49ers turn out the lights on Steelers
December, 20, 2011
Kyle Terada/US PresswireThe 49ers' defense shut down the Steelers recording three sacks, a forced fumble and three Ben Roethlisberger interceptions.
San Francisco forced four Pittsburgh turnovers all by Ben Roethlisberger who threw three interceptions and lost one fumble. It was Roethlisberger's first three-interception game since throwing three picks against the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener.
Roethlisberger completed only 28.6 percent of his passes on throws more than 14 yards downfield Monday, including all three of his interceptions. The 49ers' pass defense leads the league with 16 interceptions on throws of that distance this season.
Monday’s game was the ninth in which Roethlisberger started and the Steelers did not score an offensive (rushing or passing) touchdown, all of which have come since 2006. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us only two other quarterbacks have as many such starts as Roethlisberger over the last six seasons: Marc Bulger (12) and Derek Anderson (9).
It's the third time the Steelers have lost to a Harbaugh-coached team this season with two previous losses coming against John Harbaugh's Ravens before the loss against Jim's 49ers Monday. With the win, the 49ers improved to 11-3, their best start since 2001.
San Francisco still hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown this season, the first team in NFL history to not allow a rushing touchdown through its first 14 games.
David Akers kicked two field goals, breaking Jerry Rice's franchise record for most points in a season (138 in 1987).
49ers rookie Aldon Smith had 2.5 sacks, giving him 13 this season. Elias also says that’s tied for the second-highest total by any rookie since 1982, when sacks were first recorded for defensive players. Jevon Kearse had 14.5 for the 1999 Titans and Dwight Freeney had 13 for the 2002 Colts.
The Steelers had 11 drives, only one of which started beyond their own 20-yard line, and on which their average starting yard line was the 15.4.
Elias tell us over the last 15 years only two teams have had such poor average starting field position in a regular-season game. The Panthers did it against the Saints in 2005 (Carolina’s average starting field position was the 14.9-yard line) and the Falcons did it against the Dolphins later that season (Atlanta’s average starting field position was the 15.2-yard line).