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Steelers Film Room: Pittsburgh's three interceptions vs. Cincinnati Bengals

We take a look at each of the three turnovers forced by the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense in their 33-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

You wouldn't know it from all the talk about how bad the secondary is for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the team is tied for the fouth most interceptions with 15 total in the NFL so far in the 2015-2016 NFL season.

Three of those interceptions came against the Cincinnati Bengals in their week 14 victory over their AFC North rivals. We take a closer look at each of those.

First Play:

This play was about preparation and great instincts on the part of Stephon Tuitt. You have to be trained to sniff out plays like this, and in his second year in the league Tuitt came off like a well-versed veteran. Notice how as he comes off the line free, he immediately breaks down and identifies what the offense wants to do. He knows that there had to be a reason for coming past the line of scrimmage free, especially with a running back starting to appear to engage him and then turn the other way. Tuitt's quick recognition led to this play and his athleticism to get there and make a play on a ball capitalized on a huge early mistake.

Second Play:

Take note of what pressure does for coverage schemes; James Harrison gets in AJ McCarron's face so fast that he has to make a quick decision between taking the sack or throwing to his first read. If no pressure gets there McCarron has an opportunity to see the slant route that is opening up over the middle of the field, but he decides to throw to his first read and William Gay takes advantage of the mistake and turns it into points.

Third Play:

The Steelers' zone scheme tries to limit big play opportunities and force quarterbacks to be consistently effective through several plays down the field. While that does leave the defense susceptible to easier completions on some occasions, it also can sometimes result in turnovers when an inexperienced quarterback, like McCarron, make mistakes. Here Robert Golden keeps the play in front of him and makes the play on the ball for the team's third interception. Also watch how quickly his teammates turned up the field to block players. Ryan Shazier and James Harrison dealt out serious punishment.


The Steelers' defense gives up a ton of yards but it also makes lots of big plays to turn games around. Each of these interceptions came at crucial times to seal the outcome against the Bengals. Tuitt's inteception a red zone turnover that set up the offense to build a two-score lead; Gay's pick six opened the game up; and Golden's interception followed shortly after the Bengals' only interception of Roethlisberger on the day, ultimately ending the game.

In today's NFL, the most successful teams are not always the teams that have defenses whose primary featured statistic is simply yards allowed. Takeaways are a sure-fire way to give your offense the ball back instead of hoping for three consecutive stops.

After the Denver Broncos surrendered five sacks to Khalil Mack by his lonesome, they have to be focused on protecting their quarterback against a Steelers team that is among the top five teams in sack totals so far in the season. Pressure and sacks often lead to more turnovers, so hopefully you will be reading an article similar to this one, this time next week.