Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau always preaches to his defense not to get beat deep and to tackle the catch quickly. While his defense only gave up one deep pass play Monday night to the Cincinnati Bengals, a 61 yard completion to tight end Tyler Eifert, the yards allowed after catch in the game is really what hurt the most.
On the 25 passes completed for 280 yards by the Bengals Monday night, the Steelers defense allowed a whopping 172 of them after the catch for a 6.88 average per reception. That’s about double what they normally allow per catch.
Eifert accounted for 37 yards after his big catch, but even removing that, the defense allowed 5.63 yards on average on the other 24 receptions.
The backbreaking play in the game was the 27-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter by Bengals running back Giovani Bernard. All 27 of those yards came after the catch and was reportedly a result of a missed defensive call by inside linebacker Kion Wilson.
When the Steelers take on the Chicago Bears Sunday night, they will face a team that has averaged 4.06 yards after the catch in their first two games. They have three primary receiving weapons on offense in wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte, who all must be wrapped up quickly after the catch. If they don’t succeed in doing that, you can expect another 20 plus points to be scored against the defense.