The first edition of the 2015 plays of the year featured an offensive, defensive and a special teams play as the three plays we started with in this series.
The second installment is about defense, defense and more defense.
The Steelers forced the third most turnovers in the NFL this season, which was part of what made it so difficult to sift through the many plays made and rank them accordingly to complete this list. All three of these plays are interceptions, two coming from the front seven, the latter from the secondary.
Play Number 12:
This play came on the Bengals' first drive in the regular season rematch from week 14. Cincinnati reached the red zone but the Steelers' Stephon Tuitt made his biggest play of the season. He sniffed out the play when he noticed the Bengals' Giovani Bernard did not intend on blocking him, so he read the potential threat of a screen and broke this play up immediately. It changed the course of the game and incidentally injured Andy Dalton for the rest of the season when he tried to tackle Tuitt on the return.
Play Number 11:
This play was an early turnover forced while the FOX announcers were mid-sentence about how Carson Palmer was having an MVP-like season and limited turnovers through the first five weeks. The Cardinals had the top offense in the NFL coming into this game and the Steelers knew they needed a top-of-the-line performance from their defense. It started with this play that showed the depth of the Steelers' middle linebackers. Missing Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams was the fill-in player next to Lawrence Timmons. Williams' coverage is perfect on the play and Timmons' reaction to the tipped ball is superb. This is not a play in which the Cardinals just happened to make a mistake which the Steelers cashed in on, this was a creation from the Steelers' talents.
Play Number 10:
Antwon Blake was on the roast list plenty of times this season, but he made one of the biggest plays of the Steelers' season.
The Steelers were up against the Chargers with a stagnated offense led by third string quarterback, Michael Vick. After giving up an early touchdown drive to the Chargers, the defense knew it needed to create opportunities for scoring in order to keep Pittsburgh in the game. Late in the third quarter, Blake capitalized on a poorly run route and cut under the throw for the interception and took off. Blake is one of the faster straight line runners on the Steelers' team, so when he caught this past with momentum it was an immediate threat to score. It certainly helped to have the Steelers' front seven alert and throwing blocks to spring him loose and help make sure that nobody could get Blake and the ball he so loosely grasped on his way into the end zone.
Without this play, there may have been no opportunity for Michael Vick, Le'Veon Bell, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Heath Miller to make the plays they did late in the game to seal a big win. Which also means there might not have been any playoffs for Pittsburgh.
Almost halfway into our list and we have seen plenty of interceptions, but that does not mean that more are not on the way. Keep checking in with our list tomorrow as we will have more defensive turnovers, but also get back to the offense.