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
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||46||11||10||4||71||10.1|
|New York Giants||8||21||21||16||5||63||7.9|
|New England Patriots||8||20||17||9||11||57||7.1|
|St. Louis Rams||8||24||21||8||1||54||6.8|
|Green Bay Packers||8||11||26||9||4||50||6.3|
|New Orleans Saints||7||20||13||3||6||42||6.0|
|San Diego Chargers||7||17||12||7||4||40||5.7|
|New York Jets||8||21||12||7||5||45||5.6|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||18||13||5||1||37||5.3|
|San Francisco 49ers||8||13||15||6||6||40||5.0|