Devin Bush played in the sixth game of his career last night. He led the Pittsburgh Steelers with seven tackles on the night, while also recording his second interception in as many weeks, and recovering a fumble—his fourth on the year—which this time he returned for a touchdown.
He now has 52 tackles with two interceptions, four fumble recoveries, a sack, and three passes defensed. When asked about his success and how he manages it, as a player very legitimately in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year, he instead focuses on the plays he missed and on the growth of the team as a whole.
That’s how he addressed a question asked after the game last night about his own progress. “I think it’s all coming together for us as a unit”, he said. “There’s a lot of new faces there. I think week in and week out we week taking that step. We learned a lot about ourselves and how dominant we can be if we’re all on the same page”.
Bush isn’t the only new piece on this unit by any means, even if two of them were not out there last night. Prized free agent signings, inside linebacker Mark Barron and cornerback Steven Nelson, were both injured and did not play. but Minkah Fitzpatrick was only traded for a few weeks ago and has proven to be a big addition, yet one they have had to adjust to.
It does seem as though the Steelers slowly put things together more and more with each passing week on the defensive side of the ball, and provided that they can get and stay healthy, this could really be a unit that can carry the team a fair bit of the way. That doesn’t seem to be something we have been able to say for about a decade.
They dominated the Los Angeles Chargers until late, before letting Philip Rivers and company come to within a touchdown with 89 seconds to play, but even then, they were able to slam the door with their third takeaway of the game on their final drive.
“We just controlled the game as much as we could”, Bush said of the defensive performance collectively. “We had to win first down. We had to win second down. We definitely had to keep them behind the sticks and not let them establish a running game early”.
One thing the Chargers finished well in was on third down, converting seven of 12, and they did total 348 yards, but a good deal of that came in the fourth quarter when they were down three scores. They had just 32 rushing yards, the vast majority of their attempts unsuccessful.