It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was their calling card. To be honest, the last time the team had a defense worth noting was probably their 2010 season when they reached the Super Bowl.
Since that time, after many of the veteran players called it a career, the Steelers have been slowly rebuilding their defense to be noteworthy once again. While they aren’t quite there yet, they are as close as they’ve been since Super Bowl 45.
Outside of sack totals and takeaways, the other area this unit has excelled is none other than red-zone defense. In fact, according to NFL Matchup on ESPN’s verified Twitter account, the Steelers boast a Top 5 red-zone defense heading into Week 8.
Through Week 7, these teams have the best defensive red zone efficiency. Only eight teams have allowed TDs on less than 50% of opponents' red zone trips.#GoPats #GoNiners #BroncosCountry #SeizeTheDEY #HereWeGo #DallasCowboys #DUUUVAL #GiantsPride— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 23, 2019
@gregcosell | @MattBowen41 pic.twitter.com/4T86h2WWQd
While the 42.9% red-zone efficiency isn’t necessarily something to write home about, it certainly is a sign Keith Butler’s defense is headed in the right direction.
On the flip side of things, take a look at which defense has the worst red-zone unit. That’s right, none other than the Steelers’ Week 8 opponent, the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are giving up more touchdowns and red-zone drives allowed than any other team in the NFL. This is great news for a Steelers offense who needs to get right, and get comfortable, with Mason Rudolph under center.
The Steelers are coming off their Week 7 bye, and at 2-4 have hardly any margin for error moving forward if they want to keep their postseason dreams and aspirations alive. The Dolphins are the next on the list, but plenty of difficult games await. Can the Steelers’ defense lead this team to the promised land? Being Top 5 in red-zone defense is a step in the right direction, but plenty of work needs to be done.