Perhaps one of the biggest changes since the 2008 Steelers defense that helped Pittsburgh to their last championship is the absence of turnovers. The Steelers could force a team into interceptions and fumbles like no other team in the NFL and now they seem to struggle to get one a game.
But against the Eagles, the Steelers took advantage of poor ball carrying by Michael Vick led to two Steelers fumble recoveries, one right on the goal line that saved what ended up becoming potential game winning points. The week before against Oakland, the Steelers finally forced an interception. Not the most impressive of numbers, but going up against the stagnant offense that awaits in Tennessee, can the Steelers keep this turnover bug going?
Yes, thanks to the current personel.
If you haven’t heard yet, Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley are probably out for this week’s action against the Titans, definitely hurting the Steelers defense. Tomlin will hype “the standard is the standard” but the key for the Steelers defense to keep momentum is the play of Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison.
These two linebackers played exceptionally well Sunday and each can force the quarterback into mistakes. We all know about James Harrison’s hard hitting tendencies that lead to fines but he is also one of the best at wrapping up a quarterback in a way that forces fumbles. Timmons showed that when he can read the angels and hit the gaps, he just as ferocious as Harrison, only in the middle clogging up running lanes and coming straight at the quarterback.
The Titans should go right after the Steelers and attack through the air for a multitude of reasons that include the Steelers injuries and the continual ineffectiveness of Chris Johnson. But with a, in my opinion, washed up Matt Hasselbeck taking snaps, the Steelers should torment him like they did in the 05 Super Bowl. He doesn’t have the arm he used to and even less weapons.
If Timmons and Harrison can build off of this win, the Titans could be in for a long day and hopefully, the defense will thrive off the resulting turnovers.