Analyzing the Steelers Week 3 win over the Raiders, by the numbers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were under the lights again, this time on the road for Sunday Night Football in Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season. Although the offense took their time to get going, they came around and allowed the defense to play with the lead. Although they didn’t have to find the end zone, the defense came up with takeaways when needed.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers Week 3 win over the Raiders.
It has become a tradition to start off with this number as it means so much to the outcome of the game. The Steelers ended up on the right side of the turnover for margin in a big way as they had three interceptions on the night while the offense played a turnover-free game. While there was an opportunity where the Raiders did not cash in a potential defensive touchdown, the Steelers defense also had a close call of their own with a forced fumble only for the runner’s knee to be ruled down. With the Steelers getting an interception from Patrick Peterson and two from Levi Wallace with the final one to secure the game in the final seconds, this defense has now forced eight takeaways through the first three weeks of the season.
After going down 7–0 in the first quarter, the Steelers got their “triple firsts” in a big way. The Steelers first first down of the first quarter in 2023 came in the form of a 72-yard touchdown reception to Calvin Austin III. Kenny Pickett stood strong in the pocket and waited for Austin to break free down the middle of the field and threw a great ball where the speedster was able to jaunt to the end zone and tie the contest less than 10 minutes into the game.
A lot was made how the Las Vegas Raiders had not surrendered a sack through the first two weeks of the NFL season. But facing T.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers, this ended early in the game as the Steelers had four official sacks. Unfortunately, the referees unjustifiably took away the Steelers final sack by Minkah Fitzpatrick on a roughing the passer call where he didn’t significantly touch the quarterback’s helmet. As for the sacks which did count on the stat sheet, T.J. Watt added two more this week for a total of six on this season while Markus Golden came up with his second sack of the season and Keeanu Benton had his first NFL sack.
For the first time in his NFL career, Kenny Pickett threw two touchdown passes in a game. Although Pickett rushed for multiple touchdowns in his first appearance in the NFL Week 4 of 2022, it was the last game in his one-year cycle being Week 3 of 2023 where Pickett had multiple touchdowns through the air. On the night, Kenny Pickett completed 16 of 28 passing attempts for 235 yards and a 108.5 quarterback rating.
Chris Boswell came through big-time for the Steelers when called upon to help give them the lead and push it to two scores when given the opportunity. After knocking through field goals from 43 yards and 42 yards in the second quarter, Boswell finished off the Steelers first possession of the second half with a 57 yarder to put the Steelers up nine points.
One problem area for the Steelers on Sunday night was the failed attempts to slow down wide receiver Davante Adams. Targeted 20 times in the game, Adams had 13 receptions for 172 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Outside of Adams, the Raiders offense simply did not get much done.
69 vs. 105
One area where the Steelers had an advantage over their opponent on Sunday night was their total rushing yards. Out-rushing the Raiders 105 yards to 69 yards, the Steelers came through on the low end when it came to yards per carry as they had 31 rushing attempts and a 3.4 YPC compared to the Raiders 19 rushing attempts and 3.6 YPC. But when the Raiders were attempting to establish the run early, the Steelers came through to keep the 2022 NFL rushing leader, Josh Jacobs, to only 62 yards on 17 carries.
After a lackluster performance in Week 1, Presley Harvin III has come through in a big way to help the Steeler special teams the last two weeks. With six punts on Sunday night, Harvin had a gross punting average of 53.8 yards with no touchbacks and three balls downed inside the 20-yard line. Harvin had a long punt of 63 yards and also had a key punt in the final minute to pin the Raiders deep and all but take away their chances of scoring a late touchdown.
After a brutally physical game last week against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, the Steelers left Las Vegas with no significant injuries reported after the game. While there are bound to be some players who are banged up and may be limited early in the week, it does not appear at this time that there are any players expected to miss significant time based on Sunday night’s game.
It’s the number that means the most. The Pittsburgh Steelers added another win on Sunday night to bring their total to two victories versus one defeat in the 2023 season. The Steelers are now undefeated when traveling to Las Vegas and have, at least for the moment, shaken off the notion of losing in the Pacific time zone. Although it’s very early in the season, the Steelers also are in first place in the AFC North after three games.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 3 win in perspective. Even though there is still room for improvement, the Steelers have found a way to win their last two games.
So what numbers from Sunday’ night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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