Tunch Ilkin once said in an interview with Behind the Steel Curtain that the NFL changes every four games. What he meant really is that teams' fortunes can change, for better or worse, every four games. Think the Steelers are in a world of trouble right now? You wouldn't be alone. But four games from now, they might look nothing like the team that's struggled to stop the run, force turnovers or protect the quarterback. Let's sure hope that Ilkin's words of wisdom ring true this season, as I don't think anybody would argue that the Steelers' level of play through the first quarter of the 2011 season has been sub-par and not nearly good enough to contend for a playoff spot.
With one-quarter of the season in the books, let's take a look at some individual and team statistics this week, beginning with the team offensive stats.
TEAM OFFENSIVE STATS (league rank):
Points/Game: 16.0 (27th)
- Yards/Game: 359.2 (13th)
- Passing Yards/Game: 265.5 (10th)
- Rushing Yards/Game: 93.8 (21st)
- Yards/Rush: 3.7 (t-24th)
- Sacks Allowed: 14 (t-3rd)
- 3rd Down %: 47.1 % (6th)
- Time of Possesion:32:07 (7th)
- Giveaways: 11 (t-1st)
- Turnover Differential:-10 (32nd)
- Obviously the stat that matters most (aside from the W-L column) is points scored. And quite simply, the Steelers aren't putting enough points on the board to survive.
- The good news though is that they're faring sufficiently well in other key statistical categories -- yards/game, time of possession, and third down percentage. Those last two are particularly important, and you'll notice that the small handful of teams above Pittsburgh in those departments are sporting winning records and playing good football.
- Doesn't matter if you possess the ball and move the chains if you're turning the ball over that frequently, and not getting much help from the defense in return with takeaways.
- Sacks continue to be a problem, though as is the case every year, a percentage of the 14 sacks of Roethlisberger could have been avoided by Big Ben getting rid of the ball more quickly.
Next up: Team Defense.