Same as in the Raiders game the defense didn't show up and the offense shouldered the load. I guess what I'm saying is that for 16 games this past year the offense and defense rarely showed up and played to the level in which they are capable except for a few, Giants, Bengals I, Eagles and Jets are probably the only games that both sides of the ball played up to snuff in the same game.
Ben wasn't perfect, Lebeau's defense wasn't perfect, special teams were atrocious and the coaching decisions were questionable at times; it led to an 8-8 season and Steeler fans lamenting about a season that had good promise at the halfway point.
That's too long for short yardage play to develop. Especially with the slow plodding Isaac Redman.
And what was sad? In the last game of the year? We had Redman at FB, Dwyer behind him, and we gave the ball to Redman, the up man, who was closer to the LOS. Easy conversion.
And I don't think we ran that play 5 times all year.
I agree with you lloydroid for sure. There is a reason why 70-year olds retire--they get tired, they lose mental focus, they aren't as sharp, quick to adjust, etc. No matter the "ranking", anyone who's watched this defense will tell you something is wrong. People will say, "there are 30 other teams who would love to be ranked #1 too", but I think that's too simplistic.
Look at the personnel, the "star" personnel of this defense: Polamalu, Harrison are older. The young "stars" (I'm going to be generous, and throw in every starter under 26, 27 in there) at this moment: Woodley, Timmons, Keenan Lewis, Hood. Woodley is suited to DE in a 4-3. Timmons is suited to OLB in a 4-3. Lewis is suited to zone, which is what the Tampa-2 scheme is. Hood is suited to play inside in a 4-3.
I'm with Pappy on this, this season was a tell of to halves (like the Raven playoff game a few years ago). first half of season decent O no defense. Second half of season good D little O. Playoff game crappy play first half, stepped up play second. Just you finished with a win for 1 game but 500 record for a season.