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mesaSteeler
10-16-2009, 06:31 AM
Fourth quarters plaguing Steelers defense
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_648234.html#
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, October 16, 2009

Dick LeBeau got a tad defensive Thursday.

And the subject which brought out a side that LeBeau rarely shows: whether the Steelers have been too passive during the fourth quarter of games.

"I think if you check my track record, we're going to come after you," LeBeau said following practice Thursday. "I don't know what the numbers were, but I think we got a few sacks (51) last year.

"We try to be intelligent about that because pressure is no good (if you lose) the element of surprise. If everybody knows you're pressuring all the time, then they're just going to max (protect) and get some big plays in there. We'll try to change it up, but we're definitely a pressure defense."

The Steelers haven't always turned up the heat on opponents, particularly in the fourth quarter. Fifty-five of the 98 points they have yielded have come in the final 15 minutes of games. And in losses to the Bears and Bengals, the Steelers gave up a combined 251 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter after largely shutting down each team through the first three quarters.

Last Sunday in Detroit, the Steelers staved off an upset bid by sacking quarterback Daunte Culpepper on three consecutive plays.

The Steelers, in fact, blitzed Culpepper on eight of the nine plays of Detroit's final possession. Yet on the touchdown drive that allowed Detroit to pull within eight points earlier in the quarter, the Steelers blitzed just one time in seven plays.

"We haven't changed our personality," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We want to apply pressure to the quarterback. If you can do it with four, great. If you need more than four, then we're willing to do that. I think consistent pressure on the quarterback is the key to playing good defense."

So too is creating turnovers, and the Steelers are averaging less than one takeaway a game.

"That's an area we are addressing daily, and we do need to produce more turnovers," LeBeau said. "I think if you play good defense, turnovers will come."

Getting Troy Polamalu back - the All-Pro safety is on track to play Sunday for the first time since Sept. 10 - should help the Steelers rediscover their opportunistic side.

What the Steelers gain by the return of Polamalu, however, has been tempered by the loss of defensive end Aaron Smith to a season-ending shoulder injury.

Along with the questions raised by the loss of Smith is the running one of whether this unit can dominate the way last year's defense did - and close out offenses in the fourth quarter.

To do the latter, the Steelers need to generate a pass rush on a consistent basis and not hurt themselves with untimely penalties - they have had pass-interference penalties in three consecutive games.

"We're not trying to be the 2008 defense because that's in the past," cornerback William Gay said. "All we're trying to do is get better, and the stats and all of that will come later."

A closer look

The Steelers have given up more points in the fourth quarter (55) than the other three quarters combined (43). Here is a look at how many yards they have yielded in the fourth quarter compared to the other three quarters this season

Opponent Fourth quarter First three

Titans 52 268

Bears 112 163

Bengals 139 134

Chargers 81 170

Lions 95 240

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Slick93
10-16-2009, 06:53 AM
We've definately got to work on "finishing the game." It's a full 60 minutes, there can be no let up or let down, keep working the full hour of play. I think it's something that will get corrected, hopefully Troy being back will have an impact this week and the D will shine for all four quarters of play.

Steelboy84
10-16-2009, 09:35 AM
We've definately got to work on "finishing the game." It's a full 60 minutes, there can be no let up or let down, keep working the full hour of play. I think it's something that will get corrected, hopefully Troy being back will have an impact this week and the D will shine for all four quarters of play.

:applaudit::applaudit: :applaudit: :hatsoff: :hatsoff:

Dino 6 Rings
10-16-2009, 12:01 PM
Never take your foot off their throat. Beat them bloody for 3 quarters, then beat them DEAD in the last quarter.

That is how we need to do it!

Twizted
10-16-2009, 02:08 PM
Never take your foot off their throat. Beat them bloody for 3 quarters, then beat them DEAD in the last quarter.

That is how we need to do it!

Nicely put, you can't really take anything for granted. No matter what we've got to "finish the drill" no matter what the score or who the opponent. :tt04:

Steelboy84
10-16-2009, 02:29 PM
Never take your foot off their throat. Beat them bloody for 3 quarters, then beat them DEAD in the last quarter.

That is how we need to do it!

:applaudit: :applaudit: :applaudit: :hatsoff:

Nadroj 20
10-16-2009, 02:31 PM
DIno 6 Rings nailed it

Beat them down hard the first 3 and then keep it that way in the fourth!!!!!

El-Gonzo Jackson
10-16-2009, 03:35 PM
The D needs to get off the field and the Offense needs to stay on it longer.

Steelers & I
10-16-2009, 04:17 PM
It would help if the Steelers could avoid the types of scoring plays listed below that for some reason, are blamed on the defense.

Cincinnati TD 13:35 Johnathan Joseph 30 yd interception return (failed 2pt Rush)
Plays: 0 | Yards: 0 | Time: 0:00

San Diego TD 12:37 Jacob Hester 41 yd opp fumble return (Nate Kaeding kick)
Plays: 3 | Yards: -9 | Time: 1:02

Detroit TD 6:52 William James 38 yd interception return (Jason Hanson kick)
Plays: 0 | Yards: 0 | Time: 0:00

Roethlisberger threw for 221 yards and Holmes caught five passes for 83, yet Reed's problems in the fourth quarter gave the Bears the opening they needed.
"I'm just embarrassed, you know, because these guys fight their tails off to win the game," Reed said. "If there is one player that can single-handedly lose the game, I'll take credit for it."


The defense is taking A LOT of heat for the unusual circumstances that the offense and special teams have created.

Take away the "points against" that the offense and special teams have GIVEN up, and the Steeelers defense doesn't look so bad. Especially when you factor in that they've played without Troy Polamalu. Troy's return and a little less "GREEDY" play calling on offense should iron things out.

stb_steeler
10-16-2009, 04:39 PM
Try running the ball in the 4th quarter more.. Get the 3rd and 1....Keep our defense out a bit longer to rest.

AllD
10-16-2009, 04:42 PM
If we fought WWII like we played defense in the 4th quarter, we would all be speaking German after the Battle of the Bulge.

markymarc
10-17-2009, 02:53 PM
Well getting Troy back is a step in the right direction. In the off season I truly felt that the 2009 Steelers defense would be better than last year. It's not happening right now, but hopefully they can start peaking at just the right time :tt02:

Cape Cod Steel Head
10-18-2009, 08:09 AM
This trend started in the Super Bowl last year. We just don't appear to play with the same intensity in the 4th as we do the first three. Yes, getting Troy back will help, but I think we a lot more than that!!!!