When push comes to shove, the Pittsburgh Steelers play defense. A tradition that Pittsburgh thrives on. In the previous two seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers have finished number one overall in total defense throughout the National Football League. In fact, over the past decade, the Steelers have finished in the top five numerous times. There are reasons why that is no coincidence.
The Steelers defense have been inconsistent in making the necessary “splash plays” needed to help win any of the first four games, however, in week six, the Steelers defense came away with two interceptions while the New York Jets were knocking on the door of a scoring drive. The defense has taken the first step in turning their inconsistent no turnover ways around.
Something the Steelers defense has been capable of doing is having less than 200 net passing yards allowed per game this season. Just three other teams in the NFL share this stat. Defensively, the Steelers rank third in allowing just 18.2 completions a game, and are tied for fewest passing touchdowns allowed this season (4).
Stopping the run is still in the Steelers’ repertoire as well. The Steelers have given up just nine runs of 10+ yards, which is tied second fewest in the league.
A lot of that comes from the great mind of Dick LeBeau. Since taking the reigns of defensive coordinator in 2004, the Steelers have had some of the best defenses in football. LeBeau’s defense has allowed an average of just 15,7 points a game while playing at home. That is ranked the second fewest in that time frame (Ravens – 15,4). In the last three seasons, that average was below 15 points for the Steelers while playing at home.
Now the Steelers will face their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. It is no mystery that these two teams do not like each other, but their defenses are always consistent. Just like last week, points will be hard to come by, however, whoever possesses the better defense, shall walk out of this game victorious.
Last week against the Jets, linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds, along with defensive end Ziggy Hood, were each able to record a sack on Geno Smith. Defensive end Cameron Heyward had six pressures/hurries on Smith and leads the Steelers with fifteen all season. Linebacker Jarvis Jones forced Smith to hurry a throw which resulted in Lawrence Timmons interception.
This defense has been tested for several years and has answered the call almost every time. With the new additions of Vince Williams and Jarvis Jones filling in nicely, the Steelers defense continues their disruptive habits to opposing offenses.