Steelers Spoil Dick LeBeau’s Return To Pittsburgh

Dick LeBeau was good to Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh was good to Dick LeBeau. Except for last night, when Pittsburgh was very, very not good to him. Or at least the Pittsburgh Steelers offense wasn’t. They put up 40 points on his Tennessee Titans’ defense, spoiling his return to the Steel City.

If it were not so good for the Steelers, I would no doubt feel worse about LeBeau’s rough night back in Pittsburgh. 40 points is the third-highest figure his defense has surrendered since he took his talents to Nashville. And they made his unit’s season rankings just that much worse, on top of it all.

Not that it was a complete disaster for him. And let’s also keep in mind that his unit was dealt a bad hand frequently because of Terry Robiskie’s offense. Four times Marcus Mariota was intercepted, and on three of those interceptions, the interceptor returned the pass to within field goal range.

Despite the fact that the Steelers frequently had short fields to work with, none of those particular trips actually ended up across the goal line. They only got field goals after the first three interceptions, and the final interception essentially sealed the game.

His defensive front seven was also able to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger pretty well throughout the night, which included a season-high three sacks allowed by the Steelers. Even then, Roethlisberger actually made some plays under pressure that he has not been doing much this year.

His stunts in particular were an effective tool in his repertoire, something that he long homed in Pittsburgh during his tenure here as defensive coordinator, where, of course, he helmed some of the greatest defenses of the free agency era, and perhaps even beyond even that.

One area in which the Titans have been good this season has been against the run, and they did limit Pittsburgh to 65 yards rushing, averaging not much more than three yards per carry. And even Roethlisberger’s 299 passes yards took 45 attempts to get.

But the ultimate goal is keeping points off the board, and by the end of the game his unit allowed four balls to cross into the end zone, on Roethlisberger’s four touchdown passes. Chris Boswell also added four field goals to complete what the kids these days call a 40-burger.

LeBeau might not quite have the talent, or the rules, that he had to work with in Pittsburgh, but he does have some good players. We saw impressive rookie Adoree’ Jackson work to hold his own against the Steelers’ receiving corps. Kevin Byard leads the league in interceptions. Jurrell Casey has blossomed since LeBeau has been there, and there are others to compliment as well.

That unit helped limit the offense to just four conversions on third down on 12 opportunities, and kept them out of the end zone on four of seven trips inside the 20-yard line. Frankly, it’s hard to win games when your offense turns it over four times, and that really puts a burden on the other side.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • pittsburghjoe

    Now that everyone see’s Lebeau is still coaching and has had a chance to see Butler as the DC, who would you rather have today? Butler or LeBeau? And WHY? I will say Butler cause it seems like teams were figuring out LeBeau’s scheme. Yes, Butler has warts… Not too shabby though.

  • Dorian James

    With respect, just about every defense we’ve faced held us to a low 3rd down and red zone %

  • #beatthepats

    Big Ben plays like that no dc is stopping him, practicing against leBeau for years had to help. And his zone defense never stops good qbs. THat being said , that adoree jackson is some player,

  • #beatthepats

    Reluctantly Butler, Lebeau would have deion sanders playing 12 yds off the reciever with a lead.

  • dany

    They didn’t hold up in the fourth quarter, yeah, but prior to that their defense was playing really well from my perspective. Holding Ben down for the most part, sacking him and pressuring him, stopping the run game overall. Mariota really killed them, and the short week, and again not holding up in the fourth quarter- Which is something we all saw the last few years with LeBeau. But overall, I’d say the defense is the strength of that team if that’s what #2 overall pick Mariota is about

  • Rocksolid20

    Sadly LeBeau’s time has passed .

  • J.

    LeBeau for me. Yeah he looked spotty towards the end but its not like they were running stars out on the D his last few years with the team. You put the team on the filed now under Lebeau and your going to see the same good results we are now under butler if not better results. Of course that’s just my humble opinion.

  • Ralph Wagner

    What’s with the pity party for Lebeau? He doesn’t coach the Steelers any more, just in case you didn’t know. His defense demonstrated why he retired (tongue in cheek) he is now the enemy when on the football field. LOL He will retire again, soon.
    Go Steelers.