The two ingredients to winning in the ultimate statistic – points allowed – are sacks and turnovers.
Mission accomplished for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense Sunday night.
We’ve already heard from Ben Roethlisberger, heaping on credit to the Steelers’ defense for stepping up. A defense that harassed Matt Hasselbeck, sacking him five times, and picking him off twice. The individuals on the defense know how important this game was, too.
“We just detailed our work,” safety Will Allen told the media in the locker room after the team’s 45-10 win. “We learned from our mistakes last week. That’s what we gotta keep doing. Learning from our mistakes and detailing our work. If we can do that and get pressure up front like we did, it makes our defense complete.”
Allen was part of that pressure, registering a sack. It was his second of the season, the first two he’s had in his long NFL career.
“The dam started to break in the second half with Deebo getting three sacks in one quarter,” Cam Heyward told reporters. “We knew if we applied pressure early on and made them rush a couple of throws, we’d be successful.”
Getting the Colts in third and long and unlike last week, getting off the field, was a huge factor, too. Brandon Boykin’s interception is one of several examples. The Colts were in 3rd and 15, Hasselbeck forcing a pass. William Gay trapped the throw, tipping it, and Boykin cleaning things up.
And the defense was fully aware of how critical this game was. A loss to the Colts would reduce the Steelers’ playoff chances to practically zero after the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills won yesterday afternoon. With the win, the Steelers are still in the hunt, the 7th seed behind the Jets.
“This was a playoff type game for us. They really all are playoff games for us moving forward,” Mike Mitchell said.
Mitchell had a quiet day but that in a large sense is a good thing. The safeties weren’t asked to make any difficult plays or open field tackles well downfield. When the game meant something, the Colts really only had one splash play – a long screen pass to Frank Gore that was heavily aided by some shoddy tackling.