The Pittsburgh Steelers have not had a defense like this in quite some time. The defense has given away so many turnovers to their members that they may as well be dubbed the Oprah Winfrey of defenses.
That is why it was quite shocking to hear that coming into Sunday’s game, veteran cornerback Joe Haden had failed to record an interception as whispers of age catching up to him also began to settle in. Haden put both of those topics to sleep Sunday with an incredible performance against the Los Angeles Rams, grabbing his first interception of the season while also recording five pass defenses.
Haden’s interception makes him one of nine Steelers to get their hands on an interception this season but while his inclusion into the turnover club is a great achievement, his five pass defenses is really what should be written home about.
The veteran cornerback is the first Steeler to record five or more pass defenses in a game since Joey Porter had five pass defenses against the Cincinnati Bengals during week four of the 2004 season. Haden joins Porter and Dewayne Washington as the only players in Steelers’ history to record five or more pass defenses in a game.
Only Stephon Gilmore has put up five pass defenses in a game this season, the only difference between the two is the quarterback play they went up against. Gilmore recorded five pass defenses against rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, while Haden was tasked with going up against Jared Goff who just a few months ago broke the NFL record for most guaranteed money given out to a player, though his play this season would make that hard to believe.
Haden is no stranger to big games either as this is the second time in his career that he has recorded five pass breaks up in a game, his last coming eight years ago against the Bengals during the 2011 season.
The ten-year pro is now just one of 18 players to have two or more games with at least five pass defenses. The timing of Haden’s performance could not have come at a better time as well, as he was part of a unit that helped shut down a high-powered Rams’ offense.
The Rams came into this game averaging 287 passing yards per game. The Steelers held them to just 218 passing yards. Cooper Kupp came into this game with 792 receiving yards, averaging out to 99 yards per game. The Steelers secondary shut Kupp out across the board as he was held reception-less on four targets.
Haden proved Sunday that he is still capable of being a true lockdown cornerback. Goff was lucky to throw just one interception his way as the Steelers’ corner made numerous diving pass break ups with his final one landing in the hands of Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Haden not only put father time on notice but he is part of a secondary that has put the rest of the NFL on notice. The Steelers have recorded 14 interceptions this season while holding five of their last six opponents under 250 yards passing. The longest tenured player in this secondary, Haden has shown that his veteran experience should not be taken lightly as he can still hang with the best of them.