Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Pittsburgh Steelers looking perfect
By Russell Baxter
• The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of three teams with a perfect record this season, and while their defense has been impressive, it has also taken advantage of some young quarterbacks. These passers have faced 3-4 defenses before, but are not familiar with Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau's system. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), Vince Young (Tennessee Titans) and Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) had never started against Pittsburgh until this season, and none of their offenses managed to score a touchdown when they were at the helm.
• The Steelers, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs are the lone 3-0 teams in the league. It's the fewest number of teams to start 3-0 since 2001 (3).
• And it’s worth repeating if you haven’t heard: only 5 teams – the 1981 New York Jets (0-3), 1982 Buccaneers (0-3), 1992 San Diego Chargers (0-4), 1995 Detroit Lions (0-3) and 1998 Buffalo Bills (0-3) – have rebounded to make the playoffs following an 0-3 start or worse. Five teams would like to add themselves to that list this season: the Lions, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.
• Since the beginning of the 2008 season, the Lions (2-33) and St. Louis Rams (4-31) are a combined 6-64, but three of those wins have come against the Washington Redskins. Last season in Week 3, the Lions snapped their 19-game overall losing streak with a 19-14 win over Washington. Sunday (Week 3), the Rams snapped a 10-game overall losing streak and a 14-game home losing streak with a 30-16 victory over the Redskins.
• Speaking of not-so-special teams, the Chargers have been just that in the early stages of the season. On Sunday, Seattle Seahawks KR Leon Washington returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns, and in Week 1, Chiefs rookie PR Dexter McCluster took a punt return the distance in Kansas City’s Monday night win.
• In fact, the Chargers are only the second team in NFL history to allow three kickoff and/or punt return touchdowns in the first three weeks, and the first since the 1951 Los Angeles Rams.
• The New York Giants are 4-10 in their last 14 games dating back to 2009, and are doing it with turnovers. In 2008, the G-Men tied an NFL record for a 16-game season with just 13 turnovers (2008 Miami Dolphins). And during last season’s 5-0 start, New York turned the ball over just five times. But in their last 14 games, they’ve committed 36 turnovers, including 10 so far this season, second-most in the league.
• While part of Buffalo's 30 points included a kickoff return for a score, the concern regarding the New England Patriots defense is real. The Pats have given up 82 points in three games, including 53 in the second half. If this pace continues, their 17.7 second-half PPG allowed and 27.3 overall PPG allowed would easily be the most under Bill Belichick.