Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Steelers advanced analytics show promise in the future

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a 2-1 team with plenty of questions still surrounding the team. Will the offense continue to improve? Will the defense be able to continually pressure the quarterback, regardless of opponent?

There is the eye test which can answer a lot of these questions, but sometimes having advanced analytics can support these narratives, or tear them down. Just depends on the angle of said narrative.

This is where Zebra Technologies comes in and helps shine the light on some of the finer details of the NFL game. Following the Steelers Week 3 game vs. the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football on the road there were some serious bright spots for the black-and-gold. Where else to start than with T.J. Watt and his continued dominance.

Take a look at the talking about Watt’s matchup with Jermaine Eluemunor of the Raiders.

“T.J. Watt recorded 6 pressures and 2 sacks on 29 pass rushes against Jermaine Eluemunor (20.7% pressure rate) in Week 3. Eluemunor had allowed just 1 pressure in his 1st 2 games this season. His 2.1% pressure rate was the lowest among right tackles in Weeks 1-2.”

The next stat which was highlighted should have been a no-brainer. It focused on the 72-yard bomb from Kenny Pickett to Calvin Austin III. Pickett’s pass traveled 46 yards in the air, which should dispel any narratives surrounding Pickett’s arm strength, but the fact Austin reached 20+mph on his route is flat out amazing.

“Calvin Austin was wide open on his 72-yard TD on SNF as he had 5.9 yards of separation and the catch had a 48.4% completion probability. He hit 20.45mph (9th fastest in Week 3) on the play as well. The throw itself had an air distance of 46.0 yards, Kenny Pickett’s 2nd longest completion by air distance of his career and his 1st deep TD of the season.”

Do these advanced analytics draw major conclusions with the state of the Steelers? No. But do they shine a light on some tremendous work being done by a select group of players, many of whom make up the future of the team? Absolutely.

Let’s hope the Steelers keep getting mentioned in these articles, for the right reasons, as it means the team is continuing to see success. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the regular season.


These advanced analytics are discussed on Dave Schofield’s “Stat Geek” podcast, which can be heard in the player below this article.

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