Through the first month of the season, Stephon Tuitt and Bud Dupree are among the league leaders in tackles for loss/run stuffs.
Courtesy of this tweet from Justis Mosqueda, Tuitt has 10 tackles at or behind the LOS over the first four weeks. That’s tied for third best in football. Dupree is right behind at nine and tied for 5th place.
And that’s plenty of good company to keep. Names like Khalil Mack, Danielle Hunter, Grady Jarrett, and Luke Kuechly are among the best defensive players in the NFL. Tuitt and Dupree are right there with them.
Both players are enjoying their best seasons in a Steelers’ uniform. Tuitt leads the team with 3.5 sacks and is on pace to set a career high number of QB takedowns. He’s been able to finish plays he fell short of in years past with the hand use to quickly defeat blocks and get after the quarterback. His run defense has also been solid and he dominated 49ers’ RT Mike McGlinchey in Week 3.
Dupree’s run defense has been excellent and he got consistent pressure for the first time Monday night, strip sacking Andy Dalton on a key stop late in the first half. That play felt like a turning point of the game. But that wasn’t the only time he dominated Bengals’ LT Andre Smith. Though this wasn’t a pressure or tackle, it might have been his most impressive rush. Check out the speed to power.
They’ll have to play just as well Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, a critical matchup that will determine the path this season takes. Win and the Steelers will move to 2-3, right in the middle of the AFC North race and a statement win on their record. Lose and they’re back to 1-4, miles away from first place in the division, and we’re probably back to talking about how bad the season’s been.