Steelers Defense Didn’t Allow An Explosive Play For The First Time This Season

Explosive plays have killed the Pittsburgh Steelers defense this season, but in their Sunday night win over the Cincinnati Bengals, they didn’t allow any plays of 20 yards or more and that was the first time that’s been accomplished all season.

The Bengals had two plays good for 19 yards, but the rest went for 13 yards or less. During his talk with the media on Thursday, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau talked about having to stop explosive plays.

“We have given up many more big plays than we’re certainly used to seeing around here,” said LeBeau. “That’s been our strength for years and years, and until we cut them out of the defense, we’re still going to have those same problems.”

After the game, safety Ryan Clark also talked about the defensive effort when it came to not allowing big plays.

“We really focused on the big play,” Clark said. “When you have guys like (wide receiver) A.J. Green, (running back) Giovani Bernard, that’s the way they get the ball down the field. They get big chunks and then they get into the end zone, so stopping that was huge for us.”

It certainly helped Sunday night that the Steelers jumped out to a 24-0 lead as it made the Bengals a bit more predictable because of their need to abandon the run. You still hate to see them give up touchdowns on the two long fourth quarter drives, but you could tell that the big emphasis at that time was to make them earn it underneath while eating up clock time in the process.

No, the defense wasn’t without it’s faults Sunday night, but at least the Bengals offense wasn’t getting yardage in chunks.


    Seems we played far more base defense last night than we have been. Troy got to play true Safety and we saw the emergence of Al Woods, with pretty solid play by Garvin/Williams. Could it be that even though John Mitchell highly touted McLendon at NT that LeBeau thought otherwise? Instead of Larry Foote’s injury being the reason for so much use of the sub-packages, maybe it was LeBeau not trusting McLendon at NT? Can’t wait to see Heyward and McLendon at DE with Woods or Nix at NT, although Ziggy had a pretty decent game last night. (For a 3rd round pick)

  • John Hinton

    After watching last night, as a fan you can’t help but think, “what could have been”…as THAT was more indicative of the play we all expected to see this season.

  • SteelersDepot

    McLendon has played a lot better than you give him credit for. The reason we saw so much base and nickel last night was because of Bengals use of two tight end sets.


    Thanks, Dave. Nowhere in my comment did I say that I believed McLendon wasn’t playing well; I merely raised a hypothetical in the hope that a better mind than mine could provide some elucidation. I knew you would rise to the task.

  • 20Stoney

    Al Woods had a nice game from what I could tell. Coach Mitchell can really turn these guys into players. He really kinda flys under the radar.

  • Rick M

    This is raining on the parade, but last night’s game didn’t proven much of anything to me. Cincinnati were flatter than a pancake for 2 1/2 quarters and looked like they were reading their press clippings. They just didn’t appear motivated or anywhere near ready to play.

    Now if we beat the Packers – a team that desperately needs to win – in Green Bay, I’ll be the first to lead the cheering!

  • RyanW

    While in terms of yards it wasnt explosive id say Ryan Clark giving up a touchdown on 4th down was pretty explosive. As much as ive enjoyed having Clark on the team over the years hes continuing to be more and more of a liability in coverage. They shouldve put Cortez or even Ike out there on that play.

  • DrakePirate

    I too have been a fan of Clark over the years, but sadly I hope this is his last year … I would go so far to say he has been our BIGGEST liability on Defense All YEAR long …

  • Jazz

    McClendon is better suited to play DE, why the hell is AL Woods on the bench? Give the kid some reps! They didn’t know what Worilds could do until someone was injured. Enough of this crap Tomlin! It’s time Tomlin does a much better evaluation of the talent he has on that team, stop becoming infactuated with the starters,

  • Jason

    I have no idea how the D performed so well with our awesome $61 million OLB on the bench nursing yet another calf injury. (sarcasm)

  • sean mcmartin

    Tomlin does have a love affair for certain players.Why is felix jones even playing?

  • HopalongCassidy

    For some reason, the Steelers seem to play better D against their divisional opponents. Perhaps it’s just from familiarity. It just seems like there is more intensity on D in those games. I can’t quite figure it out.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I agree. MCLendon has played well. He will never be a superstar nose tackle but for an undersize guy, he rarely was a problem. As someone said below the Bengals looked out of it from the start.

    This is the first game that I thought we actually out physical the other team….in the first half. This has been sorely missing for the last two years. Needless to say, there are some serious fools gold in this game. Here’s a few:

    Special Teams made some big plays (2 plays that lead to TDs and Sweezie kicking). However, if you really look at the coverage on kickoffs and punts, it was poor all around.

    Offense seem to have the best day with being able to drive the ball on Cincy’s stout defense. However, they were missing some key guys on defense and the special teams gave them 14 points.

    The biggest fools gold is the defense. Clearly it looks like they held Cincy in check but if you watch the game, there were tons of drop balls by them. Because they got down they stopped running the ball. The defense at times looked like they couldn’t tackle in the second half and when they made quick throws, they moved the ball at will.

    Couple of players that looked bad. Clark has got to go. Can’t tackle and can’t cover. Pola looks good but he clearly can’t cover. Ike is spotty. Looks great sometimes and horrible at others. That backfield will be thoroughly tested this coming Sunday.

    I expect them to get lit up like a Christmas tree with Rodgers dying to comeback. Superbowl rematch with even a worse result.

  • greeny

    I agree. Woods seems better suited as a NT. Need to keep Worilds regardless of cap issues……Woodley is dead money anyway being active on the roster and giving us 5 solid games a year.

  • walter mason


  • walter mason

    Didnt mean much to me either. Myself I dont care if we win at this point. Playoff hopes are not realistic. We could use a higher draft pic. Next year is more important.

    I cant help but think about Tomlin congratulating Saunders after his fine play to make a first down. Its too little too late Tomlin! Where was Saunders when it really counted?

    At this point Tomlin is playing for his job. I dont care at this point about Tomlins job. Lets hope for next year.

  • walter mason

    Unfortunately rule changes have hurt heavy hitters like Clark.

  • DrakePirate

    Yesss they have !