Steelers: Defense standing tall


Heading into the 2015 season, the defense was the biggest concern for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The opening game against the Patriots gave us a glimpse of the Steelers’ defense we expected to see all year; disorganized, sloppy, and unable to stop big plays.

Since that game, the Steelers defense has improved week by week and is starting to form into something potentially special.

Following last season, legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau made his departure from the team ushering in a new era under Keith Butler, the former linebackers coach. After having an absolutely dreadful season last year defensively, the sight of a legend leaving the team was not an easy one.

It also didn’t help to see Pittsburgh legends like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, and more veterans leave the team, truly making it clear that the defense would never be the same.

Heading into the season, many analysts saw Pittsburgh as a potential Super Bowl contender, but each and every one knocked them down a few pegs due to their weak secondary, and inability to force turnovers. Every analyst agreed that Pittsburgh’s only chance was their high-powered offense, and agreed that it wasn’t enough.

When Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 3, the pressure settled on the shoulders of the defense, and while they were doubted, and still continue to be doubted, the defense has stood strong.

Even in the game that Big Ben went down, against the Rams, it was clear that the defense was prepared to take the reigns of a Steelers team without a leader, and refused to allow a single touchdown throughout the entire game.

While opposing teams have still racked up yards on the Steelers, who are ranked 23rd in the league with yards allowed per game, it’s been the defense’s clutch and ability to make big plays and stops that has made the difference.

The Steelers are ranked 5th in the league with 18 points allowed per game. They are also ranked 6th in the league in sacks, and 13th in the league in interceptions.

Last weekend, the Arizona Cardinals entered the game with the most high scoring offense in the league, yet couldn’t seem to find a groove against the young Steelers defense. The Steelers held them to 13 points, and allowed a Landry Jones run team to win the ball game.

Quarterback Carson Palmer, who has been receiving extreme praise the last couple of weeks, may have thrown for a ton of yards, but also threw two costly interceptions. The Steelers also forced an important fumble that really turned around the game.

When a player who has been called a “godsend” by his head coach, and is in the race for Comeback Player of the Year and maybe (probably not) MVP struggles, it definitely means something.

With Ben Roethlisberger still nursing his injury, the Steelers defense has to keep the pace up if the Steelers wish to continue their winning ways.

Once the future Hall of Fame quarterback returns to the lineup, and the offense starts playing at full form again, the Steelers could become a seriously dangerous team heading into the latter part of the regular season.

Next: Steelers vs Chiefs: Tomlin Tuesday

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