Throughout much of the Week 6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium, the defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers — led by the likes of Cameron Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi – flat-out dominated the Tampa Bay offensive line.
In total, the Steelers held Tampa Bay to just 75 rushing yards on 26 carries Sunday, holding the dangerous Leonard Fournette to just 3.0 yards per carry on the day. On top of that, the Steelers’ defensive line got after Tom Brady in a big way, hitting him five times and recording two sacks. Heyward and Ogunjobi recorded two quarterback hits each and were rather disruptive against the Tampa Bay offensive line, rarely giving Brady and the Buccaneers time to do much of anything.
The performance against Tampa Bay was reminiscent of the performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. Though the Steelers are feeling good about the performance the defensive line put together on Sunday, Heyward — the defensive captain — isn’t satisfied and stated that to reporters Wednesday that it’s about stacking good days together while taking things one day at a time.
“I take it one game at a time. I can’t really compare one or other, cause there’s some things we did wrong, some things we did right,” Heyward stated to reporters Wednesday, according to video via Steelers.com. “I think the things that were successful, we didn’t let the runners, for the most part, go north to south and get started, by getting off blocks, making sure we got multiple hats to the tackle.
“We just have to keep applying that to each game.”
Against the Buccaneers, Heyward, Ogunjobi and the rest of the Steelers’ defensive line did a really good job of generating early penetration on run plays, taking away lanes for Fournette and rookie running back Rachaad White, and really making the Buccaneers one-dimensional in a hurry, putting the game on Tom Brady’s shoulders.
By making the Buccaneers one-dimensional by rallying to the football, maintaining gap integrity and getting off blocks, the Steelers’ defensive front did its job at a high level. That, in turn, allowed them to focus on getting after Brady in the pocket, which they also did very well on Sunday, helping out a depleted secondary in a big, big way.
While it’s good to be pleased with a performance after things go right, it’s a new week and a new opponent. Heyward knows that. What happened last week is last week. Now it’s about doing it again this week, helping the Steelers try to go on the road and win a second straight game, spoiling a Miami Dolphins celebration of the 1972 undefeated Super Bowl champions.