Due to the loss of inside linebacker Larry Foote for the season and the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have a dangerous 12 personnel grouping consisting of two very talented pass catching tight ends, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense broke out their dime, or as they are calling it, the quarters package, in the loss Monday night.
This package was consisted of four safeties with Shamarko Thomas mostly playing in the slot as the nickel. In total, the Steelers used this grouping on 20 plays and it was used on third downs and inside two minutes to go in the first half.
On five of the first six third downs the Bengals faced in the first half, the dime defense did not allow a pass completion. Inside two-minutes to go in the first half, the six defensive back unit did allow four completions for 28 yards, but in it did not give up a score.
In the second half of the game, the dime was only used on three plays. Why so little? Well, it was because the defense didn’t do a good enough job on first and second down. In fact, the Bengals only faced third down and more than five yards to go four out of eight times in the second half and two of those four times was late in the game.
The Bengals offense had the ball for only five times in the second half, but three of those five drives were eight plays or longer and two ended in scores. The 14 play, 57 yards drive that ate up roughly seven minutes of clock at the beginning of the fourth quarter was the killer as it ended in a field goal.
Overall, the dime package played great and it been able to be used more in the second half, the Steelers offense more than likely would have had at least another second half possession to do something with, if not two.