The San Francisco 49ers welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town for Monday Night Football this week and we have a showdown between two of the top defenses in the league. Yards per game can tell you some things about a team, but at the end of the day, arguably the most important stat after wins and losses is points per game.
The 49ers pass defense gives up 234.5 yards per game, which is good for 18th "best" in the NFL. How dominant is their rush defense? The 70.5 yards per game they give up is good enough to raise the overall defense (total yards allowed) to fifth in the NFL. That 70.5 is 15 yards per game better than the number two Baltimore Ravens. But more important is the league-leading 14.0 points allowed per game.
On the other side, the Pittsburgh Steelers are second in the league in points allowed at 15.2. They are second in yards per game, ranking first in passing yards allowed and sixth in rushing yards. Needless to say they present a stiff challenge to the 49ers up and down offense. Even without James Harrison bringing the heat, this is a brutally tough defense that will bring a whole lot of pressure. They rank in the middle of the pack in sacks, but Football Outsiders ranks their defense eighth in adjusted sack rate.
FO is a bit less bullish on the Steelers rush defense, ranking them No. 17 in adjusted line yards. Based on their rankings, they would appear to have some struggles at the initial point of attack, but at the second level they close things down. If the 49ers can find a way to get their rushing attack going and even get those needed four and five yard chunks of yardage, that would be a significant boon for their passing attack. Of course, it all depends on the coaching staff's plans for Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. Whatever the plan is for the rushing attack, it is essential it gets a strong boost early.
- With 135 points this season, K David Akers ranks 3rd in franchise history for points scored in a single season. He trails only K Mike Cofer (136 points in 1989) and WR Jerry Rice (138 points in 1987).
- The 49ers have an average starting ﬁeld position of their own 35.5-yard line at home, ranking ﬁrst in the NFL.
- The 49ers have a turnover differential of +21 this season, ranking 1st in the NFL. The 49ers +21 turnover differential is tied for the most by the team since 1995, when the statistic was ﬁrst tracked by Stats Inc. (+21 in 1997).
- The 49ers (5) and the Steelers (6) have combined to win 11 Super Bowls.
- Since December 1, 2010, the 49ers are tied with the New England Patriots for the second best winning pct. at home (.889), trailing just the Green Bay Packers (1.000).
THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
- The 49ers have outscored their opponents 307-182 The +125 scoring differential ranks 3rd in the NFL. It also is the highest scoring differential by the 49ers since 2001 (+127).
A SHORT FIELD
- The 49ers have started 30 drives in their opponents territory, ranking 1st in the NFL, and have scored 100 points on those drives, ranking 2nd in the NFL.
YOU WANNA START SOMETHING?
- The 49ers average starting ﬁeld position is at their own 33.4-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL. At home, the 49ers have an avg. starting ﬁeld position of their own 35.5-yard line, ranking 1st in the NFL.
LONG WAY TO GO
- The 49ers rank 1st in the NFL with an opponents average starting ﬁeld position of the 24.3-yard line.
NO BIG PLAYS HERE
- In the last 8 games, the 49ers defense ranks 1st in the NFL, allowing just 18 plays of 20 yds.-or-more.
POINTS HARD TO COME BY
- The 49ers have allowed just 182 points on the season, ranking 1st in the NFL for the fewest points allowed. Their 14.0 pts. per game allowed are on pace to be the 2nd best mark in franchise history.
SHORT AND TOUGH
- The 49ers have allowed just 18 ﬁrst downs on 3rd and less than 4 yds. (18 of 42 - 42.9 pct.), ranking 1st in the NFL.
RETURN TO SENDER
- The 49ers are the only team in the NFL not to allow a return of any kind for a TD this season.
EFFICIENCY ON D
- The 49ers defense has allowed opponents to score on just 22.9 pct. of their possessions, ranking 1st in the NFL.
- The 49ers have only committed 10 turnovers on the year, ranking 1st in the NFL for fewest turnovers. The 49ers have allowed just 26 points off of turnovers, ranking 1st in the NFL.
PRODUCTIVE ON FIRST
- The 49ers offense has gained 4-plus yds. on 50.9 pct. (175 of 344) of their ﬁrst down plays, ranking 5th in the NFL.
- As of 12/8, QB Alex Smith has registered a QB rating of 114.1 against the blitz this season, ranking 3rd in the NFL (GB QB Aaron Rodgers - 144.0 and NE QB Tom Brady - 117.2) (min. 25 atts.).
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
- Gore ranks t-3rd in the NFL with 5, 100-yd. games this season. He is the only player in the NFL to have 4 games of 125+ yds. rushing this season.
- K David Akers ranks 1st in the NFL in made FGs (36) and 1st in points (135). This marks Akers' 6th consecutive season of scoring 100 points. He is one of two players in the NFL to score at least 100 points in each of the last 6 seasons (Chi. K Robbie Gould).
Series Record: 49ers lead series 10-9
49ers Home Record vs. Steelers: Series tied 5-5
First Meeting: 10/14/51, 49ers win 28-24, at Pit.
Last Meeting: 9/23/07, Steelers win 37-16, at Pit.
Current Streak: Lost 1
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 3 - (10/21/90 - 12/15/96)
Longest Steelers Win Streak: 3 - (12/15/73 - 11/27/78)
Most 49ers Points: 45 (11/24/68): 45-28 at Pit.
Most Steelers Points: 37 - Two Times, Last (9/23/07): 37-16 at Pit.
49ers Shutouts: None
Steelers Shutouts: None
|49ERS (rank)||STEELERS (rank)|
|10-3 (1st NFCW)||Record||10-3 (t-1st AFCN)|
|23.6 (12th)||Points per game||21.7 (19th)|
|309.0 (26th)||Total Offense||371.6 (11th)|
|126.9 (7th)||Rushing Offense||114.5 (17th)|
|182.1 (29th)||Passing Offense||257.1 (9th)|
|32:00 (3rd)||Possession Avg||32:23 (2nd)|
|14.0 (1st)||Points allowed/gm||15.2 (2nd)|
|305.1 (5th)||Total Defense||276.1 (2nd)|
|70.5 (1st)||Rushing Defense||97.0 (6th)|
|234.5 (18th)||Passing Defense||179.1 (1st)|
|31 (15th)||Sacks||30 (16th)|
|18 (t-2nd)||Interceptions||10 (t-20th)|
|+21 (1st)||Turnover Differential||-7 (t-26th)