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.