I think we all pretty much knew entering this season that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to have to ride their defense for much of whatever success they might see. For the most part, they have been up to the task, and that is why they are sitting at 11-2 with three games left to play in the regular season, which is an excellent record, no matter how frustrated fans might be.
With that said, their two-game losing streak is staring us all in the face as an undeniable reality, and the defensive performance has certainly played a role in their dropping those games. A pick six by the offense the last time out didn’t help, but there is a greater burden on this defense.
“We just didn’t get the job done. When you look at these past two weeks, our mistakes have caught up to us”, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward said following Sunday’s loss, via a video interview provided by the team’s media department. “We need to own up to it. We need to learn from them. We need to make them disappear right away. What we’re doing right now the past two games hasn’t gotten the job done. It starts from the top to the bottom”.
While the Steelers were able to get some pressure on Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, it wasn’t nearly enough, nor effective enough. They only sacked him once, and that was when Tyson Alualu was able to swipe the ball out of his hand. They were only credited with five hits, two by T.J. Watt.
“As a defense, we’ve just got to get off the field. When we do get red zones, we’ve got to surrender three or less, and we didn’t do that enough”, Heyward said. “We understand you can be put in some tough situations, but it’s our job to battle through adversity and not let it be a factor. Whatever’s going on, that’s no indication of how we get off on defense”.
Are the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, who may be back to starting Ryan Finley at quarterback after Brandon Allen was injured against the Dallas Cowboys, the antidote for a great Steelers defense that needs a boost of confidence?
They had better hope so, because after that they have a couple of good teams on their schedule to finish out the regular season, namely the Indianapolis Colts, whom they will host at Heinz Field, followed by the Cleveland Browns on the road.
The division could still be in play by then if they can’t take care of business in the meantime, and that may mean the defense taking a significant step forward from where they have been in recent weeks, which has not been good enough.