View Full Version : Is there a better NFL defense right now than the Steelers?

09-20-2010, 12:27 AM
Ed: Defense Smothering


Is there a better defense in the NFL right now than the Steelers? This reminds me of those games in 1976 when Terry Bradshaw had a neck injury after the team started 1-4 with him. You'll never see a more dominant performance by a defense than that one that season as it threw shutout after shutout and just beat down everyone.

However, in these first two games and considering all the rules they've passed over the past 24 years to help offenses, it's hard to imagine a defense playing any better to open the season.

Seven turnovers! That's more than they've had in any game in 13 years. And they just slammed Chris Johnson. He had 8 yards in one game as a rookie. His 34 yards Sunday tied his second-lowest, plus he lost a fumble. He did not look as though he wanted to be in there at the end, which is what linebacker James Harrison said.

The Steelers have found a way to go 2-0 without Ben Roethlsiberger and the next two games are gravy because they can come out of this at 2-2 and be in good shape. However, they want to be in better same than that. And Mike Tomlin came out smoking yesterday, ripping those who thought his team could not win without Roethlisberger.

The Steelers were underdogs in their first two games and swept both of them, doing so without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the man who was supposed to replace him, Byron Leftwich.

“Regardless of our demise being reported, we expect to win,’’ Tomlin declared Sunday. “We’re pleased that we are 2-0 but we are not astounded by it. We’re capable. We’re a little bit annoyed to be quite honest about our premature reporting of our death.’’

Chris Hoke, starting for injured Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, explained why his coach felt as he did.

“A lot of times, you guys don’t see what all goes on with our team,’’ Hoke said. “We know we’ve got a lot of great players out here. We’ve got a chip on our shoulder this year because of how things went down last year with our five-game losing streak. So, we have something to prove.

“So, sometimes when people writ ethat we’re not going to be very good or maybe they’ll go 2-2 or 1-3 when Ben’s out, that’s a lto fo the stuff that [ticks] us off.’’

Peter King, writing in Sports Illustrated before the season, picked the Steelers to win the Super Bowl.


With one quarterback hurt and two injured, Tomlin is not sure what he will do as the Steelers prepare to play in Tampa next Sunday.

“I don’t know who is going to play quarterback next week. I know it won’t be me. I’m not good enough.’’

Dennis Dixon left the game with a left knee injury in the second quarter. Byron Leftwich returned to practice the past week and was listed as probable, two weeks after his left knee was injured, a second-degree MCL sprain. The Steelers released Leftwich on Saturday to make room for a sixth defesive lineman, Scott McLendon, because of the injury to Hampton.

That left Charlie Batch as the only healthy quarterback Sunday. The Steelers expect to re-sign Leftwich today and either he, Batch or even Dixon could start in Tampa.

“I always want to throw my hat in the ring,’’ Batch said. “It is just a matter of if the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready. You never know when your number is going to be called upon.’’


The Steelers looked to be okay with other injuries, even though players kept leaving the field with one form of physical ailment or another.

Guard Trai Essex left with an ankle injury but returned to play. Hoke left with a “stinger” in his shoulder but also left to play (McLendon replaced him for about six snaps and recovered a fumble).

Two other starting linemen, guard Chris Kemoeatu and tackle Flozell Adams, had to leave the game because they were deyhdrafted. They returned and the Steelers shuffled linemen in and out. Jonathan Scott, making his first start for the Steelers at left tackle for injured Max Starks, moved to right tackle when Adams went out and Tony Hills came in to play left tackle. Doug Legursky filled in at guard.

The only lineman who played every snap was rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.

“We have a lot of guys who are versatile, that can play any position,’’ Pouncey said. “It shows the flexibility of the offensive line and what guys are willing to do for the team.’’


Hines Ward, who had a career-high 108 yards for an opener the previous week, managed just one catch for nine yards Sunday. Nevertheless, it was enough to keep his streak of 180 consecutive games with at least one catch. That’s the fifth longest in NFL history and just three behind Art Monk for No. 4.


09-20-2010, 02:00 AM
i think we are

but the ravens haven't let up a TD yet, either

09-20-2010, 05:13 AM
We gave up a TD!!!!

09-20-2010, 08:30 AM
Yes, the Steelers gave up a TD...

But, the Steelers D wills the entire team to a win while the Ravens allow 5 FGs and end up losing...

09-20-2010, 09:17 AM
Lucky for the great playing of our D, or the Steelers could be 1-1 or 0-2.
Because the offense just does not show much. Especially @ QB.

09-20-2010, 03:07 PM
Steelers Defense Dominant Again, Suffocates Titans In 19-11 Victory

by Michael Bean on Sep 19, 2010


Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, right, stops Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

That was not a pretty football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans. If you like competent offense that is. If you're a fan of hard-hitting defensive football, than you loved what just unfolded in Nashville between the two AFC rivals.

Don't let the final score fool you - that game was never in doubt. Of course, a bothced special teams miscue allowed the Titans to miraculously get in position for one last miracle heave, but seriously, don't have nightmares of last season just yet. There was nothing close about that game thanks to one of the most opportunistic and swarming defensive performances I've seen from the Steelers' defense since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach back in 2007.

To some of the incredible defensive numbers on Sunday...

Interceptions: 3

Fumbles (Forced/Recovered): 7/4

Turnovers: 7!

Sacks: 4

Time of Possession: 26:20 - and they had the ball for the final 5 minutes of the game!

Rushing Attempts/Yards: 22 carries / 46 yards

3rd Down Efficiency: 4-of-14

3rd Down Conversions Before Lone TD Drive: 1!

Total Yards: 238

Total Yards In First 55 minutes: 126

Now, the offense of the Steelers was extremely ineffective. We'll get to that, but once Dennis Dixon left with a knee injury and Charlie Batch was inserted in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers' offense was extremely vanilla and limited, likely because the only other quarterback available if Batch were to get injured was Antwaan Randle El. So, if you're wondering why the Steelers didn't even look like they were trying to move the ball effectively with the passing game in the second half, it's probably because the coaching stafff didn't want to risk an injury to Batch.

And because the defense was playing so lights-out that it really didn't matter.


09-20-2010, 04:03 PM
Defensive effort was titanic

Monday, September 20, 2010
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The great Chris Johnson, who ran for a ridiculous 2,006 yards last season? "Gave up," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said.

The elusive Vince Young, who was 9-2 as a starting quarterback going back to last season? "Rattled," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said.

The formidable Tennessee Titans, who routinely used to beat the Steelers like a drum here? "I thought that we were a little bit better than that," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Who saw this 19-11 beat-down coming Sunday? Who dared to dream the Steelers would be 2-0 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? Who knew the Steelers' defense was this sturdy? Who imagined that defensive end Aaron Smith and safety Troy Polamalu would make that much difference?

OK, that last question is silly. Everybody knows what Smith and Polamalu mean to the Steelers' defense. "You lose one, maybe, but not both at the same time," Ward said, referring to the team's rotten predicament last season when Smith and Polamalu were out with injuries and the defense blew five fourth-quarter leads.

But those first three questions are fair. The defense has been surprisingly terrific. "There's been a lot of talk that we're too old and that they need to put in new guys to start over," Keisel said, fairly sniffing. The defense -- aging or otherwise -- is responsible for the 2-0 start. On a late-summer Sunday, when the Steelers started with third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon and finished with fourth-teamer Charlie Batch and the team played without offensive tackle Max Starks and had to rotate in its seventh and eighth offensive linemen to beat the brutal heat and humidity, the defense forced six turnovers. It didn't give up its first touchdown of the season until the game's final minute. Clearly, it was too much for Johnson, who was held to 34 yards after running for at least 100 in 12 consecutive games, and Young, who played miserably and often seemed confused before being benched for Kerry Collins early in the fourth quarter.

"Every quarterback is going to look confused against [defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau's defense," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said.

It looked as if Young didn't see Polamalu when he threw him an interception in the end zone on a first-and-10 play from the Steelers' 16 late in the first quarter. That play -- Polamalu's second interception in two games -- might have been the biggest defensive play of the game because the Steelers led just 7-3 at the time. It appeared as if Young didn't see linebacker LaMarr Woodley on another interception in the second quarter. Then, late in the third quarter, on the final play before he was benched, Young didn't seem to feel linebacker James Harrison coming on the rush and fumbled when he was hit.

"They did some things that I haven't seen before," Young said.

Johnson probably felt the same way. He ran for 142 yards against the Oakland Raiders a week earlier and looked ready to take another step toward Hall of Famer Barry Sanders' NFL record of 14 consecutive 100-yard games. But, no. Johnson didn't just average 2.1 yards on his 16 carries, he lost a fumble late in the first half after being hit by linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

"He got tired of being hit," Ward said.

"We sure did put the helmet on him," Foote agreed.

Johnson did have an apparent 85-yard touchdown run called back late in the second quarter when center Eugene Amano was penalized for holding Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke. "Absolutely, it was holding," Hoke said. Added Smith, "They hold every play."

Give Smith a lot of the credit for stopping Johnson. The two most recent times the Steelers' defense allowed a back to run for 100 yards -- Baltimore's Ray Rice last season and Jacksonville's Fred Taylor in 2007 -- Smith didn't play because of injuries. Coincidence? There's just no way.

"Aaron created havoc all day," Ward said.

"He's amazing," Harrison said. "They have to account for him and it takes two guys to do it. That's 700 pounds of force coming down on him and they still can't block him. He gives us linebackers freedom to run around and make plays."

And man, they make 'em, don't they?

Harrison was a monster again with 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The linebackers as a group -- Harrison, Woodley, Timmons and captain James Farrior -- combined for 34 tackles, 3 sacks, an interception, 3 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

It seems almost comical now that the Steelers' defense had to answer questions all week about how it was going to stop Johnson and contain Young.

"I feel like we're not getting the respect that we deserve," Harrison said. "But I understand respect is something that's not just given, it has to be earned. I like to think we earned a little today."

A bunch, actually.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10263/10 ... z106MUFMvS (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10263/1088854-87.stm#ixzz106MUFMvS)

09-20-2010, 06:30 PM
Ravens D is better.

Ed Reed is better than Polamalu :stirpot

09-20-2010, 06:39 PM
Ravens D is better.

Ed Reed is better than Polamalu :stirpot

So says Shannon "I used to have a rivalry with the Steelers as both a Bronco and a Raven" Sharpe. :wink:

09-20-2010, 06:48 PM
I wasn't happy about the D giving up that TD. I realize the philosphy was not to allow a quick score. Nonetheless I still felt the percentages favored playing D the way we did for the first 93% of the game.

Other than that, here are some very relevant arguments as to why our D is the best:

1. We haven't had any consistent chain-moving by the O and had handicapped field position several times yesterday on D.

2. The Falcons, whom we held to 9, scored 41 the next week.

3. The Titans, whom we held to 11, scored 38 the previous week.

4. We gave up a TD in garbage time. Hence we have given up only 12 points when the D was serious.

09-21-2010, 04:00 PM

09-21-2010, 04:04 PM

That's tough!!! :tt2 :tt2 :tt2

09-21-2010, 04:13 PM

It kinda looks like Harrison's jersey says PRISON! LOL. Foreshadowing? :lol:

09-22-2010, 01:00 AM
Next for the Steelers defense: Tampa Bay

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Woodley intercepts
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau is not one to show much emotion.

So it is difficult to imagine him walking around Steelers' headquarters this week with a smile as wide as James Harrison's mean streak.

Tampa Bay can only imagine the plans he has in store for second-year Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

Freeman, like the 2-0 Buccaneers, is off to a nice beginning to 2010. But he will be making only his 12th career start when the Bucs play host to the Steelers.

LeBeau has built his reputation as a defensive mastermind by tormenting quarterbacks, especially ones that, like Freeman, have 14 career touchdown passes and 19 interceptions.

If the Steelers didn't expose Vince Young this past Sunday, their evisceration of the Titans' offense confirmed that it usually takes a top-tier quarterback to beat LeBeau's defense.

Young, a Pro Bowler last season, couldn't do it.

And LeBeau was at his best in the second quarter when he had LaMarr Woodley drop into coverage after the outside linebacker had lined up inside defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel.

The maneuver so confused Young that he tossed a pass right to a back-pedaling Woodley, who made his second career interception.

"That was a great call," Woodley said.

Freeman can expect more of the same when the 2009 first-round draft pick attempts to build on his impressive start.

The Steelers are not going to let Tampa Bay run the ball on them. And shutting down Cadillac Williams should prove to be easier than stopping Chris Johnson, who managed just 34 yards on 16 carries against the Steelers' defense.

LeBeau will dare the 22-year-old Freeman to beat him -- and then try to harass and confuse the Bucs' QB every step of the way.


Q: "Jersey Shore" is can't-miss TV for you?

A: "It's the most hilarious show out there. I don't even know why they show it; it's one of those shows I can't explain. For 30 minutes, I can just laugh my tail off."

Q: How you do know when you have gotten under an opponent's skin or inside his head?

A: "When they talk about your mama or start cussing at you. Or, if they start complimenting me and patting me on the butt before and after each and every play. I don't do much talking. Some guys talk to me just to amp themselves up, but it's not going to change the way I play. I'm going to keep coming at you and coming at you."

Q: Do you have a favorite block among your collection of hits?

A: "Block? No. People call me the best blocker and that's a great honor, but that's how I made a name for myself. I fought hard on special teams, worked my tail off, and when I got into the game, I just started trying to knock guys out. When I got my opportunity (at wide receiver), it wasn't who they brought on to the team, I wasn't going to lose my spot."


2 -- Touchbacks for kicker Jeff Reed after having three all of last season

7 -- Offensive plays in which the Steelers have gained at least 20 yards this season

8 -- Turnovers the Steelers have forced in their last three games against the Buccaneers

9 -- Multi-sack games for outside linebacker James Harrison since becoming a starter in 2007

33.3 -- Third-down percentage of Steelers opponents through two games

42.3 -- Third-down percentage of Steelers opponents in 2009


Free safety Ryan Clark, on the Steelers having to rely on their defense while starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger serves a four-game suspension

"We know the situation we're in. We know the offense is going to play it close to the vest and make sure guys don't make mistakes. We just need to (create) turnovers and try to give them short fields."

Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, on downplaying the importance of the Steelers' 2-0 start

"I don't think it's about how you start, I think it's about how you finish. A lot of times start off high but when you get into grind time, you're tired and you've been playing for 13-14 weeks. That really shows what type of team that you have. We don't want to be a team that's just September-October. We want to be a team in November-December."

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu, on the offensive linemen preparing to play another warm-weather game Sunday at Tampa.

"It shouldn't be a factor, but as far as us big guys up front, we've got to make sure we hydrate (during the week). We sweat a lot, and we're big men moving around. We're used to playing in the cold. We're not used to the hot weather."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 00442.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_700442.html)

09-22-2010, 01:06 AM

It kinda looks like Harrison's jersey says PRISON! LOL. Foreshadowing? :lol:

Now that's funny. :lol: