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The Most Alarming Team Statistics Through Eight Weeks

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The Most Alarming Team Statistics Through Eight Weeks

The last time we took a look at alarming team statistics, the Pittsburgh Steelers were only 1-3 and hope for even just a winning season seemed bleak. Now, head coach Mike Tomlin has his team back in the thick of things in the AFC North after three straight wins. The team has been improving on the offensive side of the ball while the defense has held down the fort allowing the offense to not feel too much pressure. A three-game winning streak is a great start to turnaround the season, but there are some areas that should still be cause for concern. Let’s check out which areas are still in dire need of improvement (in alphabetical order):

 

First Downs

The key to a successful offensive approach is to move the ball down the field at a steady pace. This gives the defense time to rest and the opposing offensive weapons on the sideline. The Steelers only have 133 first downs this season which is tied for the 3rd worst in the league. Averaging just over 4 punts per game, cutting that number down to 3 or even 3.5 would tell me more first downs are coming per game. Pressley Harvin III has been inconsistent and the less he has to punt, the better right now. A third down percentage of 40.1 is actually in the middle of the pack in the NFL right now. The correlation here is that the majority of 1st downs are coming on third down. Matt Canada‘s offense needs to move the sticks much more on 1st and 2nd down. There are way too many third down plays being run.

 

 

Interceptions/Turnovers

Turnover ratio in the NFL is huge. Out of the NFL’s 13 teams with a positive turnover ratio, only three do not have winning records. The Steelers sit at -1. This may surprise some as the offense has not turned the ball over that much. It seems impossible to have a negative turnover ratio when Tomlin’s squad is T-4th with only seven giveaways this season. The problem is not arising on offense in regard to the ratio, but the star-studded defense. Keith Butler‘s unit has only managed four fumble recoveries and just two interceptions. Minkah Fitzpatrick needs to get back to the form he had when he first got to Pittsburgh. His role is ever changing, but the ball hawk mentality needs to return. Cameron Sutton and Joe Haden both remain without an interception through seven games. This needs to get better.

 

Red Zone Efficiency/Touchdowns

This was a talking point the last time we looked at alarming statistics. The Steelers rank second to last in the NFL with only 10 touchdowns in the red zone.  The closest team to them with a winning record is the Cincinnati Bengals with 14. That’s really bad. When you have as many touchdowns in the red zone as the Houston Texans and the winless Detroit Lions have more touchdowns than you within the 20-yard line, it’s time for a wake up call. With that said, the red zone touchdown percentage for the Steelers is in the middle of the pack at 55.6. This simply means the offense is not getting into the red zone nearly enough. This opens up another can of worms which is the total offense.

 

 

Rushing Yards

Sunday against the Cleveland Browns was one of the Steelers best running performance of the season. Najee Harris failed to eclipse 100 yards, but it was great to see both Chase Claypool and Ray-Ray McCloud involved in the running game as well. With that said, it still needs to get much better. The offensive line is coming along slowly and Harris is starting to look like a Pro Bowl-caliber running back for years to come, but they need to stay committed to the run. I would love to seem them get over 150 yards on the ground per game in the final 10 games of the regular season. It does not all have to come from Harris as we saw on Sunday in Cleveland. After Week 4, the offense only had a total of 66 rushes. The last three games, Harris has 73 rushes on his own. This is headed in the right direction, but there is still work to be done.

 

Total Yards

Although an early bye week skews the rankings, the offense only has 2,313 total yards of offense this season. That is just about 330 yards per game and while 15-20 years ago it may not seem that alarming, it is in 2021. The Steelers can get away with this more so than other teams with a stout defense, but when teams like the Miami DolphinsJacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants, among others, have put together more offense. There needs to be an adjustment made down the stretch. The only team with a winning record with less yards per game is the New Orleans Saints.

 

What do you think is the most concerning team statistic through seven games? Let us know in the comments below!

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