Comparing the Defenses of the 2010, 2008, and 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers: Game No. 7 Edition

I've stumbled across some comments across the interwebs that questioned why I was doing this comparison in the first place. Naturally, those statements came after the Steelers looked more vulnerable defensively in October, particularly the last two weeks, than they had during a dominating month of September. But remember, I started this after Week 2, thinking that it would be more interesting to track over the course of the entire season, rather than making any sort of comparisons with the masses later down the line when everybody had been forced to pay attention to the Steelers' defensive dominance.

Well, the Steelers have looked less than dominant in their past four games, beginning with the Baltimore Ravens game in Week 4. So, this might prove to be a waste of time by season's end (or long before even), but we can't give up just yet. The 1976 defense after all was atrocious at the outset of the season before morphing into an immovable, intimidating wall of destruction. To be clear - nobody will ever replicate the defensive dominance of that year's unit. Four straight shutouts? Are you kidding me? Absurd. But then again, it was an entirely different era. Modern passing games are infinitely more capable than they were back then.

As for '08? It's not the right time to try to drudge it up, but I believe I remember writing that we'd likely never see a Steelers' defense turn in a better season in terms of yards allowed. They weren't historically great creating turnovers, but they sure clamped down time and time again.

So anyway, if the Steelers' defense falls apart in the next couple of weeks, then perhaps we'll call this puppy off. But for now, the Steelers are still the top ranked scoring defense, and the fifth ranked overall defense. Good enough for me to carry on for at least a few more weeks.

 

Comparison Through 2 Games

Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (3-0) 20 10 266.5 214.5 52 8 6
2008 (2-1) 23 11.5 221 157 64 5 7
1976 (1-1) 45 22.5 385 254.5 130.5 8 N / A *

 

 

 

Comparison Through 3 Games
Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (3-0) 33 11 278.66 219 59.66 10 10
2008 (2-1) 38 12.67 234 69.67 64.33 8 10
1976 (1-2) 75 25 389.66 255.33 134.33 12 N / A *

 

Comparison Through 4 Games

Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (3-1) 50 12.5 289 226.75 62.25 12 11
2008 (3-1) 58 14.5 236.25 162.25 74
11
15
1976 (1-3) 92
23
336.75 198 138.75 16 N / A *

 

 

Comparison Through 5 Games

Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (4-1) 60 12 296.8 233 63.8 15 16
2008 (4-1) 79 15.8 231.6 164.8 66.8
11
18
1976 (1-4) 110
22
334.6 194.2 140.4 18 N / A *

 

Comparison Through 6 Games

Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (5-1) 82 13.66 299.5 235.66 63.9 16 17
2008 (5-1) 89 14.83 228.33 158.66 69.66
12
25
1976 (2-4) 116
19.33
307.33 177.83 129.33 21 N / A *

 

Comparison Through 7 Games

Year Points Pts/Game Yards/Game Pass Y/G Rush Y/G Turnovers Sacks
2010 (5-2) 102 14.57 302.1 243.1 58.85 18 19
2008 (5-2) 110 15.7 236.4 164.4 71.56
12
25
1976 (3-4) 116
16.57
285 161.4 123.4 22 N / A *

 

*Sacks, of course, had not yet become an official stat in 1976, so we   unfortunately can't track and compare that category.

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