Power has gone out of the Steelers' defense

Andy Lyons

Pittsburgh's takeaways and sacks have become nearly non-existent over their last 35 games. They have yet to register a takeaway in 2013, and have just one sack, both of these stats are continued trends dating all the way back to Pittsburgh's last playoff appearance.

It's no longer a question of whether takeaways are going to eventually start coming for the Steelers' defense.

It's just time to accept that they simply are not coming, and it's up in the air whether it can be fixed as simply as making game-to-game adjustments.

After two games in 2013, the Steelers have zero takeaways - tying them with the Oakland Raiders for the lowest amount in the league. Seattle leads the league with seven takeaways and five teams have six.

The Steelers also have one sack in two games, tying them with other defensive juggernauts, Minnesota and the Giants, for the bottom of the NFL.

Some other stats of misery:

- The Steelers have recovered 15 of their opponents' fumbles in their last 35 games.

- They have 21 interceptions in their last 35 games - including the failure to register a takeaway on duck-floating Tim Tebow in the 2011 AFC Wild Card round.

- All told, including the playoffs, the Steelers have 35 takeaways in their last 35 games. The New England Patriots had 41 takeaways in 2012 alone.

- They've managed 72 sacks in their last 35 games.

The trend is not only very much in line with the fact this team is 8-11 since that last playoff appearance, it's getting progressively worse. They didn't even challenge for an Andy Dalton-thrown pass last night, and they've gotten Dalton plenty of times over his 2-plus year career. He threw two picks in last year's 13-10 win over the Steelers in Week 16.

The Steelers went their second straight game with two giveaways - a lost fumble and an interception.

In a takeaways league, the Steelers appear to be playing a different brand of football. Multiple repeat performances of this will lead to an unusually high draft position.

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