Rankings Be Damned – Steelers Defense Still Lacks Splash

The next time Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor decides to do an interview, I sure hope he leaves defensive rankings and stats out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Taylor as both a player and an individual, but the primitive rankings narrative has run its course.

When the week one games are completed Monday night, there is a good chance the Steelers defense will be ranked in the top five or better in the league as far as total yards go. And while their 2.7 yards per run average allowed looks great on paper, the Tennessee Titans 12 play, 49-yard drive that ended with a Jackie Battle touchdown run from three yards out right before halftime says otherwise.

On that drive, the Titans ran the ball 11 times for 41 yards, and they converted not only a third and short on the drive but a fourth and short as well.

The Steelers failure to create turnovers and multiple sacks in a game has now carried over into the 2013 season, and while there were a few opportunities to have some of both on Sunday, the sack by LaMarr Woodley was it against the Titans.

If the ineptitude of the Steelers offense continues until Heath Miller and Le’Veon Bell are ready to play, and there is no reason right now to think that it won’t, a bend but don’t break performance by the defense will only result in another 8-8 record or worse.

Today’s NFL, as far as defenses go, is all about splash plays and those are plays that the Steelers defense continues to fail to make.

Primitive defensive rankings and stats sound good in interviews, but they don’t look good when you actually watch the game. For the Steelers sake, I hope that Taylor and the rest of the defense starts understanding this pretty soon.

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