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Steelers Pass Defense Has Made Strides, But Run Defense Suffered Against Chiefs

The shoulder injury suffered by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger certainly is the top story right now, but now that we have some clarity as to what it actually is, we can now move on to other topics.

One of those topics should be the play of the Steelers pass defense in the last four games. Sure, all four of those games only saw them face one upper tier quarterback in the form of Eli Manning, but this same pass defense didn\’t fare so well earlier in the season against the likes of Matt Hasselbeck and Carson Palmer, both of whom are considered middle of the road quarterbacks at this stage in their careers.

In the last four games the Steelers pass defense has allowed a completion rate of 45.1%. There were certainly a few dropped passes included in there, but also a few nicely defensed passes as well. In addition to that stat, teams have averaged just 4.96 yards per attempt and have thrown 3 interceptions compared to just 2 touchdowns over the course of those four games. In the first five games of the season the defense only picked off 2 passes while allowing 9 touchdown passes.

The defense as a whole has allowed only 12 conversions on 3rd downs out of 48 attempts (25%) during the last four games. Prior to that they had allowed a 49% conversion on 3rd downs. That is an amazing turnaround regardless of who they faced.

A negative? Sacks have been down, but consistent pressure seems to be up.

Should Roethlisberger indeed be out for an extended period of time, the Steelers will need this strong third down defensive effort to continue should they have hopes of beating the Baltimore Ravens, who they play twice over the course of the next three weeks. Head coach Mike Tomlin mentioned as recently as today that the defense was moving in the right direction and hopefully it continues.

While everything is rosey right now as far as the pass defense is concerned, the defense did allow the Kansas City Chiefs to rush for a season high 142 yards Monday night. You can bet that the Ravens will try to exploit this with running back Ray Rice Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers pride themselves in stopping the run first and it will not matter which direction that the pass defense is moving in if they allow the Ravens to shorten the field, and the game for that matter, by running the ball down the Steelers throat.

PASS DEFENSE LAST 4 GAMES
TEAMYDSATTCOMPCOMP %YPAINTTDSACKS3rd %
CIN105281450.0%3.7511038.5%
WAS177351645.7%5.0601125.0%
NYG125241041.7%5.2110220.0%
KC154261142.3%5.9210215.4%
TOT5611135145.1%4.9632525.0%
PASS DEFENSE FIRST 5 GAMES
TEAMYDSATTCOMPCOMP %YPAINTTDSACKS3rd %
DEN253261973.1%9.7302255.6%
NYJ138271037.0%5.1101233.3%
OAK209342470.6%6.1513158.3%
PHI175302066.7%5.8302340.0%
TEN290442556.8%6.5911356.3%
TOT10651619860.9%6.61291149.2%
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