Wednesday, October 1st, 2012
By Travis Boariu
Steelers Fever Columnist
When the NFL released the 2012 schedule back in April, Steelers fans felt slighted. How and why in the world do we have yet, another BYE week so early in the season? In years past, it was notorious for the Steelers to be inherited with an early BYE, only to see them rattle off months and months of victories. Typically, early BYE's are a wash, but this time around is EXACTLY what the Pittsburgh Steelers needed. The BYE week upon WEEK 4 couldn't come soon enough.
Since 2004 (Ben's rookie season) the Steelers record coming off the BYE reads 6-2
Here's a closer look on how the Pittsburgh Steelers have responded coming off of their BYE week since Roethlisberger took over at quarterback:
2004: Week 7 BYE. VS New England Patriots; W 34-20
2005: Week 4 BYE . At San Diego Chargers; W 24-22
2006: Week 4 BYE. At San Diego Chargers; L- 23-13
2007: Week 6 BYE. At Denver Broncos; L 31-28
2008: Week 6 BYE. At Cincinnati Bengals; W 38-10
2009: Week 8 BYE. At Denver Broncos; W 28-10
2010: Week Week 5 BYE. Cleveland Browns; W 28-10
2011: Week 11 BYE. At Kansas City Chiefs; W 13-9
2012: Week 4 BYE. Philadelphia Eagles; TBD
With an extra week of preparation for their next opponent coming off the BYE, the Steelers coaching staff seems to have things in check in having their team ready to go after one week of rest. Week 5 VS the Philadelphia Eagles in Heinz Field could arguably be the most important game of the season which could either kick-start a deep run, or ultimately be the downfall of a lost season.
Pittsburgh can NOT afford to be in an 1-3 hole to what could be a tight AFC NORTH race with the Baltimore Ravens (3-1) and Cincinnati Bengals (2-1.) A must-win Vs the Eagles by no means, but a sense of urgency matchup nonetheless.
Picking up where leaving off
In 2011, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished with the #1 ranked defense in the National Football League. Typically, a #1 ranked Steelers defense would consist of Godly number of sacks, tremendous number of forced turnovers and more than a handful of interceptions in Dick LeBeau's 'confusing' fire zone-blitz defense. Neither was the case last season, ranking near the bottom half of the league in +turnover ratio.
Fast forward to the year 2012 and the Steelers defense picked up right where they left off.
Ranked #7 in total defense, the Steelers defense by the numbers in forcing the turnover are actually worse off than they were a season ago. That's alarming. The number one thing I looked at coming into this season was to anticipate the return of forcing the turnover. Mix that fabrication in with the Steelers offense controlling the clock to what seems to be TRIPLING opposing teams (35:58 on average per game) this team should nearly be unbeatable.
The Steelers walked into halftime with the lead in all 3 contests thus far, only to see 2nd half defensive collapse's that has resulted into an 1-2 record. With the numbers being weaker than last season's totals (which were ALREADY weak as it is for an all around Steelers defensive unit) the Steelers could only hope for a turnaround or else the Steelers offensive efforts (77 total points) will seemingly be all for nothing.
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