After wreaking havoc on the Buffalo Bills’ offense in the first week of the 2021 season, forcing four fumbles (recovering just two), it felt like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was destined to take off in the turnover department, especially with the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals on the schedule in successive weeks.
Since that season-opening win though, the Steelers have struggled to take the football away, recording just two total turnovers in the last three games, which has played a major role in the Steelers falling to 1-3 on the season.
Speaking with reporters on Friday during his weekly media availability, star outside linebacker T.J. Watt spoke about the need to create more turnovers as a defense. oddly enough, Watt stated that the Steelers need to get more hats to the ball, something he’s very good at, to create more turnovers.
“Just continue to keep working, find spots where we can continue to improve and grow on where we’re doing well,” Watt said during his media availability Friday in audio provided by the team. “And I think that we’ve — like Minkah [Fitzpatrick] said — we’ve been one and three before, and, uh, anybody can beat anybody on any given Sunday in the National Football League. So we just have to take this thing one day at a time right now…Getting turnovers is never easy. I think we just need to find ways to create splash and it starts just getting more hats to the ball.”
Dating back to the Week 1 win over the Bills in which the Steelers forced four fumbles, Pittsburgh has forced just four fumbles in the last three weeks, recovering just one, while Terrell Edmunds has the Steelers’ lone interception of the season. That has to change if the Steelers want to remain competitive and create short fields for the offense.
That will be a tough task on Sunday, according to Watt, who praised the Broncos’ offensive style and the ball security that Denver has.
They have a good two-headed monster running attack that they’ve been able to run the ball really effectively and great, great guys up front to block,” Watt said, according to audio provided by the team. “Whenever they are throwing the ball, they’re getting the ball out relatively quick and just taking care of the ball once they are, like I said, you don’t see many guys being able to get the ball out second after punches or anything like that against this team. They definitely preach ball security.”
Watt has been a master at knocking the football out of the hands of the best of them. He has a real knack for it, and that will play big part in the matchup Sunday against the Broncos, who will likely be starting two backup guards inside in rookie Quinn Meinerz and second-year pro Netane Muti.
We’ll see if the Steelers’ defense can step up and create some turnovers against a banged-up Denver offense, creating short fields and scoring opportunities for the Steelers’ offense by getting “more hats to the ball.”