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3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Steelers

The Vikings lost to the Steelers 26-9 on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Minnesota fell behind early, trailed 14-0 early in the second quarter and was unable to orchestrate a comeback.

Penalties on both sides of the ball proved problematic, as well as Pittsburgh's ability to pressure backup quarterback Case Keenum, who started his first game with the Vikings and against the Steelers.

Here are three stats that made a difference:

1. Life after penalties

The Vikings fell behind the chains at some point on six of their 12 offensive possessions either because of penalties or negative-yardage plays.

Minnesota faced first-and-20 three times and a second-and-14 because of penalties. The Vikings netted 11 yards on the four snaps that followed.

Pittsburgh faced a first-and-20, first-and-15 and second-and-15 after penalties and netted 31 yards on the three snaps that followed, including a 27-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Martavis Bryant on the first-and-20. Roethlisberger was sacked by Everson Griffen for a loss of seven on the first-and-15 but drew a 49-yard pass interference penalty against Trae Waynes on second-and-22 that set up Pittsburgh's second score.

Minnesota was penalized 11 times for 131 yards, and Pittsburgh was flagged 10 times for 72 yards.

The Steelers ability, however, to score touchdowns in spite of their own penalty and after a big one on the Vikings was a game-changing factor.

2. Pressures mount

Keenum lined up behind an offensive line that was playing just its second game together.

It was the unit and quarterback's first look at the Steelers 3-4 front, and Pittsburgh was able to bring pressure from multiple spots.

According to analytics site Pro Football Focus, the offensive line was responsible for one sack, two hits and 12 hurries, which was a high contrast to Week 1 when Pro Football Focus put just three pressures on the offensive line's tab.

Most notably, Pittsburgh was able to force a throw intended for an open Stefon Diggs off the mark, denying what would have been a touchdown in the second quarter. The Vikings had to settle for three points instead.

The site noted Keenum had a rating of 46.9 when under pressure, compared to 80.5 when he was "kept clean" in the pocket.

3. 21:39

The Steelers controlled the clock in the first and final quarters, totaling a possession time of 21:39 out of a possible 30 minutes.

Pittsburgh chewed up 5:43 on a nine-play, 61-yard drive for its first touchdown, and the defense followed by forcing a quick three-and-punt possession for the Vikings that lasted a total of 1:19.

The Steelers added to their momentum on their next possession that continued into the second quarter and ended with a short touchdown on a shovel pass.

The Vikings won the time of possession in the second and third quarters, totaling 16:17. The game was still a two-score margin (20-9) at the start of the fourth quarter, but Minnesota only kept the ball for a combined 4:05 on three possessions in the final period, making it difficult to come back.

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