Stats Of The Weird: Steelers Vs Bears

Some Tuesday morning weird for you all after the Pittsburgh – as is routine – weird primetime win over the Chicago Bears Monday night.

– Monday was only the second game in the Mike Tomlin era the Steelers scored exactly 29 points. The other came in a more comfortable 29-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2017. This was the Steelers’ ninth game since 1940 scoring exactly 29 points. They are 7-2 in those games.

– With 22 more carries Monday, Najee Harris is the first Steelers’ rookie running back to have four straight games with 20+ rushing attempts. Le’Veon Bell nor Franco Harris ever did it. Harris is the first Steelers’ player with 20+ carries in four straight since Bell did in 2017.

– Pat Freiermuth had two receiving touchdowns tonight, making him the first Steelers’ rookie to do so since…Heath Miller in 2005. The similarities don’t end there.

Freiermuth did it at home on a Monday night in a close-game decided by a late 4th quarter field goal.

Miller did it at home on a Monday night in a close-game decided by a late 4th quarter field goal.

Miller’s performance came October 31st, 2005 at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh won the game 20-19 thanks to a Jeff Reed 37-yard field goal with 1:36 left. Pittsburgh won last night’s game thanks to a Chris Boswell field goal with :26 seconds left.

Freiermuth’s touchdowns came from four and eight yards out. Miller’s touchdowns came from four and ten yards out.

And Miller, of course, was at Heinz Field last night. Watching a very similar game to one he played in 16 years ago.

– Since 1990, the only Steelers’ rookie TEs with 2+ receiving scores in the same game are Miller, Freiermuth, and Eric Green.

– This might be a little common sense but Freiermuth is now 4-0 when he catches 2+ touchdowns in a game 3-0 at Penn State, 1-0 in the NFL.

– Long-time coming for TE Kevin Rader, who caught his first NFL pass Monday night, a one-yard gain on a failed third down. That’s his first reception in a game that counted in nearly four years. Last one came in his college finale, a November 18th, 2017 win over Missouri State where he caught one pass for five yards.

– Some more fun numbers. After not intercepting a pass until last season, Cam Heyward now has an INT in back-to-back years, making him (according to PFR, which I admit can be a little wonky with this stuff) the first Steelers’ d-linemen ever with a pick in back-to-back years.

Heyward becomes one of just a handful of defensive linemen with INTs in at least two seasons joining: Dwight White, Ernie Stautner, Lou Michaels, Brett Keisel, and Chuck Hinton.

– With a three-sack performance, TJ Watt now has 61 career sacks, surpassing Cam Heyward for fifth most in team history. Here’s the short list of players in NFL history with 61+ sacks their first five seasons: Reggie White, JJ Watt, Al Baker, Deacon Jones, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Richard Dent, and now TJ Watt. Five Hall of Famers and two – the Watt brothers – who will join them in Canton someday.

That means the last two NFL players with 61+ sacks their first five seasons came from the same house. JJ and TJ Watt. Incredible.

– Chris Boswell is the first Steelers’ kicker to be credited with a fumble recovery since Kris Brown in 2001. I believe though Boz’s is much cooler. I hadn’t pulled the tape yet but Brown’s came in an ’01 game against Jacksonville after starting punter Josh Miller left the game with an injury. The fumble came on a 4th down well in Pittsburgh territory so I am assuming Brown had a punt blocked or some other issue with the snap and punt. Someone can probably share the story in the comments.

But there you go. On technicality, Boz the first to do it in 20 years.

– Boz connected from 52 and 54 yards out Monday. Since 1994, as far back as game logs go, Boswell is the first Steeler to ever make a pair of 50+ yarders in one game at home. Only one other had tried it, Jeff Reed in 2010 against Atlanta, connecting from 52 but missing from 55. In fact, Boz is the first and only kicker period – Steeler or not – with a pair of 50+ makes at Heinz Field.

Boswell is now 12/15 from 50+ yards at Heinz Field in his career, an 80% rate.

All other Steelers’ kickers are a combined 2/11, 18.2%.

Opposing kickers are a combined 8/17 (47.1%) from 50+ yards out at Heinz Field. Meaning that combined, all non-Boswell kickers are 10/28 from 50+ yards at Heinz Field. That’s hitting 35.7% of the time. Boz is at 80%. Even knowing how much better kickers have gotten over the years, it’s a stunning figure.

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