Will the Steelers Finally Force a Turnover Tonight?


Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

"The Steelers are in a must-win situation.  They can’t go 0-3 and hope to make the playoffs.  They’ve struggled on offense and need to get it going, but the Bears are tough on defense.  I see the Steelers’ defense winning this one [20-17].  They will force some key turnovers.  Steelers get victory No. 1.-Pete Prisco CBS Sports.com"

I was nothing short of stunned when I read Prisco’s most recent prediction regarding the upcoming game between the Steelers and the Bears.  I was even more surprised when I read that Pittsburgh’s defense would be responsible for forcing some key turnovers in the hypothetical victory.

No disrespect to Mr. Prisco, but has he watched any of the Steelers’ games lately?  I only ask because Pittsburgh’s defense has been completely deficient in the “takeaways” department.

While many will point to the fact that the Steelers have been unable to force a single turnover during their first two games of this season, Pittsburgh’s defense has been unable to force turnovers on a regular basis during the last two years.

Despite the fact that people love to trumpet the defense’s prowess in statistical categories like “total yards allowed,” the Steelers’ defenders have struggled mightily when it has come to taking the ball away from their opponents recently?

During the 2011 campaign, Pittsburgh’s defense finished the regular season with and N.F.L.-low 15 takeaways.  And although the Steelers led the league in “total yards allowed,” their defenders could only muster 20 turnovers in their 16 regular season games!  I certainly hate to be a “Negative Nancy,” but those types of stats made the Steelers’ defense “Paper Champions” more than anything else.

Whether it has been injuries to key players like Troy Polamalu, a lack of a consistent pass-rush, the stone-handedness of their cornerbacks, the inability to force quarterbacks into desperate “third-and-long” situations, or simply bad luck, Pittsburgh has just not been able to take the ball away with any sort of consistency as of late.

If the Steelers’ defense wants to help their team dig out of their current 0-2 hole, then giving their offense extra possessions during the coming weeks would extremely helpful.  If they could even turn a takeaway into points, then that would be nothing short of fantastic.

For now though, all we can do is hope that Pittsburgh’s defenders can prove Prisco correct and pull out a “W” against Chicago.

Stats & Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.com and Pro Football Reference

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