Stats Of The Weird: Steelers Vs Chargers

Just when you think we’ve reached max-weird, this Pittsburgh Steelers’ team finds a way to dig deeper. Lots to talk about this morning. Hope it was worth the wait.

– 78 combined points Sunday night between the Steelers and Chargers. Most combined points in a Steelers’ game since 79 were scored in a 2018 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, 42-37. That’s also the last game in which both teams scored 35+ points.

– It’s the highest-scoring primetime the Steelers have played since 1985…also against the Chargers. Also a loss, 55-44 that day. That game, Dan Fouts threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns. Sunday night, Justin Herbert threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns.

– Pittsburgh had gone 40 straight games not allowing 30+ points. The last time they allowed 30 came in the 2019 Week 1 opener, allowing 33 to the New England Patriots. That streak is now broken.

– The Chargers scored points their first five drives tonight. According to Pro Football Reference’s Drive Finder, which dates back to 2001, it’s the first time that’s happened. So defense hasn’t had this ugly of a start in at least 20 years. Depressing.

– Pittsburgh scored 27 fourth quarter points against the Chargers, doing so for only the third time in their career. It’s the first time they’ve lost a game in which they’ve had 27+ points. The other two, of course, came in wins. 28 points in a 1986 victory over the New York Jets and 28 points in a 1952 win over the New York Giants, beating them 63-7 in one of the biggest blowout wins in franchise history.

– Editing it one last one post-publish. Pittsburgh is now 87-4 when scoring 37+ points in a game. Their last loss came in 2017 in that aforementioned Chiefs game. The others occurred in 2006, an OT loss to the Falcons, and that 1985 loss also mentioned above.

– Ben Roethlisberger has played a pair of pretty incredible games after missing time due to COVID protocol. In last year’s win against the Bengals and Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, he’s thrown a combined seven touchdowns, zero interceptions, and the Steelers have scored 73 points in those two combined games (36 & 37).

– The Steelers ran for 55 yards and averaged 3.1 YPC against the 32nd ranked run defense Sunday night. Yikes.

– Meanwhile, Justin Herbert ran for 90 yards tonight, the most by a QB against the Steelers since Terrelle Pryor in 2013. I’m sure you remember Pryor’s most notable run in that game. I won’t link it and make you relive it.

Herbert’s 90 yards tie for the fourth most since the 1970 merger. The only QBs who have run for more yards against Pittsburgh are Pryor (106), Jack Concannon in 1966 (129), and Bobby Layne in 1950 (118). The late Steve McNair rushed for 90 in 1997.

The Steelers are 0-5 when QBs run for 90+ yards against them.

– Since the 1970 merger, Austin Ekeler is now just the third player with 4+ TDs against the Steelers in one game, joining Fred Taylor in 2000 and Don Beebe in 1991. Ekeler becomes the sixth player to ever do it versus Pittsburgh (since 1950). Ben Hawkins, Rick Casraes, and the great Jim Brown are the others.

– Trying to do more research but I think Miles Killebrew is the first Steeler to block two punts in the same season in a long time. I can’t find another example. If anyone knows of one, let me know in the comments below.

– Cam Sutton had ten tackles last night. That doubles his NFL career-high of five. It also surpasses his college high of eight tackles, done in 2014 in a loss to Oklahoma.

– Tre Norwood ties his tackle-high, college or pro, with seven tackles Sunday night. Only other time he had seven came in a 2017 win over Oklahoma State, a game where Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph were the starting QBs. Like last night, Oklahoma won in a shootout, 62-52.

– Alex Highsmith has three sacks this season. They’ve come in two games, 1.5 in each, this year. Sacks coming in bunches for him.

– Cam Heyward’s seven pass deflections tie a career-high, matching the mark he recorded in 2013.

– Pittsburgh allowed a 12-play, 98 yard touchdown drive to the Chargers tonight, making it the first 10+ play, 98+ yard drive resulting in a TD against them since 2002 when the Cincinnati Bengals did it, capped off by a Corey Dillon two-yard score.

– The Chargers became the first team not to have a single punt versus the Steelers since 1989 when the Bengals didn’t need their punter in a 41-10 win (the game which followed Pittsburgh’s 51-0 loss to Cleveland, one of the worst losses in franchise history).  Hopefully this game isn’t an omen for next week when, oh yeah, Pittsburgh plays the Bengals.

It’s only the second time since 1950 a team didn’t punt once versus the Steelers.

*The Chargers, of course, did attempt a punt but it was blocked and technically did not register on the stat sheet. So an extra weird one but no punts is how the box score will actually reflect this game.

– Finally, Cam Heyward had a 36-yard downfield tackle of Justin Herbert Sunday. Since 2019, he is only the second 300+ pound player to have a tackle 35+ yards downfield. The other, and I’m quite frankly surprised there is another, came November 17th, 2019 when 305-pound Texans’ DT Carlos Watkins brought down Ravens’ TE Mark Andrews after a 51 yard slalom. Here’s a look at the play, if you’re interested.

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