After holding the Atlanta Falcons to 17 points, and the Cincinnati Bengals to 21, there is a small contingent of Pittsburgh Steelers fans who are starting to feel better about the team’s defense.
After all, the Steelers’ 22 sacks are second in the NFL, only behind the Baltimore Ravens who registered a whopping 11 vs. the Titans in Week 6, and their red-zone unit has started to play better than in previous weeks.
All promising signs, but fans should recall the defense of 2017 to help them realize this defense has a long way to go before they can be considered a championship caliber unit. Look no further than the stats showing the Steelers’ defense still giving up ‘explosive plays’. Thanks to the NFL Matchup on ESPN Twitter feed, they showed which NFL defenses are giving up the least, and the most, explosive plays.
Check out the list below, and note an ‘explosive play’ is a run of 15 yards or more, or a reception of 20 yards or more.
Defenses put major emphasis on not giving up BIG PLAYS!#HTTR #DaBears #DallasCowboys #Texans #OnePride #RavensFlock #TitanUp #ChiefsKingdom #RaiderNation #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/MA60RPLkpm— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 17, 2018
Of all 32 teams, the Steelers find themselves in the bottom of the barrel with other porous defenses. This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has watched the defense under the control of Keith Butler.
While this is a horrible statistic for the defense, there is also hope the team can tighten the screws and just prevent the big plays. If they can do this, and it is far easier said than done, the Steelers’ defense, with a high-powered offense to boot, could be a team to be reckoned with in today’s offensive-minded National Football League.