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Steelers have 3 players in Top 10 of Pro Football Focus total QB pressures

The Pittsburgh Steelers got after the quarterback better than anyone in 2020, in more ways than one.

Wild Card Round - Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team whose defense was built around pressuring the quarterback. They led the NFL in team sacks, T.J Watt led the NFL in sacks and they were constantly harassing opposing quarterbacks.

Sometimes when people think of a defense being able to pressure the quarterback, they only think of one statistic: sacks. But sometimes just putting pressure on the quarterback can be equally effective in impacting the game.

If a quarterback doesn’t have the time to sit in the pocket and go through his multiple reads, it often equates to good things happening for the defense. Obviously, it could result in a sack, but it also could equate to an arrant throw.

When it comes to quarterback pressures, no one did it better than the Steelers in 2020. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the Steelers were the only NFL team to have three players rank in the Top 10 of total pressures.

When you look at the three names above, you don’t see any surprises. Watt led the NFL in sacks and Stephon Tuitt had double-digit sacks for the first time in his career. But then there is Heyward. Heyward clearly put pressure on the quarterback, but that pressure didn’t always result in sacks. In 2020 Heyward was only able to register 4 sacks this season, which would make many believe his season was disappointing. However, the above statistic shows how Heyward did have an impact on the defense, even if it didn’t always result in quarterbacks being taken to the ground.

The Steelers’ defense will likely remain a force to be reckoned with in 2021 with all of three of these players set to return for another season. Will they be able to continue their dominance rushing the passer? Only time will tell, but it is clearly necessary to the team’s success as a defense.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the start of the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.