Keith Butler Says Defense Needs To Count By Threes, Not Sevens

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense did the defense no favors with two turnovers but Keith Butler would like to see his group respond to the challenge. A difficult task, there’s no debate about it, but when you’re a unit with eyes on a Lombardi, that’s the standard.

“We were in field position that wasn’t great a couple times,” Butler told Missi Matthews in this week’s Coordinator’s Corner. “They had two interceptions, they scored a touchdown on one, the other one they got three points on. When they get turnovers like that, we gotta make sure they go up by threes, not go up by sevens.”

It’s that “sudden change” element Mike Tomlin has harped on for several years, right up there with red zone performance and overall physical conditioning. When the Steelers win in those areas, they win games. Simple as that.

It’s the POOTOS we’ve often talked about on this site. Part of that means the offense has to eliminate turnovers, but the other element is the defense rising to that occasion. It creates a momentum shift for the offense to raise their level and the cycle trickles down.

“We’ve gotta make sure they don’t get seven points. They only get three points,” Butler stressed.

And that difficulty isn’t going to go away in the playoffs with the response being even more valuable.

“We’re going to get that type of turmoil and we gotta respond to it better than we did.”

Look no further than the Steelers two playoff outcomes last year. In their win, they marched the ball down the field for a game-winning field goal off a Jeremy Hill fumble. The Bengals faltered, as has become their MO, and the defense didn’t rise up.

The Steelers’ defense did similar in the game that bounced them, the loss to the Denver Broncos. After Fitzgerald Toussaint’s fumble, the Broncos marched down the field to take the lead for good. Bad moment. Bad response.

Those type of responses will have to be different this year if the team wants to advance in a pretty open playoff field.

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