Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Little Late for "Redemption Week" For Pittsburgh's Run Defense

Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports


This week is redemption week, … Let’s get that bad taste out of our mouth with that loss, letting a team run the ball on us. We are going to go out there and get the job done.

-Steve McLendon (, Teresa Varley)


Wow, I wish this type of determination and confidence was put on display after the Steelers’ embarrassing opening day loss to the Titans. Tennessee racked up 112 yards on the ground versus Pittsburgh’s defense, and their offensive line completely dominated at the point of attack for much of the afternoon.

Of course, Pittsburgh’s run-defense woes did not end after being bested by Tennessee.

In fact, the team’s front-seven have largely been bested in the trenches for much of the year by almost all of their opponents. As un-Steeler-like as it sounds, Pittsburgh ranks 31st overall in rushing yards allowed per game (131.3) and they saved their worst performance of the 2013 season for last weekend against New England.

The Patriots pounded the Steelers for 197 yards on the ground in Foxborough and it looked like many of Pittsburgh’s defenders said “no mas” on LeGarrette Blount’s final touchdown run which made the score 55-31 in the fourth quarter.

At this point, concepts like “pride” and “passion” are the only things which Pittsburgh’s defenders can redeem. This team is essentially “out” when it comes to the AFC postseason chase at 2-6, and they have appeared to only regress as the season has progressed.

I just hope that McLendon and the rest of Pittsburgh’s defensive line are ready for a ground-heavy attack from Buffalo this weekend. As poorly as Pittsburgh’s run defense has been this fall, Buffalo’s offense has found quite a bit of success on the ground during their 3-6 start.

Not only are the Bills ranked third in the league in rushing yards per game (145.8) and possess a tremendous duo at running back with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, they will likely give the Steelers’ defense a steady diet of the run since rookie EJ Manuel will be suiting up at quarterback for the first time since he injured his knee against the Browns at the beginning of October.

I guess that Pittsburgh’s front-seven could “redeem” themselves by giving up only 50 points against the Bills or only surrendering 190 rushing yards.  I mean, those would technically count as improvements from a statistical standpoint, right?

As much faith as I have that Pittsburgh’s defense can improve since there is nowhere for them to go but “up,” I did say the same thing after the disaster in Oakland and they proceeded to crap the bed last weekend in Foxborough. Then again, I won’t complain if the Steelers “totally redeem themselves” against the run against the Bills.

It will just sadly be nine weeks too late for this team.




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Tags: Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller Cameron Heyward Fred Jackson Pittsburgh Steelers Steve McLendon

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