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Steelers Analysis

Steelers’ Slow Starts Set Tone for Season Struggles



It seems like everyone knows about the Steelers’ first half struggles. However, the facts are the facts. The Steelers have not yet scored a first half touchdown in five games. That is the first time they have done that since 1940. That’s right, 81 years ago was the last time the Steelers did not score a first-half touchdown in five games.

Their first-half stats all paint that picture, though. The second half disparity is alarming for their offense to say the least. For example, they only average 6.7 points per game in the first half, which is the second-least in the NFL. Meanwhile, they average nearly double that number in the second half with 13.1 points per game in the second half, which is 10th in the NFL.

The possession stats showcase just how inefficient the Steelers are in the first half. They have possessed the ball less than 50% of the time in the first half this season. Over the last three games, they have possessed the ball on only 35% of first half minutes. That lends itself to a tired and worn-down defense by the time the halftime rolls around.

The stats just continue to paint an ugly stat. The Steelers have the third least passing and rushing yards in the first half this year. In addition, they have the worst offensive EPA in the NFL during the first half of games. It all paints the picture of a first half offense that is easily the worst in the NFL.

The second-half splits are stark, as shown with the points. However, there could be some explanations as to why and then speed up in the second-half. For example, it could be contended that teams go into prevent defense, thus allowing the ball to be moved. In that case, this offense just has no hope to crack the code.

Regardless, slow starts have doomed Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, and the Steelers to playing from behind most of this season. If they aim to make the playoffs and knock off the Browns, they will need to start quickly in a critical primetime matchup.