View Full Version : Steelers' improved pass rush a D-light

09-09-2008, 10:27 PM
Steelers' improved pass rush a D-light

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Sto ... -pass-rush (http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Story/09-09-Steelers-pass-rush)

PITTSBURGH - After recording just 36 sacks last season, the Steelers were intent on beefing up their pass rush this year.

Though it was just one game, the Steelers appear to be on the right track after having five sacks and six hurries in their 38-17 season-opening victory over the Houston Texans at Heinz Field Sunday.

"We have some guys who showed us what they did in the preseason," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "This wasn't unexpected based upon their performance in the preseason.

"That was a good collective effort, and when you talk about applying pressure and getting sacks, you have to talk about the coverage."

The Steelers were good in all defensive areas against the Texans, limiting Houston to 82 yards in the first half when they built a 21-3 lead. Houston finished with 234 yards - 155 coming in the fourth quarter after the Steelers had increased the lead to 38-3.

Outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were a big part of that effort, combining for 11 tackles, four sacks, an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

They did everything but sell popcorn and sell souvenirs.

"I think that that shows you what they are capable of doing," Tomlin said. "They did a nice job. I think that bookends ultimately determine a lot of outcomes in two-minute, fourth-quarter football. I am not complaining because, thankfully, we did not need that."

The Steelers might need that kind of pressure late in the game Sunday at Cleveland.

But the Browns were one team the Steelers did not have trouble generating a pass rush against last year. In two games against Cleveland, Pittsburgh had 10 sacks, more than one-quarter of its season total. That was without Woodley in the lineup.

A second-year linebacker, Woodley is the only new starter on the Steelers' defense, but his teammates were raving about how effortlessly he's picked up Pittsburgh's complicated zone blitz packages despite playing defensive end at the University of Michigan.

"He's picked it up, and he's picked it up fast," inside linebacker James Farrior said. "He's doing exactly what he was expected to do. This isn't the easiest system to learn - our system's hard - but he's picking it up."

Woodley was most proud of his first career interception, a one-handed grab int he second quarter.

"That's not a play I could have made last season," Woodley said.

Odds and end zones

The Steelers have won nine consecutive games against the Browns and have not lost in Cleveland since 2000. ... Pittsburgh is a six-point favorite over Cleveland. ... The Steelers play at Heinz Field only one more time - a Sept. 29 against Baltimore - until Oct. 26.

09-10-2008, 12:37 AM
Woodley's performance is obviously notable since he's up for defensive player of the week. Silverback.... 3 sacks, just monstrous.
Timmons and that open field tackle (highlighted on NFL tonight) was sick and shows his ridiculous closing speed, but his ability to start recognizing his cover assignments on passing plays. This D looks good. I can't wait to see it unleashed on Cleveland this Sunday.

09-10-2008, 12:41 AM
Wonder what this group will look like after it begins to "gel". :lol:

09-10-2008, 09:57 AM
Wonder what this group will look like after it begins to "gel". :lol:

I was thinking the same thing. If we can stay away from that injury bug thing we might be watching something really special develop. :tt2