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The Steelers Defense Can’t Allow The Lions Big Three To YAC All Over The Place


On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense will be asked to slow down a potent Detroit Lions passing attack that includes a wide receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Reggie Bush and tight end Brandon Pettigrew as those three players have accounted for 51.5% of the team receptions so far this year and 54.4% of the total team receiving yardage. One of the ways that can be done is by limiting the amount of yards after catch.

Through the first nine games of the season, that Lions trio of pass catchers have compiled 49% of their receiving yards after the catch with an average yardage after the catch of 6.37.

Bush is the most dangerous of the bunch after the catch as 323 of his 343 receiving yards have come post reception. If you do the math on that, you will see that’s 94% of his yardage and a 9.4 yard average post catch.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau always preaches to his defense that they must tackle the catch quickly and several times this season his unit has had problems carrying out that mandate.

Last week in the win over the Buffalo Bills, the defense allowed a mere 2.91 yards after the catch, but a week earlier in the loss to the New England Patriots, they allowed an average of 6.04. As a team this season, the Steelers defense has allowed an average YAC of 4.49.

When we look back on this game Sunday evening, the YAC stat might paint a pretty good picture as to what happened. Johnson, Bush and Pettigrew aren’t going to be shut down, but by limiting their yards after the catch, that will extend the length of the field and perhaps limit the amount of trips the Lions offense makes inside the Steelers red zone. One less scoring drive could very well wind up being the difference in this game.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    Should be interesting to see how the Steelers defend these explosive players for the Lions. Megatron is going to get his receptions, Steelers just have to stay discipline in their coverage and don’t give up the big play. They did a good job keeping everything in front of them last week, but granted this will be more of a test this week.

  • steeltown

    There’s no way we shut them down like Buffalo a week ago, the only thing we can do is try to limit the big plays and hopefully limit their redzone effectiveness and on the other side hope that A.Brown and Cotchery can continue their stellar play and hopefully score some TDs.. not FGs

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    We don’t really need to shut them down, but simply slow them down. Their offensive line is very good best in the NFL. I would look for the big nickle package 75% of the game. And bracket coverage on CJ. It will be a tough matchup last time they played he was knocked out of the game early.

  • Eric

    The best way to limited them is a ball control offense that eats up lots of clock, scores, and keeps them off the field. I haven’t seen that for quite a while.

  • dgh57

    Only way we win this game is if we quadruple team Megatron!

    No seriously, the catchphrase, “you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” is about the best we can hope for with Megatron and should be the 1st line of defense vs. the Lions.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Lions can be prone to turning the ball over this defense has to find a way to make that happen. Forcing fumbles or picking passes to limit their possessions. I just don’t see how they match up with the weapons at the Lions’ disposal. This one could be very ugly.

    Turnovers = a snowball’s chance

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Good point, but the Lion’s D gives up yards, but gets a crapload of turnovers to make up for it.

    And Doom makes a good point. Would you like to know why the O-Line is so good despite starting 2 rookies and a 2nd year player? Well I’ll tell you. 90% of the time, Stafford gets rid of the ball quickly, timing patterns and lots of dump offs. This keeps them moving down the field, while putting less pressure on the line. When you start getting frustrated and cheat a bit, Boom! Over the top, or an easy pass to Calvin in single coverage.

    I know, I know. They have Calvin, who will sometimes go up and get it against 3 guys. But seriously, these guys score even when Megatron has a near normal day.

    You listening Ben? Yup, you could learn from Stafford. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but I distinctly remember an interesting rumor from several years ago. So Ben is going to get suspended and the rumor was some sort of a trade with Detroit for Stafford. Do you guys remember that?

    Okay, so that’s 2 more post you guys can write. Your welcome.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I think we have the horses to match up but that was my thought against the Pats as well.

  • Alan Felicia

    So you’re saying you would rather have Stafford over Roethlisberger? Really? How many playoff games has Stafford won?

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Stafford has not had many opportunities for play-off wins yet. If the back end of their D gets better, he will get some chances in the future.

    Well, Alan, I was just sort of asking the question because it would make for a great conversation. And, yes, I would take Stafford over Ben. I hate saying that without qualifying it. I need to be brief as I am running here. The D won the first SB victory with Ben as a Steeler, along with a few timely trick plays.

    We definitely have to thank Ben for the win over Arizona. He showed leadership in his words of encouragement to the O line and between him and Santonio Holmes they pulled it out of the fire.

    Stafford is quite good and could be great. He hits his WR’s in stride, like some of the others (Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning). Something Ben lacks, to say the least. How do you think some of these short passes turn into big plays? Great timing and leading the receivers in full stride. I could mention a few other things, but don’t have time at the moment.

    Have fun.

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    Thank You

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    Pretty easy to do with a very good offensive line and a 6-4 wr who runs routes like he is 5″10

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    Worst comment of the day.

  • Riverstko

    We cant let the lions throw all over the field like the pats did. The Defense must play more aggressive and scare stafford, CBs play up, use 3 safeties on the field RC and Allen can play deep and have Troy roam.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Worst comment of the day? Coming from you? I consider that an honor! But seriously, do you think all these great QB’s all have weapons that are vastly better than the Steelers? I, for one, agree 100% with Ben when he says he wants a big target at WR. It’s a passing league, but they let the DB’s get a way with a little more, so the little guys get interfered with on occasion and they let it go. The big solid guys get bumped but still come down with the ball, just like Heath at times.

    But seriously, these guys get the ball out of their hands quick for the most part. I’m talking Brady, Peyton, Aaron and even Stafford. Do you truly believe that they all just throw the ball better than Ben? Nope, that’s not it. Some think quicker, some act quicker, and still others spend the off-season in shorts working on timing with their WR’s (Peyton last summer).

    If I were Ben I would say to myself something like this: “Money will never be an issue. I have the rest of my life to enjoy, with my family, etc. I can golf until I’m 90. I think I will keep my salary low and try to win more championships like other great Steelers. I’m going to pour over film, practice in the off season with my guys until we’ve got it down pat. Then I will try to stay upright for the good of the team most of the time. I bet we win a lot more games that way, especially if the D starts playing a little better.”

    Unfortunately, Ben won’t even listen to his coaches for the most part. And I’m not saying never use any of his suggestions. I like the no-huddle at times to take advantage of mismatches.

    You don;t have to believe me about other QB’s. Watch for yourself how they know when to gamble and try to make a perfect throw for a TD. And yet other times they throw the ball low and away to the sidelines, where only their WR can make a play on it, with no chance of a pick six.

    I have made countless good points. You have made 1 about Megatron. How about all the other guys with injured O lines, young O lines, and some with WR s that are not that great. Anyway, that’s why I would take the younger Stafford over Ben.

    I know as far as debating, it is not much of a fair fight, but give it your best shot.

  • Steve

    The best we can hope for is that Calvin be out this game.

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