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2015 Steelers Season In Review: Best Defensive Plays of the Season

The Pittsburgh Steelers had some memorable defensive plays in 2015. Let BTSC give you the Top 10 defensive plays of the regular season.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week, an article was posted for the best offensive plays of the season. Now, here are the ten best defensive plays of the season. The criteria is the same: regular season plays only, so the Ryan Shazier forced fumble against Jeremy Hill late in the fourth quarter during the Wild Card game against Cincinnati does not count (that would have been No. 1 if it did!). So, without further ado, the 10 best defensive plays of the 2015 season:

Honorable mention: Lawrence Timmons' 3rd down stop of Keenan Allen in the San Diego game, which forced the Chargers to kick a 54 yard field goal and give the Steelers one last chance to win the game, which they did.

Top 10:

10.  Ross Cockrell's amazing fumble recovery in the first Ravens game. Great hustle by Cam Heyward that caused a sack on Joe Flacco and amazing awareness by Cockrell, who had two takeaways in this game. Link to the play.

9. Ryan Shazier’s fumble recovery in the 49ers game.This was a capper on an amazing day by Shazier, the second year inside linebacker from Ohio State. This game showcased all of Shazier's talents, from pass rush, run stopping, to just flat out playmaking. Shazier finished the day with more than a dozen tackles but would miss the next four games with a "boo boo". Despite the criticism of Shazier, the former Buckeye bounced back and had a very strong season. Link to the play.

8. Brandon Boykin’s interception in the Colts game. One of the driving narratives of the 2015 season was, "why isn't Brandon Boykin playing?" This was especially being screamed here at BTSC after Antwon Blake got torched by Doug Baldwin in Seattle. Boykin would finally get his shot against the Colts on Sunday Night Football and he did not disappoint, as he got an interception in the first quarter. Many fans felt vindicated by this moment as Boykin dove and made an amazing play on a tipped pass. Whether Boykin will remain in Pittsburgh is anyone's guess but he did make enough plays to warrant another contract with the Steelers. (go to the :20 second mark for the play.Link to the play)

7. Jarvis Jones’s red zone interception of Matt Hasselbeck in the Colts game. What a clutch play by Jones, who showed he had good coverage skills. This play was right after the Steelers fumbled the ball on the opening drive and was one of six red zone interceptions by the Steelers in 2015. (go to the :08 mark for the play Link to the play )

6. Ross Cockrell's red zone interception of Derek Carr in the Raiders game. Carr was lighting up the Steelers' secondary with ease. With the score 35-28 in the fourth quarter, Carr threw to the end zone, looking for Clive Walford, who had already scored a touchdown. Instead, Cockrell picked off the pass and stopped the Raiders from tying the game. While the Raiders did eventually tie the score, this interception showed the clutch-ness of the Steelers, which they showed often this season. Link to the play

5. Antwon Blake’s 70 yard pick-6 of Philip Rivers in the Chargers game. Say what you will about Blake. However, he made a great defensive play and took advantage of a poorly run route by Malcom Floyd which gave the Steelers the lead in their second game without Ben RoethlisbergerLink to the play

4. Mike Mitchell’s fourth quarter interception in the end zone of Carson Palmer in the Cardinals game. This interception stopped the Cardinals from taking the lead deep in the fourth quarter and provided Landry Jones with his moment in the sun, courtesy of Martavis Bryant's 88 yard slalom through the Cardinals' secondary. Link to the play

3. Ryan Shazier’s interception of Brock Osweiler in the Broncos game. This was a game of two halves, as the Steelers' defense couldn't stop a nosebleed in the first half to the Steelers' defense looking like the next coming of Steel Curtain in the second half. The interception by Shazier led to the Steelers' game winning touchdown. It was also a beautiful play made by a potentially elite playmaker (oh, and the pressure caused by both Stephon Tuitt and Bud Dupree weren't bad either!). Link to the play

2. William Gay’s pick-6 of AJ McCarron. It was a lazy pass by McCarron, who tried to throw a floater to Marvin Jones on a slip screen and Gay jumped it and scored a touchdown. His celebration drew a flag but this play pretty signaled the end of the Bengals’ chances of winning the game. Link to the play

1. Stephon Tuitt’s red zone interception of Andy Dalton in the second Cincinnati game. Not only did Tuitt grab his first interception, this turnover displayed his awareness, athleticism, and "clutch-ness" as he picked off Dalton, who then injured himself trying to tackle Tuitt. This would be Dalton’s last play of 2015 season. Link to the play

There you have it! The top 10 defensive plays of the 2015 season!