A Look At The Pirates Defense By The Numbers

By: Justin Turpin
Pirates Writer
July 8, 2021

WORCESTER, MA – The Pirates currently have the IFL’s number one ranked defense, as they sit atop of almost every defensive team stat category. Below are the Pirates defensive stats for the 2021 season so far.

Opponent Rush YardsPass Yards3rd DownCon. 1st Downs Total Yards INTFUM 4th DownCon. Total Points Sacks 
@ Louisville Extreme 221092/911131021/3183
@ Green Bay Blizzard 39703/1211109001/1404
@ Bismarck Bucks 131510/78164010/1180
Spokane Shock 17871/511104201/3340
Louisville Extreme 211673/1112188102/3371
Frisco 941315/1317225004/5402
@ Tucson 711465/719217010/0340
@ Frisco 99283/712127100/2371
Total 3761,07422/711011450449/1825611
Per Game Averages 47134.231%12.6181.20.30.350%321.3

It’s no secret the Pirates defense has had an immense impact on the team’s success this season, but just how good have they been, and what have they done best?

Limiting First Downs:

When you look at the Pirates defensive numbers a few things definitely stick out. Starting with their ability to stop opponents on 3rd and 4th down. Opponents are 22/71 on 3rd down conversions against the Pirates defense, which means they convert just 31% of the time. Fourth down isn’t any easier, as opponents are just 8/16. Games can be won and lost on third and fourth down, and the Pirates defense has stepped up big in those situations. The Pirates have also allowed the fewest first downs in IFL, with just 101, which is about 12 per game. Massachusetts does a great job of putting the opponent’s offenses in tough situations by preventing first down conversions.

Pressure On The Quarterback:

Another aspect of the game the Pirates defense has done a great job in is putting pressure on opponents’ quarterbacks. The Pirates have 11 sacks on the season which is second most in the IFL. The pressure the Pirates defense has been able to put on the quarterback, along with the strength of their secondary is why they have the number one ranked passing defense. Opponents are completing just 49.7% of passes against the Pirates for an average of 134.2 yards per game. The 16 passing touchdowns allowed by the Pirates is second fewest in the IFL behind just the Spokane Shock, who have played two less games than the Pirates.

Run Defense:

The Pirates run defense has been absolutely incredible this season. Opponents are only averaging 47 rush yards per game, and 2.9 yards per carry, which is fewest in the IFL. It took over four games for opponents to eclipse 100 rushing yards on this group, which shows just how stout this unit is. The Pirates defense has made teams one dimensional with their ability to shut down the run, which is another huge contributor to their success.


Defense, as defined in sports, is…the action of preventing an opponent from scoring. The Pirates defense has done just that this season, holding opponents to just 32 points per game, which is fewest in the IFL. Opponents are only averaging 181.2 yards per game against the Pirates defense, which is also among the top in the IFL. Massachusetts has allowed just 1,450 yards this season, which is third in the IFL behind just Spokane and Frisco, who have each played two less games than the Pirates.

The numbers speak for themselves when looking at how good the Pirates defense has been. And their contribution to the 5-3 Pirates season so far has been monumental this season. If the Pirates defense keeps playing the way they have been, they could be the difference maker come playoffs in late August, early September. After all, there is an old saying in football…. “Defense wins championships”.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at Phoenix Field at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available now at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard