Steelers 2009 Defense Compared To 2008 Defense At Half Way Point

Just as they were a year ago, the Steelers go into their 9th game of the season with a 6-2 record. The 2009 defense will not yet be confused with the 2008 unit, but things are getting better. Below are the stats after 8 games for both the 2008 and 2009 defenses. The most glaring differences is the 3rd down percentage which improved mightily versus Denver. Also the 2009 defense is giving up 1.1 yard per play more, but that 4.8 still ranks them 4th in the AFC and 7th overall. While the 2009 unit is giving up .74 more yards per carry, that number also is good for a 2nd in the AFC and a 5th overall.

While these stats do not tell the whole story, they are encouraging numbers considering the amount of time starters have missed with injury. Most noticeable the 4 games that safety Troy Polamalu missed. Had he not missed those games, the 2009 defense could be right where the 2008 unit was at this point. The schedule will shift heavily into the Steelers favor after the Bengals game this weekend, as the final 7 opponents have a combined 15-33 record for a dismal .313 winning percentage. The 2 biggest games left would be both meetings with the Baltimore Ravens and the week 15 game against the visiting Packers.

Steelers Defense20082009
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS126137
Rushing3026
Passing86103
Penalty108
3rd Down: Made/Att39/11747/111
3rd Down Pct.33.342.3
4th Down: Made/Att5/114/5
4th Down Pct.45.580.0
POSSESSION AVG.30:1827:34
TOTAL NET YARDS18732279
Avg. Per Game234.1284.9
Total Plays504474
Avg. Per Play3.74.8
NET YARDS RUSHING561563
Avg. Per Game70.170.4
Total Rushes192154
Avg. Per Attempt2.923.66
NET YARDS PASSING13121716
Avg. Per Game164.0214.5
Sacked/Yards Lost32/24223/160
Gross Yards15541876
Att./Completions280/170297/178
Completion Pct.60.759.9
Interceptions88
FUMBLES/RECOVERED11/411/5
TOUCHDOWNS1017
Rushing32
Passing69
Returns16

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.