Hearts sank nationwide when quarterback Ben Roesthlisberger went down with an MCL sprain against the Rams. From first glance, it may not have seemed too severe, but watching him ride the cart into the locker room was no comforting sight.
It’ll be at least 4-6 weeks until Big Ben hits the field again, and while the attention has been squarely on the backup, Michael Vick, the last few days, it’s not just him that needs to play well.
Sadly, for the Steelers to succeed this season, they are going to need to rely on the defense to really pick up the slack, and as terribly impossible as that sounds given the play of the defense in recent years, it’s not entirely inconceivable.
Heading into the season, the Steelers were considered potential super bowl contenders with one of the most high powered offenses in the league, one that seemed unstoppable. The only thing analysts pointed out that would keep Pittsburgh from reaching the championship game was the poor play of their defense, and the lack of skill in their secondary.
Following the Steelers’ loss to the Patriots in the season opener, it definitely seemed the analysts were right as the secondary seemed confused, and were reluctant to cover Brady’s favorite passing target, Rob Gronkowski.
The Steelers defense showed signs of hope in Week 2 against the 49ers where they held back a running back who exploded in Week 1, and tallied up 5 total sacks on Colin Kaepernick. The downside of the second game of the season was watching wide receiver Torrey Smith blaze across the field for a long touchdown, but almost all the yards the Niners were able to muster were in the second half, which could already be considered garbage time considering the score.
In Week 3, the Steelers did something fans thought may never be seen with a defense like this. They held the Rams to only 6 points, and absolutely no touchdowns. While it’s known that the Rams don’t have the best offense in the league, the defense seriously stepped up when they needed to.
After Ben went down, there were surely many fans who believed the Rams could make a comeback, but the defense simply shut them down, and attained the first interception of the year courtesy of Will Allen.
Despite the recent performances, the defense is still far from perfect, and fans shouldn’t expect to see the defense from the ’70s or even the early 2000s up to 2012 or so hit the field, but the defense simply must step up, and help out an offense that is still very powerful, but is lacking the leader of the pack.
Tonight’s game against the struggling Ravens will be the first true test for the Steelers, and could very well foreshadow what is to come.
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