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Steelers Defense Continues To Rob 3rd Down Bank Of Roethlisberger


The Pittsburgh Steelers offense heads into weekend still ranked No. 1 overall at converting 3rd downs with a 51.95% conversion rate. In the 26-23 loss Thursday night to the Tennessee Titans the offense finished with a respectable 47% conversion rate, as they were 7-of-15 in the game.

As good as the offense has been, the defense has been to exact opposite. Heading into the weekend the Steelers defense has allowed a 49.15% conversion rate on 3rd downs and last night against the Titans they allowed a 56% rate as the Titans converted 9-of-16 3rd downs.

When you take a closer look at conversions against the defense this season by quarter you see that 20 fourth quarter 3rd down plays have been run with 13 of them ending with the offense converting, either as a result of the play, or because of a penalty. That is a 65% conversion rate. 12 of those 20 plays had the offense needing 7 or more yards to go for the first down and 7 of those 12 ended with the offense getting a first down or a touchdown.

Only 2 of the 20 plays were runs, so it is not like it is a huge surprise that the offense is throwing on nearly all 3rd downs in the fourth quarter. Big surprise there. The Steelers defense knows it is coming, but they just can\’t seem to stop it.

We all remember the horrific 4th quarters of the 2009 season. During that season the Steelers defense allowed 22-of-56 conversions on 3rd down. That works out to a 39.3% conversion rate. Boy, would we kill to see that rate right now.

No matter how well quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense does at converting 3rd downs, the Steelers can\’t expect to win many close games if they are turning around and giving it back away to opposing offenses. The Steelers 34:17 average time of possession number ranks them second in the league currently, but it is an absolute worthless stat right now based on the way the defense is playing.

They call 3rd down the money down in football and while the offense is putting the money in the bank, the defense is trying their best to overdraw the account.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    When you can’t get pressure on the QB, your CB’s look like idiots. That is what we are seeing. We have practically ZERO pressure from our defense. It just doesn’t add up.

  • Brendon Glad

    Well said. Because Ben is the greatest 3rd down qb I’ve ever seen besides maybe elway. Manning is good at it, but Sanchez, Palmer, vick & hasselbeck sure don’t flow off the tongue as u make a list of the best. All the more discouraging. Sincethe Steelers don’t seem to value “ball-hawks” when drafting dbs…then there BETTER be pressure. Or else those qbs start looking way too comfortable taking shots at whatever matchup they like…all game long….oh for a Charles Tillman to show up on the scene somehow

  • Brendon Glad

    I agree. But Troy p is the only DB we’ve had in many years who can actually break on a mistake, and then perhaps even CATCH the ball. Why WOULDNT teams just throw back shoulder fades and double-moves at us all game? The dbs never make em pay for it so its an incomletion at worst every time…especially with the zero pressure

  • Brendon Glad

    I actually really like the Victorian kid we cut. He couldn’t catch very well either, but at least he seemed to have a knack for reading and breaking hard….qbs hate that. Rod woodson had his share of double-move losses to wrs during his career. But he was in qbs heads constantly. I miss that. Cuz when Troy ain’t there we get NONE OF THAT

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I honestly am beginning to believe that it is the scheme. Losing the guys we have lost hurts, but why have your BEST pass rusher trying to cover with the game on the line. The Giants don’t win every game either, but their front 4, get after the QB. There isn’t the stunts and flips and flops and wandering who is coming. You have those 4, and then maybe a blitz as well. With us, you just never know.

  • zyzak

    Haley’s offensive schemes have produced about as well as BA. He even went back to the fan favorite bubble screens. Still way too many FGS in the Red Zone

  • Mark Smathers

    WOW!! my beloved steelers have fell apart on D. Its sad to see that, we have dominated that aspect of the game for so long. It all comes down to age and talent. The go ones are gettign older and slower and the young ones dont have the talent we fans are used to. I hope in the draft next year we completly concentrate on DDDDD!!!

  • Buccos9

    They won’t get off the field by rushing two players on third down.

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