only Franco Harris and Louis Lipps, who each had 11 in 1972 and 1984, respectively.
– TJ Watt’s five QB hits were the second most of his career. Only behind his six QB hit performance in 2018 against the Atlanta Falcons.
– With four more sacks today, the Steelers are on pace to finish 2020 with 68 sacks. If they hit that number, they’d have the most sacks since the 1989 Minnesota Vikings. The NFL record (since sacks became official) is 72, set by the 1984 Bears.
Next week’s opponent are the Dallas Cowboys. And that o-line isn’t looking so hot.
– Steelers offense ran just 50 plays today. Fewest in a game since Week 17 of last year…also against Baltimore (which was also exactly 50 plays). It’s their first win running 50 or fewer plays since 2016 against the Colts.
– Pittsburgh had more first downs by penalty (five) than they did rushing (three) today.
– Pittsburgh moves to 7-0 for the second time in team history, matching what the 1978 team did. If they win next week versus Dallas, they’ll be the first Steelers team to go 8-0 ever. In the Mike Tomlin era, they’re just the 16th team to begin a year 7-0. Seven of those teams went to the Super Bowl, though only two – the 2015 Broncos and 2009 Saints – won it all.
EDIT: Editing in a final stat I just came across. TJ Watt (6.5), Bud Dupree (6), and Stephon Tuitt (6) have as many or more sacks than the entire Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense (6) this season.