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Steelers fans everywhere should be thankful for the return of a legitimate defense

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In this season of giving thanks, Steelers fans everywhere should be thankful for a surprisingly stout 2017 defense.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

If you think back to the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers team, the last team to get to the Super Bowl, you remember a lot of those tremendous names on the defensive side of the football. Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Ike Taylor, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel, just to name a few.

After the confetti fell, and the Green Bay Packers had beaten the Steelers, you could sense the end of an era approaching. You saw players missing plays they usually made in their sleep, and slowly the team started to rebuild its entire defense.

If you really think about it, Mike Tomlin and company have rebuilt the entire defense except for mainstay James Harrison and, after pumping a ridiculous amount of high draft picks into the defense, it’s starting to pay off.

In this season of giving thanks, it’s important for all Steelers fans everywhere to be thankful for the return of a legitimate defense to the Steel City. Is the current unit the next Steel Curtain? No. Is this unit Blitzburgh re-invented? Nope. Will this defense be a Top-3 defense in the league? Maybe, but what’s important are the capabilities of this defense to help the team win another Lombardi trophy.

Coming into the 2017 season, the Steelers’ offense was supposed to be a Top-5 unit in the NFL, but heading into Week 12, it’s the team’s defense which has been standing on their heads making play after play. If not for the defense, there’s absolutely zero chance this team would be 8-2 after 10 games.

The Steelers currently rank as follows in the NFL:

Total Defense: 4th
Passing Yards per Game: 4th
Rushing Yards per Game: 8th
Points per Game: 2nd
Sacks: 2nd
Turnovers: T-10th

Before the year began, a common theme among Steelers fans held that if Pittsburgh merely had a middle-of-the-road defense, the offense would be good enough to carry this team to Super Bowl greatness. But what fans received is a defense far better than middle-of-the-road, and one good enough to keep the team afloat while the offense still tries to iron out the kinks.

It’s been a long time since the Steelers had a defense which, when given a 3-point lead, you had confidence they could do the job. Have they given up the occasional big play? Yes, but this defense has become a legitimate force in the NFL.

And for that, Steelers fans should be VERY thankful.