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mesaSteeler
01-07-2011, 07:25 AM
Steelers' pass defense improving as season goes on
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_717022.html
By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, January 7, 2011

The Steelers won six of their final seven games to finish 12-4 and earn a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.

A significant upgrade in pass defense keyed that second-half kick.

Ranked 25th in early November, the Steelers were dominant down the stretch and finished the regular season ranked 12th.

"The whole defense came together,'' cornerback William Gay said. "Getting turnovers and sacks was big. Guys put pressure on themselves to put pressure on the quarterback. And we put pressure on ourselves to defend the deep pass. We didn't give up long passes the last couple weeks.''

Through their first nine games, the Steelers allowed 252.2 net passing yards and held only one opponent (Tennessee) under 200 yards passing, as they went 6-3.

In losses against New England and New Orleans, the Steelers allowed 350 yards and 288 yards in the air, respectively.

Defensive captain James Farrior said the players returned to basics and focused on fundamentals.

"It was a progression. It was something we had to keep working on,'' Farrior said. "We had better communication. We didn't make as many mistakes.''

As a result, the Steelers defense allowed an average of 165 yards passing over the final seven games good enough to lead the league during that stretch. Included were only two 200-yard passing games in wins against Buffalo and Baltimore. In another win the Steelers held Carolina to 45 passing yards.

The defense's performance over the final seven games was reminiscent of the Steelers' performance during their Super Bowl season two years ago when they led the league in pass defense, allowing 156.9 passing yards per game.

Only three teams defended more passes this season than the Steelers, who faced an average of 37.1 attempts per game.

That's because the Steelers led the league in run defense. Teams abandoned the run and attempted to beat the Steelers through the air. Teams ran against the Steelers a league-low 20.8 times per game.

A big reason for the turnaround was defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's decision to have cornerback Ike Taylor shadow opposing teams' top receiver. Taylor's ability to excel in press coverage and take away the quarterback's first option led to more blitzing and a healthier pass rush.

Taylor allowed one touchdown pass all season and none in the final seven games.

The Steelers recorded 24 sacks during that stretch and finished with a league-high 48.

"We're playing ball like we know how,'' Taylor said. "We feel like if we play good, it'll be a good day overall. Going from (25) to 12 is a big jump.''

LeBeau said was impressed with players growing comfortable in their roles.

"We tried to stick to the goals coach LeBeau had for us,'' Gay said. "We felt like if we could win those goals each game, some good would come out of it."

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

jizzballz
01-07-2011, 08:47 AM
it was better, but brady is still going to lay his cream all over us in the AFCG.

grward
01-07-2011, 08:51 AM
it was better, but brady is still going to lay his cream all over us in the AFCG.

Why do you talk like you're a porn star?

wootawnee
01-07-2011, 10:16 AM
Why do you talk like you're a porn star?

And what's up with your Chief picture and then saying "US"? Get a Grip....

pitt0wns
01-07-2011, 11:53 AM
We will not beat NE unless we can get consistant pressure on TB

SH-Rock
01-07-2011, 06:46 PM
Ike Taylor has done really good this year.

steelers33
01-07-2011, 09:23 PM
To bad Asomugha and Revis are in this coference, otherwise I think Ike would of made the pro bowl this year. We are getting pressure though. We have a lot of capable pass rushers, but I knew New Enfland has a good line. The matchup between NE's o line and our pass rushers will determine the game.

Riddle_Of_Steel
01-08-2011, 12:14 AM
To bad Asomugha and Revis are in this coference, otherwise I think Ike would of made the pro bowl this year. We are getting pressure though. We have a lot of capable pass rushers, but I knew New Enfland has a good line. The matchup between NE's o line and our pass rushers will determine the game.

Our pass rush can get to Tom Brady, no question about that-- as long as the coaches dial up the blitzes.

IN the 4th quarter of that last game, Lebeau went back to our base defense, and the difference was night and day. It disturbs me that it took 3 quarters of getting carved up like a turkey before someone realized we should be rushing more than 3 and that we should play tighter coverage, but.....if you recall, as soon as we did that, Brady hardly completed another pass, got penalized immediately for throwing it away to nobody, and ate the ground a few times.

Had we been bringing the heat from the first quarter, we would have destroyed them in that game. Brady is what makes that team click-- without him, they are pretty mediocre and no match for the Steelers, as 2008 pointed out to the tune of 33-10.

ben7
01-08-2011, 12:43 AM
if we got a better CB than McFadden then we would improve a lot.