2 Steelers pick six’s against Ravens in same season and other stats

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Steelers’ victory over the Ravens on Wednesday, their defense moved into unprecedented territory as Pittsburgh improved to 11-0.

The Steelers defense has managed to do what the fearsome steel curtain of the ‘70s never achieved. They are the first defense ever to lead in sacks 41, takeaways 24, and allowing an average of only 17 points per game. No other defense in the NFL has led in all three categories in one season.

Adding to that Joe Haden had a pick-six early in the game. With Robert Spillane’s pick-six in the first game, it is the first time Pittsburgh has returned two interceptions for a touchdown against the Ravens in the same season.

A bruised Ben and flightless Ravens

With the Steelers’ win over the Ravens, Big Ben improved to 15-9, though his nine losses are the most against any single team. Entering the game, Roethlisberger had been hit 64 times by the Ravens defense. By the end of Wednesday’s game, the Ravens increased that total to 70. The highest total by any one team. While it’s no surprise Ben has been sacked numerous times in his career the Ravens, however, have sacked him more than any other team with 60. Fortunately, the ravens did not add to that total Wednesday.

Despite being sacked many times in his career, Roethlisberger’s sack ratio has improved steadily since 2006. From 2004-2014 teams sacked Roethlisberger once for every dropback. From 2015-2019 his sack ratio improved to 1 sack per 28 dropbacks. In 2020 he is now being sacked only once per 39 dropbacks, and that ratio improved because the Ravens failed to sack him in Wednesday’s game.

The Ravens do not typically pass for 90 yards or less, especially against the Steelers. Yet Pittsburgh held the Ravens to 90 yards passing Wednesday. Oddly this is the Ravens’ third game since December of 2019 in which they have not reached the century mark in their passing game. Of those three games, two have been against the Steelers. The Ravens’ loss drops them to 2-3 all-time against Pittsburgh when passing for 90 yards or less.

A Third Quarter first and third quarter efficiency

At the end of the third quarter on Wednesday, the Steelers led 12-7. This score marks the first game in Pittsburgh’s history that they had 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter. It’s the least amount of points the Steelers had at the end of the third quarter since a 2008 loss to Jacksonville.

The Steelers went 6-14 on third down in their Wednesday victory. The 42.8% efficiency is their highest against Baltimore since their 31-27 win in 2016. This is Pittsburgh’s 8th highest third-down percentage in series history.

Failing to move the chains and decreased playtime

The Ravens’ ten first downs against Pittsburgh is their least since a 16-13 win over the Bengals in 2011. Also, it’s the least amount of first downs the Ravens have had against the Steelers, going back to November 5th, 2007, in which the Steelers held the Ravens to five first downs.

The Steelers’ 70 plays on Wednesday are the least amount of plays versus an AFC opponent when the Steelers beat Indianapolis on December 6th, 2015. It is also the least number of offensive plays for the Steelers since December 29th, 2002, in which they beat Baltimore 34-31. Pittsburgh is 5-1 all-time when running at least 71 plays against the Ravens.

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The Steelers play Washington on Monday, in which other unusual are sure to pop up whether the Steelers win or lose in what has become the most unusual season in NFL History.