Steelers Secondary Remains Unscathed, But For How Long?

The current state of affairs for the Pittsburgh Steelers may seem to be playing out like an episode of the twilight zone for some. With all the surprises and twists that have flooded the team in such a short time span, it’s obvious to see why many scratching their head.

The juggernaut high speed offense that many expected has been stuck in neutral for majority of the season. The stout defensive front seven has been abused to the tone of two 200-yard rushing performances in the last three weeks. And the questionable secondary that many worried about in the offseason has been holding their own.

That’s not a typo, through five weeks of the season, the Steelers’ secondary unit has flown under the radar and emerged as the team’s strong point. Of course, much of the reason why the secondary play has flown under the radar has been because of how poor the other units have performed to date but through five weeks, the Steelers’ secondary remains at the top of its class.

The Steelers have allowed the third fewest receptions (41) and fewest yardage (417) to receivers this season. During their two losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears, the Steelers’ defense allowed just seven receptions to receivers which equates to the same number of receptions opposing defenses have nabbed off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

When it comes to quarterbacks, the secondary has once again held their ground, limiting opposing quarterbacks to a league best 820 passing yards and just three touchdowns – tied for second fewest in the NFL.

Now while the question of whether the Steelers improved pass defense is the result of the run defense being exposed, thus eliminating the need to pass or the additions of cornerbacks Joe Haden and Mike Hilton remains to be seen. But the answer cannot be evaded much longer.

Though the Steelers have side stepped elite quarterback play so far this season, that will come to an end Sunday. Awaiting the Steelers this Sunday are the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, led by quarterback Alex Smith.

Saying that Smith has been perfect through the Chiefs’ first five games this season would not be a far stretch. The Chiefs quarterback currently has 11 touchdown passes to zero interceptions and his 125.8 passer rating leads the NFL. For comparison’s sake, Smith’s passer rating is exactly 50 points higher than the Steelers’ own Roethlisberger.

With a trip to Kansas City in the books, the Steelers’ secondary will finally face the heat from the NFL’s best. For five weeks, the secondary has witnessed their teammates take heavy fire, remaining unscathed but now the call for duty has been ordered. And with the Steelers drifting at an uncomfortable 3-2, the time for the secondary to prove their worth could not have come at a better date.

About the Author

Daniel Valente

Steelers fan from birth, spending majority of my free time looking up statistics. Had the honor of meeting Mike Vanderjagt shortly after his infamous missed field goal in the 2005 Divisional Round. Currently pursuing a Journalism degree. Follow me on Twitter @StatsGuyDaniel

  • Dan

    Any articles coming up to fuel some optimism for us fans? It’s been a tough week and it’s only Tuesday.

  • AndyR34

    Well, Daniel…there’s the kiss of death!

  • BB

    Most of the talk shows in Pittsburgh talked about DRAMA QUEENS all week
    This is where liberalism is really bad

  • AndyR34

    Hey…we are 3-2 and leading the AFCN…what’s not to be optimistic about??? Oh, wait…

  • dany

    I think they will continue the good play. No clue whether they win this one though. Just gotta feeling it wont be close, either way

  • Hec

    I don’t believe any us who expresses our pessimistic views or negative criticisms of the players we are rooting for truly wants to believe in the latter. Although, we know in our hearts and mind that one day their playing careers will eventually come to an end. But, I truly believe that even the best of them need a kick in the rear at one point in time or the other. Players are humans the have their moments, as well. I don’t think Ben has lost “it” yet. I know he is physically capable of playing a few more years. But times like these makes us question does he mentally still wants “it”? So, as fans we want to know who are we rooting for? A winner who refuse to give up at the peak of his career, or a has been champion who’s best days are behind him!

    If I had the opportunity to tell Ben personally at this moment in time what I thought. It would be that his ride isn’t over just yet. There is still plenty of threads in them tires, and to enjoy the best part of his drive until that rubber meets the road because when it’s over there’s no coming back…………

    Here’s personal side of me that many of you strange people or fans alike may not know about. At the age of 14 I was a victim of violence and was left paralyzed. I was an athletic kid and enjoyed playing baseball, football, and many other things in life that I can’t enjoy in the same manner today. Sports is truly one way I use to get away from the grind of the days. Man, I hate it whenever my favorite teams lose or play terrible. I want my teams to go undefeated every year. I want them to play flawless, pitch a perfect game, and a complete shutout. I hate to hear them awful chants by other sour graped fans (like myself, by the way) taking shots at my teams when their down. Man, inside that truly irks the heck out of me. Reality is, those are things I have to get over on the next day because the life of fan is not as perfect, nor are the teams I’m rooting for. But there is just one thing I ask for, as a fan? Do Not try to Kill the passion I have for the teams I’m rooting for every year! Although, they may seem unrealistic to you these are my own expectations for the teams I invest my time cheering for year in and year out!

  • SfSteeler

    it does help the stat line when we’ve played 4 of the worst 7 QBs in football

  • gdeuce

    can’t control who you play, at least they’re not giving up 300+ yards to those 4 QBs

  • Daniel Valente

    If I learned anything about the Steelers over the course of the years, its that they play great ball when their backs are against the wall and everyone counts them out.

  • walter

    We play better against good teams

  • Jim McCarley

    Why shouldn’t the secondary play well against teams that don’t have a need to pass the ball….Jags threw ONE pass in the second half. We should judge the defense as a whole and never give credit to a losing team….

  • falconsaftey43

    For perspective here are their overall defensive rankings with 2016’s rankings in ().
    7th (12th) in total yards
    3rd (17th) in yards per play
    8th (15th) in turnovers
    6th (15th) in turnover rate
    6th (11th) in 1st downs allowed
    1st (12th) in scoring%
    11th (12th) in TDs
    3rd (12th) in points per drive
    9th (8th) in TDs of at least 50+ yards