Why register with the Steelers Fever Forums?
 • Intelligent and friendly discussions.
 • It's free and it's quick. Always.
 • Enter events in the forums calendar.
 • Very user friendly software.
 • Exclusive contests and giveaways.

 Donate to Steelers Fever, Click here
 Our 2014 Goal: $450.00 - To Date: $450.00 (100.00%)
 Home | Forums | Editorials | Shop | Tickets | Downloads | Contact Pittsburgh Steelers Forum Feed Not Just Fans. Hardcore Fans.

Go Back   Steelers Fever Forums > Steelers Football > Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Fever Fan Shop

Doc's Sports Get FREE NFL Picks and College Football picks as well as Football Lines like live NFL Lines and updated NFL Power Rankings all at Doc's Sports Service.

Pro Bowl
8:00PM Eastern on ESPN

Thread Tools
Old 09-28-2009, 11:06 PM   #1
A Son of Martha

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Posts: 7,976
Gender: Male
Member Number: 10438
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Steelers defense unraveling late in games


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Steelers defense unraveling late in games

By Scott Brown
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The top priority for the Steelers: finding a way, any way, to beat the visiting San Diego Chargers on Sunday and avoid a dreaded 1-3 start for the first time since the 2006 season.

What may be a close second is restoring the swagger to a defense that has been unmasked in the fourth quarter, dating to the Super Bowl in February.

In the Steelers' past four games, opposing quarterbacks have completed 73 percent of their throws in the final 15 minutes and combined for four touchdown passes.

The Steelers' inability to make a defensive stand in the fourth quarter is a big reason why they have squandered late leads in losing their past two games. And a beleaguered pass defense doesn't exactly get a bargain in Sunday's nationally televised game.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers leads the NFL with 991 passing yards.

"We know we can be in games, but right now we don't know that we can win them," Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said. "We have to fix that."

They'll likely have to do that, at least in the short term, without All-Pro strong safety Troy Polamalu.

Polamalu has missed the past two games with a sprained left knee, and there are no indications the five-time Pro Bowler will be healthy enough to play against the Chargers.

His absence has changed the complexion of a unit that ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season in passing and total defense. Clark, however, refused to use Polamalu's loss as a crutch or a rationalization for what happened late in the game in Chicago and Sunday in Cincinnati.

"We miss him, don't get me wrong, and I think he's the best at his job, but we can go out there and make those plays," Clark said. "When we were No. 1 last year, it was because 11 guys played really good football."

That group returned largely intact this season, and they have played well through the first three quarters of games.

The last 15 minutes have been a different story, as 27 of the 50 points the Steelers have allowed this season have come in the fourth quarter.

The Bengals scored 14 fourth-quarter points Sunday. The final eight came when Carson Palmer directed a 16-play, 71-yard drive that was capped with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 14 seconds left. Palmer converted the ensuing 2-point conversion with another completion in the end zone, this one to Brian Leonard.

"We knew we were going to score," Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said. "Carson said, 'When we score, we are going for two.' That's all I can remember. I was thinking that we were nowhere near the goal line."

Palmer may have spouted such bravado to inspire confidence in his teammates. But he had every reason to be confident, and it showed as he twice converted on fourth down, including once when the Bengals needed 10 yards to keep their drive alive.

Palmer's performance left a proud defense humbled and a bit bewildered.

"It's still early, but when you have a game (won) and you don't come away with the game you tend to start looking at yourself like, 'What's going on?' " said Tyrone Carter, who has been starting at strong safety in Polamalu's place. "We need to find answers. We just can't find a way to make plays and get off the field."

The Steelers have not forced a turnover in the fourth quarter this season. Their pass rush also has been lacking at a time when they need it most.

Such reality has led to questions about whether the defense is showing its age. The Steelers started six players who are over 30 years old against the Bengals.

The Steelers, to a man, dismissed such a notion. But they also acknowledged they have to stop teams from converting on third and fourth down.

"We strive to be a great defense. We strive to make those plays," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "If we don't start making them, it's going to be a long year."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
mesaSteeler is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Shoutbox provided by vBShout v6.2.1 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2015 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.0.8 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2015 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.
Navbar with Avatar by Motorradforum
no new posts