So here is an interesting statistic for you—and I can’t help but wonder how often this has happened, if ever—but at least through the first seven games of the 2017 regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are actually outscoring their opponents on said opponents’ opening drives.
Let’s clarify something here. I am not saying that the Steelers are scoring more points on their own opening drives than their opponents are on theirs. I am saying that the Steelers have gained more points at the end of their opponents’ opening drives than their opponents have.
In fact, Pittsburgh has not allowed any of their first seven opponents to score a single point on their opening drive. But the Steelers have scored nine, oddly enough.
Back in week one, of course, Pittsburgh was able to get the game started with a touchdown after Tyler Matakevich blocked the punt after forcing the Browns to go three and out on their opening drive. That blocked punt was recovered by Anthony Chickillo in the end zone for a touchdown.
Two Sundays ago, in Kansas City, the Chiefs, facing a second and 17 from their own nine-yard line following a holding call on second down, suffered a botched snap by their backup center that ricocheted high off of the quarterback’s hands and out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Steelers an early 2-0 lead.
So there you have it. The Steelers have scored nine points on their opponents’ seven opening drives so far this season. Their opponents have scored zero.
Back in week two against the Vikings, Minnesota was able to convert on an early third-and-two with a two-yard pass, but they only went backwards from there. A holding call was followed by an incomplete pass and then a run for no gain, which finally led to a nine-yard draw run on third and 20.
A week later, against the Bears, Chicago similarly went backwards, starting with a tackle for loss followed by two incomplete passes. The caveat here is of course that the Steelers ended up muffing the punt and losing the ball, Chicago going on to score on the subsequent second drive.
In Baltimore, the Ravens also converted an early third and two on their opening drive, but then lost six on a run and ended up punting on fourth and nine from the 39-yard line. The Jaguars a week later only picked up five yards on their opening drive before punting from the 30.
Finally, on Sunday against the Bengals, they actually had a challenge, with Cincinnati able to pick up a couple of first downs, and even got to the Steelers’ side of the field after completing a six-yard pass on third and nine to Pittsburgh’s 46-yard line, but they, too, settled for no points. As has every other opponent to date this year.