This past Sunday at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense managed to hold the league’s top scoring offense in the Arizona Cardinals to just 13 points. During a Thursday interview on Steelers Nation Radio, Missi Matthews asked Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler to comment on what that accomplishment says about his unit.
“I think they’re tenacious, I do,” said Butler. “They want to be good. We try to do everything we can to put them in a position to help them be successful. They study the game, it’s important to them and this week coming up is going to be a tough test for them in Kansas City. My job is to make sure they know that and that they’re ready for it.”
Despite linebacker James Harrison saying on Tuesday that the defense’s goal every week is to shut out their opponent, Butler knows that’s not likely to be an achievable one. However, he did reveal that his goal is to prevent opponents from scoring more than 17 points in a game and more importantly why.
“Well, it’s been averaged over the years that if you do that, you’ll be in the top-ten of defenses in the league and if we can do that, hold people to 17 points, it gives our offense a chance more than 17, then we got a pretty good chance of winning,” Butler said.
Currently the Steelers defense is close to that 17 point per game average as they enter Week 7 with an average of 18, good for fifth-best in the league. Last season, they allowed 23 points per game on average and 23.1 the year before, just to give you some perspective on that number.
The Steelers defense has had their share of problems at times so far this season when it comes to missed tackles but in the Sunday win over the Cardinals they showed remarkable improvement in that area. Butler certainly noticed it.
“I thought it was a lot better, I really did, said Butler. “I thought the guys really tackled well in this game. We had one pass play across the middle to Larry Fitzgerald that we didn’t tackle very well in that situation, but other than that, we did a good job of what we call tackling the catch, meaning as soon as they caught it we tackled them and got them on the ground.”