Comparing The Steelers 2017 And 2008 Defenses Through 10 Games Played

With it being a mini by week of sorts, I figured today would be a great day to check in on how the Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 defense is currently measuring up to the 2008 unit through 10 games played.

As you can see by the key defensive statistics below that I like to follow when it comes to measuring NFL defenses, the 2017 unit still trails the 2008 unit in several categories.

Perhaps the biggest discrepancy between the two units is the total amount of explosive plays allowed as the 2017 Steelers defense has allowed more than double what the 2008 unit did through 10 games played. With 7 of the explosive plays allowed by the 2017 Steelers defense being runs, that has resulted in their yards per carry average being inflated still. Additionally, those extra passing explosive plays allowed by the 2017 unit mostly explains why they are behind the 2008 unit in the yards per pass attempt allowed and adjusted net yards per pass attempt statistical categories.

Make no mistake, this 2017 Steelers defense is still playing great this season and if they can start getting a better grip on the explosive plays allowed in their final six games they still might be able to rival the 2008 unit in several of these key stats. With that said, the 2008 Steelers defense only allowed a total of 27 explosive plays all season and thus the 2017 unit has already surrendered five more than that with six games remaining to be played.

Stat Category Through 10 Games Played2008 Defense2017 Defense
3rd Down Conversion Rate Allowed37.133.3
Yards Per Rush Allowed2.964.08
Total Sacks3634
Total Turnovers1516
20+ Yard Plays Allowed1533
Defensive Points Allowed13.915.2
Yards Per Pass Attempt Allowed5.76.7
Adjusted Net Yards Per Pass Attempt3.74.4
Successful Run Play Rate Allowed34.536.6
Successful Pass Play Rate Allowed39.338.8


Game2008 QBs Faced2017 QBs Faced
1Matt SchaubDeShone Kizer
2Derek AndersonCase Keenum
3Donovan McNabbMike Glennon
4Joe FlaccoJoe Flacco
5David GarrardBlake Bortles
6Ryan FitzpatrickAlex Smith
7Eli ManningAndy Dalton
8Jason CampbellMatthew Stafford
9Peyton ManningJacoby Brissett
10Philip RiversMarcus Mariota