Steelers News

Dan Moore Jr. Says Time Of Possession Has Been Huge For Steelers: ‘The Attrition Game Up Front Is How You Win It’

The Pittsburgh Steelers have surprisingly become a very good time-of-possession team over the course of the season, notable given that they were one of the worst teams in football early in that category. They currently rank seventh in the NFL on the year in time of possession (minus overtime play) and are 4-2 since the bye when they win the time of possession, including a win Sunday when they controlled the clock for over 36 minutes.

“I think the time of possession game is always huge,” tackle Dan Moore Jr. said, via Teresa Varley for the team’s website. “The attrition game up front is how you win it, controlling the clock….Not only that but make use of every possession we get and try to put points on the board every time we get the ball.”

Interestingly enough, the Steelers had a couple of games in the first half of the season during which they had a decided advantage in time of possession despite being blown out, namely against the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles.

That was because they were scored on rapidly in those games, a quick-strike passing effort leading to short possession times, but those are abnormal circumstances. Where they are now is more representative of how a typical game goes.

Although a 21-play, 12-minute drive wouldn’t exactly be typical, which is how they opened up the second half this week against the Carolina Panthers. They had four possessions overall that spanned over five minutes in length, although they also had four that lasted under two minutes (two of them were meaningless end-of-half situations, so really don’t count).

Conversely, the defense only allowed the Panthers three drives really of any length. They only had four possessions in total that lasted more than three plays, three of them lasting at least four minutes, but none over seven. Their longest drive outside of those three lasted all of 126 seconds, their opening possession, a three-and-out.

The Steelers did go three-and-out twice, always something you want to avoid, but they have done a very good job of avoiding those overall since the middle of the year. The offense began sustaining drives better under Kenny Pickett, and Mitch Trubisky when he has played since then has kept that trend going.

Las Vegas is a fairly average team when it comes to time of possession, but they are a bit better at home than on the road, this game being out west. Unfortunate, perhaps, as Pittsburgh is among the best at possessing the ball on the road.

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