How successful have the Steelers been in shootouts?
On the most recent episode of The Steelers Preview Podcast, I asked the trivia question of how many games the Pittsburgh Steelers have won in franchise history, regular season and postseason, where both teams scored at least 30 points. Being what I consider a shoot-out, Jeff had a very good guess of 25 games but Bryan came through and hit the exact number of 19.
The most recent game in which the Steelers and their opponent both scored 30 points and the Steelers were victorious was in December 2017 when the Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 39–38. This is the most points the Steelers have ever surrendered in a victory in the 90 seasons of their franchise. For those who don’t remember, this is the first game the Steelers played following the horrific injury to Ryan Shazier.
Although it was looking at franchise history, only two of the games occurred before the merger in 1970. When looking at more recent games, there were only five victories in which both teams scored 30 points since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach in 2007.
But after considering the topic more, I decided to look at shoot-out games where the Steelers were not victorious. This time, I looked for games in which the Steelers scored at least 30 points but failed to win the game. In this case, the Steelers have done this 26 times in franchise history with the most recent being this past season when they were defeated 37–30 by the Cincinnati Bengals.
In all, the Steelers are 19–26 in games where both teams scored 30 points. Looking more recently, the Steelers are 5–11 since 2007.
Once again, I felt the need to take this question to the next level and look at the other end of the spectrum. How did the Steelers perform in games that are defensive struggles?
For this exercise, I chose to look at games in which neither team reached 14 points. So as long as the winner scored 13 points or less, these games will qualify.
Because it was a different age of the NFL, there are a lot of games early in franchise history that fit into both wins and losses in this category. But looking overall, the Steelers won 54 of these matchups while they lost 46. Before the merger, they were 22-28.
Once again to look at games more recently, the Steelers have won 10 games where neither team scored more than 13 points since 2007. The most recent game was Week 16 of last season when they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Eve 13–10. On the flipside, the Steelers have lost three games where the other team did not reach 14 points since 2007 with the last one being in 2012.
So even though the NFL has become more of a high-scoring league in recent years, the Steelers have ultimately had more success in low scoring, defensive struggles they have in high scoring shoot outs. But though this is their history, even being their recent history, this is something thet Steelers will need to improve as the NFL continues to evolve.