We didn’t do a good job of making them one-dimensional by stopping the run and forcing the pass and allowing us to get some pressure on the quarterback, … It starts with all of us guys, … We gotta do a better job of stopping the run up front to put our secondary in better position.
Known for employing defenses which are stout against the run and tough in the trenches, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has been a “Swiss cheese-like” unit this year when opposing offenses have gone to their respective ground attacks. As Woodley alluded to above, the unit’s inability to stop the run has hurt the team immensely this fall.
Exactly how porous has Pittsburgh’s run defense been through their first nine games?
Wrap your minds around the following statistics, “Steeler Nation:”
- 20th in yards per carry allowed (4.2)
- 31st in rushing yards allowed per game (131.3)
- 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed (12)
Whether it has been poor tackling, losing battles in the trenches, or taking bad angles to opposing ball-carriers, Pittsburgh’s run defense has been an unmitigated disaster this fall. Yesterday, New England’s ground attack barreled over the Steelers’ defense for 197 yards on 35 carries and three touchdowns.
Stevan Ridley totaled 115 yards and two scores, LeGarratte Blount added 47 more and a score of his own, while Brandon Bolden logged 36 yards on only three carries. Pittsburgh’s defense front was pushed around and manhandled at the point of attack for much of the game, and the Patriots’ offensive line opened up gaping holes for their running backs.
Losing in the trenches is a recipe for disaster for any defense, and the ineffective and inconsistent front-seven have hurt the Steelers during this rebuilding campaign. The losses of Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, and the declines of Brett Keisel and Larry Foote have hurt this team in recent seasons, and the issues are rearing their ugly heads this fall.
Unless competent answers to their current problems can emerge soon, Pittsburgh’s opponents will continue to feast on the front-seven and dominate at the point of attack.
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