Looking Back At 11 Years Of Steelers Turnover Differential

After week 4 the Steelers are -10 in the turnover differential stat and have only 1 takeaway thus far. That takeaway of course was the sack fumble in week 3 against the Colts caused by linebacker James Harrison. Safety Troy Polamalu scooped it up and returned it for a touchdown.

The Steelers defense is currently the only team in the league without an interception. On the giveaway side they have lost 6 fumbles, a league high, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already been intercepted 5 times. Roethlisberger only threw 5 regular season interceptions all of last season. He is also responsible for 4 of the 6 fumbles thus far as well.

I was curious to see how the Steelers have fared in the plus/minus stat over the years and pulled the numbers since 2000. The three years that they finished with a negative turnover differential they failed to make the playoffs. Only once did they not make the playoffs with an even or positive turnover differential dating back to 2000 and that was the 9-7 2000 season. They had a +14 differential stat that season and it was the recent high the Steelers recorded up until last season when they bested it by 3.

I dug a little further by season to see where they were at in each year after the first 4 games of each season and the worst they have been up until this year since 2000 was -9 in 2002. That team battled back to an even number and made the playoffs. 5 times the Steelers have entered week 5 with a negative number since 2000 and they made the playoffs twice.

Now the -10 number they currently own this season is a bit deceiving as they were -7 after the week 1 debacle at Baltimore. Since that game however they are -3.

Having a negative number is not a death sentence as just last season 3 teams made the playoffs with a negative turnover differential. You might be surprised to know that two of those teams were the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. The other team was the Seattle Seahawks.

The last 4 games are now behind them and all they can control is what happens going forward. If they average a +1 over the remaining 12 weeks it will have them back in positive numbers. The key is to merely win the time honored turnover battle on a game by game basis and the rest will take care of itself. The plan is very simple, the defense needs to start getting turnovers and the offense needs to hold onto the ball going forward.

Steelers Turnover Differential Since 2000

YEARDEF INTDEF FUMDEF TOTOFF INTOFF FUMOFF TOTTO DIFFW-LPOSTAFTER 4
2000 17 18 35 10 11 21 14 9-7 NO 0
2001 16 12 28 12 9 21 7 13-3 YES -2
2002 19 17 36 22 14 36 0 10-5-1 YES -9
2003 14 11 25 17 11 28 -3 6-10 NO -3
2004 19 13 32 13 8 21 11 15-1 YES 4
2005 15 15 30 14 9 23 7 11-5 YES 8
2006 20 9 29 23 14 37 -8 8-8 NO -3
2007 11 14 25 14 8 22 3 10-6 YES 3
2008 20 9 29 15 10 25 4 12-4 YES 4
2009 12 10 22 14 11 25 -3 9-7 NO -4
2010 21 14 35 9 9 18 17 12-4 YES 7
2011 0 1 1 5 6 11 -10 2-2 ? -10

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Donaldatillman

    The NFL is a league that is a totally different game under Roger Goodell. The Steelers don’t need 4 great linebackers anymore. You need cornerbacks if you are going to play in Roger’s league. They used to fear this defense when it was football, but nobody is afraid now that Roger has reduced this game to Madden.

  • Thomas

    man the biggest thing I see about this season besides that is that they cannot win on the road the O-line sucks can’t get off the ball. I think they can probably take bad teams at home but there is no way they get home field in the playoffs this year if they make it at all.

  • Thomas

    …also, how bout not f-in wasting all your time outs all game?? too much of that lately, get the right play in get it called and execute in a timely manner..don’t let the defense dictate what your going to do, they of all people should know how that can cause problems like that.