As we all know by now, the Steelers had one of their top five home-opening losses of all time. Any time the Steelers lose week one, it's always disappointing, even if they rebound and make the playoffs later in the year. Nevertheless, even games like the one Steelers played against the 49ers led to some weird and unusual stats, and Sunday’s game was no different.
T.J. Watt recorded three sacks in Sunday's loss to the 49ers. However, his three sacks keep him tied with James Harrison as the all-time sack leader of the Steelers. He needs one more sack and will be the Steelers all-time sack leader. Achieving this feat puts him in rarified air with other Steelers greats such as Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, and Dwight White. He is now certainly one of the greatest pass rushers of all time in the NFL.
Kenny Pickett passes time not touchdowns
Kenny Pickett became only the 4th quarterback in Steelers team history to only throw one or fewer touchdowns against the 49ers in a home season-opening game. Of those four quarterbacks, Mike Tomczak 1993 and Kenny Pickett 2023 were on the losing side.
The two quarterbacks that won their games were Terry Bradshaw in 1977 and Mark Malone in 1987. Ben Roethlisberger never faced the 49ers in a season-opening game; thus, this is one of those rare categories his name does not pop up.
Once every few decades in Steelers history
The Steelers have lost at home before; that by itself is not unusual. However, they typically get blown out infrequently. Something like that only happens every few decades. The last time the Steelers trailed by 17 points at home in the season's first game was August 31, 1997, vs. the Dallas Cowboys. In which they were annihilated by the Dallas Cowboys 37-7.
Steelers getting Sacked
Kenny Pickett moved into a 3-way tie for 4th place after being sacked five times on opening day. The tie includes Ben Roethlisberger, who was sacked five times twice on opening day in 2012 and 2013, and Kordell Stewart, who was sacked five times in 2002. However, Pickett is the first Steelers quarterback to be sacked five times on opening day against the 49ers.
The three quarterbacks ahead of Kenny Pickett are Bubby Brister, who was sacked six times in the 51-0 loss to Cleveland in 1989; Ed Brown, sacked seven times against the Rams in week one in 1964; and Neil O'Donnell holds the record for being sacked nine times against the Cowboys in a 1994 week one loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Steelers stuck in roadblock in Ft. Pitt Tunnel
The Steelers 41 rushing yards were the least amount in a home opener on week one since week one in 2013, when they only rushed for 31 yards against the Tennessee Titans. However, a slightly odder stat is that it was the least amount of rushing yards against any NFC opponent since 9/17/1950 when they only managed to rush for 34 yards against the New York Giants.
49ers live life in the fast Lane
The Steelers, unfortunately, allowed the 49ers to rush for 188 total yards. It's the 3rd most allowed in a home season-opening loss. And the most since 2014 against the Cleveland Browns when the Browns rushed for 191 yards. Interestingly, in all season opener games, they have allowed 188 or more rushing yards against only one has occurred against an AFC opponent, the Browns.
The other three games they allowed 188 plus rushing yards were against NFC opponents and two teams in the NFC West. The teams are the Cowboys in the NFC East and the 49ers and Seattle in the NFC West. In conjunction, McCaffrey’s 152 yards is the 2nd most ever in a season opener against the Steelers. Emmitt Smith still has the most rushing yards against the Steelers on opening day, with 171 in 1994.
In the odd category
The team with the most sacks vs. the Steelers in the month of September day is the Cincinnati Bengals. They have a combined 16 sacks against the Steelers in just three games played in 1971, 1988, and 1989. Even Odder of those 16 sacks, Bubby Brister, was sacked by the Bengals 11 of those 16 times and Terry Bradshaw five times.
Next week, the Steelers face Cleveland on Monday night, which will be the first meeting of the two teams on Monday night in September since 1985. Games with Cleveland always leave Steelers fans on the edge of their seats and always manage to produce something unusual.