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Steelers Defense Off To Torrid Start

Through two games at least, the defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers is looking championship caliber. I've read several people mention the hallowed 1976 defense and how this year's unit has the potential to be that dominant. It's doubtful that a defense will ever match the statistical greatness of that year's defense, if only because offenses are so much more competent today than they were back then. It's just not likely that Dick LeBeau's group will be able to do things like pitch shutouts in three straight games and five of their final eight.

Can this year's D be as stingy as they were in 2008 when they led the league in points allowed, passing yards allowed, and finished second in rushing yards and sacks? It's quite possible if the first two weeks of action are any indication. So, new weekly story idea is born: let's compare the '76, the '08 and the '10 defensive performances by week, at least until it no longer makes sense to do so. Hopefully though the Steelers' defense continues their outstanding play into the fall and winter months.

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

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

The slow start of the '76 unit only us anything illustrates just how outstanding they were for the final 12 games of the year. The turnaround that year is also yet another reminder of just how drastically things can change throughout the course of a dynamic NFL season. So, it's far too early to know yet what's in store, but it sure looks like this year's defense is going to terrorize opposing offenses all year provided they can stay healthy.