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Don't look now, but the Pittsburgh Steelers defense looks legit

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After making two of the NFL's top-rated quarterbacks look utterly pedestrian, Pittsburgh's young, patchwork secondary looks like the real deal

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Some sports statistics defy logic.

Through two games in 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers have allowed 347 passing yards per game. They rank 31st in the NFL in that department.

However, Pittsburgh has allowed just a single passing touchdown in 2016 - which came on a dump-off screen to Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard - and is thus far holding opposing quarterbacks to a 79.2 rating.

That total, remarkably, ranks 10th in the NFL.

Washington and Cincinnati, Pittsburgh's opponents in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, have certainly done their best to thwart Pittsburgh's young secondary, as Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton, two of the top-rated passers in 2015, have attempted 97 passes against the Steelers.

Is Pittsburgh's early success a fluke? They played Sunday's game in a torrential downpour in which even Ben Roethlisberger, one of the league's best quarterbacks, completed just over 50 percent of his passes. Additionally, many observers think Cousins' entire 2015 campaign was a fluke, as the former backup posted franchise-best totals in yards (4,166) and completion percentage (69.8).

But still, it's not as if Pittsburgh completely shut down Cousins or Dalton. Both quarterbacks currently rank in the top four in the NFL in passing yards, thanks in large part to huge passing games against Pittsburgh. Ancillary targets such as Tyler Boyd (six catches, 78 yards) and DeSean Jackson (six catches, 102 yards) also had solid games against Pittsburgh.

In addition, the Steelers have given Cousins and Dalton plenty of time to throw. Arthur Moats is the owner of the lone Pittsburgh sack this season, which the veteran linebacker earned by simply tapping Dalton's shoulder as the Bengals quarterback dived short of the line of scrimmage on a scramble.

Perhaps the most telling indicator of the Steelers early success is the fact that they completely negated top-tier pass catchers like A.J. Green (two catches, 38 yards) and Jordan Reed (four catches, 33 yards on Washington's final nine drives). Ross Cockrell played arguably the best game of his career against Green last Sunday, while Robert Golden has made several key plays in each of the past two games, including solid coverage games against Reed and Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah.

Keith Butler also deserves credit for Pittsburgh's early-season success, as the second-year defensive coordinator has used a variety of man and zone looks to confound opposing offenses.

Other than that, the Steelers haven't done anything special. Is this success sustainable, especially with games against prolific offenses such as Dallas (provided Tony Romo plays), New England and both New York teams still on the schedule? Probably not, but time will tell.

Until proven otherwise, though, Pittsburgh's secondary appears to be much better than many thought.