Steelers Defense Needs To Start Making A Bigger Splash

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now seven games into their 2012 season and the one thing that they lack more than anything is splash plays on defense.

If you pull out the kneel downs by opposing quarterbacks that the Steelers have faced so far this year, you come up with only 15 plays that the defense has registered a loss on. Now I use an adjusted number for my thrown for loss stats as I remove the sacks and the kneel downs from the regular TFL numbers. The sacks are removed so I can show those separately as a splash play and kneel downs are removed for obvious reasons.

As you can see in the table below, the Steelers have only managed a total of 7 turnovers this year to go along with just 11 sacks. When you add those numbers to the TFL number, you get 33 splash plays that the defense has managed to register so far this season. That ties the Indianapolis Colts for last in the league. Their average splash play per game number is a dismal 4.7.

These splash play numbers have to improve going forward. The Steelers offense is certainly good enough to win games, but the defense is still not helping out like they should. Sure, they aren\’t allowing explosive plays, and are ranked first in passing yards allowed per game, but just a little more splash could have this team undefeated right now.

Consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback is key for a Dick LeBeau run defense as it often leads to turnovers via a sack or a forced pass for an interception. The lack of pressure and splash is going on two seasons now.

LeBeau needs to find a way to start getting more splash out of the defense as soon as this week against the New York Giants, or the Steelers will likely be coming home with their fourth loss of the season.

Splash Plays Through Week 8

TeamGAMESTFLSACKSINTFRSPLSPL/G
Tampa Bay Buccaneers746111047110.1
Chicago Bears71623165608.6
Atlanta Falcons72419107608.6
New York Giants82121165637.9
Arizona Cardinals8212686617.6
Minnesota Vikings8272347617.6
Baltimore Ravens7261276517.3
Cincinnati Bengals7222134507.1
Detroit Lions7261734507.1
New England Patriots82017911577.1
Houston Texans7152194497.0
Miami Dolphins7162282486.9
Denver Broncos7181974486.9
St. Louis Rams8242181546.8
Philadelphia Eagles728971456.4
Buffalo Bills7161765446.3
Green Bay Packers8112694506.3
Tennessee Titans8311162506.3
Seattle Seahawks8182172486.0
New Orleans Saints7201336426.0
Oakland Raiders7231054426.0
Carolina Panthers7112064415.9
Cleveland Browns81118107465.8
San Diego Chargers7171274405.7
New York Jets8211275455.6
Dallas Cowboys7171336395.6
Kansas City Chiefs7181351375.3
Washington Redskins81213106415.1
San Francisco 49ers8131566405.0
Jacksonville Jaguars719744344.9
Indianapolis Colts7151521334.7
Pittsburgh Steelers7151134334.7

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

    While I agree that the Steelers have lacked the splash plays that we would all love to see, I think your league stats are skewed by the fact the Steelers are first in the league in Opponents plays per game and second in the league in Offensive time of possession. I suspect that their numbers would look more respectable as a percentage of overall opponents plays.

  • TJimmy

    It is not Lebeau. Steelers miss Aaron smith and younger Hampton/keisel stuffing the run game. When you make the opponents one dimensional that allows Lebeau to blitz more which forces more qb fumbles and ints

    Couple that with a decrease in Harrison impact and you have fewer splashes on D

  • Pete

    It makes sense we’re lacking splash plays when you have Troy out, Harrison just getting back and still not back to 100%. Even Woodley has lost time due to injuries. Health has a lot to do with it. Unfortunately, the depth at these positions is not talented enough to replace these key players. The splash plays will come when these guys get healthy.

  • walter mason

    We need to draft better on defense. I never thought I would see a Steeler team thin at linebacker.