PDA

View Full Version : Steelers' defense gets the blame



fordfixer
09-29-2009, 02:14 AM
Steelers' defense gets the blame

By: Mike Bires -
Beaver County Times

Tuesday September 29, 2009 12:02 AM
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... blame.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2009/september/29/steelers-defense-gets-the-blame.html)

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson (32) runs past Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Evander Hood (96) and linebacker James Harrison (92) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

Right after the meltdown in Cincinnati, Ryan Clark played the blame game.

The Steelers’ free safety didn’t have any trouble pointing the finger at culprits most responsible for Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Bengals.

“This is squarely on us defensively,” Clark said. “It’s evident what it is. It’s our fault.”

Clark and the rest of the Steeler defenders could have easily laid some blame on the offense for what happened in Cincinnati.

A wrong pass route run by wide receiver Santonio Holmes set the stage for cornerback Jonathan Joseph to return an interception 30 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Wide receiver Limas Sweed later dropped what would have been a 34-yard TD catch. Jeff Reed then missed a 52-yard field goal.

But more than anything, the Steelers’ defense allowed two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the game-winner with 14 seconds left to play.

Last week in a 17-14 loss in Chicago, the defense couldn’t hold the lead by allowing 10 fourth-quarter points to the Bears, including a 44-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 15 seconds left to play.

“Yeah, we do take pride in being able to stop teams in those situations,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “When we have leads, we have to come up big. We strive to be a great defense and make those plays that stop the other team. But we just haven’t been making them.”

Because the defense couldn’t hold leads the past two games, the Steelers (1-2) are below .500 for the first time in the three-year Mike Tomlin era.

“Right now, we know we can be in games, but we don’t know if we can win them,” Clark said of the mindset of the Steelers’ defense right now. “If you think about it, going back to (last year’s) Super Bowl, it’s become a problem for us.”
Advertisement Beaver Valley Federal Credit Union

Clark was talking about the way the Steelers’ defense couldn’t finish off Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. The Steelers took a 20-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but the NFL’s top-ranked defense couldn’t seal the title. The Cardinals scorched the Steelers’ defense and took the lead after two Kurt Warner-to Larry Fitzgerald TD passes.

On Sunday, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer engineered a game-winning drive that included two crucial fourth-down completions. The second of those was a gain of 11 yards (on a 4th-and-10) to running back Brian Leonard, setting up Palmer’s TD pass to Andre Caldwell.

On the pass to Leonard, Farrior made the tackle but failed to keep Leonard from diving for first-down yardage. On Caldwell’s game-winner, Farrior was the nearest defender.

“I feel like I lost the game for us,” Farrior said. “If I stop that guy on fourth down and tackle him, we win the game and we aren’t even talking about this.

“To have a lead and blow it like that two weeks in a row, it’s very frustrating. We’ve got to find a way to make a play when we need one.”

“To play Steeler defense throughout the whole game until the fourth quarter, then in the fourth quarter, we don’t get off the field, that’s a slap in the face for us,” said Tyrone Carter.

, who’s starting at strong safety as Troy Polamalu recovers from a sprained knee.

“Fourth-and-10 with 20-some seconds left in the game, there’s no way you can tell me in a million years that we won’t stop that and come off the field with a victory.”