The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers have gone two straight games without a victory despite scoring their most amount of points this season in Week 11. Unfortunately, Steelers gave up two more touchdowns than they had in any game to this point of the 2021 season. Despite overcoming a huge fourth-quarter deficit, the Steelers travel back home from the West Coast in defeat.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Chargers.
Believe it or not, the Steelers managed to lose this game despite winning the turnover battle. Getting one takeaway and not turning the ball over, it was the first time the Steelers had a positive turnover margin and lost since Week 5 of the 2019 season against the Baltimore Ravens. And by not turning the ball over, it was the first loss the Steelers had with a zero in the turnover department since Week 2 of the 2018 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The biggest reason the Steelers fell in defeat was surrendering 533 yards which led to 41 points given up by the defense. The Chargers ran 69 total offensive plays which averaged 7.7 yards per play with 159 yards coming on the ground and 374 net passing yards.
Some of the most important plays that the Steelers were not able to stop was containing Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert whenever he fled the pocket. In the game, Herbert had 90 rushing yards on nine carries. This number is even more inflated as the final three carries Herbert had in the game lost three total yards as they were kneel downs. Herbert’s 90 yards rushing as a quarterback was tied for the second most the Steelers have given up since the 1970 merger. The game in which this tied was in 1997 when Steve McNair of the Tennessee Oilers (yes, Oilers) rushed for 90 yards. The most rushing yards the Steelers have surrendered to a quarterback since 1970 came in 2013 when Terrell Pryor of the Oakland Raiders rushed for 106 yards.
Going into the game, the Los Angeles Chargers had the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Surrendering 155 yards per game on average, the Steelers were only able to rush the ball for 55 yards on 18 attempts. This means the Chargers held the Steelers to 100 yards less than their typical rushing yards surrendered per game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers did not force a punt until just over two minutes into the fourth quarter. After 47:08 of game time, the Chargers finally punted the ball only to have it callback on a penalty. When the Chargers went to punt 12 seconds later, it was blocked by Miles Killebrew.
The Steelers allowed the Chargers to convert 58% of their third down conversion’s on Sunday night. While the Chargers went 7 of 12 on third down, this percentage should be a little bit higher as one of those third down place was the quarterback taking a knee. The other four third-down stops came on the two field goal drives, the Chargers one attempted punt, and a drive in which the Chargers failed on both third and fourth down to give the ball back to the Steelers.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 73% of his passes on Sunday night. Completing 30 passes on 41 attempts for 382 yards, it was the third time this season where the Steeler surrendered a completion percentage of 73% or more. Both other games, Week 2 against Las Vegas and Week 3 against Cincinnati, were Steelers losses.
The Steelers were able to block their second punt of the 2021 NFL season against the Chargers. The Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys are the only teams in the NFL to block multiple punts this season. On both blocked punts, the Steelers scored 14 points total with their Week 1 punt block being returned for a touchdown and this punt block eventually turning into a Najee Harris TD.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers held the Chargers on a fourth and one at their own 34-yard line with 3:43 remaining in the game, they had a chance to secure the victory at this time. Unfortunately, partially due to the fact that Najee Harris was in the locker room being evaluated for a concussion, the Steelers did not rush the ball at all and only used a 0:19 seconds of clock while gaining 7 yards. Worst of all, they had to settle for three points on a 45-yard Chris Boswell field goal. By only using 19 seconds, the Chargers had plenty of time to take back the lead.
In ultimately what is the main stat of every game, the Steelers did not get to increase their number in the win column for the 2021 season.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 11 loss to the Chargers in perspective. While their performance wasn’t enough to get the win, perhaps the Steelers can get back some of their key defenders as they head into back-to-back AFC North matchups.
So what numbers from Sunday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.