View Full Version : Steelers' run defense on historic pace
12-28-2010, 02:47 AM
Steelers' run defense on historic pace
By James Walker
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had various issues this season, but a consistent strength is their run defense.
Top run defenses in NFL history
Team Year Games Avg yds
1. Bears 1942 11 47.2
2. Eagles 1944 10 55.8
3. Ravens 2000 16 60.6
4. Vikings 2006 16 61.6
5. Steelers 2010 15 64.1
With one game remaining, Pittsburgh is on a historic pace for stuffing running backs. The Steelers are allowing just 64.1 yards rushing per game, the fifth-best figure all time according to the NFL. Pittsburgh's run defense is third all time since the Super Bowl era in 1966, trailing only the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (60.6 yards) and 2006 Minnesota Vikings (61.6 yards).
It takes a stout and disciplined front seven and a sure-tackling secondary to stop the run. Pittsburgh by far is the best in the league in those areas. The San Diego Chargers are a distant second in run defense, allowing 90.3 rushing yards per game.
Stopping the run and making teams one dimensional will be huge in the playoffs. It's one of several reasons Pittsburgh (11-4) has a chance to reach its second Super Bowl in three seasons.
Discipline of Steel
12-28-2010, 03:39 AM
I think I found the reason why...
We have allowed:
1 run over 20 yrds
0 runs over 40 yrds
In contrast, other teams have numbers like 18/8
Sorry, I lost the link. it would be nice to remember what Baltimore had...something like 12/4. Thats about one big run per game. Steelers have allowed one big run over 15 games! All Hail St LeBeau and his 'system' :Beer
12-28-2010, 04:14 AM
12-28-2010, 10:36 AM
just a shame it won't help us against the Pats in the AFCC. The NFL has passed LeBeau's defense by, it is a passing league now.
12-28-2010, 12:01 PM
just a shame it won't help us against the Pats in the AFCC. The NFL has passed LeBeau's defense by, it is a passing league now.
01-01-2011, 10:42 PM
December 31 2010
Steelers' Ferocious Run Defense Proving Nearly Impenetrable
By JJ Cooper
Peyton Hillis and Joshua Cribbs are all that's standing between the Steelers defense and history.
Steelers defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau doesn't build poor run defenses -- in his nine years as the Steelers' coordinator, he has yet to lead a group that has finished worse than third in the league in run defense. But even in his long run of success, he's never had a group stuff the run as well as the 2010 Steelers.
With just one game left in the 2010 season, the Steelers are proving to be one of the best run defenses in NFL history. In a season where no other team has allowed less than 90 yards per game on the ground, Pittsburgh is giving up 64.1. The difference between the Steelers and the second-ranked Chargers' yards per game is less than the difference between San Diego and the 20th-ranked Bengals.
This year's Steelers defense may not be as impressive overall as the team's 2008 group (which finished first in the league in run, pass and total defense), and it's a step below the Steelers' 1976 unit that ranks among the best defenses of all time (along with the 2000 Ravens and the 1985 Bears). But when it comes to forcing teams to give up on running the ball, this year's group has few equivalents.
NOWHERE TO RUN
When it comes to run defense, the Steelers are a notch above the rest of the league this year. Here's a look at them and their closest competitor in several rushing stats.
Category Steelers Next Best
Yards/Attempt 3.0 3.6
Yards/Game 64.1 90.3
Rushing Yards 961 1,354
20+ Yard Runs 1 4
Rushing TDs 5 5
First Down Pct. 17.4 17.7
Yards per game isn't the only way that this year's Steelers are standing out. With a strong effort this weekend, Pittsburgh could become just the fifth team in the past 20 years to allow less than 3.0 yards per carry (Pittsburgh currently is exactly 3.0 ypc). And because of that success (and the Steelers ability to jump out to leads), teams have often given up even trying to run against Pittsburgh. Over the past 25 years, only the 1991 Saints defense (20.9 attempts against) has faced fewer than 21 rushing attempts per game. Pittsburgh could equal or better the Saints' mark if Cleveland has 18 or fewer carries on Sunday.
A lot of the credit for the Steelers ability to stuff the run is because of LeBeau's scheme. The foundation of every LeBeau defense is to take away the running game. The theory is that, by stopping the run, Pittsburgh will get its opponent into a lot of second- and third-and-long situations. To do that, Pittsburgh plays a lot of zone defenses with the cornerbacks lined up off the line. Very rarely will Pittsburgh ask a cornerback to play bump-and-run defense on first or second down. The reason is simple -- Pittsburgh's cornerbacks are expected to play a vital role in ensuring that all runs are funneled back to the inside; it's nearly impossible to do that if you are trying to handle a man in bump and run coverage. This play against the Titans gives an example of how hard it is to get outside against Pittsburgh.
HARD TO BE AVERAGE
Here's a look at how team's No. 1 backs have fared against Pittsburgh this year:
Week Rusher Yards Yearly Avg
Wk 1 Michael Turner 42 87
Wk 2 Chris Johnon 34 88
Wk 3 LeGarrette Blount 37 78
Wk 4 Ray Rice 20 76
Wk 6 Peyton Hillis 41 78
Wk 7 Ricky Williams 48 45
Wk 8 Chris Ivory 7 62
Wk 9 Cedric Benson 54 71
Wk 10 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 87 62
Wk 11 Darren McFadden 14 89
Wk 12 Fred Jackson 59 60
Wk 13 Ray Rice 32 76
Wk 14 Cedric Benson 19 71
Wk 15 LaDanian Tomlinson 49 51
Wk 16 Jonathan Stewart 71 57
The Steelers also need excellent play from their outside linebackers to make the run defense work. It happens that James Harrison is arguably the league's best run-stuffing outside linebacker. He and fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley do an excellent job of "setting the corner," which, once again, makes it nearly impossible to bust big runs outside.
It's been working extremely well this year. Pittsburgh has allowed one run of longer than 20 yards all year (a 24-yard run by Michael Bush in Week 11). They've allowed only one other run all year longer than 15 yards.
The Steelers have managed to avoid facing the NFL's leading rusher Arian Foster or No. 2 rusher Jamaal Charles, but they have faced a rather impressive group of backs this year. As the chart at right shows, very few running backs have been able to to come close to their yearly average against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has managed to pull off this feat despite losing starting defensive end Aaron Smith for 10 games, starting defensive end Brett Keisel for five games and nose tackle Casey Hampton for a game. Strong safety Troy Polamalu has also missed two games.
In the past, Smith's absence has proven to0 much for the Steelers' run defense to handle (the Steelers gave up 130-plus yards rushing in three of the final four games of the season in 2007 after losing Smith). But this year, 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood and veteran Nick Eason have played capably in Smith and Kiesel's absences.
Pittsburgh's run defense may not be enough to carry the team to the Super Bowl (its pass defense and porous offensive line will determine if the Steelers can advance through the AFC). But it is a pretty safe bet that run defense will not be a problem for Pittsburgh as the playoffs move along.
http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/31/stee ... enetrable/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/31/steelers-ferocious-run-defense-proving-nearly-impenetrable/)
01-02-2011, 10:44 AM
It is great to see us at a high level at the run defense and boy oh boy, I would love for our secondary to step it up and shut the passing games down.
I hope the screaming and yelling at Scott will make him move onto a better playing level. When I used to get screamed at by the coach, parents, employeer or whomever I, shutdown all together.
I hope that isn't the way with Scott.
No matter how you slice it, I believe the number one offense, defense is the Chargers and they are not even going to make the playoffs.
Lets just keep doing what we do when needed and everything will take care of itself.
01-02-2011, 11:08 PM
we only gave up 43 yards rushing today against the Browns, our average is actually going to go down! :Clap
gotta give props to Ziggy Hood for his performance today, he really is developing nicely.
01-02-2011, 11:20 PM
We finished at 62.8. Still #5.
01-03-2011, 02:46 AM
Steelers Notebook: Run defense establishes two franchise records
Monday, January 03, 2011
By Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CLEVELAND -- The Steelers easily finished the regular season with the best rush defense in the National Football League and came close to finishing with one of the best in league history.
After allowing the Cleveland Browns to rush for 43 yards on 17 carries in Sunday's 41-9 victory, the Steelers set a franchise record for allowing the fewest yards rushing in a season (1,004) and fewest yards per game (62.8).
That eclipsed the old record of 1,125 yards allowed in a 12-game season in 1953. The former yards per-game record was 74.7, set in 2001.
The Steelers came within 34 yards of tying the NFL's record for rushing yards allowed in a 16-game season (970), set by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.
Some other defensive highlights this season:
• The Steelers were the only NFL team to allow just one run longer than 20 yards in 2010.
• They allowed just two teams -- the New York Jets (106) and New England Patriots (102) -- to rush for more than 100 yards against them. No other team rushed for more than 75 yards.
• They did not allow a 100-yard rusher all season and just one in the past 50 games.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11003/11 ... z19x6UFFkK (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11003/1115193-66.stm#ixzz19x6UFFkK)
01-12-2011, 04:43 PM
Posted: Wednesday January 12, 2011
No running allowed against Steelers' defense
PITTSBURGH (AP) - When Browns quarterback Colt McCoy ran for 6 yards with barely a minute remaining in a 41-9 loss to Pittsburgh the first week of January, he prevented the Steelers from something achieved only twice during a 16-game NFL season.
He kept them from allowing fewer than 1,000 yards rushing for an entire season.
Even during one of the most prolific passing seasons in NFL history, 100-yard rushers are commonplace - except against Pittsburgh. The Steelers didn't give up one to an individual all season while allowing a scant 1,004 yards in 16 games.
Only two teams, the Jets and Patriots, ran for 100 yards against a defense that permitted 62.8 per game, the third-lowest average since the 1970 NFL merger.
Many teams try to establish a running game early against Pittsburgh, fail miserably and abandon the run. The evidence: The Steelers allowed 58 yards rushing or fewer seven times. The 333 attempts were the fewest in any NFL full season - 14-game or 16-game - since 1970.
"Nobody tries,'' Steelers safety Ryan Clark said Tuesday. "They give up.''
While Baltimore's offense increasingly relies on Joe Flacco's ability to spread the ball among receivers Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and running back Ray Rice, Rice still ran for 1,220 yards in a balanced offense. And he might have had a lot more yards if he hadn't opposed the Steelers twice.
While Rice is the only opposing back to gain 100 yards in the Steelers' last 50 games - he had 141 during a 23-20 Ravens loss last season - he gained only 52 on 17 carries against them in two games this season. As a team, the Ravens ran for 113 yards during the season series.
Not even the Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s shut down the run so successfully or so consistently. These Steelers allowed only one run of 20 yards-plus all season, a 24-yarder by Oakland's Michael Bush.
"We always stop the run around here,'' said 340-pound nose tackle Casey Hampton, whose girth and strength make it difficult to run up the middle. "Look at the last 10 years, that's what we do. It's nothing new to anyone around here.''
Coaches talk repeatedly about the importance of not becoming one-dimensional when playing a quality team. Against the Steelers, however, it happens almost weekly.
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said the Steelers offer so many looks in their 3-4 defense, they are difficult to prepare for, much less run against. Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu is excellent against the run, and Hampton forces runners outside, where the linebackers run them down. Inside linebacker James Farrior, who turned 36 last week, is having one of his best seasons. Outside linebacker James Harrison is a Pro Bowl starter for a fourth straight time.
"You know that (defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau is going to have a wrinkle or two, something that you haven't seen in a couple of years,'' Palmer said. "You never know what you're going to get.''
All this creates a quandary for the Ravens going into Saturday's all-AFC North divisional playoff game in Pittsburgh.
Do they try to do what no team did all season by running the ball consistently? Or do they trust that Flacco, with more wide receiver talent at his disposal than he had when Baltimore lost the AFC title game in Pittsburgh two years ago, can beat them with his arm?
"If you watched their game (against Kansas City), they used the pass to kind of set up the run. The sharp plays to (tight end Todd) Heap, the checkdowns to Ray Rice to kind of get him going and when they kind of got the game in hand, you bring (Willis) McGahee in and kind of pound the ball at the end,'' Clark said. "I don't know what their approach is going to be, but we're ready for both.''
During a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said the NFL's two best teams will play in Pittsburgh this weekend - even if the winner winds up playing the AFC championship game in New England.
"We both finished 12-4,'' Suggs said. "That's why, I think, the stakes are so much higher, the two best teams in the NFL. You can argue Atlanta and New England ... but anyone can argue the winner of this game will most likely to go on to win the Super Bowl.''
Even if that winner can't run to get there.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/f ... z1AqqkuKKs (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/nfl/wires/01/12/2020.ap.fbn.steelers.no.running.allowed.0908/index.html#ixzz1AqqkuKKs)
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