With the second quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season now behind us, it’s time for us to hand out some awards to players for their play in the last four games. After already handing out our offensive awards for the second quarter of the season, we’ll now address the defensive side of the football.
Defensive MVP – Cameron Heyward – I’m doubting many of you will argue that defensive end Cameron Heyward isn’t worthy of winning this award based on his play in the Steelers last four games. The defensive leader registered 10 total tackles, a sack, a pass defensed and 15 total hurries during the second quarter of the season. Oh, by the way, he also blocked a 42-yard field goal try by the Cincinnati Bengals late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game to temporarily preserve the Steelers slim lead. Heyward also played all but 30 defensive plays in the last four games and all but 7 in the Steelers last two games.
Defensive MVP Honorable Mention – James Harrison – So far this season, and especial in the last four games, Father Time has fallen a few steps behind outside linebacker James Harrison. So much for linebacker coach Joey Porter trying to keep Harrison under 25 snaps a game this season as the old man has played 30 or more in the last four games which is 56.4% of all the defensive snaps in the second quarter of the season. Harrison registered 8 total tackles, a sack, 3 quarterback hits and 12 hurries in the Steelers last four games. Additionally, according to our game charting, opposing offenses have averaged just 2.57 yards per carry on rushes to the right side in the last four games when Harrison was on the field.
Biggest Disappointment – Lawrence Timmons – While Father Time may have lost a few steps on Harrison over the course of the last four weeks, it certainly looked like he gained some ground on veteran inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Timmons was at the center of two back-to-back explosive plays late in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with one being a run and another a pass on a key third down in the game. While he hasn’t been awful in these last four games, Timmons certainly isn’t the same player that he was last season.
Biggest Improvement – Robert Golden – After veteran safety Will Allen went down early in the Week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers, former undrafted safety Robert Golden stepped right in and has played well. Golden has started the last three games for the season and his best showering came in the Week 6 win over the Arizona Cardinals. With Allen now looking like he might return this week, Golden deserves to remain in the starting lineup.
Surprising Stat – Ryan Shazier – While inside linebacker Ryan Shazier has already missed several games to a shoulder/neck injury this season, he has played well when he’s been on the field. In fact, for the season, opposing offenses have rushed for only 2.98 yards per carry on runs that Shazier has been on the field for.
If you missed the first quarter of the season defensive awards, you can read them right here.