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Steelers Defense Setting the Benchmark for the Rest of the League

November 3, 2017
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Steelers Defense Setting the Benchmark for the Rest of the League

The high-flying Steelers have had a tremendous start to the season and currently have six wins from their first eight games. But it’s not the usual attacking flair and huge amount of touchdowns that have put them in this position; it’s their gritty no-nonsense defense over the past few weeks that has turned them into one of the biggest threats in the NFL.

Following Pittsburgh’s impressive 20-15 win over the Detroit Lions, the side had gone an incredible six consecutive quarters of not allowing their opposition to score a touchdown. It was an emphatic finish to the first half of what is shaping up to be a tremendous season for the club. At the halfway mark, they are currently second in the league in points allowed, yards allowed and pass defense.

The scary thing is that head coach Mike Tomlin believes that the team hasn’t hit their full potential yet. With a relatively favorable run of games for the second half of the season, they could easily turn into the most dangerous team in the competition.

As it stands at the halfway point, the New England Patriots still have a grip on the tag of favorites at +375 according to the latest odds on bet365. They are closely followed by the Philadelphia Eagles on +500, but it’s the Steelers who have moved up to third at +700, with bookies now believing that they are genuine contenders to win their seventh Super Bowl come February.

 

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers via Facebook

 

While speaking in a post-match interview after the Lions game, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier said that after allowing over 200 rushing yards in the two defeats to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears, the coach had issued his side’s defense with a challenge. Whatever Tomlin said to the players undoubtedly had a massive impact, with the side going on to win their next three games and only surrendering 170 rushing yards and letting in just 42 points.

The coach was also adamant that they improve their defense in the red zone and challenged the Steelers to produce more turnovers. The players have responded by forcing 12 turnovers so far, including seven interceptions.

Cornerback Joe Haden said that the team was relishing the opportunity to take on these new challenges set by the coach, with all the teammates pushing one another to be more locked in at the back. The defense has been the one thing that has been emphasized and worked on religiously over the past few weeks, and it seems to be paying off for them.

Last season, the Steelers came up just one game short of the big dance, going down to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game 37-17. In December, they will face New England in the regular season and it will be a good indication on where both sides are, in their quest for another Super Bowl trophy. With the way their playing at the moment, though, it looks like the Steelers may just have the squad to take it that one step further now.

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