Stranger stats: Steelers vs. Bengals

The NFL season is back. So are the Pittsburgh Steelers’ weekly stats on weirdness. I have to be honest – it’s going to be hard to get over everything that happened in Cincinnati yesterday. But I will do my best. It’s a jam-packed bonus episode of Strange.

– Believe it or not, this is a file the fourth The Steelers’ first-week overtime game under Mike Tomlin. They are now 3-0-1 in those matches. Their last win came in 2018, an ugly draw against the Cleveland Browns, and their last win was in 2010 against the Atlanta Falcons. Another game that the Steelers didn’t start with Ben Roethlisberger. Another victory came in 2009 against the Tennessee Titans.

The only Pittsburgh ever played one more game in the first week before Tomlin. This came in 1979, with a victory over the New England Patriots.

Thanks to the extra time, the Cincinnati Bengals played an amazing 94 plays on Sunday afternoon. By comparison, the Steelers ran only 61.

The last time the Steelers allowed counter-crime to run over 90 plays? 2001. v. Yes.. Cincinnati Bengals. Another game into overtime though Cincinnati won that game, 26-23.

It is only the fourth time in Steelers history that an opponent has made more than 90 matches against them. The others were the Buffalo Bills and K-Gun offense in 1994 and the New England Patriots in 1989. That 2001 match against the Bengals still held the record for most plays made against Pittsburgh with 99. But Sunday 94 tied that game with the Patts for second place .

– The Bengals lost their first 32 on Sunday compared to the Steelers’ 13. This is the first time in Pittsburgh history that they have scored less than 15, allowed more than 30, and won the match.

It’s only the 14th example in NFL history and the first since the Los Angeles Chargers lost to the Miami Dolphins in 2020. It’s only the third time since 2003.

– Here’s another crazy one. The Bengal team held the ball for 43:43 on Sunday. This is his longest team Ever Own the ball against the Steelers. It beats the previous high set in 1983… *also* by the Cincinnati Bengals. They held the ball for 42:08 that day and won that match, 23-10. But the first week set the record against Pittsburgh and comes in at a loss.

In NFL history, teams are now 93-11-4 when in possession of the ball for more than 42 minutes per game. The last 24 teams are 23-0-1 with that higher score. The last team to have the ball for more than 42 minutes and lose? 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers, who fell 27-24 in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers held the ball for 44:07 that day.

Some wild round stats between the Steelers and the Bengals.

The Pittsburgh defense has had to make five turnarounds for the first time since 2019, which is Minka Fitzpatrick’s first game with the team. Fitzpatrick had IQ in that game and a six pick yesterday. Like the Bengals, the Steelers scored cleverly on the opponent’s first drive as well, TJ Watt taking a pass (although no TD) on the 49ers’ first drive.

This is only the second time since 2011 that the Steelers have forced five turnovers in one game. The last time it also happened in the first week happened in 2007, with a 34-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Pittsburgh got four assists on Sunday. It took them until Week 11 last year to intercept four total passes.

– It is only the third time since 1998 that they have obtained four assists in one match. But they have done it three times over the past six seasons, 2017, 2020 and now 2022.

Chase Claypool was the Steelers’ leading ruser with 36 yards. Joe Burrow ran for 47 himself.

– Pat Freymouth had hit 60 last year. His longest reception took 24 yards. On Sundays alone, he had receptions at 26 and 31 yards. It will be more dangerous this season.

Zach Gentry had a 32-yard reception on TE yesterday, making it his longest reception since November 17, 2018, when he had 41 and 42 yards in a win over Indiana during his final season in Michigan.

The Play Index for Pro Football Reference can be a little untrustworthy when it comes to sorting by position, but according to his tracker, Chase Claypool is the first WR for the Steelers to hold the ball six times in a single game. Run a strong receiver game in Pittsburgh to start the year.

– Seven wild Sundays. Pittsburgh defense sacked Joe Borough seven times. This makes for a massive seven consecutive seasons as the Steelers have played a game where they have sacked an opponent more than 7 times. The last three encounters have been against North Asian teams, having done so against both opponents – the Ravens and Browns last year and now the Bengals this year. Eight of the last ten cases of holding more than 7 bags in a match were against the North Asian team. Mostly against Cleveland but still pretty wild.

Since 2016, no other defense has more than four games with more than 7 bags (Bills, Cardinals and Jaguars). The Steelers have done it a total of nine times. Pittsburgh did it in the first week alone three times, 2017 and 2018 against the Browns and yesterday against Burrow’s Bengals.

Minkah Fitzpatrick now has three Steeler picks. This ranks fifth in team history and matches what Carnell Lake and Troy Polamalu have done in his career. Mel Blount had only two. He now only tracks William Gay, Rod Woodson, Jack Butler and Chad Scott on the team’s all-time roster.

25% of Fitzpatrick’s IQ was returned for TDs. And that doesn’t include one he had in Miami.

Pittsburgh has had a pick-up in the opener for only the third time since at least 1950. The most recent one came by Joey Porter against the Miami Dolphins in 2006. Johnny Sample was the first against Dallas Texas in 1961. But Fitzpatrick is the first to do so to open a game.

He’s the first NFL player to start Week One with a pick-six since the Jets’ LB CJ Mosley started in 2019 with a pick-six from Bills’ QB Josh Allen.

Fitzpatrick also had 14 tackles total yesterday, equaling his career high last year. Both of those outings have had victories.

– Akhello Witherspoon’s eight interventions are a new high, college or professional.

Alex Highsmith had three bags yesterday. He had three bags until the 16th week of last year.

He is now the third Stiller to have three sacks in the Week One game, joining TJ Watt (2018) and James Harrison (2008). Not a bad company to be in.

– Miles Boykin and Benny Snell combined for four full solo special teams yesterday. This is impressive.

– ultimate. The Steelers have now won ten openers under Mike Tomlin. The Steelers made the playoffs in eight of the previous nine instances. 2009 was the only exception to a year in which Pittsburgh won its inaugural game and did not participate in the playoffs. So historically, the Steelers will return to the playoffs this season.